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The Suzuki Safari returns... to Botswana with a fleet of 7 showroom stock Jimnys
THE SUZUKI SAFARI RETURNS... TO BOTSWANA WITH A FLEET OF 7 SHOWROOM STOCK JIMNYS
This here SXdrv staffer is an unashamed Suzuki fanatic. The brand has the coolest products and is one of the few that offers a model that ticks all my motoring needs and wants. For fun and performance that’s more rewarding than the big turbocharged hatchbacks is the Swift Sport, for family transportation there’s the Vitara and for exploring this amazing country of ours - the Jimny. I’ve been a fan since my sister brought home an SJ as her daily driver. Years later, in 2008 when the first of the newer generation Jimny hit our shores I had a close look at one that fellow our mate Mark Jones had on test and it was love at first site. When the retro-styled 4th generation was first leaked online in 2017, I didn’t think the production model would be as cool, but it was. The little 4x4 quite literally took the world by storm, there’s still a bit of a waiting list if you must have a brand new one, that’s how much demand there has been. While fans of the brand know the 4x4’s capabilities, many out there have no idea just how good these are when it comes to overlanding duties.
That’s sort of where these Suzuki Safaris come in - created by Suzuki SA in collaboration with African Expeditions, a fleet of Suzuki Jimnys is loaded up with various media people, influencers and your average Suzuki owners and then is guided across some of the country’s most amazing terrain. The first instalment of the Suzuki Safari saw the diminutive 4x4s up near the Namibian border and some lifelong memories were made. For this latest Suzuki Safari experience, the invited guests were flown into Kasane in northern Botswana to experience the amazing beauty of the country and to camp among some real wildlife en route back to the airport in Maun. The wildlife is so wild that if you weren’t on high alert during a midnight pee break outside your tent there was a real possibility of being dinner for something bigger than you with teeth and claws.
JJ Du Toit from African Expeditions, along with sons Justin and JJ and an amazing crew have been our hosts before, it was a welcome return because knowing they once again had our lives in their hands put us at ease - true professionals with a ridiculous amount of knowledge on, well, everything. The routes were long and quite tough going, but the Jimny is like a mountain goat, it can go anywhere with ease. So much so that you can feel the hairy eyeballs from other 4x4 drivers who have the highest lift kits and half a million Rand worth of accessories on massive million Rand 4x4 as they see a 7-long convoy heading into 4x4-only territory. That’s actually a big part of the Suzuki Safari experience - to show people that you can easily traverse the planet in a Jimny in showroom floor spec. All you need is a small compressor to re-inflate the tyres after a decent off-road session and someone to share the experience with. Most see the size of the Jimny and its 1.5-litre powerplant and they form an idea of what the car can or can’t do when it leaves the tarmac, and in 80% of cases they’re very wrong. Clearly evident when the Jimny convoy stopped to rescue a Hilux driver that got very stuck in soft beach-like sand on Day 2 of our journey. Funny stuff.
The convoy of Jimnys headed to the new car/train Ngoma Bridge - an amazing piece of architecture that’s on a sort of 3-way split between Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe running over the Chobe river. They crossed the bridge but only to see how amazing it is and so the convoy turned back before the Namib border. From there it was off to the amazing Mwandi View lodge for some sleep and a good meal. The next day we headed to Chobe National Park where we were going to be camping. Along the way we spotted all manner of wildlife from buffalo to elephant to giraffe, and more. The Jimny fleet impressed at every step of the way with zero issues from any of them, but that was expected.
Proper wild camping was amazing, the herd of hippos a mere 25m away from our campfire had us all in awe - and kakking ourselves. Those things flatten people for fun. We spent two days in the area, exploring different sites and spots along the river to see different wildlife. One of the stops angered a young but absofukkenlutley massive hippo bull who wanted to swallow us whole, and it could have, but we backed away and I’m here to tell you about it.
On the last day, we headed to Maun where the airport is located - it was a long and slow journey, but the company and the views made it awesome. Botswana is a place that you must visit. Any preconceptions you have about the place are wrong, they just are. It’s clean, efficient, full of friendly people and everything just works. Animals and people live in harmony, it’s amazing! Our government could learn a lot from Botswana. Once again, an absolutely epic trip with the Suzuki SA crew and African Expeditions. If you’re a Jimny owner, a trip like this is a must, I mean you already have the best tool for the job so why not? You can take your own Jimny along or African Expeditions can sort you out with one for one of these camping experiences, so there’s no reason not to do something awesome like this when the urge hits. Just do it, you’re not guaranteed tomorrow.
Take a look at the YouTube video that shows a bunch of details and the capabilities of the amazing Suzuki Jimny. You probably know all of this already, but a reminder on how good these vehicles are is never a bad thing. If you're ever keen to get off the tarmac and explore the rest of SA, there's no need to spend near R1 mil on a 4x4. You can have more fun and get to more places in a stock Jimny than you can in a bunch of modified things - the Jimny has no market competitor. Check it out: Suzuki Jimny 2018 | Suzuki Auto South Africa
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