It was hard to believe that the 2013 General Tyre 4×4 African Adventure was almost over when we woke up at 5 am at the 4-Wheel Drive Club’s Base 4 campsite near Hennops River, outside of Pretoria.
Along with the bone-chilling 4 deg C ambient temperature, which was in shocking contrast to the 30 deg C average we had experienced for much of the trip, it was both with a sense of relief and sadness that we set off for the last, long haul home.
The Farrar family said their final farewells as they turned off home to Johannesburg’s West Rand, and then Kallie and Suretha Otto stopped in Bloemfontein on the way down. The remaining eight vehicles counted down the last of the day’s 1 000 km on the drive down the N1, and then the quieter route via Gariep Dam back to Port Elizabeth.
Ironically, we crossed over the dam wall at 2 pm on our way to the Continental Tyre SA plant in PE – the exact time we started the2013 African Adventure 18 days earlier from the factory on our way to Gariep.
The remaining distance was covered without hassle, and we rolled into the Conti SA headquarters just after 6 pm with the sun setting spectacularly just behind the tyre factory – almost symbolically signalling the end of this truly epic adventure.
Everyone was delighted to be home, feeling a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in having explored some of Southern Africa’s most spectacular regions – with Lake Kariba and Lake Malawi certainly standing out for most. It was also great to be able to support the two schools in Zambia with the donation of essential supplies, thus creating the prospects for a better education and life for these poor communities.
The hard-core off-road routes incorporated into the 2013 event were also a major highlight – and the fact that the awesome new General Grabber MT, and the Grabber AT, conquered the varied and often extreme terrain in their stride proved without doubt that General has two exceptionally competent, and proven, tyres that are at the very top of the all-terrain and mud-terrain game!
The total distance covered for the 2013 General Tyre 4×4 African Adventure finally rounded off at 7 314 km – and it was a true testament to the General Grabbers that over a cumulative distance of well over 70 000 km, all of the 40 tyres used on the expedition emerged unscathed, and without even a hint of a puncture, sidewall penetration or any significant damage.
The driving terrain was as varied and unpredictable as they come, encompassing extreme rocky 4×4 trails to soft sand, sticky mud, patchy tar tackled at high speed, and Zambia and Mozambique’s notorious potholes. Yet the MTs and ATs provided sure-footed performance and safe handling, and revealed very little sign of wear. Indeed, the African Adventure has proven that “the General is back”, in a big way!
The marketing team from Continental Tyre SA, comprising Russel Stewart, David van der Merwe and Gishma Johnson, have to be commended for putting their full support and a significant budget behind this initiative, and having the total confidence in their tyres – which was fully justified. Their overriding support for the community projects is also worth noting.
Adventure Junkies delivered yet another top-notch General Tyre 4×4 African Adventure, with commendable planning, organisation, routes, logistics and, it has to be said, simply out-of-this-world catering – even in the middle of the bush.
Congrats to Wimpie, Retha, Hano and Rikus, Rynhardt and Veronica, and the support team comprising Jacques, Grant, Tyron and Jaco for all hard work and dedication, even under some of the most trying conditions, and with up to 29 people to look after for a lengthy 18 days!
We also have to thank the vehicle sponsors, as the Toyota Hilux and Fortuner, Ford Rangers and new Isuzu KBs (on their first foray out of the country) were simply superb all round. Without the crucial backing of the manufacturers this trip would not have been possible.
Finally, thanks to all the other sponsors, including Tiger Wheel & Tyre (and its branch in Cape Road, Port Elizabeth) for fitting and balancing all 40 tyres, plus Tentco for the comfortable and secure portable accommodation, as well as Safari Centre for all the essential other off-road equipment.