A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

Winona Griggs

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

My recent adventure took me on an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes of the Northern Cape. As I navigated the dusty roads and ventured into the wilderness, I couldn’t help but marvel at the raw beauty that surrounded me.

The Northern Cape, with its vast expanses and diverse ecosystems, offers a playground for those seeking a taste of true adventure. With a Suzuki Safari as my trusty companion, I set out to explore this captivating region.

Uncovering Hidden Gems

One of the most rewarding aspects of embarking on a safari in the Northern Cape is the opportunity to discover hidden gems that are off the beaten path. From secluded watering holes teeming with wildlife to breathtaking viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of the rugged terrain, every turn reveals a new and awe-inspiring sight.

Behind the wheel of my Suzuki, I was able to navigate the rugged terrain with ease, venturing into areas that are rarely explored. This sense of freedom and exploration is what makes a safari in the Northern Cape truly special.

Experiencing Wildlife Up Close

One of the highlights of my Suzuki Safari was the chance to witness the incredible wildlife that calls the Northern Cape home. As I slowly made my way through the wilderness, I encountered graceful giraffes, majestic elephants, and elusive cheetahs. The thrill of spotting these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is a memory that will stay with me forever.

With my Suzuki as my silent companion, I was able to observe these animals up close, without disturbing their natural behaviors. It was a humbling experience that reminded me of the importance of preserving our planet’s incredible biodiversity.

Connecting with Nature

Being surrounded by the untamed beauty of the Northern Cape, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of connection with nature. Away from the noise and distractions of everyday life, I found solace in the tranquility of the wilderness.

Whether it was sitting beneath a towering baobab tree or gazing at the star-filled sky at night, the Northern Cape offered a sanctuary for the soul. It was a place where I could disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with the natural wonders that exist all around us.

A Journey to Remember

My Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape was an adventure of a lifetime. It allowed me to immerse myself in the untouched beauty of this remarkable region, while also reminding me of the importance of preserving and respecting our natural world.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of modern life, but with the right vehicle and a sense of curiosity, we can embark on journeys that take us back to our roots. So, if you’re yearning for an adventure unlike any other, I implore you to pack your bags, hop in a Suzuki Safari, and set off on an exploration of the awe-inspiring Northern Cape.

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

Have you ever wondered what brings together a group of 11 people, each with their own vehicles and an endless supply of snacks? It’s a shared sense of adventure, a love for Jimnys, and the perfect playlist for a road trip.

As I belt out the lyrics to “I’m going up the country” and “Baby, don’t you wanna go,” I can’t help but feel the excitement building. We’re embarking on a journey to somewhere new, somewhere we’ve never been before.

The Northern Cape awaits us with its vast landscapes and hidden gems. From the wide-open plains to the majestic mountains, there’s so much to explore and discover. But it’s not just the destination that matters; it’s the journey itself.

As we hit the road, the thrill of the open highway fills the air. The wind rushes through the windows, carrying with it the promise of adventure and new experiences. It’s a feeling like no other.

Driving in our Jimnys, we navigate through winding roads and dusty paths, taking in the beauty that surrounds us. We come across quaint towns and local landmarks, stopping to soak in the culture and capture the memories.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Along the way, we encounter challenges and obstacles. We face unpredictable weather, rough terrains, and the occasional wrong turn. Yet, we embrace these challenges, knowing that they are just part of the adventure.

Through it all, we stick together, relying on each other for support and guidance. We share stories, laughter, and the occasional disagreement, creating bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.

As we reach our destination, we take a moment to reflect on the journey we’ve just completed. The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. We’ve made it, and we’re stronger for it.

So, if you’re seeking a memorable adventure, filled with camaraderie and the thrill of the unknown, join us on our next road trip. Together, we’ll create new stories, explore new places, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

As we cruised down the N14, our convoy of six Suzuki Jimnys had a friendly and energetic vibe. The sound of Canned Heat filled the air, adding to the excitement. Every now and then, a car passing by would honk or flash their lights, unable to resist the urge to say hello to our group. Driving a Jimny has its perks, and one of them is definitely the attention you get. But what really sets these vehicles apart is their impressive capabilities, and we were determined to put them to the test. And what better place to do it than the diverse terrain of the Northern Cape?

