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Destination & Trails

“Perhaps we should have done the easier Red Cone Farm route, after all,” I told my fiancée, Annette, as my furrowed brow channelled rivulets of sweat down my temples. Although Ferndale Farm’s Circle Road North route had already provided us with a fair number of Grade 3 challenges in the form of a large boulder crossing and some axle-twisting ruts, plus the odd 35° ascent and numerous narrow roads riding atop precipitous cliff-faces, we had until then been comfortable that our trusty Mazda BT-50 would not fail us on this route; especially as we’d had the more aggressively-patterned Dunlop AT3…

Most people head up to Namaqualand during the annual spring flower season, but for those who prefer peace and quiet, rather travel during the secret ‘Green Season’… Intrepid travellers who venture along the lesser gravel roads high along the western reaches of the Northern Cape, where arid desert land tumbles towards the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, will be lucky enough to discover ‘Eenkantland’. This ‘Land on the Side’ is also known as Namaqualand, and the region’s Namaqua Coastal Route traverses the north-western parts of the area. It is a place of stark, jaw-dropping beauty, where a semi-desert inland escarpment transitions into…

Everybody’s heard a Zimbabwe travel horror story. Under the rule of Robert Mugabe, corruption thrived in all but the most remote reaches of the vast and diverse country. One would encounter dozens of roadblocks between Bulawayo and Harare, each ‘staffed’ by police or scammers seeking nothing more than to extort one for a couple of trillion Zim dollars. Journeys by road became arduous and expensive – and often dangerous, too. Well, I’m happy to report that things have changed. Zimbabwe, it seems, is open for business. The fall of Uncle Bob has paved the way for optimism and recovery, and…

Each year, Zambia plays host to two of the best kept secrets in the natural world. These two wildlife spectacles are only ever witnessed by the avid adventurer due to the remoteness of the areas in which they occur. This year, we have combined two of our most popular tours in order to witness both migrations in one magnificent Zambian expedition. Liuwa Plain National Park is situated in the Upper Zambezi flood plains of Western Zambia. The park covers an area of 3 600km2 of vast grasslands and wooded islands, and the plain from which the park takes its name…

Traversing the West Coast of Africa requires visiting a minimum of 12 countries, and optionally up to 24. There are many reasons to skip certain countries – safety, weather, visa issues, and even Ebola outbreaks closing the borders. More often, sometimes a country is skipped simply through lack of interest. On the coast, and straddling the Equator, lies the small and often-overlooked country of Gabon. Gabon seems to be one of those countries that are skipped due to a lack of interest. Virtually no-one explores the remote corners, and there is almost no information about what can be found when…

Even the most adventurous 4x4ers don’t always want to push themselves and their vehicles to the limits. And besides, the less adventurous members of your family sometimes want to come along and enjoy themselves, too. Leeupan, near Van Zylsrus on the Northern Cape’s border with Botswana, offers an easy “Eco-Trail” that should please everyone. “Okay, so do we take the right or the left fork, boet?” I asked my co-pilot, David Lowe, who was looking as dazed and confused as I was after our previous evening around the campfire. Needless to say, he didn’t know; and it was only after…

South Africa’s secondary roads are full of possibilities and 4×4 potential, as Nick Yell proves on two Eastern Cape loops – an alternative to the Baviaanskloof, and a history-inspired meander through the Amatola region inland of East London. Baviaans-lite. This is how I had imagined the first of the two routes that my fiancée, Annette and I, were to go on: a 270km dirt track that was to take us off the tarred N9 outside Uniondale and eventually deposit us on the R334 to Uitenhage. Although we planned to detour off this route to wrestle with the Gonjah 4×4 trail…

PART II: THE EDGE OF NOWHERE In September 2017, adventurer Peter van Kets and Jacques Marais set off from the southern Angolan border to tackle a gruelling world-first pedal across the unforgiving Namib Desert. This is Part 2I of their ‘Beyond the Desert Edge’ story, capturing a few of the incredible adventures they experienced during this 1200km crank… Day 1: Climbing the Cunene valley There’s no easy way to escape the Cunene River valley from Serra Cafema. Behind you, the in-your-face, belligerent landscape of the Zebra Mountain ranges of Angola bristle with intent, while ahead of you, a massive mother…

If you enjoy travelling without a set itinerary and exploring new areas, then this recce trip is for you. Come and join us as we explore the shores of Lake Malawi in search of the best camping spots and activities that the area has to offer. Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania and Lago Niassa in Mozambique, is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. It is the ninth largest lake in the world and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa.…

The main crossing from Nigeria to Cameroon on the West Coast of Africa is the stuff that overland legends are made of. The Mamfe Road is only one hundred kilometres long, although it takes most well-prepared overlanders a week of slogging to cover that distance. As the monster mud holes are big enough to bury even six-wheel-drive vehicles to their axles, many lesser vehicles remain stuck until they are dug out by a virtual army of locals, or rescued by tracked Caterpillar machinery. All of that is in the dry season. Traversing the West Coast of Africa in the wet…

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