Namakwa Eco Trail a bucket list item ticked, right on our back door!Tuesday, 14 February 2023
Shaun and Calvin (father and son), from Hutton Motors in Hermanus has been dreaming of doing the Namakwa Eco Trail for years, when they finally got the chance to live this dream, they shared their story with us. The Northern Cape’s Namakwa Eco Trail is South Africa’s longest official 4×4 route with over 600 kilometers of diverse terrain and natural wonders.
After itching to do the Namakwa Eco Trail for years, we eventually managed to set a date, book and go! A bit of planning and coordinating and we were set.
The journey of five vehicles left earlyish on 16 December 2022 and travelled through the very wet and muddy R355. After a stopover in Loeriesfontein, we moved North along a 200km rough and corrugated dirt road to Pofadder. Tyres deflated, the RAW 4×4 suspension kits installed on the Toyota Land Cruiser 78 Series, Toyota Hilux Vigo and Nissan Navara D23 were working well, we all made it in one piece.
Image on right: The R355 connecting the R46 near Ceres with Springbok via Calvinia
With the tanks full, we started the awesome 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, with some tricky negotiations through the rocky terrain, again the RAW 4×4 suspension working effortlessly. The Navara towing the camper trailer for the first time did superbly well, especially considering it was surrounded by Toyota’s! 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.
Images below: Calvin’s Troopy negotiating the rocky terrain, Shaun in his Hilux Vigo maneuvering through some technical parts of the trails, the Navara towing the trailer needed some skilled spotting to get through the rocky sections and camping at Pella.
The following few days were spent wild camping along the very high flowing Orange River, the border between South Africa and Namibia! The swims in the river and adventures of the drive made it so special. The evenings spent with friends around the campfire, sharing stories and memories and star gazing made for something unforgettable. It wasn’t all plain sailing, lots of bush cutting, some technical driving and soft sand made it quite exciting. The riverbed drive down to Kamgab was definitely a highlight, but nothing too serious that a normal 4×4 with low range wouldn’t be able to achieve.
Images below: Camping on the banks of the Orange River. The river provided some much-needed cooling off during the extremely hot Northern Cape days.
We then spent three days at a Growcery camp in Vioolsdrif to unwind, charge the batteries, chill and swim. From there we travelled onwards through the Richtersveld, unfortunately not finding gold in the gold mine, but finding solitude and absolute bliss in Bakkrans cave (image below).
We took a few days to get home, driving through the Namaqua Coastal region, bulldozing our way through some soft sand and carrying on South along the West Coast 4×4 route, camping at a beautiful beach spot at Waterval. From there we went to the beautiful campsite, Highlanders in Klawer to unwind, reminisce over the past two weeks and enjoy the few leftovers we had in the fridge.
Images below: Making a “Potjie” with a spectacular view on the West Coast and South Africa’s West Coast provided for great tranquility on our way down.
All the vehicles did superbly, not 1 puncture or mechanical failure. The Navara, Hilux and Troopy were all sporting new RAW 4×4 suspension kits, and what a way to really test them out and see for ourselves how they handle. The real advantage was on gravel corrugations, the RAW 4×4 suspension is so forgiving and comfortable. There is no ‘wallowing’ or bottoming out over big washouts or bumps. The added ground clearance even with the vehicles loaded also instills real confidence when the going gets tough. A very good investment made on our 4×4’s.
To find out more about the Namakwa 4×4 Eco Trail follow this link https://www.namakwa4x4.com/
The vehicles that took part in this trip that were fitted with complete RAW 4×4 suspension upgrades were a Toyota Land Cruiser 78 Series ‘Troopy’, Toyota Hilux Vigo and Nissan Navara D23. To find the right suspension solution for your 4×4 visit our online KitBuilder.