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

Photo: Chris Wall

So, here’s the thing – we didn’t exactly have a clear plan. We were told to keep “coddiwomple” in mind, which basically means going on a purposeful journey without a specific destination. And that’s exactly what we were after. No concrete plans, just a loose direction. With that in mind, I cranked up the volume as we set off – kind of aiming for Pofadder, but not really.

My road trip playlist is a lot like the Jimny: it’s been around since the 1970s but it’s only gotten better with time. It has picked up some modern tunes and tricks along the way. One thing that really made me happy was the audio control on the steering wheel. It meant I didn’t have to give up my DJ duties to my boyfriend Jason. The Jimny has come a long way since the LJ Series (the first generation) was released back in 1970. It has evolved and improved, but it has always stayed true to its compact size and unique character. We were driving a mix of manual and automatic fourth generation 1.5 GLX models – a slightly more rugged version compared to its previous iterations.

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I sat in my garage at home, thinking about my little third-gen Jimny. It almost felt like I was cheating on it with a younger, faster, and flashier model. The idea of sneaking off on a weekend trip to the Northern Cape seemed mischievous, but as we sped along the long and straight road to Pofadder, it somehow felt right.

A message popped up in our WhatsApp group, asking if everyone was okay with having burgers and chips for lunch. The white Jimny had no objections, and neither did the green, silver, grey, or sandy-colored ones. We had touched down in Upington that morning at 8:15, our group of journalists, our partners, and a small team from Suzuki. But now, the sun was high in the sky, and we were all hungry. After driving 227 kilometers, we arrived in Pofadder. We refueled our cars and then refueled ourselves at the Pofadder Inn. It was there that we met JJ du Toit, the head of African Expeditions and the proud owner of a Jimny that had already traveled 30,000 kilometers under his ownership in just three months. JJ would lead our trip, providing expert 4×4 advice and local travel tips via walkie talkies in each car.

We left Pofadder and made our way to Pella, a town I knew nothing about until I found myself seated in its iconic church, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. A nun from the church stood proudly in front of the pews and shared the story of the town and its sacred landmark with us. Pella had been visited by many missionaries in the 1800s, but most were scared away by the harsh living conditions and intense heat. However, in 1882, Father JM Simon arrived, and other priests joined him. They were all driven out, except for Brother Leo Wolf, who came in 1885. Without any building experience and just a photograph as a guide, the two men painstakingly built the cathedral using bricks they made by hand at the Orange River. It took them seven years to complete their masterpiece. In 1932 and 1947, Father Simon and Brother Wolf passed away, respectively, and both were buried in the church they had dedicated their lives to.

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

When I set off on my journey, I decided to start with a visit to the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Pella. It was a breathtaking sight, and I couldn’t resist taking a photo to capture its beauty. But that was just the beginning of my adventure.

From there, I embarked on a thrilling expedition that can only be described as coddiwompling. My first challenge was to navigate through Charlie’s Pass, a 2.9km track that was both stunning and a bit difficult. It required a 4×4 vehicle to handle the sharp stones and sandy stretches along the way. But the effort was worth it because the scenery was simply breathtaking.

After conquering Charlie’s Pass, I set my sights on another obstacle: Bobbejaanspiël. This steep and rocky climb was a test of both my driving skills and the capabilities of my vehicle. With my Jimny in 4L and my tires deflated to 0.8 bar, I slowly made my way up the incline. Surprisingly, the Jimny handled the challenge with ease, and I reached the top feeling exhilarated.

But the real excitement came when I descended using downhill assist. This feature made the descent incredibly easy, almost as if the car was driving itself. It was a humbling reminder of how capable and user-friendly the Jimny is, especially for someone like me who is new to off-roading.

