The Call of Nature
JAGUAR F-PACE 20D R-SPORT IN THE LOWVELD
THE WIND WAS WHIPPING AS JULIE GRAHAM STOOD ON THE EDGE OF A ROCKY PRECIPICE, OVERLOOKING THE IMMENSE LANNER GORGE AND THE FLOWING LUVUVHU RIVER BELOW. THE EXPERIENCE WAS A WEEK AT DIFFERENT LUXURY LODGES AND HIDEAWAYS, AND THE CAR OF CHOICE, THE JAGUAR F-PACE 20D R-SPORT.
After a decidedly testing past few months, I welcomed the opportunity to get into nature and explore the contrasting wilderness of the Northern and Southern reaches of the Greater Kruger National Park. What’s more, my trusty steed for the journey was to be the latest and greatest Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport – a vehicle I was assured would instil utmost confidence with its superb driving dynamics and powerful features.
PABLO HOUSE TO POLOKWANE
Pablo House was our first stop after a flight from the Mother City – an inner-city oasis in Melville, Johannesburg that is the second born of the HELLO PABLOS family (the first being the popular eatery, Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar, that offers the ultimate in all-day breakfast dining). After a great night’s rest at this contemporary haven overlooking the Melville Koppies, we hit the N1 in our new Jag.
The spacious back seat and cargo area offered plenty of space for our luggage (bear in mind there were four of us, and we were embarking on a 12-day trip) as well as ample legroom. For a luxury SUV, it is surprisingly practical while blending in an edgy, sporty interior complete with the latest contemporary bits and bobs. We were venturing in the 20d version, which packs an efficient and powerful turbodiesel engine, making overtaking a breeze. A comfortable three-and-a-half-hour drive from Pablo House, and we settled in for the night at what is undoubtedly Polokwane’s star attraction – the Fusion Boutique Hotel, a five-star space where extravagance and art marry contemporary design.
THE BELLOW OF THE BAOBABS
The next morning, eager to hit the road to our next destination, I excitedly hurried the troupe out of the plush comfort of the hotel and into the car. I wanted to get out of town and into nature. Stat. Next stop: the incredibly beautiful Pafuri Triangle in the Northern Kruger to spend a few nights at The Outpost Lodge and Pel’s Post. I soon discovered that, though classy and elegant, the Jag’s built-in Infotainment GPS system proved to be a little slow to respond. That being said, the Bluetooth worked excellently with all the smartphones on board, and the Meridian audio system offered the ultimate music experience – matching the Jag’s exceptional performance. Settling for our trusty iPhone GPS to get us to our next destination, we hit the N1 and R525 en route to The Outpost Lodge.
The drive towards this part of the country gets more beautiful once past the small town of Louis Trichardt and into the heart of Limpopo. Boring straight roads become mountain passes, nature reserves and small villages before the majestic baobabs begin popping up.
These trees have always fascinated me. Steeped in legend and superstition, the gnarled bark and bulbous branches ooze mystique and wonder. The bellow of the baobab was loud… and the Pafuri Triangle was full of them.
Though all I wanted to do was put foot and get there as fast as I could, goats and cattle became regular stop and goes on the route into the Kruger National Park. About four hours further (with a few photo stops along the way and 15-minutes of cruising off-road in the Kruger from the Pafuri Gate – which the mighty Jag handled with ease thanks to higher-than-usual ground clearance and all-wheel drive). Soon we were welcomed at The Outpost Lodge, a contemporary bush haven, cantilevered on a hill overlooking the Luvuvhu River and Bushveld baobabs as far as the eye can see.
“…MY TRUSTY STEED FOR THE JOURNEY WAS TO BE THE LATEST AND GREATEST
JAGUAR F-PACE R-SPORT. A VEHICLE, I WAS ASSURED, WOULD INSTIL UTMOST CONFIDENCE WITH ITS SUPERB DRIVING DYNAMICS AND POWERFUL FEATURES.”