TAKING THE EXTREME ROUTE
Triton Extreme to Brakkeduine
So, if you are from the Eastern or Southern Cape you will need to travel all the way to Atlantis in the Western Cape, Witsand Nature Reserve in Northern Cape or to Namibia for a camping weekend where you can do some dune driving too. Right?
Wrong. About 34 km from Humansdorp and just 12 km from picturesque Oyster Bay there is a gorgeous campsite right next to the Klipdrift Dam with access to a sand and dune trail that will challenge even the most highly experienced 4x4-enthusiasts.
Visitors to Brakkeduine also have access to the dam for fishing, boating and skiing and the campsite has hot showers and flush toilets, with power supply points and portable braais at each site. Run by the Lindström family, Brakkeduine is ideal for a weekend break with the whole family, and the ideal base to explore the lovely surrounds, including Oyster Bay.
For our visit to Brakkeduine to sample the amenities and experience the dune trail, we decided to take the rugged-looking Triton Extreme, a limited edition derivative of the Triton range and Mitsubishi’s answer to the Ford Ranger FX4 and Raptors, and Toyota’s Hilux Black Edition.
It is the fourth limited edition released by Mitsubishi since the Xtreme nomenclature was first introduced in the middle 1990s as part of the popular Colt bakkie range. Since then, it has become synonymous with the Japanese brand.
The personalised bakkie is a local development which, according to Mitsubishi, adds over R60,000 worth of additional features and accessories as part of its distinctive, factory-installed body kit.
However, the body kit costs a mere R20,000 more than the listed retail
price of the standard Triton double-cab derivative it is fitted to. And with its bold black panels and accessories it certainly looks the part…
The Xtreme kit consist of bonnet guards, a unique grille and fog lamps, front and rear light guards, wheel arch covers, front and rear door handle protection covers, branded scuff plates, heavy-duty rubber mats, a tonneau cover, a style bar, tailgate cover and fuel flap cover, as well as attractive black and chrome alloy wheels shod with Cooper Adventurer All-terrain tyres.
The kit’s bold design really made the Xtreme stand out as we made our way towards Humansdorp on the N2 and the R102. Even with the aggressively styled Coopers, fitted road noise was negligible and the power delivery from the advanced 2.4-litre MIVEC turbodiesel engine, coupled to a slick-shifting sixspeed auto transmission. was smooth and effortless.
After passing windfarm after windfarm, with literally platoons of wind turbine blades swishing in the light wind, we turned off onto the gravel road towards Oyster Bay. Even on the uneven surface the Triton felt stable and planted, and we
made such good progress that we nearly missed the turnoff towards Palmietvlei.
After turning left, we followed the road for two kilometres before spotting the Brakkeduine sign. Choppie Lindström was on hand to welcome us and showed us around the beautiful green campsite and the worryingly empty dam, before ushering us into a well-equipped A-frame chalet, our abode for the night.
We enjoyed supper in Oyster Bay, watching the chokka boats preparing for their nightly forays, before returning to Brakkeduine and turning in for the night.
Early the next morning we met Choppie at the dam, starting point of the 14 km circular trail with a three to five difficulty grading, and after deflating the tyres, we followed him on a scenic drive through natural forest in our Xtreme. We soon hit the sand, and the driving got tricky and technical. However, I was secure in the knowledge that the Xtreme’s imported body kit offered additional protection against superficial damage on off-road excursions Turning the rotary knob to activate the Super Select II system, I chose the 4HLC (4WD High range with centre differential locked) to improve traction on the sandy ascents and descents.
With a few sharp turns thrown in for good measure, I had to rely on the Triton’s 430Nm of low-down torque and 133 kw of power to overcome a few nail-biting ascents, with no view of the track ahead. However, the Xtreme was handling it all with relative ease, and up to that point there was no need to take an escape route or use the sit-out option.
The further the trail progressed, the more difficult it became, and soon we reached Langbult, a steep dune with no run-up available to build that muchneeded momentum. Even in low-range my first attempts up the dune were futile, but after deflating the tyres a bit more and some advice from Choppie on the ideal line of approach, the Xtreme literally ran over the dune…
Langbult is also a perfect lunch spot where the not-so-adventurous can sit out in the sunshine to watch others tackle the serious obstacles. Some more rollercoaster dunes followed on the way back towards the dam, and by this time I firmly understood why the 4x4 guys refer to the dune trail at Brakkeduine with respect.
The Extreme was more than up to the task, testimony to the bespoke 4WD system and smooth engine developed by Mitsubishi…