Ranger Odyssey vs Africa – Mission Accomplished
- 6 countries, 22 days, 7 860 km, 10 contestants … the Ranger Odyssey has done it!
- A truly epic adventure for 10 brave contestants, the ultimate test for the Ford Ranger
- Visited many of Africa’s most spectacular sights, including Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, Makgadikgadi Pans and Mozambique’s pristine coastline
- Two CSR projects conducted, first with Masai village in Kenya and second at Paindane in Mozambique
- Winner to be announced in August, takes home Odyssey-edition Ranger 3.2 XLT 4x4
PRETORIA, South Africa, 17 July 2013 – The Ford Ranger and 10 brave contestants have been put to the ultimate test – a challenging 22-day adventure encompassing six countries, 22 days and almost 8 000 km through Africa.
Indeed, the Ford Ranger Odyssey Africa 2013 pushed the vehicles and the participants to their limits, and everyone emerged from this once-in-a-lifetime expedition having experienced the raw beauty of the African continent, and the truly exceptional abilities of the Ford Ranger.
“Ranger Odyssey Africa 2013 set out to prove that the Ranger is Built Ford Tough, and is more than capable of tackling the very best and worst that Africa can throw at it,” says Gavin Golightly, Marketing Manager of Ford South Africa. “It also aimed to give a group of dynamic, enthusiastic young people the adventure of a lifetime, and reveal some of Africa’s very best sights and destinations.
“That the Ranger Odyssey has met, and exceeded, all of these objectives is beyond doubt. The Ranger has truly conquered Africa, covering a total of 7 860 km of the most challenging terrain with confidence, and with a perfect record in terms of reliability.
“The contestants too, have done us proud,” Golightly says. “We could not have asked for a better group of people to take on the challenge. Each one has fully embraced the spirit of the Ranger Odyssey, done us proud by coping with the many challenges presented to them, and become not only effective brand ambassadors for the Ford Ranger, but for Africa too.”
The Odyssey kicked off in Nairobi on 23 June, starting with a special send-off and festival staged by CMC Motors, the Ford distributor in Kenya. The convoy of eight Rangers then made their way to Amboseli National Park, set below the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.
With a strong humanitarian focus, the crew and participants conducted a CSR project at a Masai village in conjunction with CMC Motors, and delivered food parcels and essential supplies to the community.
The convoy then made its way to Tanzania, with an awe-inspiring visit to the Ngorongoro Crater, with its rich concentration of wildlife providing a spectacular backdrop for the expedition.
A stop-over in Bagamoyo, the historical centre of East Africa’s slave and ivory trade, provided a deep sense of reflection and fascination for the group.
Day seven represented a significant last-minute change for the Ranger Odyssey, with political turmoil along the planned route through Northern Mozambique necessitating a deviation through Zambia.
The convoy crossed over the mighty Zambezi River into Botswana on day 11, and travelled along the famous Hunter’s Trail, the site of Livingstone and Stanley’s historical encounter en route to discovering the Victoria Falls. The main highlights of this leg were the night spent in the Makgadikgadi Pans, the visit to the stunning Kubu Island, camping in the dry river bed of the Matloutse River, and the drive through the Northern Tuli Game Reserve.
On day 15, the convoy made a brief return to South Africa before passing through the Kruger National Park and, later, entering Mozambique via the Giriyondo border post and the Limpopo Transfrontier National Park.
The Ranger Odyssey finally returned to its original route on day 17 in Inhambane, when the convoy was joined by Jeff Nemeth, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, as well as Gary Boes, Director, Vehicle Programs for Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.
Along with spectacular beach and dune driving, with special permits obtained from the local council, the Odyssey also conducted its second main CSR project at the village of Paindane, in conjunction with Mozambique Ford distributor InterAuto. A wide range of food and agricultural equipment was handed over to the local chief to assist the community.
The contestants were treated to further dune and mud driving that really showed off the Ranger’s exceptional off-road performance while heading further south to Xai Xai and Macenata.
