JOHANNESBURG – Ford South Africa is putting the Ranger to the test in the Ford Ranger Odyssey 2013 – a unique and exciting Pan African 4x4 challenge that will seek to conquer some of Africa’s toughest terrain. Ten of South Africa’s toughest proved themselves through four days of intense training and assessment during the recent Ranger Odyssey Boot Camp in Johannesburg. They will compete in a three-week long expedition that kicks off in Kenya June 24. One winner will walk away with ownership of one of the Rangers used in the Odyssey.
The Ranger Odyssey starts in Nairobi and weaves its way via the Amboseli National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater through historical treasures such as Bagamoyo – the centre of the world’s slave trade – and Ilha de Mocambique – site of the Portuguese/Dutch war. The untouched beaches of Inhambane will provide a much-needed reprieve toward the final part of the trip, allowing participants a brief rest before tackling the final stretch of the Odyssey, which ends in Pretoria July 14.
From hundreds of applications, 17 semi-finalists were selected for the boot camp, where they underwent a rigorous training programme that focussed on the essential aspects of 4x4 and convoy driving, camp set-up, team work and communication skills.
“Boot camp put the diverse group of competitors through their paces on a wide range of challenges,” says Gavin Golightly, Ford Marketing manager. “The level of enthusiasm and commitment throughout the four days of competition was truly exceptional, and we have to congratulate each of the brave semi-finalists for giving it everything throughout the selection process.”
The 10 finalists were chosen based on a wide range of aspects, including their team dynamics, proficiency in the 4x4 tasks, technical knowledge and their approach toward social media, which is the primary communication channel throughout the 21-day Ranger Odyssey.
“Aside from showing off the remarkable capabilities of the Ford Ranger, we have emerged with a fantastic group of dynamic people who embody the spirit of the Ranger Odyssey. They are relishing the experience of a lifetime on this 8,000 kilometre adventure through six African countries,” Golightly says.
Each of the10 participants will have their own blog on the website (www.rangerodyssey.com
), where they will give the public a day-by-day account of their adventures. The Odyssey will be in Kenya June 23-24, followed by Tanzania (June 25-29), Mozambique (June 30 through July 5), Zimbabwe (July 6-7) and Mozambique again (July 8-13), before culminating in South Africa July 14.
Competitors from Gauteng dominate the list with six finalists. Alex Cruickshanks, 28, from Randpark Ridge, is a management consultant by day, but clearly used his sporting ability as a multiple South Africa rowing champion to his advantage to secure his spot on the main event. “Driving through Africa has always been a dream of mine, and this is a great opportunity to live the dream,” he says.
Bernard Hollander, 21, is an industrial psychology student from Pretoria and exploited his youthful exuberance to full effect. “I’m here to win the awesome Ford Ranger and to gain experience travelling through Africa.”
IT technician Richard Rammoneng, 32, is passionate about off-roading. “Competing in the Ranger Odyssey will be a dream come true.”
Kugesh Reddy, 30, is a banking professional from Sunninghill. “I’m looking forward to experiencing Africa and the ultimate test of man and machine.”
As a commercial diver, Ryno Swart, 30, from Roodepoort, has physical endurance on his side. “I’m an adventure freak, and I love being outdoors,” he says. “Aside from travelling through Africa, I have one goal and that is to win the awesome Ford Ranger.”
Wisaal Anderson, 31, lives in Johannesburg and is a lifestyle blogger. “My aim is to have fun and experience new things,” she says. “I have a reputation as a pampered princess, and I hope to change that perception on the Ranger Odyssey.”
The Western Cape, and more specifically Cape Town, is represented by two women. Paula Smith, 37, from Durbanville, is an accountant and mother of three. “I’ve been dreaming about travelling through Africa since I was 12 and can’t wait to fulfil that dream.”
Dania Petrik, 29, from Hout Bay, has just completed her master’s degree on sustainable development and had her first taste of Africa last year while doing research. “I absolutely loved the experience, and when I saw the Ranger Odyssey there wasn’t a chance that I would miss this amazing opportunity.”
The two remaining finalists are from KwaZulu-Natal. Donatella D’Aloisio, 33, is a business owner from Durban. “I love adventure and I love Africa,” she says. “The Ford Ranger is amazing, and I want to get down and dirty with it on an incredible adventure.”
Chloe Boshoff, 28, is a photographer from Pietermaritzburg. “I’m very enthusiastic about Africa, photography and the Ford Ranger, and this event combines all of that into one exceptional adventure.”