I am writing this while overlooking the luke-warm rim pool in front of my chalet in the Ras al Khamaih Resort in the Al Wadi Desert in Dubai.tough life, I know.
I am briefly spending time in this very upmarket desert haven to learn more about the updates for next year’s Maserati Levante; less than two weeks after completing another epic desert trip – to the Namib Desert in a diminutive Fiat Panda Cross.
Now, apart from four-wheel drive, the only thing the luxurious Levante and the small Fiat share is the fact that both are manufactured by the same Italian auto group. Otherwise, they are as far removed from each other as the sand dunes of the Namib and the Al Wadi.
There is something special about the desert though; the infinitude of the arid, harsh landscape, the rock-strewn hills and desolate plains that seemingly stretches into perpetuity makes one feel small and insignificant. But the serenity of its solitude and its splendid desolation is also strangely invigorating. That is the magic of a desert road trip.
However, never underestimate the hostility of this barren environment, as we experienced during our Namibia expedition with the plucky little Panda. In keeping with the desert theme, we also visited the luxurious Kgalagadi Lodge in the Kalahari.
In stark contrast to this, contributor Ryan Scott travelled to Gstaad in Switzerland to partake in the extreme Snow Bike Festival. We also found ourselves in that part of the world with a tour from Austria to Bohemia in the Czech Republic on a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. Not to mention that our contributor, Dieter Losskarn, travelled to the small Swabian town of Biberach to experience an elevated, tough-looking Mercedes-benz station wagon called the E-class All-terrain 4x4². Back in South Africa, we set off in the latest 3008-model from Peugeot, synonymous with the Lion of Belfort, to find some Panthera Leo in the province least known for them.
Also in this edition, we tell you more about Jamie Oliver’s dream mobile kitchen, a unique Discovery built for him by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations for a three-partseries on his Food Tube channel, and give you the low-down on the new BMW X3, ready for local release this month.
If you still do not have that wanderlust feeling after paging through all that, we share with you all the countries you can visit with a South African passport – the third most powerful passport in Africa – visa-free.
So, get out there (with or without visa) and experience Southern Africa – whether on a dark desert highway or via a sub-tropic jungle track.