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Destination & Trails

Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and Ali Cole THE MABUASEHUBE WILDERNESS TRAIL This trip hasn’t had the best of starts. Trying to get hold of Botswana Parks is an exercise in futility. When they eventually do answer their phone it’s only to tell you that they don’t do bookings by phone. So you send a fax, which they don’t bother to reply to. As a last resort you send an email which promptly bounces back because their inbox is full. How can a country with such a strong tourism industry have such a shambolic booking system for

Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and Alison Cole EXPLORING EASTERN ZIMBABWE Mention Zimbabwe to most travellers and their first thoughts will be of Victoria Falls, houseboats on Lake Kariba or watching elephants stroll by at Mana Pools. Our Bush Editor goes east to Zimbabwe’s Highlands, a place to 4×4, hike, climb and maybe even hook the odd trout. “Over the eastern edge of Southern Africa sprawls a magnificent tumble of mountains, referred to loosely as the Drakensberg. The head of this vast, imaginary dragon looks towards the south, and it is not unreasonable to think that such

Words and Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen LUVUVHU 4X4 WILDERNESS TRAIL The Kruger National Park’s Lebombo 4×4 trail is well-known, and the Shingwedzi trail on the other side of the border is an up-and-coming attraction. But now there’s a new kid in town, a multi-day trail on the western edge of KNP. SA4x4 was lucky enough to be the first magazine to drive it! There’s something both primal and scary about having just your tent’s outer shell between you and the wild. From the warmth of your down sleeping bag it sounds as though you’re a guest at nature’s night club

Words and Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen The young lad perched on the stone wall looks a perfect picture as our 4×4 purrs past.He doesn’t move, so we stop. I hop out and take a snap, and within minutes I’m surrounded by dozens of the blighters. An elderly lady approaches me to have a chat. “You see, these kids are all orphans; they don’t have parents and we look after them,” she explains. The kids laugh with joy when I show them their images on my camera’s LCD display. Not many tourists or vehicles come along this track. The atmosphere is

Lesotho is one of the premier 4×4 playgrounds for South Africans, who like to make things interesting by visiting in winter when heavy snowfalls and extreme cold make the mountain kingdom both beautiful and brutal. Bush Editor Patrick Cruywagen, driving a G-Wagen, timed it just right and got his fair share of snow, mud, rain, cold, skiing, drama, donkeys and friendly Basotho people.Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and Ali Cole The G-Wagen starts to slide sideways in the thick black mud; there’s no stopping this 2.5 ton beast as it heads off the track and down the

Words and pictures by Patrick Cruywagen The fine red grains of river sand are like millions of tiny glowing coals, burning my so , pink feet.  There’s almost a cooling sizzle when I step into the Save River. Over a hundred metres away lies the river’s southern bank, where our Isuzu bakkie is supposed to exit the crossing. I begin to walk across. At times the sand is so soft that my feet disappear. How much deeper will our bakkie sink? When the water starts to tickle my privates, I decide that this crossing point might be a bridge

Words and pictures by Patrick Cruywagen The first cold front of winter has arrived in KZN, and as I take the N2 away from Durban’s warm coast I can feel it. It is defi nitely here. During our fi rst leg stretch at Gingindlovu, the place where Piet Retief and his followers were killed by Dingaan, the icy wind cuts through me like a Zulu’s assegai. Locals tell us there’s snow on the Berg but fortunately we’re headed towards Thangami, which not only has a 4×4 trail but also natural hot water springs which bubble up out of the earth

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander KAOKOLAND, NAMIBIA North-western Namibia is a land of paradox, where barren deserts spill into grass-covered plains and sterile mountains shepherd scant waters through parched wastelands. But as Grant Spolander discovered, this place of kaleidoscopic contrast is also where you’ll find space, solitude and an incentive to explore. The Kaokoland is an area that’s sometimes said to be the last remaining wilderness in southern Africa. To me, it’s best summed up as southern Africa’s very own Outback – it’s dry, desolate and unforgiving. If you and your 4×4 can handle this region, you can handle

Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and Alison Cole CARACAL ECO ROUTE NAMAQUA NATIONAL PARK Although the Namaqua National Park is still a work in progress, it nevertheless offers a 4×4 nature drive second to none, which will take you west from the N7, through the Kamiesberg Mountains, down the Wilderperdehoek Pass and onto the unspoilt West Coast. I’ve driven the N7 north from Cape Town towards the Orange River and Namibia a good number of times. This road takes you through some interesting dorpies – places like Vanrhynsdorp, Bitterfontein and Garies, where a pee and a pie

Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and Alison Cole The Kruger National Park is SA’s most popular attraction, so finding some quiet space in it can be a challenge. We tasked our Bush Editor with beating a track far from the maddening crowds. The first rule of the Kruger National Park (KNP) is not to get out of your vehicle, except if you’re in the confines of a camp or on a walking safari (duh). Nevertheless, we’ve left the well-engineered safety of our Pajero Sport and are sitting on Letaba River’s soft sandy bank. On the opposite side

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