This archival website was first released on 22 April 2017 some 16 years after Encounter Overland ceased trading. The idea for it occurred to me at the first major reunion of Encounter Overland staff which was held in Nepal in late 2016. Encounter Overland was a significant and leading company in trans-continental travel across Asia, Africa and South & Central America (and many other places), so a permanent record of the company for historical purposes seemed appropriate.
When Encounter Overland ceased trading in 2001, all its records were transferred to the new owners – Dragoman. Records were kept for some time by Dragoman but were eventually disposed of due to space limitations. I thought, however, it was likely that among all the former staff and expedition members, there would be enough documents, photos, films etc to create a fairly good record of the company.
A website was the most appropriate form for the collection; and one which would enable the collection to be viewed by former staff and expedition members who live all over the globe. All material – documents, photos and films – on this website have been provided by former staff members or members of the expeditions operated by Encounter Overland including Himalaya Overland/Sundowners Overland.
There are records missing from the archive. However, the Staff Roll Call and the collection of brochures advertising the company’s expeditions and tours are probably very close to complete; as is the collection of vehicles owned by the company over its 37 years of operation.
United Kingdom Web Archive
But no website lasts forever. To preserve and give permanent access to key websites of the United Kingdom for future generations, the British Library established the UK Web Archive (UKWA). With a view to ensuring a permanent record existed of this website, I made a case to the British Library suggesting this archive would be relevant to its collection. The British Library agreed and the website now exists as part of the UKWA’s records.
The most recent archive of this website, as it appeared on 1 January 2019 is at: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/en/archive/20190101123759/https://encounteroverland.info/.
The UKWA makes at least annual updates of the websites in its collection.
While the website will be of most interest to Encounter Overland’s former staff and expedition members, perhaps at some future time the material will be of value to researchers interested in the history of overland travel.
The website is structured as follows:
Home – The website Home page with a link to his page.
Promotional Material – A comprehensive collection of material put out by Encounter Overland to promote its truck-based, trekking and rafting expeditions and coach tours. It includes newspaper advertisements, brochures, films and a collection of miscellaneous stickers, posters etc. There are four brochures produced by Dragoman while it was running an Encounter branded product from 2002.
Staff – Material related to staff recruitment, a Roll Call of staff who worked for the company and a small selection of dossiers submitted by staff about themselves and their EO experience.
Vehicles – a photo gallery of the vehicles owned by Encounter Overland. The collection is probably close to complete. There is also a gallery which shows examples of the preparation of vehicles.
Premises – the offices, workshops and other places used by Encounter Overland.
Documents – many of the documents created by Encounter Overland including:
- Project Dossiers – Project dossiers were created around 1994 to provide more detail about the itinerary of the various expeditions.
- Pre-departure Information – the information sent to expedition members to prepare them for the expedition including the equipment to bring
- Routing Updates – A small number of Routing Updates when the political situation in countries required expeditions to take a route different to the one advertised
- Driver Checklists and Manuals – the checklists of equipment, supplies and spare parts used to prepare vehicles for expeditions; and some of the manuals to inform Leader/Drivers about routes to take.
- ENFLASH and Newsletters – These documents were started in the early 1970s to keep staff informed about the progress of expeditions on the road and developments in the company. The name of the document and content varied over time. There were periods when no newsletters were produced.
- Messages to Leader/Drivers – some messages for Leader/Drivers about important issues
- Miscellaneous Communiques
Trip Photos and Tales – photo albums, movies and records of trips produced by expedition members (EMs) and Leader/Drivers (L/Ds).
Memorabilia – a small sample of Memorabilia produced by Encounter Overland.
Books and Media Articles – published works based on Encounter Overland expeditions and a large collection of newspaper and other media articles about Encounter Overland.
Reunions – photos taken at various reunions of Encounter Overland staff.
Contact Us – a form for readers to get in touch with the website manager.
Updates – a listing of changes and new information made to the website at various times. This was produced as a way for those interested to quickly go to new information.
More on Overlanding – here are books about and promotional films produced by other overland companies which were contemporaries of Encounter Overland. Plus there are some interesting historical films about overland journeys people have taken since the 1950s.
Offers of other Encounter Overland / Himalaya Overland / Sundowners Overland material are always welcome. Please get in touch through the Contact page.