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Road trip: Heading to Porterville in the new Land Rover Discovery

2018-04-26 10:30

Image: Megan Parker

Sean Parker

Cederberg - I love a good road trip, in fact I try and do as many as possible. The most recent journey led me to Rockhaven Farm above Porterville in the Western Cape. 

It's a picturesque spot surrounded by the Grootwinterhoek mountains, devoid of synthetic light (the Milky Way is completely visible) and possesses stunning landscape with rock paintings by the Khoi and San people. 

Idyllic location

A few days in this paradise, roughly two hours out of Cape Town, was just what I needed to tear my eyes and ears from notifications, deadlines and painful peak hour traffic.  

 Image: Tarryn Temmers

Why Rockhaven farm? It's beautiful, there's very little cellphone signal and you're surrounded by nothing by mountains. We were lucky to get a thorough tour of the farm by Jaap, who's worked on the land since he was a boy. 

His tour took us off the beaten path, dipping and diving under rocks to find exquisite rock paintings and caves once used by the San. 

It's a must-see for anyone remotely into taking time away and getting closer to nature while also having access to beautiful art painted thousands of years ago. 

Head to our Instagram page for more photographs of the Discovery

Another reason are the wonderful aromas that fill the area, Rockhaven produces essential oils and is home to African Chammomile, Lavender, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Buchu and Indigenous Fynbos. 

'Essential oils are the volatile oils extracted from plant material, usually using steam as the extraction agent. Small 12ml bottles can be bought at the farm by guests but most of the oil made is flogged for resale abroad and in a South African organic range', says the website.

Image: Tarryn Temmers

Discovering 

My wheels for the trip? The latest Land Rover Discovery, powered by a 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine with 190kW and a mammoth 600Nm. 

Maximum speed is 209km/h and for what's it is worth, 0-100km/h takes 8.1 seconds according to the automaker. 

Our test unit was the HSE Luxury version with all the bells and whistles, more on that later. 

The Disco, as it's affectionately been known, has a ground clearance of 283mm and approach and departure angles of 34 degrees and 30 degrees respectively, with a breakover angle of 27.5 degrees.

Maximum wading depth is 900mm. Not that it did any wading, the Western Cape is going through severe drought. 

The encounter brought along a few different surfaces for the Discovery to handle, which made good use for the new all-terrain response system. By virtue of turning the rotary controller, different modes alter the behemoth vehicle to adapt to whatever the surface: sand, gravel, snow or mud. 

I found the 'auto' mode dealt with all the necessary conditions we encountered. 

Practically, the Discovery really has no boundaries, offering seating for seven (there's space for two small kids in the rear-most pews) and storage binnacles galore, including a fridge. 

Despite it's large size, the myriad of cameras and sensors make maneuvering the SUV child's play, particularly when one of the 'obstacles' is a stubborn donkey. (Note: Even in the city, the Discovery proved adaptable when parallel parking on a busy street). 

Image: Tarryn Temmers

Don't delay your next journey

The benefits of exploring South Africa's amazing landscape is immeasurable, I was well rested after the time in the Cedarberg. 

The Discovery covered the distance with the ease of Wayde van Niekerk in a 400m race, and proved to gobble every item of luggage with space to spare. I purposefully packed quite a bit of stuff. 

Overall, the Discovery didn't put a foot wrong, and yes a longer test will perhaps put its longevity under more scrutiny, but it performed well. It possess all the technological know-how to take on Africa, but the question is, will it struggle if stranded in the middle of nowhere? Perhaps. 

*Land Rover's diesel models start at R1 016 400 

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