4 4
Overland Adventure
with a brand new twist
Top Honours
on a budget
Cruiser Club
Saamtrek Trailblazer 2.8 LTZ
TANZANIA from south to north
Bridgestone Fundi Final
R28 incl. VAT
Other countries R24.56
New Gear, Birding, Back Issue Bargains, Technical Queries, Readers’ Rides,
Kids’ Corner, Trail showcase, Tours, Training and much more...
The Nissan Patrol’s high ground clearance, low centre of gravity and
intelligent weight distribution mean no challenge is too steep. And with
more than 60 years’ experience, rally-proven off-road engineering and
the raw toughness of authentic 4x4 design, it’s no surprise enthusiasts
rely on the Patrol to get them up, over and around just about anything.
Nissan. Innovation that excites.
Way off the beaten track
ver since we promoted Grant into
the position of Technical Editor,
a significant portion of joy has
been sucked out of my job. You see,
one of Grant’s principle duties is road
testing whatever new 4x4s come our
way. This used to be one of my favourite
things. Thing is, the man does it better
than I ever did.
So these days I’m limited to driving the
vehicles if I’m attending the press launch*
but there’s a limit to what you can learn
about these vehicles at such an event.
Firstly, the route is carefully designed
to highlight the vehicle’s strengths and
gloss over its shortcomings. So if the 4x4
is lousy at freeway speeds then you can
be sure that the launch route will stick
to B roads, and if it ain’t much good
off-road, don’t be surprised if the launch
route never leaves the tar... Secondly,
your driving experience – such as it
is – might last for only a couple of hours,
which isn’t enough to get a real feel for
the vehicle.
So the upshot of this sad state of affairs
is that I’m little bit out of touch with
what’s what on sale these days. A case in
point is the Suzuki Jimny. I’ve yet to drive
one. Or at least that was the case up until
two weeks ago. But because the ‘new’
Jimny wasn’t a new model but rather
an upgrade**, we decided that it wasn’t
worth doing a full road-test on it, which is
why I ended up driving it for a week.
Ever since I bought a Mini (the car) for
a girlfriend (an ex-, ex-, ex-) I’ve been a
big fan of small automobiles. For a start,
their low weight means that you can enjoy
spirited performance from an engine of
modest output; secondly, they’re highly
manoeuvrable; thirdly, they’re generally
very space efficient; and fourthly, they
tend to be quite light on go-go juice.
Which makes me wonder why there
aren’t more small 4x4s about. Why do
4x4s have to be big? In fact, why are 4x4s
getting so big? As much as I admire the
Amarok, Ranger and Hilux, there’s no
getting away from the fact that these are
seriously big vehicles. Park one of these
new double-cabs in an underground
parking lot and you’ll know what I’m
talking about. They’re so wide that if you
have a car parked on either side of you,
it’s actually difficult to open your door
wide enough to climb out. Especially if
you’re a well-upholstered person...
‘Ja, but 4x4 bakkies are meant for
the outdoors, Neil.’ Well, yes. And no.
However, venture off-road and the
problem persists; if you’ve ever had to
manoeuvre a vehicle down a tight trail
you’ll appreciate that vehicle size can be
a key aspect of off-road performance.
A Jimny is a formidable weapon
off-road, you can slalom the cross axles!
On-road it’s even better, you can take
gaps that’ll make a taxi driver go ‘eish’
with envy and it’s so short you can fit two
into a parking bay, end on end...
But you can’t get away from the fact that
this is a seriously small SUV. It’ll seat four
people, but not their luggage; plus, your
rear seat passengers will probably make
alternative travel plans for the return
leg. So to my mind it’s perfect for a single
bloke or blokette, or a couple sans kids. If
I were to lay down R198 900 for the new
Jimny, I drive it straight home, remove the
second row of seats, put in a platform for
the dog, chuck in a couple of ammo cases,
install the wife in the front passenger seat,
and then head out for some (compact) fun
in the sun.
* the ones that Grant doesn’t attend...
** The changes are cosmetic. Look out for a
new bumper, bonnet, grille, head restraints, seat
and Editor
Hailey Griffiths
Neil Harrison
[email protected]
Koos Pieters
Richard van Ryneveld
Koos Zietsman
Technical Editor
Grant Spolander
AD sales
Gauteng sales
sales support
Paul Nelson
[email protected] , 082 552 0761
(General sales enquiries & ad material)
Denise Reid-Daly
[email protected], 076 301 9468
Western cape sales
Spencer Manuel
[email protected], 082 351 2554
Linda-Rose Hanekom
(021) 702 4200
[email protected]
Fax 086 667 2170
Subscription rates
SA: R300 for 12 issues
Digital: R60 for 12 issues
Contact [email protected]
Brian Jefferies
[email protected], 082 772 5555
Postal address PO Box 31062, Tokai, 7966 Physical address 47 Bell Crescent, Westlake
Business Park, Westlake, Cape Town Phone (021) 702 4200
fax (021) 702 4209 email [email protected] WEB
gps S 34° 04.653’ E 018° 26.121’
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SA4x4 is published by Caravan Publications, specialist publisher in the leisure sector. Caravan Publications also publishes:
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Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. Permission to re-publish any article or part thereof or reproduce any illustration must be obtained from the publisher in writing.
