Travel company becomes a twinning loo-minary

Travellers with one Somerset-based tour company know that learning to live without creature comforts is part of the deal.

Relieving yourself in the open and burying the evidence with a shovel (responsibly) is par for the course on an Oasis Overland expedition to the back of beyond in a truck.

Now the firm has teamed up with the charity initiative Toilet Twinning to provide poor communities with some of the bare essentials its travellers have to learn to do without, including basic toilets.

Toilet Twinning raises funds to provide clean water, proper toilets and hygiene education in some of the poorest countries in the world, by encouraging people in the UK to ‘twin’ their toilet at home. Oasis Overland has given the idea a novel spin – by twinning the shovels it uses on its Africa and Central Asia expedition trucks. It has also twinned the office toilet back at its Henstridge HQ.

An Oasis Overland expedition truck

An Oasis Overland expedition truck

Oasis Overland is at pains to ensure its trips have minimal impact on the communities they visit so travellers caught short in the open are shown how to dispose of human waste responsibly. But having to relieve yourself in the bush offers an uncomfortable insight into what life is like for the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have a proper loo, says Jackie Woon, Oasis Overland’s Responsible Travel Manager.

‘Our groups and crew therefore have a good idea of the perils of living without a loo, albeit only for a limited time,’ says Jackie. ‘We felt that the Toilet Twinning concept was particularly appropriate to our mode of travel, particularly in Africa where we often camp out in the bush and toilet stops involve a walk into the bush with a shovel!

‘As a company we are keen to “put back” into our destinations as much as possible, as we realise how much we and our travellers get from them. Toilet Twinning seemed like the perfect project for us to support. Our trips travel through regions where local people’s daily lives are very challenging and we recognise the immense value a toilet could bring to them.’

The company hopes to twin more toilets itself in the future – and is also now encouraging its travellers to club together as a group and twin a toilet as a ‘lasting legacy’ at the end of their trip.

Oasis Overland travellers with their shovels - and twinning certificate

Oasis Overland travellers with their shovels – and twinning certificate

Toilet Twinning CEO Lorraine Kingsley says: ‘We all tend to take our own toilets for granted, until we are caught short or we travel to places where proper sanitation does not come as standard. So it’s great that the Oasis Overland team, who appreciate the bare essentials of life, are helping to provide toilets for poor people who have never had one. A latrine is such a simple structure but it can literally save lives in the poor communities we work with.’

Oasis Overland runs overland truck expeditions, varying from 19 days to 39 weeks in Africa, South America and Central Asia. Its longer trips in particular often travel through very remote destinations, where toilet facilities do not exist and travellers often camp in the bush at night.

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