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DAY 1 4 hours Our group of Intrepid Travellers met at Saaymen’s Garage in Willowmore at 12h00. I am pleased to say that all were on time, and after filling up with fuel and last-minute supplies we were ready to go! Our first excursion was to drive to the lookout point on Assegai Hill at the summit of the highest mountain in the area where there is a broadcast tower. The key to the gate and the route information is available at Finchley Farm and the cost per person is R50. Finchley Farm offers camping at R100 per person and

We decided to take the new lockdown regulations seriously. The borders had been opened and our long awaited Botswana trip was once again a possibility. We seized it! On 1 January 2021 we took our covid tests and the next day we headed for the border. We arrived after lunch and the border was closed. They were sanitizing after discovering a covid case. It became clear that this situation was not going to be resolved the same day so we found a place to stay for the night, a beautiful place right on the banks of the great grey green

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

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

‘‘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 H – which we interpreted

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

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