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Browsing: Southern Africa

It’s what you put in the miles, not the miles you put in. Strange for Namibia? The Ironman 4×4 lads, based in Windhoek, prove a point when they put together a rich and varied tour focused on the Erongo region…

When BMW South Africa drops you a line asking you to join them for some dune driving in an X3, you might be a bit reluctant at first. The 4×4 community views BMW’s off-road capable offerings with healthy scepticism, and you won’t find an X3 or X5 off the beaten track that often. Historically, there have been a few simple explanations for that: minimal ground clearance, lack of off-road tires, poor underbody protection, and an off-road system more geared towards icy European roads than rocky African adventures. BMWs have, thus, always been relegated to the bench when it comes to

I stare intently at the petrol gauge while trying to drive with the least possible amount of throttle. I’m in sixth gear, moving at 50km/h, and trying to keep the revs as low as possible to stretch every possible kilometre from what little petrol remains. After 30km, I’m not really surprised to find the dusty town does not have a petrol station – rural Zambia is not a densely-populated place, after all. With little choice, I roll on, towards almost-certain failure. A handful of kilometres later, the engine dies. There is no coughing or spluttering, no indication that anything is

You’ve heard the stories about Baboon’s Pass in Lesotho: it’s a car breaker; it’s impossible in the wet; it’s about endurance, not skill. Anton Willemse returned from completing this tough 4×4 trail a little battered, but wiser. When I was given a chance to drive Baboon’s Pass in Lesotho as part of a group tour organised by Riaan Jooste of Complete 4×4, I was extremely interested. I had heard it was tough, and at times Grade-5 tough, but definitely something to tick off one’s bucket list. So, I had a look at some videos on YouTube − and particularly one

Who could say no to an invitation from Isuzu to come and drive their newly-launched mu-X SUV in Mozambique? I certainly couldn’t! After a short redeye flight from Cape Town to King Shaka airport in Durban, we were met by the Isuzu team of Gishma, Ami and Azima, and by Grant, Chris, and “Boats” from Driving Dynamics, who would be our hosts and chaperones for the Isuzu mu-X Mozambique Adventure. Holding up the rear was Fanie, the paramedic, who somehow managed to forget his ambulance in Kosi Bay on the way home. Luckily, this was the only emergency of the

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

I have no idea what to expect from the mountain nation of Lesotho. Although tiny compared to South Africa, I have been repeatedly told that the mountain scenery is second to none, and that the locals are extremely friendly. Always on the lookout for new mountains to explore, I know this is a must-visit country. Into Lesotho At a small and quiet border in the North, we are quickly stamped out of South Africa and into Lesotho with a minimum of fuss. The six-month Temporary Import Permit for the Jeep is also valid in Lesotho, so I don’t even talk

Journalist Carolyn Dempster joins an Ultimate Adventures tour through Zambia to witness the extraordinary annual bat migration at Kasanka National Park, and finds that the bonhomie of a diverse tour group has some key advantages Let’s be clear. This is not a bland travel tale. The kind where you skim over a script stuffed with adjectives, flick through photos, linger as long as your attention-deficit-disorder will allow, and move swiftly on to the next picture fantasy. No, this is next-level stuff. Stay with me… This story starts before the break of dawn, with the swelling sound of millions of jubilant

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

Last month, Andrew Middleton wrote about his journey up north from Mozambique to the top of Malawi, exploring dams, lakes and national parks. It was a tough ride, but the trip back down threw up a few challenges too… This month, he heads from Malawi into Zambia, explores Lake Kariba, and moves into Zimbabwe to the incredible Victoria Falls. Then it’s back into South Africa for the return-leg of an epic journey of 12 500km, through five countries, and all in less than a month. We woke up to a blissful campsite on the Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi, knowing

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