Kallie and Suretha Otto – Ford Ranger
Kallie and Suretha’s participation in the 2013 African Adventure was a last-minute decision – and it’s one that the Somerset East farming couple has thoroughly enjoyed.
Previously a Mitsubishi Pajero driver, and with several Mitsubishi bakkies in the family and on the farm, Kallie only recently acquired his new Ford Ranger 3.2 Auto XLS 4×4 Super Cab – and is thoroughly impressed.
“Before the trip I had done 10 000 km with my new Ranger, and I was keen to see what it would like off-road, and on long trips,” Kallie said.
Interestingly, he only heard about the African Adventure the Saturday before the departure on Wednesday 20 March. “I attended an open day at Eastern Cape Motors in Port Elizabeth where I bought my Ranger, as I wanted to try it out on the dealership’s 4×4 track. There I met Wimpie and Rynhardt from Adventure Junkies and they mentioned the upcoming trip, which sounded brilliant.”
That night Kallie and Suretha made a turn at The Boardwalk Casino and fortune went their way as they hit the jackpot with a decent payout – and they saw it as a sign that the 2013 African Adventure was meant to be.
So after many phone calls and last-minute arrangements early on the Sunday morning, a set of General Grabber MT tyres we sourced and fitted at Tiger Wheel & Tyre, the vehicle prepped and the arrangements made , and they set off with the other nine crews on the 2013 expedition.
“I’ve travelled a lot, but have done very little in Southern Africa, so this was an awesome opportunity, and I’ve loved every minute. We have been through some spectacular places, seen some amazing scenery and all-round had an incredible time,” the very enthusiastic Kallie stated.
Kallie has also been totally bowled over by the Grabber MTs. He has used Bridgestone and Firestone tyres for years on the farm, and had a set of BF Goodrich tyres fitted to his Ranger (which he says will be going cheap on Gumtree when he gets home).
He also tweaked it for its farm-working role and had the specialists at Safari Centre in Port Elizabeth fit aftermarket Lynx front and rear bumpers, a high-lift EFS suspension, a sump guard and bash plates for the front and rear diffs, along with a bakkie cage.
“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the Generals, but they are simply fantastic. I never expected that such a rugged-looking tyre with such a heavy off-road design could be so good in every situation.
“The Grabber MTs were simply awesome off-road when we were driving on the tricky and very rocky 4×4 routes, and have been great in the sand and mud. I’m also amazed that they are so quiet and smooth on the open road, have lots of grip in the wet and under hard braking as we’ve had to do on several occasions while travelling through the various countries.”
Kallie enthuses that he has already ordered Grabber MTs for the bakkies driven by his sons, and has become the unofficial ambassador for General Grabber MTs amongst his local farming community. “Kyk vir my, jy sal sien ek sal al die boere in Somerset Oos op Generals kry,” he jokes in Afrikaans (or “Watch me, you’ll see, I’ll get all the farmers in Somerset East on Generals”.)
As for the Ford Ranger, “Oom Kallie” as he’s become known amongst the group, has been equally praiseworthy. “I bought the Ford because it’s much better value than the Pajeros I used to drive, and I have been thoroughly impressed with it over the 8 000 km we have driven.
“It is very comfortable, has lots of space and has all the gadgets. I’m still getting used the nature of the power delivery and the automatic gearbox, but it has performed brilliantly.”
The African Adventure also showed him what the Ranger can do in the most trying conditions, and he’s been blown away by its stability control system and, even more so, by the Hill Descent Control.
“I didn’t even know what that button did, but after the guys showed me and explained how the HDC works, I used it all the time on the steep descents on the 4×4 routes. I was simply amazed at how easy and safe it made the driving.”