When I bought my first off-road capable vehicle in 1998, I never anticipated it to be a life-changing event. It was a Sangyong Musso 290Tdi. And I had some serious fun with that “Powered by Mercedes Benz” wannabe Range Rover.
My first experience driving off road was a sandy farm road just outside Yzerfontein on the West Coast of South Africa. I had it in “4×4”, low range and was merrily riding along when I suddenly encountered a bend in the track. And that is where my first “fun experience” started. I had no idea where the front wheels were. (Yes I know it is in the front, but I mean, I was going straight with the wheels fully locked to the right.)
And as time passed, I learned more tricks and bought a Getaway subscription and a garmin and all the camping gear my budget allowed. I learned about things like a high-lift jack and that it not really just for fixing flat tires.
My friend had an Isuzu KB250 4×4 pick-up or “bakkie” as we call it in South Africa, and together we explored every jeep track in the area. I recall our visit to the local municipality to get permits for driving on the beach, and we took to the beach during low tide, just outside Dwarskersbos, and drove all the way up the coast to Elands Bay. And we also learned to dig a vehicle out of the sand when it is stuck up to its belly.
Life changed; for ever.
I have created this travel magazine to promote the Gravel Travel experience in South Africa and my partner in crime and I will share our experiences with you as we travel in the Western Cape. Gravel roads are getting less in the built-up areas, and reaching that “road to who knows where” becomes a bit more tricky…..
All our travels have been done with a 10 year old Ford Ranger 2500TDI 4×4 Supercab and a Suzuki Jimny 1.3 First Generation. Both still have standard suspensions and engines, but the Jimny is fitted with a replacement bumper for “cosmetic” reasons. (Rumour has it, a fire hydrant attacked the car in the parking lot and caused severe bite marks on the OEM bumper). Oh did I mention, the Ranger is mine and the Jimny is her’s?
Well, let’s not start brand-bashing! I hope you enjoy what we and the other contributors share on WTG!
Incidentally, the WTG! is a derivative of WTF! It just sounds less insensitive 🙂