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, 7 338 km 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.