10 000 Kilometres, 70 days, two men, and Land Rover make a positive difference on tour around South Africa.
This is the epic odyssey plotted for the Mzansi Edge, a heroic expedition that traces the entire land border of South Africa. The brainchild of Kingsley Holgate and his son Ross Holgate — humanitarian explorers and global Land Rover ambassadors — Mzansi Edge constitutes their charity foundation’s first long-distance test of the recently launched Land Rover Defender. But more important than having an adventure, the likes of which would have impressed Dr David Livingstone, the primary goal of the expedition is to deliver humanitarian aid to communities in need along the way. In other words, Mzansi Edge is the ultimate charity drive.
The Kingsley Holgate Foundation
Using adventure to improve and save lives is the key philosophy of the Kingsley Holgate Foundation. And with one of the continent’s most colourful modern-day explorers and philanthropists at the helm, its reach has succeeded in impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in need. Kingsley Holgate is also an author, television personality, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a speaker at the New York Explorers Club, “Explorer in Residence” at Getaway Magazine, and the most travelled man in Africa.
He is a living legend and a friend and ambassador to Land Rover, the rugged vehicles of which he has used on his many expeditions (many world firsts) to deliver life-saving equipment, like mosquito nets and water purification straws, to remote villages throughout Africa. Kingsley Holgate has also done crucial work in wildlife conservation through community education, using art to generate awareness of the plight of rhinos amongst children in rural villages.
The new Land Rover Defender
There are two things that African explorer and local hero Kingsley Holgate has in common with the new Land Rover Defender. The first is an insatiable thirst for adventure, and the second is the endurance to travel all 54 countries on the African continent.
“In our early days we could have hardly imagined the 360-degree camera systems, hi-tech off-road developments, and comfort features, which will make saving and improving lives even easier and more enjoyable,” says expedition leader and Kinglsey’s son Ross Holgate. “In a way, Land Rovers are our offices, and we’re thrilled with the environment the new Defenders offer.”
The new Land Rover Defender. A modern-day marvel fit for the intrepid explorer and the city slicker alike. The latest Defender has seen a complete redesign to its predecessor. Apart from its dashing new exterior, it’s also taken the 4×4 world by storm with its capabilities. In short, the new Defender can take on a gradient of up to 45-degrees! The patented Terrain Response is one of the main attractions to the show. It allows the driver to select between driving modes to adapt to the terrain for better traction and control. Another key feature is its ability to wade up to a depth of 900mm.
The Defender 110 launched mid-2020 officially in SA, and the Defender 90 is set to launch 2021. Price tag starting at R1 050 100.
The adventure of a lifetime
It was on the recent Cape Town leg of Mzansi Edge that we had the pleasure of attending the launch of the new Land Rover Defender. But second only to the thrill of admiring the prowess of the brand’s latest innovation was meeting personal hero, Kingsley Holgate.
The trip saw us start at the base of the sprawling hills of Durbanville. You guessed it, Durbanville Hills Wine Estate welcomed us all with a delicious brunch and brief about the exciting adventure that lay ahead. The expedition took us from Durbanville Hills over the Bainskloof Pass all to witness the Cape’s true beauty of vineyards and green lands as far as the eye could see. Wolseley, Ceres, Tulbagh, and the first night’s sleepover at Cederberg Park Kromrivier in Cederberg. What a pleasure it was sitting fireside with Kingsley listening to the stories of his adventures.
The following day, after a hearty breakfast, had us don our vellies and rugged gear to tackle the landscapes around us. The 4×4 trail (on and off the beaten track) was an exhilarating experience, and quite honestly, although I naturally marry Land Rover with rugged 4×4-ing, it was still quite a mindset adjustment seeing a next-level luxury vehicle meet dust and dirt… it was a reunion like no other. We had a few pitstops to honour and take part in the Mzansi Edge charity drive and handed out a load of food parcels to local communities in need. It was a humbling experience, for sure. None of us left without a teary eye.
The next leg saw us stop at Isabella’s in Lamberts Bay where we were welcomed with a sprawl of tasty treats to prepare us for the next track after which we retired for the rest of the evening in Paternoster’s hotel, the Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel.
It was a bittersweet ending; one I knew had to end but wasn’t quite ready for. It was a true privilege, and one I will never forget.
A noble steed for a noble cause
It is the pursuit of making a positive difference in the remotest communities that have landed this philanthropic team the prestige of, amongst other feats, being the only expedition team in the world to discover the geographic centre-point of Africa, and also, to have reached all seven “extreme” geographic points on the African continent.
The Kingsley’s noble steed of choice? The 2020 Land Rover Defender.