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BMW X5, Toyota Land Cruiser... 5 great cars for an awesome Easter roadtrip

2019-04-18 09:00

Lance Branquinho


Image: BMW

Easter weekend gifts many vehicle owners the opportunity for their first big road trip of the year. South Africa’s vast and diverse geography, detailed with natural magnificence, means we are spoilt for choice. 

Nine provinces and within them: many amazing districts worth visiting. But which dream road trip vehicles best match with attractions in those nine provinces?

We’ve created a list below of the places you should visit and the vehicles best suited to them. 

Northern Cape Kalahari: Land Cruiser 4.5 VX-R R1 433 700

Toyota Land Cruiser

South Africa’s most popular seven-seater luxury 4x4 was built for exploring the country’s most sparsely populated province. Those characteristic red Kalahari dunes hide some of the most special vistas and frequently star in BBC, Discovery Channel or Nat Geo documentaries.

Although not as towering as Namibian dune fields, many underestimate the challenge of traversing the Northern Cape’s Kalahari sea of red sand. Powered by a 4.5-litre V8 turbodiesel and featuring a low-range transfer case to leverage the most from its 650Nm peak torque output, the ‘Cruiser 4.5 VX-R is supremely competent off-road.

As the largest of all Toyotas sold locally, the VX-R also has three rows of seating – so nobody has to be left behind at the lodge, when you set out exploring.  

Jeffreys bay: VW California Coast R1 061 000

vw california coastal

The Eastern Cape’s seaside vacation hub has a global reputation as one of the greatest of all surfing venues. If you are travelling from afar, with a gaggle of board-riding teenagers or friends, you’ll need a vehicle which can effortlessly accommodate many surfboards.

For most surfers, the authentic surf mission vehicle remains VW’s T-series range. 

The T2 and T3 were legendary surfing exploration vehicles, especially in South Africa, and the brand’s latest T6 California Coast is a dream surfmobile.

Finished in classic Malibu dual-tone colours, VW’s California looks the part and is enormous inside. Reconfigure the seating and you can secure several surfboards inside, without bothering fellow passengers. And if you arrive at your AirB&B and find it overcrowded, the California Coast features an integrated roof tent with mattress. 

It is also a great open road tourer, powered by a 2-litre turbodiesel good for 150kW and 450Nm, whilst 4Motion all-wheel drive ensures you can explore a bit of gravel too, in search of that perfect wave. 

KZN Underberg: BMW X5 50d


When people plan an Easter long weekend to KZN, it inevitably involves one of the coastal towns such as Ballito or Umhlanga. But if you seek natural splendour, KZN’s grandest feature is inland. 

The Drakensberg is South Africa’s highest and most magnificent mountain range and the Underberg area which leads to it, is flooded with ranging forests and beautiful cattle farms. There is also the opportunity to launch a lunchtime visit into Lesotho, via the renowned Sani pass. 

A vehicle best-suited to travelling up the Sani pass must be one with excellent traction and a compact turning circle, to ensure you don’t get anxious rounding those steep hairpins which coil their way to the Lesotho border post. At a peak of 2876m, the Sani pass will also test any off-roader which potentially suffers turbo-lag. BMW’s latest X5 50d is perfectly suited to conquering Sani pass.

The 50d’s 3-litre turbodiesel has no less than four turbochargers, to ensure there’s no power delivery lag and it boosts 760Nm. With BMW’s off-road pack, which includes a rear differential lock and terrain appropriate tyres, it is the most Sani pass capable X5 yet. 

Mpumalanga panorama route: Audi RS4 Avant - R1 214 284

Audi RS4

Kruger park might be Mpumalanga’s drawcard for most international visitors, but as locals we know there is much more to the lowveld than lions. The panorama route journeys from Nelspruit to Blyderivierspoort and links some of South Africa’s most inspiring mountain passes.

Fantastically flowing roads are framed by vast forestry plantations. It truly is a destination for the keen driver. 

No Easter road trip vehicle list would be complete without an estate car and there is no station wagon more desirable than Audi’s RS4, equipped with a dynamically aware all-wheel drive system, 331kW turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 and 505-litres of luggage space.Roomy enough to take your entire family and pets along for the Easter weekend, but also rewarding enough as a driver’s tool to make each curve of the panorama route an apex aligning adventure. 

Limpopo : Volvo S90 R741 200

Few places anywhere in the world experience the crush of traffic which happens in Limpopo over Easter weekend. 

Thousands of congregants travel to Moria for a weekend of worship, which means that if you want to go anywhere in South Africa’s northern most province at the same time, you best be in a vehicle which makes trafficked driving less stressful. 

Few cars are better at driving themselves and avoiding a collision in traffic, than Volvo’s S90. The large Swedish sedan also features ridiculously comfortable seats, easing house spend in-car, and with S90’s AutoPilot you can divorce yourself from traffic stress and enjoy the orchestral quality Bowers & Wilkins sound system.  

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