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Destination & Trails

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…

Words and pictures by Grant SpolanderAccording to this year’s contestants, the Defender Trophy wasn’t quite as tough as last year’s event, but as Grant Spolander discovered, there was still a healthy dose of tyre-tearing, paint-scratching action. I almost forget to move my elbow as the thorn-clad bush scrapes along our Defender’s flank. The dense green growth parts to reveal a multi-coloured serpent of some 30 Defenders snaking down a grassy embankment in front of us. I quickly reach for my camera. In the distance I hear the contestants cheer as the fi rst Defender plunges bonnet-deep into the Mutale River.…

Words and pictures by Patrick Cruywagen THE RETURN DASH, PART 2 Our Bush Editor, riding high in one of Kingsley Holgate’s Defender 130s, completes the second half of his not-so-touristy trip through deepest Africa, and comes away with a dusty pocketful of stories to tell. We’d arrived in Chad’s capital city of N’Djamena in the dark and so had no idea of what to expect at sunrise, but what we could see were a large number of soldiers. Land Cruiser pick-ups seem to be the ride of choice for the military as well as rebels, which makes for even fights……

Words and pictures by Patrick Cruywagen It was a dream drive and an adventure of epic proportions: a hell-for-leather dash in one of Kingsley Holgate’s Defender 130s, journeying from the Congo Basin’s heart of darkness to the fringes of the massive Sahara Desert, and on to the Gulf of Guinea. It’s proving much more difficult to get out of the Central African Republic (CAR) than it’d been to get in. Roadblock after roadblock, some barely a kilometre apart, manned by soldiers arrogant in the knowledge that our Defender isn’t packing the armaments which are customary to just about every other…

Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and Wayne Reiche Why do we go to the bush? To get away from it all? To see something we haven’t seen before? To drink cold beer? Right now I’m doing all three. I’ve been comfortably plonked on my camping chair on the edge of Jack’s Pan for the last hour or two. Somewhere between my second and third beer, the sun fell off the edge of the pan. Between the steady stream of springbok and oryx which have been strolling past us, I didn’t notice the sunset. Suddenly, I notice an…

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander SHINGWEDZI 4X4 ECO-TRAIL While the Kruger National Park appeals to many holidaymakers, to some, the reserve fails to offer the very thing that many off-road adventurers seek: an escape. We visit Kruger’s unruly neighbour for a chance to drive a little-known trail lost in solitude. I hate the Kruger National Park. Okay, maybe “hate” is a bit strong, but I can’t help but feel grumpy about the unnaturalness of it all. Firstly: the roads. Nothing takes the bush out of a bush experience quite like a tarred road. Secondly: traffic jams. A wilderness holiday…

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander GREAT EXPECTATIONS Volkswagen’s new Amarok is stirring the double-cab pot, re-writing the sector’s value propositions while introducing technology never seen before in a bakkie. But has this much-anticipated double-cab made the most of its late arrival? When the Amarok was first unveiled in SA I heard lots of folk predict the Hilux’s demise. I was doubtful, convinced that the mighty Toyota could weather any storm. When I finally drove the Amarok I was forced to question the Hilux’s top-dog status, not because the VW was a superior vehicle, but because several Hilux owners had…

Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and variousGORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK, MOZAMBIQUE International news reports about Africa usually focus on subjects like war, famine, disease, corruption, poverty and Robert Mugabe. When visiting Gorongosa we stumbled onto a story with a positive spin, and a park that might well turn into the Serengeti of the South. IT’S BEEN A PERFECT SUNDAY IN THE BUSH, SO far. We enjoyed a great game drive in the morning, followed by a late brunch on the banks of the Msicadzi River. Rob Janisch (my host and the owner of Explore Gorongosa, the only private…

Words and pictures by Stuart Williams The folk at Arctic Trucks in Reykjavik, Iceland have a simple solution to any off-road problem – just increase the surface area. That’s why they convert Hilux and Cruisers to run on tyres as big as 44”! Stuart Williams was lucky enough to hitch a ride to Iceland to drive these beasts across a glacier. IN ORDER TO MAKE TRAVEL easier on sand or ice, you need to deflate your tyres to increase your surface area. Of course not all of us have the luxury of an 18.5 bar swing in pressure. That’s right,…

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