BUSH-HUGGERS

Toyota Connect/Lexus Life - - TOYOTA CONNECT -

THE SHAMWARI SA­FARI

SHAMWARI GAME RE­SERVE AND TORO YAKA BUSH LODGE ARE JUST TWO OF A PLETHORA OF PRI­VATE GAME PROP­ER­TIES ACROSS SA THAT LOVE ALL THINGS LAND CRUISER. WE ASKED BOTH PARKS’ OWN­ERS AND RANGERS WHAT SEPARATES THIS HUGELY RE­SPECTED, ALL-TER­RAIN TI­TAN FROM THE PACK

The Big Five roam freely in the 25 000ha of pris­tine wilder­ness that is Shamwari Game Re­serve. With such a vast land­mass to nav­i­gate, get­ting to Mother Na­ture’s finest takes some do­ing. For rangers Siyanda Mgid­lana, Alex Budd, James Moodie and Head of Rangers An­drew Kear­ney, it’s done driv­ing their beau­ti­fully branded Land Cruis­ers.

“We love them be­cause they’re vir­tu­ally in­de­struc­tible and far more re­li­able than other ve­hi­cles in their class,” says An­drew. “At Shamwari Game Re­serve, with the dif­fer­ent ter­rain we have in the East­ern Cape, we find they’re among the most re­li­able and ca­pa­ble ve­hi­cles for off-road­ing.”

Toy­ota Land Cruis­ers have front and rear dif­fer­en­tial sys­tems, low-range and 4x4 ca­pa­bil­i­ties, al­low­ing them to com­fort­ably and safely nav­i­gate all ter­rains. “The ve­hi­cle also has a dou­ble fuel tank, al­low­ing us to go twice as far,” says An­drew, “and we can track twice as fast in search of an­i­mals too.”

Ask any Land Cruiser-owner what sparks and fu­els their love af­fair with this thrill-seeker and they’re quick to point out its build qual­ity. “We’re all about off-road ad­ven­tur­ing and that’s where the Land Cruiser does its best work,” says An­drew.

Guests admire them as much as their hosts do. “The ve­hi­cle has a long wheel­base that of­fers sa­fari-seek­ers and bush-huggers more legroom,” says James. “It’s very easy to drive, while be­ing eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for guests to hop on and off. Parts are rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive, hardy and tough, which goes a long way when we’re run­ning at full ca­pac­ity, with lit­tle or no lee­way to have the ve­hi­cle out of com­mis­sion.

“The over­all height of a Land Cruiser of­fers our na­ture-lovers bet­ter over­all vis­i­bil­ity and, with it, the op­por­tu­nity to see more of what makes our lit­tle piece of heaven ex­traor­di­nary.”

What stands be­tween a Land Cruiser and the prospect of an amaz­ing sight­ing is time, noth­ing more. James had a phe­nom­e­nal find one af­ter­noon on a game drive at Shamwari. “Af­ter hav­ing searched for ele­phants for three days, we found them at the top of a steep hill,” he re­calls. “Our Mover, as we fondly call our Cruiser, jour­neyed up rocky ter­rain to get to them with ease, mak­ing our guests’ dream of see­ing ele­phants in the wild a re­al­ity.”

WILD AT TORO YAKA

Toro Yaka Bush Lodge ranger

Michael Dun­can and his 2017 Land Cruiser 79 4,2D are so close that he’s nick­named it Madi­son!

“I love my Land Cruiser be­cause it’s one of a kind,” he says. “It’s been cus­tombuilt to my spe­cific re­quire­ments and stands out from the rest. I re­ally en­joy driv­ing this ve­hi­cle. The ease with which it han­dles our rocky ter­rain makes guid­ing a plea­sure too. Dry riverbeds, rocky roads, muddy ditches and sandy slopes, Madi­son can han­dle it all.

“Our guests visit us from all over the world look­ing for a sa­fari ex­pe­ri­ence, so hav­ing a ve­hi­cle that’s com­fort­able and safe is very im­por­tant to us and the Toy­ota Land Cruiser de­liv­ers.

The re­li­a­bil­ity of this Land Cruiser is un­ri­valled in its class and if some­thing does go wrong, they’re easy to re­pair. For ve­hi­cles work­ing as hard as they do in this harsh en­vi­ron­ment, re­li­a­bil­ity is ab­so­lutely key. With in­cred­i­bly strong un­der­pin­nings and a re­li­able driv­e­train, they’re fit for many years of loyal ser­vice.”

Guide, tracker and guests spend six to eight hours a day in the gameviewer, so com­fort is a key el­e­ment too. It’s been kit­ted out with charg­ing ports and safe stor­age for each guest. The seat­ing at the back is far more spa­cious than that of other ve­hi­cles in its class. “We chose Toy­ota Land Cruiser specif­i­cally be­cause of the re­li­a­bil­ity, com­fort and spa­cious­ness. On top of that, it’s in­cred­i­bly quiet when cruis­ing through the bush,” says Michael. “A quiet ve­hi­cle al­lows us to ap­proach an­i­mals with­out dis­turb­ing them un­nec­es­sar­ily and also en­ables guests, guide and tracker to con­cen­trate and take in all the sounds of na­ture.

“I’m sure many other guides will agree that all ve­hi­cles de­velop a char­ac­ter over time, but we’re still get­ting there,” he adds. “I’d def­i­nitely say that the ele­phants have taken a lik­ing to the ve­hi­cle of late. With their in­quis­i­tive na­ture, they’ve re­ally ap­proached up close and given us a good once-over.

“We couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter ve­hi­cle and here’s hop­ing Madi­son gets to spend a num­ber of years out here in the Greater Kruger Na­tional Park with us,” adds Michael.

“WE’RE ALL ABOUT OFF-ROAD AD­VEN­TUR­ING AND THAT’S WHERE THE LAND CRUISER DOES ITS BEST WORK.”

Top: Ranger Alex Budd at Shamwari Game Re­serve. Above: Toro Yaka Bush Lodge’s cus­tom-built Land Cruiser.

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