Overall, my experience with the Jimny was nothing short of amazing. It delivered on its promise of adventure and made every challenge feel conquerable. Whether you’re an experienced off-roader or a novice like me, the Jimny is the perfect companion for exploration.

Man, I turned down Fleetwood Mac, and let me tell you, I regretted it as soon as I heard JJ’s voice crackle over the radio. He said, ‘I would love to know who the Japanese engineer responsible for this car is. I want to send him a piece of biltong.’ If you don’t know what biltong is, it’s this super tasty South African dried meat. So yeah, it sounded like he thought the engineer did a crap job.

Anyway, we were on this cool road trip, and at one point, we stopped by the Orange River. We dipped our toes in the water and waved hello to Namibia. It was wild! After that, we kept going, driving through the riverbed, making sure to stick to one track in the sand. And wouldn’t you know it, we turned a corner and saw the most beautiful thing – a camp already set up for us by African Expeditions. I’m talking six tents, complete with six chemical toilets and showers. Plus, there was a big ol’ stack of firewood just waiting to be lit, and a cooler full of ice-cold Bushman Lager. It was like we hit the jackpot!

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

Once everything was perfectly arranged by African Expeditions, all that was left for me to do was ignite a match and enjoy a cold beer. Ah, the beauty of being just a few kilometers away from the Namibian border. The seclusion of this place was truly welcoming. As the evening unfolded, painting the sky in a soft pink hue, the tantalizing aroma of steak on the grill filled the air. We gathered around the crackling fire, ready to unpack the adventures of the day.

Among a group of motor journalists, I proudly represented the travel writers. However, my choices were met with disapproval. I was fined for picking an automatic car, albeit my preference was based on its pristine white color. I was also reprimanded for leaving the car engine on and even for taking a nap while jostling along a 4×4 track (granted, I was only a passenger). This last offense was a testament to the exceptional comfort offered by the Jimny, although I must admit I had been awake since the ungodly hour of 4 in the morning.

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What else could we do, as individuals who relish the thrill of off-road adventures? We sat around the fire, indulging in conversations over beers, spending just as much time admiring the remarkable Jimnys as we did playfully criticizing Land Rover.

“You know what, this isn’t your average fancy hotel,” I said to JJ, as we relaxed in our camping chairs and took in the breathtaking sky. “In fact, it’s more like a hotel with five billion stars.”

We were up bright and early, just like any camping adventure, and JJ insisted that we kickstart our day with some campfire coffee brewed by Piet Mokoena. With the coffee warming our souls, we set off to have breakfast at Karsten Boerdery, the largest date farm in the southern hemisphere. Despite being in the Northern Cape, the arid desert scenery and towering date palms made it feel like we were in Saudi Arabia. Armed with delectable fresh date muffins baked in the farm’s kitchen, we continued on our journey to Springbok. But this wasn’t just any ordinary trip; we had a specific destination in mind: Wimpy.

On our journey to Kleinsee, we were filled with excitement and energy. Packed with milkshakes and filled-up on petrol, we began our adventure by driving through Spektakel Pass. This scenic route was named by Simon van der Stel, who stumbled upon this breathtaking region during the incredible Namaqualand flower season.

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

This is a photo of Die Houthoop taken by Chris Wall.

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

Finally, we hit the dirt again, and I couldn’t help but smile. It was always an adventure when we had to stop and let our tires down. As we gathered around, fiddling with our air pressure, our road trip playlists filled the air. The silver Jimny pumped out heavy metal, while the green one blared rap. We even had a touch of country before someone turned off the engine.

Our route took a detour through “the little Kalahari,” and it was breathtaking. Pairs of Ludwig’s bustards gracefully soared from the vast veld as we navigated through camel thorns and warm, red sand. It felt like a page out of a storybook. Ultimately, our destination was Die Houthoop, a charming sheep farm just 10 kilometers outside Kleinsee.

