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Browsing: Eastern Cape

If you’re not chasing the best roads in South Africa, you’re simply not doing it right. By roads, of course, I mean dusty mountain passes with spectacular views. As travellers and overlanders, we live for the langpad, and the Eastern Cape Highlands has long, winding roads in abundance. On my way back to the Cape from a recent Wild Coast expedition, I couldn’t help but sample the region famed for the ‘Ben 10’ passes – a collection of mountain routes that traverse the highest roads in South Africa. Among them is Makhollo, AKA Ben MacDhui, which, at 3 001m, is

For most South Africans, the Wild Coast is simply too far away and too arduous to access to make it a worthwhile destination. An absolute travesty, if you ask me. After spending just over a week combing the beaches, bluffs, waterfalls and river mouths of the wildest Eastern Cape, I’ve been converted. This is paradise, my friends. But hurry – it may not be this way forever. The long haul It’s a long drive from Cape Town to the north coast of the Eastern Cape. It’s more than 1 000km of Garden Route meandering that quickly deteriorates into pothole-ridden, fatigue-inducing

Just inland of the Tsitsikamma lies a narrow, mystical valley, shielded from the elements by two monstrous mountain ranges. Where the Kouga Mountains clash with the Baviaanskloof, you’ll find an oasis of lush greenery along the otherwise arid outskirts of the Karoo, feeding off rainwater that fell far afield of the fertile valley. The Baviaanskloof is so peculiar, in fact, that it forms part of the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site. In all, the area is home to an incredible seven of the eight major biomes of South Africa: ranging from fynbos on one side all the way to

South Africa’s secondary roads are full of possibilities and 4×4 potential, as Nick Yell proves on two Eastern Cape loops – an alternative to the Baviaanskloof, and a history-inspired meander through the Amatola region inland of East London. Baviaans-lite. This is how I had imagined the first of the two routes that my fiancée, Annette and I, were to go on: a 270km dirt track that was to take us off the tarred N9 outside Uniondale and eventually deposit us on the R334 to Uitenhage. Although we planned to detour off this route to wrestle with the Gonjah 4×4 trail

There is a world of seat time on the Gauteng to Cape run before you reach any sort of 4×4 destination. Best to plan a few stopovers to break the journey… All good adventures begin long before the journey. Their origins are frequently found in a pub over a few drinks. Then comes the planning: poring over maps, gathering magazine articles and travel books, spending hours on Google searches, measuring distances and planning fuel stops. Each trip has its own flavour, and a unique set of challenges. “Oftentimes, the real magic is in the spaces in between, in the pause

First came the lighting. Far off across the parched plains, electricity was charging the air, creating an energy that belied the stillness of the surrounding hills. Then came the brown mist – a wall of dust and wind heralding the imminent deluge. The perfect storm was ready to burst at the seams, and when it did, we were treated to the last thing we could ever have expected: pouring rain in the drought-stricken Karoo. Within hours, all evidence of the water was gone, save for a few muddy roads that would definitely come in handy a bit later. The parched Beaufort

“This is why I’ve been coming to EG for the last ten years!” Andy James screamed out of the darkness. “For this fish!” It was just after sunset and the two of us had been throwing ‘last casts’ for the past 40 minutes, all in the hope of hooking one of the trophy trout for which this area, and this farm in particular, is legendary. When I wanted to take the new Nissan Navara on a trip to see what all the fuss was about (it was awarded the International Pickup Award in 2016) I phoned a mate whom I

Verdant coastal forests that extend almost to the water’s edge. Thunderous breakers that pound jagged rocks. Golden sands. Impossibly beautiful night skies. Mischievous monkeys, slithering snakes and graceful antelope. All coupled with a remoteness that brings on a sense of peace which can’t really be put into words. But I’ll try. Asked to describe Dwesa Nature Reserve in a paragraph, that’s my take on it. You see, visiting this pristine 3900-hectare Wild Coast reserve is like stepping back into the age of the dinosaurs. Standing on the wide expanse of beach in front of the cottages with no one else

Adventurous travellers have for centuries pitted themselves against the Wild Coast, the ruggedly beautiful but occasionally ruthless stretch of coastline on South Africa’s eastern seaboard. Those prepared to tackle the region’s remoteness and notoriously bad roads have been richly rewarded. It’s achingly beautiful in places, and just when you think there could not be a more breathtaking spot, you round the next bend and are proved wrong. For generations, hardy South African families have returned each year to holiday along this stretch of coast, swapping ox-wagons for 4x4s over the years as they make their way to places likeCoffee Bay,

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

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