An adventure! That is what the invite to this Suzuki media event promised. And this was to be an event with a twist. We’d be driving both cars and bikes. Being a biker at heart my first thought was: “No contest. The bike will win.” But as it turned out this was not to be a bike vs car event. Rather, this whole adventure was to showcase that whether you prefer two wheels or four, Suzuki will get you there and then some.
The car used was the Suzuki Ignis. Ultimate Drive already took an Ignis to Gamkaskloof in a previous article, so we knew what a capable little SUV this is. With the wheels pushed out right to the corners the approach and departure angles are good and combined with the short wheelbase the 180mm ground clearance (more than that of the bike, in fact) is more than adequate. It is not a 4×4, but we weren’t heading to off-road trails either. If there’s a road this car will get you there whether it’s muddy, rocky or sandy. Just mind the speed and enjoy the ride.
The 80’s brought us some legendary Dakar bikes. Think Africa Twin, R80GS and of course the Suzuki DR Big! The latest incarnation of the DL1050 V-Strom pays homage to that bike. The historic beak, the styling lines, the rectangular headlight even the striking yellow paint – it’s all there. The new bike’s 20L tank, tubeless tyres and centre stand, all standard features, makes for a very practical adventure tourer (a more in-depth look at this bike in a separate article).
Our 3-day route took us from Grabouw to Barrydale, along Route 62 to Seweweeks Poort and through Bosluiskoof Pass to the Game Lodge Bosch Luys Kloof. The second day saw us backtrack through Seweweeks Poort and head East over Huisrivier Pass and then following the Matjiesrivier gravel road to Kobus se Gat, then over the Swartberg Pass and all the way to Klaarstroom for the night. Meiringspoort flooded and were closed, but reopened and we continued South over the debris all the way to the Old Toll House on Montagu Pass for coffee and pancakes, before the trip ended in George.
We explored some of the off the beaten track roads and encountered road surfaces varying from tar to dirt to mud to rocky, with even sand water crossings thrown into the mix. We experienced Bain’s most famous passes, saw incredible views and vistas, ate local non-franchise food and stayed in historical places. We experienced nature, and the quiet calmness only the Karoo can provide. We had a chance to touch base with our souls, forgetting about deadlines, accounts and restricted movement.
In these extraordinary times people have a yearning to get out again, away from the masses and into the open. There is so much to see, right here on our own doorstep. And you don’t need a million Rand 4×4 to do it. Buy affordable and keep the rest of the budget to explore! The Suzuki Ignis new costs a mere R229 000. The Suzuki DL1050 V-Strom costs R221 900. If you had the cash, which would you buy to have the best adventures?
Photos: Rob Till