Imagine this: a stay at Die Houthoop, the epitome of a farm-style guesthouse. Let me paint a picture for you. As I walked in, my senses were immediately awakened by the inviting aroma of a kitchen buzzing with warmth and mouthwatering scents. The owner, a treasure trove of captivating stories, welcomed me with open arms. And oh, the pub! It beckoned to me with its cozy ambiance and an honesty bar, where I could indulge in my favorite drinks at my own leisure.

Sitting there, I couldn’t help but notice the whimsical collection of caps hanging overhead, a testament to the colorful characters that have graced this place. The wind outside added its own soundtrack, a haunting howl across the vast, flat landscape surrounding the guesthouse.

As the evening progressed, we all found ourselves scattered across chairs and barstools, engaged in lively conversations fueled by camaraderie and maybe a glass or two of rich, velvety red wine. The meal that followed was nothing short of a culinary masterpiece – a satisfying bowl of ham and pea soup accompanied by fresh, warm slices of white bread. It was the kind of simple yet hearty feast that nourishes both body and soul.

With contentment filling our bellies, it was time to retreat to our rooms. A hot shower washed away the weariness of the day, and then I sank into a cocoon of soft blankets and a plush mattress that cocooned me in warmth and comfort.

Die Houthoop is an enchanting haven, where the simplicity and charm of a farm-style guesthouse come alive. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the soulful tales of the owner, savor delectable flavors, and find solace in the company of fellow travelers. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful getaway or a touch of adventure, this gem of a guesthouse has it all. Come and experience the magic for yourself!

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

As I made my way towards the west coast, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement. The challenging terrain that awaited me promised adventure and thrill like no other.

By the time 8am rolled around, I found myself standing on the sandy shores, ready to embark on an unforgettable journey. The coastal sand stretched out before me, tempting me to explore its hidden treasures.

I knew that this journey wouldn’t be easy. The dunes stood tall, like waves frozen in time, and they were riddled with rocks that lay unseen, just waiting to challenge me. But I embraced the challenge, knowing that it was a test of my skill and bravery.

The two-track road that lay ahead of me was like a path to discovery. It twisted and turned, demanding my full attention. I had to be cautious, for even a single misstep could lead to trouble. But I was determined to navigate through the dunes, undeterred by the obstacles that lay in my path.

As I made my way through the dunes, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of the landscape. The crashing waves on one side and the towering dunes on the other created a breathtaking contrast. It was a sight that made me feel small, yet empowered.

With every turn, I felt a surge of adrenaline. The challenges only fueled my desire to push forward. I knew that this journey would test not only my physical abilities but also my mental strength. It was a true test of endurance and perseverance.

Hours passed as I continued my journey through the dunes. The sun beat down on me, intensifying the challenge. But I pressed on, knowing that the reward at the end would be worth it.

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Finally, as the day drew to a close, I reached the end of the two-track road. I stood at the edge of the dunes, looking back at the path I had conquered. It was a moment of triumph and satisfaction.

As I gazed out at the vast expanse of the coast, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. I had taken on the challenge, and I had emerged victorious.

The journey through the coastal sand had taught me valuable lessons about resilience and determination. It had reminded me that sometimes, the most rewarding experiences are the ones that push us to our limits.

So, if you’re ever faced with a challenging terrain, remember this: Embrace the obstacles, for they are the stepping stones to greatness. Push forward with determination and passion, and you’ll come out on the other side, stronger and wiser than before.

I am thrilled to share with you a captivating slice of the Skeleton Coast, nestled between Koingnaas and Kleinsee. This splendid territory used to belong to the prestigious De Beers, but now falls under the jurisdiction of West Coast Resources. Thanks to the benevolence of the mine manager, I have been granted the extraordinary privilege to explore this breathtaking expanse. Now, let me convey to you the earnestness with which he emphasized the importance of responsible adventuring. The path ahead is unidirectional, he solemnly declared, and venturing off-road is an absolute taboo.

