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What a week that was! 4440km later, and after countless hours of driving, I was sitting comfortably in my home, having kissed my baby and realised that I was glad to be back in the comfort of my space, where everything was familiar. When friends asked how the trip was, I became aware that I was conflicted: there had been good times and trying times. Road tripping through five African countries in one week had never been in my plans, mostly because I feared the unknown. However, I gave into peer pressure on one hand, and my curiosity on the

How blessed we are to live in a place like South Africa! Our wild spaces are as diverse as they are plentiful, and are largely protected from the destructive forces of the modern world. Take the Karoo, for example. Nowhere else in the world will you find such immense biodiversity in such an arid place. It’s the Amazon Jungle of deserts – teeming with life and desperate to be explored. It was with this in mind that I steered a brand-new Mercedes Benz X-Class 250d in the direction of the R62, in search of something new and something special. CapeNature

With access to private 4×4 tracks, mountain ranges and secret figures from the past, we cover one of SA’s roughest 4×4 tours with Unlimited 4×4 Adventure, right on our doorstep. Having worked at SA4x4 for over four years and explored local trails in countless ‘trail reviews’ and travel stories using production test cars, it’s safe to say I’ve been around the block. The Cederberg and Tankwa have long been special places for me to escape hasty Cape Town and its ills. The offer of a camping trip through our own little ‘outback’ comes like a welcome wink from my favourite

First came the lighting. Far off across the parched plains, electricity was charging the air, creating an energy that belied the stillness of the surrounding hills. Then came the brown mist – a wall of dust and wind heralding the imminent deluge. The perfect storm was ready to burst at the seams, and when it did, we were treated to the last thing we could ever have expected: pouring rain in the drought-stricken Karoo. Within hours, all evidence of the water was gone, save for a few muddy roads that would definitely come in handy a bit later. The parched Beaufort

At some point, almost every South African with a car will make the trip from Joburg to Cape Town, and, in general, it’s far from enchanting. Just over 1500km of arrow-straight tar in the company of far too many kamikaze 22-wheeler drivers. Enough to numb the spirit of travel. So, I was less than inspired when given the news that I would be doing just this trip with the brand-new, facelifted Mazda BT-50. Luckily, part of the brief was to find an inspiring, gravel-oriented back-road route. What should I do, then? Take a massive detour to the Northern Cape and

Africa is untamed, rugged and breathtakingly beautiful. It offers the adventurous traveller a kaleidoscope of experiences that will imprint itself on the soul. From stark desert landscapes to lush green plains teeming with wildlife, Africa is unique in its diversity and sheer splendour. Yet, sadly, Africa is also a continent mercilessly targeted by poachers which are stripping it of its wildlife and threatening one of its most majestic inhabitants with extinction. In the last decade, Central Africa has lost 64% of its African Elephant population as a result of the ivory trade. A staggering 30 000 elephants are killed every

Words & Images Peter Middleton It is difficult to explain our mood as we drape Mr Michelin over the bonnet and plan the route back, through Uganda, Zaire and the dreaded Central African Republic. Why are we so nervous? The little Landy is running beautifully, and our minimal kit works OK if we imagine that we are backpacking on wheels. True, we don’t like the thought of sleeping on the roof and away from the steering wheel, in case of another attack, but we have no choice. We are sorry to be leaving Kenya again but the memories are deep

Standing thigh-deep in a clayey sloot, I watch the Fortuner’s tyres creep along the 200 mm ledge. It’s hot and humid, beads of sweat run down my face – but I fight the urge to blink. The Fortuner’s track width only just straddles the wash-away. To one side, a rocky mountain face threatens to maul the Fortuner’s flanks; to the other side, there’s nothing but a forest of trees and a long fall to ground zero.Words and pictures by Grant Spolander. My arms are high above my head, but my hands are only just visible to Gary above the Toyota’s

There’s a rumour that men don’t ask for directions. Well, here in Mama Africa, the reason that we don’t ask is that doing so will often fast-forward you from the frying pan into the fire. On a recent trip to Limpopo, we took an unplanned scenic detour en route to our destination, and the ladies, including my lovely wife, Karyn, indicated from the back of the Izuzu that we should stop to ask for directions. Reluctantly, after a while, I did. Stopping at a rundown petrol station and using my best farm-boy Xhosa, I said, “Molo bhuti; kunjani?” I could

This tour, on the edge of the Namib dune veld, is the perfect addition to a longer Namibian safari. Simplicity is its biggest attribute, which is advantageous – unlike the bigger trips into the desert like Saddle Hill or the Luderitz- Walvis tour, the Khoichab Trail is a shorter and easier way to experience the dunes. Completion of the tour also puts you back on the big road leading north, with Sossusvlei less than three hours away. We travelled east for 30 km on the B4 to Aus, following our guide, Heinz Manns, and accompanied by Adriaan Bothma. (He is

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