Me and my car
go! - South Africa|October/November 2021
A car is a wonderful thing – it gives you the freedom to visit the destinations of your choice, at your own pace. It doesn’t matter if you drive a hatchback or a kitted-out 4x4 – it’s the desire to explore that matters! We spoke to readers about why they love their cars.
TOAST COETZER

DEVLIN, KATIE, SOPHIA 10AND JOSH 9 FOGG

Home town:Howick

Occupations:Owner of Yonda Bicycle Finance (Devlin); mountain bike race organiser (Katie)

Car: Toyota Hilux, 2012model

Mileage: 196470km

Instagram:@4ina4x4

Toyota Hilux

We bought “Hamba” the Hilux in July 2019, when we started planning the big overland trip we’re currently on. It’s a 2012 D4D 3.0 DC and it had 130000km on the clock when we got it.

Since then, Hamba has literally become part of our family It came with some kit – a bull bar and suspension lift – but we’ve added more over time. We’re grateful to RSI SmartCap for helping us get fitted with an awesome canopy, and to 4x4 Megaworld for taking us on as brand ambassadors and adding kit to our vehicle, such as a winch, better suspension, a drawer system, recovery kit, recovery tracks and undervehicle protection.

A Hilux offers a good blend of abilities for the varied terrain you’ll encounter on a long trip. We’ll sometimes be driving 100km/h on a tar road in the morning and 10km/h on a tough off-road track later the same day.

We’re on a year-long trip, which means we must be able to live out of our vehicle – and out of our Echo 3 trailer from Echo 4x4. The Hilux provides a great platform to which you can add everything you need for life on the road, like a dual battery system, fridges, drawer systems, roof racks and more.

We’re in Tanzania at the moment. We left South Africa in December 2020 and we’ve driven about 22000km since, travelling through Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya, visiting 23 national parks and game reserves along the way.

We’ve had some great driving experiences thanks to the Hilux. We visited South Luangwa National Park in Zambia in the wet season. Without a reliable 4x4, we would have got very stuck. Reaching remote Lake Turkana in Kenya was also an adventure – the roads are bad, and we had to be fully self sufficient in case something went wrong.

We still plan to visit Malawi, the coast of Tanzania, central and western Zambia, and Namibia. We should be back in SA by January 2022.

FAVOURITE AFRICAN CAMPSITES

•Wildlife Camp, South Luangwa NP, Zambia wildlifezambia.com

• Lake Shore Lodge, Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania lakeshoretz.com •Migombani Camp, LakeManyara, Tanzania migombanicamp.com

• KidepoValley National Park, Uganda kideponationalpark.com

• Twiga Lodge, Tiwi Beach, Kenya www.dianibeach.info

MAREL FINN & MARK FORD

Home town: Inchanga

Occupations: Travel photographer (Marel); X-ray field engineer (Mark)

Car: Renault Duster 4x4, 2020model

Mileage: 60000km

Instagram:@dusti_and_drone

Renault Duster

I’m originally from Hamilton in Canada – I met Mark through the adventure bike-riding community in 2018. Although Mark has been riding motorbikes in South Africa for more than 35 years, and I’ve done a lot of riding in North America, we felt we wanted to get a vehicle that would extend our mode of exploration. So, we went from two wheels to four. We could go on longer adventures, to places further away from home. We bought “Dusti”, our Renault Duster, in July 2020.

The car has automatic all-wheel-drive technology and a fuel-efficient turbo-diesel engine. It’s a low-maintenance vehicle that is comfortable to drive but still has all the modern conveniences such as parking and hill-start assist, and a rear-view camera to make reversing easier.

Just a month after we bought Dusti, we drove many of the big passes in the Rhodes area, like Carlisle’s Hoek, Naudé’s Nek, Volunteershoek and Lundean’s Nek – passes that Mark had previously done on an adventure bike. It was a real testament to our new vehicle’s capabilities that we managed to traverse these roads. We were even able to test Dusti in some snow up at Tiffindell Ski Resort!

Soon after, we drove the sandy coastal 4x4 track from Kosi Bay to Sodwana Bay. We got a permit to drive onto Sodwana Bay Beach one morning and found it quite amusing to see a Land Rover Defender having to be towed out because it was stuck in the sand. Meanwhile our Dusti – with deflated tyres – handled the beach sand like a champ.

Our longest trip was when we drove to Namibia (Sossuvlei is pictured above) in March this year, which turned out to be a 24-day, 7338km adventure. It was a gratifying trip, too, because we spent a lot of time planning our route and perfecting our packing system in advance. We loved Namibia’s vastness and raw natural beauty. There is simply no better way to see a country than to drive through it in the comfort of a well-equipped vehicle.

PACKING TIP

“We love our clear plastic boxes with snap-on lids. We each have a box for clothes, there’s one for toiletries, one for kitchen stuff and one for dry foods. It’s so easy to find what we’re looking for and the boxes are even easier to stack in the car.”

RIGHARD ROETS & CAILIN DU PREEZ

Home town: Centurion

Occupations: Website designer (Righard); marketing student (Cailin)

Car: 1975Volkswagen Beetle

Mileage: 113053km (after having ticked over once already…)

Instagram:@south_of_afrika

Volkswagen Beetle

Cailin and I saw this Beetle on Facebook in February 2021. Someone in Kempton Park wanted to sell it, even though it wasn’t running at the time. We went to have a look and immediately knew it was the car for us!

We had to use a towing service to get the Beetle to our house. I like working with my hands, so I repaired almost everything with the help of YouTube videos and Beetle experts I contacted on Facebook. Buying the car and fixing it up cost about R65000 in total.

Finally, the Beetle was roadworthy and we could take it on some adventures. We’ve visited places close to home like Rietvlei Nature Reserve (pictured, top and bottom), and further afield like Koster, Sabie, Pilgrim’s Rest, Magoebaskloof, White River, Bela-Bela, Clarens and Fouriesburg.

The Beetle has an air-cooled engine, so we try not to drive more than 300km per day – less when it’s a hot day. Our ideal speed on the open road is 90km/h.

We’ve been testing our camping set-up on our shorter trips and we know what we really need: a cooler box and a gas bottle with a braai skottel. We also know what we can go without: fewer cooking utensils and far fewer clothes! We tracked down a man who could make a roof rack similar to the ones that Beetles used to have back in the day. We use the rack to transport our tent, ammo boxes and water container, and we pack our clothes, bedding and ground sheet in the boot.

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