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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…

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…

For many years, it had been on my wish list to drive from Gauteng to the Serengeti. Flying would be the easiest, but I wanted to drive. I have done numerous 4×4 trips into Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho, as well as through South Africa, and I have reasonable experience of this type of adventure. However, the Serengeti is over 4 000km away, and this adds a new dimension to travel – especially if one wants to do it in twelve days. So, where does one start to plan a trip of this magnitude? My starting point was to see…

Readers Ernst & Helga Hegebarth took their upgraded Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to the harsh deserts of Morocco, and returned with some advice for other owners of the sturdy van. We tremendously enjoyed Richard van Ryneveld’s article in the March edition, on his trip to Botswana in a Mercedes Sprinter 4×4. Since we know all these places and campsites quite well from many trips, I would like to comment a little on the Mercedes Sprinter’s 4×4 performance from our own experience. Our first overland trip, from Germany to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and all the way to Nepal, was in 1973…

I think I finally get it now. I mean, not entirely – my stereotypical femininity and risk-averse nature seem to prevent me from ever fully grasping the reckless spirit of adventure that possesses most other 4×4 enthusiasts. But, as I looked into my rear-view mirror at the reflection of the 200-metre hill I had just conquered (measurements may have been exaggerated), I could not help a cheeky grin wriggling its way across my face as my chest puffed out with pride. I had done it. I had conquered the giant. I felt unstoppable. No, I was unstoppable. It was a…

Words & Images Kerry Fraser ‘‘As jy dom is moet jy suffer.” English translation: If you are stupid, you will have to endure the consequences of your lack of common sense and live through all that the universe decides to wreak upon your head. Our friend Luft likes to use this phrase regularly and it was this particular phrase which was grinding its way through my mind on repeat, as I lay melting into the duvet in the energy-sapping heat. December in the Kalahari is mind-numbingly hot. In fact, our thermometer had stopped reading temperatures and had simply opted for…

Words & Images Anton Willemse As as far back as I can remember, I’ve been hearing the horror stories of my parents’ sand-driving experiences on their regular cross-border trips. Ever since then, my perception of sand has always been that of a big old monster, waiting around for your tyres to dip into it, so that it can grab hold of you and never let you go. So, with a potential trip to Botswana over Easter looming eerily over my shoulder, I decided to pluck up the courage to face the sand monster. I decided the best place to start…

Words and images by Jacques Marais “Little snotkop,” I think, as a wild-eyed youngster swings his rusty panga in a sweeping arc in the general direction of the Isuzu, while jeering loudly at us. Apparently I did no just think this, but voiced the thought quite forcefully. Hence ‘the stare’ from Karyn in the passenger seat. In my defence, this is the second incident in the past hour, with another makwedini hurling a make-believe stone at the vehicle a few kilometres back near Mqanduli. I get the context: mlungu in a bakkie that is worth at least half a million…

Words by Andrew Thurlow On 14 December ‘13, Tracey (my wife), Rick (my step-boet), Todd (Captain America) and I, packed our trusted Land Cruiser GX80 Series and set out for what was sure to be one of our best overlanding holidays yet. Having overlanded through most of the continent, we had a vast amount of 4×4 experience between us and prepared for this trip like any other − with loads of supplies. Our journey took us first to the Trans Kalahari highway, heading towards Etosha Pans, where we were fortunate enough to see lions and a black rhino. Our next…

WORDS & PICTURES by Kerry Fraser & Michael Barton. So there we were, in the middle of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve during the peak summer season. We were on a solo trip: 11 nights of self-sufficiency in this harsh, arid environment of sand, sun and sticky flies. We’d decided to take a less-travelled route from Bape transit camp to Xaka campsite, venturing through the Molapo Bushman settlement and along the fossilised riverbed route. Six hours of exploration, solitude and enjoyment was the plan. But, as they say, even the best-laid plans… The solitude and peace of the morning was…

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