Namaqua Road Trip Sparks Jimny Love Affair

Late December 2018 we confirmed an exciting 15 day rental for an Australian brother & sister who wanted one of our equipped Suzuki Jimny rentals in Cape Town for an epic 5000Km road trip to Johannesburg via the Garden Route, Wild Coast, Drakensberg and the Kruger National Park

With pick up planned for Cape Town and the rest of the team away I was asked to assist with the delivery from Johannesburg. Having recently joined the Tread Lite team, my experience driving the Jimny long distances in a relatively short period of time was limited and to be honest I was a apprehensive. But then the idea hit me – my seven year old daughter was still on school holiday and getting bored at home – why not do a daddy/daughter road trip! It would be the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with her and also give her the chance to experience some of our beautiful country. I pitched the idea and she agreed in an instant (the Jimny is so cute she said – lets go for it).

Packed and ready for the road trip to Cape Town

Collection of the vehicle was for the 9 January 2019, so I decided to take a few days to get to Cape Town. We left Johannesburg on the 03 January 2019 and first stop was Upington. A fairly long hall to be honest but the Jimny (Tread one) took it in her stride and we arrived mid-afternoon after 9 hours or so. Not much to see on that section of the drive but the Northern Cape beauty increases as you approach Upington. After a quick dinner we decided to call it a day and wake up fresh for our next adventure to Namaqua National Park.

Day two started with a stop at the local shop for supplies. I must admit I was a bit concerned about space in the vehicle but Tread one surprised me yet again – two days supplies fitted comfortably together with all our luggage and the camping equipment! We left Upington at 10am en route to Namaqua which is a 430km drive.

Packed for two days at Namaqua National Park

The Orange river valley is beautiful! Meandering through kilometres of vineyards,  it’s hard to believe that you are in a dessert which receives only 94mm of rain a year. We arrived in Springbok at lunch time, did a quick fuel check and topped up the jerry can on the roof just to be safe. I loaded Namaqua Nation Park into Google maps and off we went. Our Route seemed perfect until I was told to turn right onto a gravel road off the N7. I was uncertain if I should take the sand road or continue south on the N7 where I was sure we would find the main entrance to the park. My city brain told me to trust google which quickly became the best error I could have made.

Leaving the N7 behind and following the dirt track to Namaqua

We ended up at the most northern border of the park. You have arrived at your destination it said – ‘there’s not a building or car in site daddy’ my daughter told me with a look of excitement on her face’. The Jimny was in heaven on the rutted sand road so we kept going on our search for the National Park chalets. We found a sign to Skilpad which took us through a tiny town called Soebatsfontein. Now late in the afternoon, I began to feel a little uneasy on time, but the striking scenery and occasional Gemsbok kept our minds in wonder at the vastness of the place we were exploring. Finally a sign – 4×4’s only it said! No problem, I engaged low range and Tread one took up the challenge with ease. On the other side of the train – the park reception! We arrived minutes before the staff headed home for the evening.

Our chalet at the Namaqua National Park

From inside our cabin in the Namaqua National Park

Day three was spent relaxing and exploring a smaller section of the Namaqua National Park. We unfortunately didn’t have the time to go too far but I will definitely go back there. My recommendation is to spend two full days inside the park which will give you enough time to get to the coast and explore the more  remote areas of the.

Desert vistas across the Namaqua National Park

Tread One enjoying the desert environment of the Namaqua National Park

Day four arrived and we felt a sense of sadness! We knew time was nearly up for our little and we had fallen in love with the whole experience and Tread One especially. Cape Town is an easy 533km from the park. Distance wasn’t an issue here as the scenery is once again breath taking as we made our way down the N7 into Cape Town. Desert landscapes, deep valleys and rolling mountain ranges – the diversity is simply spectacular.

Departing the Namaqua National Park for Cape Town

Tread one – I was worried about your compact size and smaller engine! But now love you for that. Your ability and reliability amazed me and the whole driving and travel experience has changed my perspective for ever! What I realised on our four day adventure is that the journey is the destination, and these small, compact 4×4’s are as much a part of that journey as its passengers. Until the next delivery….

Interested in visiting the Namaqua National Park? Get all the information and online bookings on the South African National Parks website.

Interested In Visiting The Namaqua National Park?

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