Words and image by Grant Spolander
The worst hangover of my life happened in the mountains of Wyoming, USA. I’d spent the evening with a group of American Jeep Club members, along with several bottles of Jägermeister. The next morning, I felt as if I’d had a tyre valve drilled into my head and 10Bar pressure was crushing what was left of the contents.
Apparently, hangovers are often made worse by high altitudes. Jackson Hole (Wyoming) sits at roughly 2000 metres above sea level. I was reminded of this fact when I tentatively awoke in uBhetyan, a private game farm on the outskirts of the Highveld. Until recently, I’d never thought much of the Highveld region. At most, the name would conjure up thoughts of thunderstorms, a radio station, and blueand- white licence plates. Now, however, after exploring part of the region with tour operator Johan Klopper on his new 4×4 route, The Loskop Valley Tour, I’ve added a few more keywords to that list; these include bliksem, jislaaik and eish!
But these phrases don’t just describe my kopseer, or the tequila and egg yolk that I drank the night before; they’re also my new exclamations for the Highveld’s northern magnificence. The Loskop Valley Tour is designed as a mini 4×4 trip; an affordable weekend jaunt close to Joburg and Pretoria. The tour kicks off on a Friday, and you meet at Kungwini, the popular 4×4 trail and off-road driving academy near Bronkhorstspruit. From here, your convoy of four vehicles, or more, heads in a horseshoe direction along the northern reaches of the Highveld. The focus of this tour is to follow the area’s many crags and valleys along the escarpment, where the Highveld meets the Lowveld. The route follows three stages: gravel travel, rocky adventure, and wildlife wonder.
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