Volume 20, No.11
20 Deep into the dunes
The Lüderitz / Saddle Hill dune
trip is a much-loved favourite for
local overlanders. Contributor
Richard van Ryneveld went
along to experience a new twist
on this bucket list attraction.
36 The jewel in the crown
Koos Zietsman was looking for an
affordable off-road experience in
the Damaraland; what he found
was something worth ten times
the price of admission.
44 Miles to go before I sleep
Our editor was asked to help
transport some Discovery 4s to
Tanzania. Never one to turn down
a road trip, he quickly agreed
and returned with a story of long
days... and exciting nights.
Cruisers United
The 2012 Land Cruiser Club
Saamtrek wasn’t an event we
wanted to miss. Richard van
Ryneveld was there to report on
this club’s tenth anniversary at
Moolmanshoek in the Free State.
Cool traveller
double-door fridge / freezer is
big news on the camping front.
So where better to give this new
unit a test than Zim’s Hwange
National Park?
The final (Bridgestone)
The 2012 Bridgestone 4X4 Fundi
Challenge has been providing us
with great action and excitement
– but there could be only one
winner. And the points were so
close that it was only with this,
the final event, that the champ
could be identified.
Traction gurus
A chance to talk to Bill O’Roake,
Mickey Thompson’s international
marketing manager? Sure! This
is a man who knows a great deal
about off-road rubber, so you can
imagine that we weren’t short of
questions for him.
Behind the scenes
The man who organises the
off-road races must have a story
to tell, or so we reckoned. Adri
Roets gives us a look at what
goes into organising races in the
Absa Off Road Championship.
86 Chevrolet Trailblazer 2.8 LTZ
Back issues
Readers’ Rides
Junior Explorers’ Club
Trail showcase
Me and my 4x4
Places to stay
Seen and Heard
Write to us at [email protected]
Winning Letter
The writer of this month’s winning letter wins a nine-metre kinetic snatch
strap, rated at 8 000 kg and valued at R550, from the good people at
4x4 MegaWorld. For more information on this and other great products,
visit their website at
Some time back I replaced my Garmin 276C with the new Garmin Montana 600. I went
and bought one the moment it was released. It’s a terrific GPS and I’m absolutely thrilled with its functionality and
user-friendliness. However, every so often my Montana goes into a freeze state – I can’t even turn it off – when the only
solution to the problem is to take the back cover off and remove the battery. At that point the GPS shuts down and reboots.
It’s not a huge problem, I guess, but it is a frustrating one, especially for a product that costs as much as the Montana does.
What’s more, from what I can tell, I’m not the only Montana user that’s experienced this phenomenon. Can you shed any
light on the matter?
Geoff Snyman
Ed: We forwarded this letter to our resident GPS guru, Kevin Bolton who gave us the following response: Yes, this was a
problem with the first batch of units received by Garmin South Africa. The device needs to go back to the Garmin workshop
with an accompanying letter describing the problem. You can also contact the workshops directly. Cape Town 021 788 9015;
Durban 031 539 6020; and, Johannesburg 011 251 9800. If you still have problems please contact me on 012 654 9813.
Website Poll
One of the regular polls that’s appeared on our
website –
Which of the following countries would you most like to
tour with your family?
Namibia 48.1%
Botswana 24.5%
Mozambique 12.3%
Zimbabwe 5.7%
I’d prefer to stay in SA 4.7%
Lesotho 2.8%
Swaziland 1.9%
If you’ve got something to say, this
is the perfect place to say it.
Share your views with like-minded individuals by sending an
email to [email protected] or a letter to: Editor, SA4x4,
PO Box 31062, Tokai, 7966. Readers who do
not wish to have their names
published must state so clearly in
their letters. The editor reserves
the right to shorten and / or edit
letters for clarity.
No Snorkel Thanks
I refer to Mic van Zyl’s letter in the October issue.
What’s really interesting is that the image alongside
(it’s the same one that’s on the Ironman website) shows
more dust at the snorkel intake than where the vehicle’s
air intake is located. The dust is generated by the front
wheels, and most air intakes are located in front of the
front wheels. And if you drive behind another vehicle,
there’s dust everywhere, so a snorkel will not make a
difference. But I agree that it helps nothing for wading,
especially in a petrol-powered vehicle. I had a snorkel
before, which was disconnected when I bought the
vehicle, and I also disconnected it after a while. In my
opinion, a snorkel is only for looks.
André van der Sandt
Ed: Interesting point, André, and you’re right: in that shot
there is more dust near the snorkel’s mouth. But the dust
raised is caused by the front right wheel spinning on that
specific piece of terrain - it’s not how the vehicle normally
And, sure, following close to another vehicle will put
you into its dust ‘stream’ and then a snorkel won’t help
you get clean air. But I’d like to think that most people see
the wisdom of dropping back when driving in convoy in
dusty conditions.
What was interesting to me was van Zyl’s assertion
that the decision on snorkel fitment should be based on
the amount of gravel you intend driving; i.e. buy a snorkel
more for dusty conditions than for wading.