For me, it is abundantly clear that 4×4 off-roading is not solely about venturing into remote locations that conventional vehicles dare not trespass. True 4×4 etiquette entails traversing the well-worn trails from time to time, as part of a deliberate effort to preserve the pristine beauty of the untamed landscapes that our rugged vehicles so graciously carry us to.

When we took the Jimnys for a spin in 4L, it gave us a smoother ride on the terrain and made climbing those dunes a breeze. One thing that sets the Jimny apart from other overlanding vehicles is its weight, or rather, the lack of it. Even when faced with challenging stretches of deep sand, we effortlessly glided through, with JJ guiding us over the radio. I became so accustomed to driving within a convoy that I couldn’t imagine going solo again!

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

As I stood here, taking in the sight of Jimnys showing off in front of The Border, a ship that tragically ran aground back in 1947 after losing its rudder in a violent storm, I couldn’t help but feel a mix of curiosity and admiration. The coastline I found myself on boasted not just one, but three shipwrecks, each with its own captivating story to tell.

Out of the three shipwrecks that call this part of the coast home, the one that caught my attention the most was the Piratiny, a Brazilian steamer that found itself stuck on the shore in 1943. They don’t call this stretch of coastline the Shipwreck Coast for no reason! However, there’s an intriguing rumor surrounding the Piratiny. Some say that it was actually struck by a German U-boat, but the truth remains unconfirmed. What is known is that all the passengers on board managed to survive the ordeal.

After the shipwreck, the cargo from the Piratiny washed up along the coast. Can you believe it? Locals took advantage of this unexpected windfall, helping themselves to all the clothes and textiles they could find. From what I’ve heard, the next Sunday’s Nagmaal, a religious gathering, turned into a rather fancy affair thanks to all those salvaged goods.

Last night, I had the chance to test out the powerful Jimny vehicles on Die Houthoop’s vast dunes. My friends and I spent the evening driving back and forth, exploring the farm’s sandy landscapes in search of thrilling challenges. With each run, we pushed the Jimnys to their limits, expecting them to struggle. However, to our amazement, they tackled everything we threw at them effortlessly, almost as if it was a joke.

A Suzuki Safari in the Northern Cape

When I think of travel writers, I imagine them finding the perfect spot to watch a beautiful sunset. They position themselves just right, taking in the view and capturing the essence of the moment. It’s a peaceful and serene image.

On the other hand, when I think of motor journalists, I imagine them in a completely different setting. Instead of focusing on the beauty of nature, they position themselves to watch the reflection of a sunset in the car windows. It’s a unique perspective, one that highlights the combination of man-made engineering and natural wonder.

box>So, what’s in a name? Well, in the case of the Suzuki Jimny, it’s a combination of “jeep” and “mini”. Say that five times fast! The Jimny got its name at a time when “jeep” was commonly used as a general term for small off-road vehicles. It’s a clever and catchy name that perfectly captures the essence of this compact and versatile car.

Suzuki Jimny 1.5 GLX AllGrip

Price: The Suzuki Jimny GL models, both manual and automatic, are priced at R351,900.
Engine: These models are equipped with a 1.5-liter petrol engine that delivers 77kW of power and 138Nm of torque.
Fuel consumption: The claimed fuel consumption for these models is 6.3 L/100km.
Top speed: The top speed is currently not available.

Suzuki South Africa has introduced two new additions to the Jimny lineup – the manual and automatic GL models. These models fill the gap between the entry-level Jimny GA and the top-of-the-range Jimny GLX. Both the GL models come with Suzuki’s AllGrip 4×4 system and are powered by the same 1.5-liter petrol engine that produces 77kW of power and 138Nm of torque.

Do this: If you’re looking for an adventurous safari experience, look no further than African Expeditions. They offer a Suzuki Safari package that starts at R8,950 per person, sharing for six nights. This package includes meals and accommodation. African Expeditions also organizes Jimny trips to other parts of Namaqualand and offers special trips to Botswana. If you want to hire a Jimny for your own adventure, it’s available at a rate of R950 per day. For more information, visit africanexpeditions.co.za or call 084 874 7388.

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