Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Fortune favours the prepared

Conquering the Namakwa Eco Trail – which is basically right on his back door – has always been on Shaun Hutton’s bucket. He and a group of friends eventually managed to set a date, book and go!

There was much excitement when the day finally arrived for us to set off on our Namakwa adventure. Our convoy left early on a Friday morning and travelled along the very wet and muddy R355. After a stopover in Loeriesfontein, we headed north along a 200km stretch of rough and corrugated dirt road to Pofadder. Thankfully all the vehicles – a Toyota Land Cruiser 78 Series, Toyota Hilux Vigo and Nissan Navara D23 – had RAW 4×4 suspension kits installed, so with deflated tyres we made good headway and soon arrived at our destination.

It was finally time to start the trail! We travelled along the track to Pella, and then took a 4×4 route to Klein Pella. It took a little longer than expected as it involved some tricky negotiations through the rocky terrain, but the RAW 4×4 suspension made light work of it. We arrived at Klein Pella, opened a cold one and set up camp where we would base ourselves for two days while exploring the trail and Charlie’s Pass.

The following few days were spent wild camping along the Orange River, which forms the border between South Africa and Namibia. Being able to swim in its cool water made our adventure even more special. Evenings were spent with friends around the campfire, sharing stories and memories and star gazing… what an unforgettable experience and privilege! It wasn’t all plain sailing, though. There was plenty of bush cutting, technical driving and soft sand to keep things exciting. Driving to Kamgab in the riverbed was definitely a highlight of the trip… challenging but nothing that a normal 4×4 with low range wouldn’t be able to handle.

We then spent three days at a Growcery camp in Vioolsdrift to unwind, enjoy each other’s company and the beautiful scenery and swim. From there, we travelled onwards through the Richtersveld. While we did not find any gold, we were rewarded with solitude and absolute bliss at Bakkrans Cave in Baviaanskloof.

We decided to take the long way home, driving through the Namaqua coastal region, bulldozing our way through some soft sand and making our way south along the West Coast 4×4 route. We camped at a stunning beach spot at Waterval before heading to the beautiful Highlanders campsite in Klawer where we had time to relax, reminisce about our experiences over the past two weeks and enjoy the few leftovers we still had in the fridge.

All the vehicles did superbly and there were no punctures or mechanical failures. We had put our RAW 4×4 suspension kits through the ultimate test and they had passed with flying colours. One of the biggest advantages became apparent while driving on gravel corrugations. The RAW 4×4 suspension is extremely forgiving and comfortable and there is no wallowing or bottoming out over big washouts or bumps. In addition, the added ground clearance – even with the vehicles loaded to the hilt – instills real confidence when the going gets tough. We had done it! After a few gruelling but highly enjoyable days on the roads and trails, we were all extremely pleased with the investment we had made in the upgrade to our 4×4’s.

*The vehicles that took part in this trip were fitted with complete RAW 4×4 suspension upgrades. To find the right suspension solution for your 4×4 visit the online kit builder: www.kitbuilder.raw4x4.co.za

More about Namakwa 4×4 Eco Trail

This rewarding trail combines the experience of off-roading in a mountainous desert region that has the highest diversity of succulent plants in the world with riverside leisure and camping. Two packages are offered, both running along the mighty Orange River within the Namakwa region of South Africa’s Northern Cape.

The Namakwa package: Pella to Vioolsdrift

This part of the route starts at Pella, with its main entrance just off the N14 highway. You will stay over at the legendary Groot Melkhoutboom campsite, where a gigantic tree becomes your host for the evening. The next town after Pella is Witbank, from where the route takes you to Goodhouse. Camping at Ramansdrift on the banks of the Orange River is a definite highlight.

The Richterveld package: Vioolsdrift to Alexander Bay

The second part of the route continues from Vioolsdrift, the gateway of the Richtersveld. You will drive through the towns of Eksteenfontein, Lekkersing, Kuboes and Sanddrif, before exiting the route at Alexander Bay, where the Orange River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

CONTACT: +27 81 873 9043 | www.namakwa4x4.com

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