A treat was in store for the group when they arrived in Maputo, as an amazing Ranger Odyssey event was arranged by InterAuto outside the City Hall. An official welcome by the city’s mayor, David Simango, showed how everyone embraced the event, and felt honoured to be included in the route.
The Ford Ranger Odyssey Africa 2013 came full circle on day 22, Sunday 14 July, as the convoy returned to the Hartbeespoort Dam, the home of De Rust Outdoor, Ford’s official 4x4 driving academy. This was where the journey began, starting off with a four-day Boot Camp in May, and the gathering point for the 10 brave finalists in June before jetting off to Nairobi.
Mixed emotions dominated the farewell, as everyone was elated at having made it, experiencing some of Africa’s finest destinations, forging close friendships and banking many special memories along the way. However, it also signalled the end of the adventure and the parting of ways.
The group will, however, be reunited once again on 8 August, where the winner of Ranger Odyssey Africa 2013 will be announced.
Throughout the expedition, each contestant was evaluated on their driving, camp craft, communication skills, brand and product awareness, and numerous other aspects. They were also scored on their daily blog which was posted on the Ranger Odyssey website (
All of this will be combined to produce the overall winner, who will be handed the keys to a fully accessorised Odyssey-edition Ranger 3.2 XLT 4x4.
Every one of the contestants, crew and media left the Ranger Odyssey with a new sense of pride and appreciation for the astonishing diversity and beauty of the African continent.
Moreover, they also departed with a new respect for the Ford Ranger, which had safely, comfortably and confidently conquered Africa’s very best and worst conditions – and come out on top
From inception, Kenya showed us the spirit of ‘Harambee’ (let us all pull together) and it set the bar that grew to become the unspoken mantra of the Odyssey. The group is incredibly diverse, yet somehow our differences complimented each other like a puzzle and we performed as a unit - everyone contributing to the overall success that is the showcase of the Ford Ranger and its unrivalled abilities.
The Odyssey has revealed the diverse, unprecedented beauty of my mother continent, altered my perspective of life drastically and filled me with the confidence to pursue my dreams of adventure using the Odyssey as a platform.
The true strength of the Ranger lies in its accessibility to the average vehicle driver, showcased by the 10 contestants that tackled all types of conditions - some of them, the toughest 4x4 driving one can ever hope to overcome. The route was harsh and unforgiving, but the Ranger stepped up with the necessary credentials every single time.
The Odyssey is a once in a lifetime experience, and I am so thankful for the opportunity. I learned so much about 4x4 driving and Africa. The Odyssey started something inside of me that is hard to explain, I just want to go into Africa with every opportunity I get.
The Ranger is magnificent. I have never felt safer in any other car. The leg room in every seat stood out for me, and its performance through all of the tough conditions were put it through during three intense weeks!
An adventure of a lifetime I could not have planned any better. Moments of profound personal discovery were only silenced by the breath-taking scenery.
Falling in love with our Rangers was easy. Place anyone out in the open with the relentlessness of extreme elements and you will quickly spot the safest place. Rangers became our place of refuge, a place where laughter was shared and most importantly, a home away from home.
The toughness of these pickups is unparalleled. Their versatile capabilities regardless of the terrain or conditions blew us away as normal everyday people could scale obstacles most vehicles would have nightmares about. There is no place in Africa unreachable when behind the steering wheel of a Ford Ranger.
I am still probably the least experienced 4x4 driver with the least car knowledge, but I have never felt more empowered or invincible than when I crested a sand dune ridge or gravel hill in Ranger! It can be taken anywhere, traverse any terrain, tackle any mountain, ride through any river, and get there with maximum fuel efficiency and comfort. And that's what matters to me.
I came on the Odyssey with a clear mind, very few expectations, and trusted every minute to unfold as it should. I am leaving with a full heart, a head full of unforgettable memories, and friendships that will last a lifetime. I have had complete faith in our instructors and absolute trust in our vehicles, and have not for even one moment been let down. I feel like the luckiest girl in the entire world to have had this insane experience, and to have been able to share it with some of the most awesome people I've ever known.
