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I have been very fortunate to visit a few sub-Saharan countries and I always, without fail, have a wonderful experience, bordering on the magical. However, I’ve always flown into our neighbouring states, missing out on what is reputedly a completely novel experience: Overlanding.
Being invited to drive across Zambia and Botswana in a Land Rover Discovery is the sort of thing you clear your schedule for. But on landing in Lusaka, we were greeted by a fleet of the latest Range Rover Evoques, which looked about as comfortable as the Princess of Monaco in an episode of Survivor.
However, as you’ll see in the video, the smallest Range Rover handled everything Zambia threw at it – and to make matters worse, it was the rainiest rainy season in 30 years. In the first few hundred meters, driving through an average-sized mud pond, the convoy was halted. Car No. 2 was asked to remain in position. Car No. 2 was me. Turns out, the rather bucket-shaped rear bumper of my Evoque had filled with water and simply popped off.
With my bumper in the back of the lead vehicle, our touring party cruised almost effortlessly across Zambia, with each car reaching Botswana in full working order. Besides my piece of bodywork making a break for freedom, the Evoque was extremely impressive out here.
The DiscoveryBut, it was time to find the Discoveries, which were over in Botswana. If anything, the terrain we faced in the Discovery was less harsh than that faced in the Evoque, and what followed was a mostly comfortable ride to a remote camp site, where Kingsley Holgate was scheduled to pop in for a rum or two.
On the way back to the airport, we quite literally bombed it on what can only be described as a sand-road highway, and this is where the big Discovery with its latest generation air-suspension was remarkable. If you were in the backseat and not really concentrating, you would have barely noticed we were offroad.
Ultimately, three days and two nights of being a complete novice, combined with a great film crew and trying to talk to camera without hitting a tree, lion or other Land Rover resulted in this video; an epic road trip in impressive cars, taking in the incredible beauty of this continent.
If you ever have a chance to drive across Africa, don’t hesitate for a minute. It's as good as you’ve heard. The experience even changed the way I think about buying cars; why have a normal car when you can have a 4x4, which is just as comfortable as a luxury sedan and affords you the freedom of travel?
We’d love to hear about your Overlanding experiences in the comments below.