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Video of the Week :: Lewie and the Rover–Will We Survive the Sahara Desert?

I watch a lot of overlanding films on YouTube and many are beautifully produced, informative, and inspiring, but it takes a decidedly special story to move me. It’s not often a feeling that you can describe in words, but rather a stirring sensation that makes you want to pack the rig and hit the road. It’s the final ingredient that elevates something from great to extraordinary. It wasn’t long into the latest episode from Lewie and the Rover that I discovered that very magic.

Lewie and the Rover is made up of Orla, Patrick, and their dog Lewie (although their canine companion does not feature in this installment). The Dutch trio are overlanders traveling in The Rover, which is an expedition-ready 2004 Land Rover Defender 90 TD5. They’re fairly new to the YouTube scene but have already produced three videos documenting their travels in Corsica, Ireland, and finally Morocco. Today we’re taking a look at their most recent Moroccan installment “Will We Survive the Sahara Desert?”

The video first touches on the short 1.5-hour Mediterranean ferry crossing from Tarifa, Spain to Morocco. The couple begins their desert escapades with a trip to the iconic blue city of Chefchaouen, enjoying some traditional Moroccan cuisine, before heading into the Atlas Mountains. It’s at this point that the chronicle of the adventure and the camerawork really gain momentum, with otherworldly scenery and breathtaking camp spots. They soon find themselves assisting other travelers on mini motorbikes before embarking on a Sahara Desert expedition. They first travel four days from Merzouga to Mhamid, and then another two days to Foum Zguid. The couple gathered fuel and supplies before meeting other overlanders and taking a crash course in safely handling a 4WD on the dunes and in deep sand. Community spirit features regularly in this film and is one of the reasons the episode is so emotive, with the generosity of fellow travelers evident throughout. Once prepared, they embarked on their journey into the desert but soon come across a 14-vehicle overlanding pizza party, where, obviously, they spend the night. 

I really enjoy Orla and Patrick’s transparency about their limited overlanding experience and their willingness to learn. With these goals in mind, they joined forces for the crossing with another couple in a Toyota Land Cruiser. Teaming up ensured additional support and safety for the journey, but also grew into a new friendship. The couple used their newly acquired skills to safely navigate the terrain, and when the Land Cruiser got stuck, they problem-solved together to get free. The narration by Orla provides excellent storytelling, momentum, and information, but is also frequently philosophical and romantic. In fact, the entire film feels like a love letter to overlanding, while also touching on the value of companionship and sharing the road with a loved one (culminating in a very special moment). The video concludes with a passage across the Anti-Atlas mountains on some pretty gnarly roads, which will be continued at a later date.

This is a great channel with beautiful visuals and compelling narratives, and will undoubtedly inspire you to visit Morocco. If you’re not already subscribed to the Lewie and the Rover YouTube channel then I highly recommend it. 

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No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro but spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK preparing for his upcoming expeditions—looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or on Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.