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Browsing: Travel

Destination & Trails

It always happens at the most awkward moment – when the sun is setting on a bad road in the middle of nowhere. We had driven our Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 from Arica, a coastal town in the north of Chile, towards the border of Bolivia. It takes only a few hours for the road to climb from sea level up to 4850m above that in the Andean mountains. It was already late afternoon, but we wanted to use the best light to take pictures of Lake Chigará with the snow-covered Nevado Sajama (at 6542m, one of the highest volcanoes in

Who could say no to an invitation from Isuzu to come and drive their newly-launched mu-X SUV in Mozambique? I certainly couldn’t! After a short redeye flight from Cape Town to King Shaka airport in Durban, we were met by the Isuzu team of Gishma, Ami and Azima, and by Grant, Chris, and “Boats” from Driving Dynamics, who would be our hosts and chaperones for the Isuzu mu-X Mozambique Adventure. Holding up the rear was Fanie, the paramedic, who somehow managed to forget his ambulance in Kosi Bay on the way home. Luckily, this was the only emergency of the

Sani Pass is located in the western end of the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, on the road between Underberg and Mokhotlong, Lesotho. It is a route that connects Kwazulu-Natal and Lesotho, and a notoriously dangerous road, which requires the use of a 4×4 vehicle. This pass lies between the border controls of both countries and is approximately 9km in length and requires experienced driving skills. It has occasional remains of vehicles that did not succeed in navigating its steep gradients and poor traction surfaces, and has a catalogue of frightening stories of failed attempts at ascending the path over

Towering volcanoes, deep-water lakes, mountain-top calderas, verdant jungles, highland coffee plantations… There is so much more to Rwanda than its iconic silverback gorillas. Jacques Marais explores this tiny East-African country by bike, boat and Isuzu, as part of the “Beyond the Rift Valley” expedition. Peter van Kets and I first came up with the route for the ‘Beyond the Rift Valley’ expedition early in 2018, thinking this would be a pretty ambitious foray into the heart of the Mother continent, and a chance at last to get to see Rwanda’s gorillas up close and personal. That was the starting point

The Makgadikgadi Pans of Botswana are one of the harshest environments on earth and a 4×4 adventurer’s paradise. Come and join us as we explore some of the untouched gems these enormous salt pans have to offer as we venture off the beaten track and head into the heart of the pans. We will be visiting places that are rarely encountered by other travellers so this is a totally unique pans experience. We will however include a night at the mystical Kubu Island as no trip to the pans is complete without visiting this magical destination. Some of the other

Back in Johannesburg, it feels odd to look out from the window over a bustling carport of busy people with fancy cars. There’s a selection of sushi revolving in front of me, yet my boots are still freshly covered with the dust from Mana Pools. Just two days ago, we were observing one of many herds of elephants wandering curiously around our campsite at Mana Pools, and later sitting around the hypnotising campfire listening to the hysterical ‘whoop’ calls of hyena in the background. And then, there was the long, dreadful and often-infuriating drive back to Joburg, during which an

I have no idea what to expect from the mountain nation of Lesotho. Although tiny compared to South Africa, I have been repeatedly told that the mountain scenery is second to none, and that the locals are extremely friendly. Always on the lookout for new mountains to explore, I know this is a must-visit country. Into Lesotho At a small and quiet border in the North, we are quickly stamped out of South Africa and into Lesotho with a minimum of fuss. The six-month Temporary Import Permit for the Jeep is also valid in Lesotho, so I don’t even talk

Kaokoland is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Southern Africa. It is a world of incredible mountain scenery, a refuge for the rare desert-dwelling elephant, black rhino and giraffe, and the home of the Himba people. The topography in the south of the area is characterised by rugged mountains which are dissected by numerous watercourses, but north of the Hoarusib River the scenery is dominated by table-top koppies. Still further north, the Otjihipa Mountains rise abruptly above the Namib floor to form the eastern boundary of the Marienfluss, while the west of the valley is defined by the

Journalist Carolyn Dempster joins an Ultimate Adventures tour through Zambia to witness the extraordinary annual bat migration at Kasanka National Park, and finds that the bonhomie of a diverse tour group has some key advantages Let’s be clear. This is not a bland travel tale. The kind where you skim over a script stuffed with adjectives, flick through photos, linger as long as your attention-deficit-disorder will allow, and move swiftly on to the next picture fantasy. No, this is next-level stuff. Stay with me… This story starts before the break of dawn, with the swelling sound of millions of jubilant

The dry season in Hwange National Park reached its height in late September. My partner Ashley and I huddled in our Pajero, trying to keep warm in the chilly midnight air on the bank of Mandavu Dam. The water shimmered silver under the full moon as night-owl storks stalked the shallows. Sudden splashing alerted us to the thirsty arrival of an elephant herd on the far bank. I strained through binoculars to count the drinking adults and playful young – a herd of 23. Scanning back to our side of the dam, I found four huge bulls right next to

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