JACO SAYS

South Africa can also be ex­otic

Go! Camp & Drive - - Contents - JACO SAYS

In this month’s magazine we have two ex­tremes: five great 4x4 routes a stone’s throw from the Cape, and a long tour through An­gola (with a story about the Kala­hari back in the day as a bonus). And that about sums up our sit­u­a­tion per­fectly. You know the old say­ing: “Too far to walk, but too close to drive”? That’s al­most how travel is in most in­stances. We of­ten feel it’s not a proper break if you load your 4x4 and travel only for an hour or two from home. My ques­tion is: why? We live in Africa! The other day a guest­house owner from Stel­len­bosch posted a photo on Face­book in which he shows his over­seas guests’ a com­pletely kit­ted-out Cruiser 76 sta­tion wagon. Were they on their way to Tan­za­nia? Maybe just Botswana? No. This ve­hi­cle was rented to – wait for it – tour the Gar­den Route. Be­cause you see, we stay in deep­est, darkest Africa.

Some­times we make the mis­take of think­ing that South Africa isn’t “wild” or ex­otic enough. And that’s wrong. My wife and I de­cided a few years ago to take one of those red dou­ble-decker tourist buses in Cape Town over a De­cem­ber hol­i­day. Yes, we’ve lived in the Mother City for 20 years but it’s al­ways a great ex­pe­ri­ence to see our coun­try through the eyes of a tourist. The mis­take we of­ten make is to some­what ir­ri­ta­bly jump into the 4x4 and im­pa­tiently chase to the near­est bor­der post. But what about the ac­tual jour­ney? Is our coun­try not beau­ti­ful enough? So be­fore you blindly chase to the next bor­der post, rather take a deep breath and en­joy your coun­try. Or even bet­ter: travel through your own coun­try, or even just your own prov­ince. You might just sur­prise your­self.

But if you still in­sist on trav­el­ling far away from home, you’ll strug­gle to find a bet­ter place than An­gola. It’s not only re­ally far, it’s also very un­der­de­vel­oped. You’ll be fine with only English in places like Botswana, Namibia, Zim­babwe, Zam­bia, Tan­za­nia and Malawi. Even in the south of Mozam­bique peo­ple will be able to help you in English. But not in An­gola. They’re also full of non­sense with the is­su­ing of tourist visas, which is why it’s not just a case of get­ting in your ve­hi­cle and go­ing. My ad­vice to the real ad­ven­ture junkies amongst us is there­fore to see if you can’t visit An­gola at least once in your life.

The other big news in this is­sue is our all-ter­rain tyre test. In pre­vi­ous years we made the mis­take – in my opin­ion – to test too many tyres. Ex­pe­ri­ence – and many ar­gu­ments at braais – has taught me that most peo­ple are only re­ally in­ter­ested in cer­tain qual­ity brands, with good rea­son. Due to time con­straints and other lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges it made sense to look at the best tyres dur­ing this all-ter­rain tyre test as well as one or two new, pop­u­lar mod­els. Just like with the mud-tyre test we did two years ago, this time we also looked at to what ex­tent the tyres pro­vide re­sis­tance against sharp ob­jects – some­thing that makes our tyre tests dif­fer­ent from those of other pub­li­ca­tions.

So buckle up and hold on. Here we go.

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