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Browsing: Adventures

As one of the least densely populated countries on the continent and one with a stunning array of wildlife and natural beauty, Botswana is high on the must-see list for any visitor to Africa, and a country I have been looking forward to for a very long time. It has extremely strict conservation laws, and in the more than 17% of the land mass dedicated to National Parks, animals roam freely and are a fixture of everyday life. National Parks are well organised and affordable, and thousands of kilometres of remote tracks lie waiting to be explored. In many regions,…

Night challenges are not new in the world of 4×4 adventuring, and the Superwinch 4×4 Night Challenge (which took place on Saturday, 1 September 2018, at Rust de Winter) was right up there for calling on the endurance reserves of all the participants − competitors and organisers alike. With over 400km of trails to choose from at Rust de Winter, the participants were in for a night to remember. Because of the degree of difficulty, the number of participants was limited to 12 vehicles. All types of vehicles were present: from stock standard, to those which had been heavily modified…

Having been involved in several severe 4×4 challenges of late, it came as a welcome relief to tackle the Nossob Eco Trail, which runs through the remote Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Here was a chance to enjoy open wilderness without any stress about vehicle damage. Starting at the Twee Rivieren post right on the border of Botswana in the Northern Cape’s most northerly point, the five-day, four-night trail begins at the point where the Aoub and Nossob river intersect – hence ‘Twee Rivieren’. These rivers flow only once every century, but, even so, are lined with massive camelthorns and populated heavily…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Adventurer Peter Van Kets and photo-journalist Jacques Marais decided to ride their mountain bikes from Angola to Swakopmund. But before they could crank off on this incredible adventure, they first had to get to the Cunene River … By Jacques Marais This is one of those journeys that started quite some time ago. I’ve always been keen to get on board one of Peter Van Kets’ amazing adventures, but when we started chatting about a possible adventure collaboration earlier this year, I never expected that we’d launch the first in a series of ‘Beyond Expeditions’ less than six months later. Somehow it…

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