- Toughest Ranger Odyssey route yet in Namibia’s notoriously desolate Kaokaland
- 2 500 km travelled over 12 days on some of Africa’s most extreme 4×4 trails
- A true life-changing experience for 20 contestants grouped into 10 teams
PRETORIA, South Africa, 22 September, 2014–The 2014 Ranger Odyssey has wrapped up a truly epic 2 500 km, 12-day extreme 4×4 adventure through north-western Namibia with all of the vehicles and contestants coming through with flying colours.
The group departed from Johannesburg on 7 September and flew to Windhoek where the expedition began. At the first overnight camp in Kamanjab, the 20 contestants, comprising 18 South Africans and one each from Angola and Mozambique, were split into 10 teams by means of a random draw. They competed together over the next 11 days for the grand prize of an Odyssey-spec Ranger each for a year, as well as R5 000 fuel per month.
On Day two the 14-vehicle convoy headed north for Opuwo, and over the next couple of days the spectacular route followed the Kunene River that forms the natural border between Namibia and Angola. A cultural visit to an Ovahimba village near Epupa Falls was an enriching experience that revealed the fascinating heritage of the indigenous people.
Along the way the 4×4 driving became ever-more challenging, allowing the contestants to not only prove the exceptional performance of the Ford Ranger, but show whether they had gained a suitable level of skill and experience behind the wheel to conquer the gruelling terrain.
Then on Day 7 it all came together with the main challenge of the 2014 event – the notorious and treacherous Van Zyl’s Pass that features rock-strewn and extremely narrow paths with vertical cliff faces on the one side and sheer drop-offs on the other.
But the convoy made it through without incident and with the teams on an adrenaline-charged high having experienced and seen what they were capable of behind the wheel of the Ranger.
The ensuing scenic drives along the Hoarusib River and Khowarib River 4×4 trails simply reaffirmed the astonishing beauty of this remote but captivating landscape, while also putting the Ranger through its paces – particularly when navigating the innocuously named deep ‘dust holes’ just after Umumbaaitjie that necessitated several vehicle recovery operations.
Throughout the event the teams were scored daily on their technical driving abilities, vehicle care and maintenance, recovery and winching techniques, camp craft, as well as general knowledge on the Ranger and the Odyssey route. These scores will now be added up and verified by independent auditors prior to the announcement of the winning team in October.
“The Ranger Odyssey is designed to give ordinary people the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore some of Africa’s remarkable destinations, while experiencing the exceptional capabilities of the Ford Ranger,” says Dale Reid, Ford Ranger’s Brand Manager, who took part in the entire trip.
Namibia’s Kaokaland lived up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful but remote and challenging areas to explore in Africa. But the fact that the 14 Rangers made it through the trip without incident, and not even a single puncture, proves without doubt that this vehicle is both Built Ford Tough, and is more than tough enough to conquer Africa.
“Aside from reaffirming the tough character of the Ranger, what made the trip even more amazing was the great group of contestants. Each person gave it their all throughout the two weeks, and were grateful to have simply made the final trip which was a truly life-changing experience, never mind the chance to take the overall prize.
“We now have a group of 20 individuals who have seen what the Ranger is capable of and have become ambassadors for the product and the Ford brand as a whole. As a bonus, many of them have indicated that even if they don’t win the Ranger for a year, they will be buying one.
“Some have already influenced buying decisions in favour of the Ranger and the Ford brand amongst family, friends, colleagues and clients, which is the ultimate testimonial,” concludes Reid.
The winners of the 2014 Ranger Odyssey will be announced on 15 October.
The Ranger Odyssey 2014 teams are:
|3||Janelle de Beer||24||Pretoria|
|Anastacio Ferreira Pena||22||Angola|
|4||Chantal Burger||27||Bela Bela|
|Sarah Jo Gengiah||21||Durban|
|Oan de Waal||23||Pretoria|
|Ian Chamberlain||28||Mossel Bay|