I came into the Odyssey hoping to prove to everyone and especially myself how tough I was, but I find myself walking away with so much more than just recognition. I have learnt so much about myself; life-long memories and meeting resilient, loving, warm, hilarious, caring convoy of brothers and sisters!
The comfort and ergonomics of the Ford Ranger's interior is incomparable. Having driven more than 200 hours and almost 8000 km I would say I am qualified to testify to that. This versatile pickup makes on and off-road driving so smooth, comfortable and easy. Before driving the Ford Ranger I was a hardened fanatic of another brand, but now I don’t know how I am going to get back into my car without a sense of disappointment.
The Ranger Odyssey was a journey of epic proportions that I don’t believe I would have had the chance of experiencing in my lifetime if not for the Odyssey. It was filled with new experiences for me that enabled me to achieve what I set out to, in experiencing a side of Africa that I had not seen before and challenging myself to new limits I had not envisaged reaching.
The Ford Ranger has surpassed all my expectations for this epic journey. The most important factor is that it brought us home 'Safely' and comfortably without a single issue over the 8 000 km proving its 'Quality' build. The comfort features from the driving position to the lumbar support to the 'Smart' convenience of Bluetooth enabling me to play my favourite tunes from my iPhone all just worked perfectly.
Living up to the 'Green' pillar of Ford, the Rangers were super-efficient on diesel as I managed 10l/100km at times with a load, which made all the difference in our fuelling. The Ranger is second to none, and I would happily jump back in one of them and drive back to Nairobi ...
The Odyssey has given me such a passion and desire to get to know our beautiful continent and my own country more. It has also given me confidence to do what has generally been considered a man’s domain and has taught me that with the right tools, vehicle and attitude, anyone can be Ranger Odyssey qualified.
My previous experience with a 4x4 was my dad’s old bone-shaking one and I was always under the impression that that was just the nature of the beast, to be shaken along and have to stop every 300 km for fuel. The Ranger has to be one of the most comfortable 4x4 vehicles, one that I am completely happy to pack my kids into for a long journey. It is comfortable, safe and fully equipped for on and off road driving. A perfect family and holiday vehicle.
The Odyssey was really a culture shock for me more than any other contestant I think. I started the Odyssey with no experience in camping, and the different cultures, people and living circumstances we saw showed me that we need to appreciate what we have and do a little bit more to try and make a difference in other people's lives. I can’t thank Ford and the De Rust team enough for giving me this experience of a lifetime.
I really underestimated the capabilities of the Ranger, but Ford has indeed has indeed done an exceptional job on this product. One thing for sure is if I don't win the Ranger, I am going to buy one. Life would seriously be more fun if you own a Ranger and you will definitely GO FURTHER!
This truly a life-changing experience for me. An expedition of a lifetime with no let downs what so ever. I had a chance to discover Africa in a whole different way, in a way many would never even dream of doing.
The Ford Ranger is the big game-changer in my mind for the company, especially for the people of my generation. The Ranger was truly tested to its fullest on the Odyssey and it excelled in everything that we threw at it. From the interior and exterior design to the engine and drivetrain, the Ranger is the clear leader in my eyes.
The Ranger Odyssey will forever be the journey that unveiled the African continent to me, a dream that eluded me for all the years of my life. Meeting an entire village of Masai people in Kenya, the endless flatness and serenity of the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana and a choir of girls singing to us at their humble school in Mozambique - moments I have banked in my heart forever. At the start of the Odyssey I couldn't wait to tick Africa off my bucket list but the truth is that she's left me with an insatiable hunger for more. When, how and where is up in the air but I do know for sure I will be back.
Just a month and a half ago I'd never been behind the wheel of a 4x4 in my life. I wasn't really that interested, I didn't think it was me. The Ford Ranger introduced me to the nooks and crannies of Africa I simply would not have been able see otherwise. Through Africa's mud, sand, rain, rocks and even kilometres of crater-sized potholes, the Ranger just kept going through, over and beyond it all every time. She's tough but she's also smart and safe, making this package quite a dream.