Oh, adventures! How we love them! They are an excursion out of the mundanity of our normal, humdrum lives. They are the spice of life used to flavour our memories, which are otherwise a bit dull and repetitive. And the best adventures involve tough terrain. The kind of terrain that puts hair on a 12-year old’s chest.
Terrain being what it is, you need the right vehicle for the job or you’re, quite literally, going to get stuck.
The H1 Hummer.
The Hummer is of course a humdinger. It’s a perfect all-terrain vehicle. Its disadvantages are clunkiness, its incredible width, and lack of speed. Meaning this isn’t an urban vehicle with much practicality, unless of course your home town was ground zero for a zombie apocalypse. Hungry, brain-eating hordes aside, this isn’t one to invest in for your daily commute to work.
But of course, who cares about that when you’re on a desert adventure? The sand dunes and dust storms and general difficult traction that comes with sand make life difficult for any normal vehicle. A military vehicle on the other hand…
Yes, if you didn’t know, the H1 Hummer was a US military vehicle of choice and saw plenty of action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Getting key commanders and other personnel to and from the front lines made this a number one choice with the military.
It was developed specifically with desert conditions in mind. So, if you were planning on a sight-seeing trip to Namibia’s own sandy landscapes, this would be the vehicle for you. What’s there to see in Namibia? Well, the flat-footed desert elephants for one. Not many people know about elephants that actually live and thrive in Namibia’s deserts. They even have special evolutionary adaptions making their feet a more disc-like shape, for ease of traversing the desert sands.
Imagine watching a herd of them from the comfort of your own H1 Hummer.
The drive train is sucked up into the chassis – which gives 16 inches of clearance from the ground. It has incredibly large 37-inch tyres. And you can reduce their air pressure when in deep dunes by using a central inflation system.
No list of adventure vehicles would be complete without the Unimog. It is a legendary vehicle some would call a ‘truck’, but it’s used for such a variety of purposes it would be more accurate to call it an all-purpose vehicle. It can even be driven quite comfortably in an urban landscape, though like the Hummer, this isn’t really ideal (there is still an individual-sales category even though it is mostly used by companies and organisations).
If you have the dosh, you could probably import one for yourself from Europe through Daimler. If you’re the serious adventuring type, you couldn’t do anything wrong with this. Some configurations have the torque power to pull a jet-liner along a tarmac.
It’s used in so many industries, including the military, firefighting services, medical rescue in remote places, the logging industry, and mining. It helps fire fighters get to the source of forest fires.
And it is truly the king of the jungle, often being utilised as a tourism vehicle to take eco-tourists into the hearts of some of the world’s most splendid jungle ecologies.
The Unimog, for instance, can go over obstacles in the road (or path, or whatever you choose to make your path) as easily as a giant, because of its massive ground clearance capabilities. The ground clearance is amazing, at 500mm.
It can also flex – specially designed to, in any case, with its steel ladder frame chassis created in such a way that where the situation requires it. When you add that together with its incredible ground clearance, you get a vehicle that can handle just about any obstacle in the road.
The Unimog can also ford rivers at a depth of up to 1.2 metres, making it great for taking “the back waters”. And it powers through mud with ease.
For any kind of safari, adventure, or journey, the Unimog is the one to beat.
VW Golf Alltrack
It might be that you want a bit more comfort on your journeys. For less strenuous adventures, but that still involve going off the beaten track, the VW Golf Alltrack commands attention. It is spacious and makes a great family vehicle.
It has the amenities you’d expect in a reasonably luxury vehicle, but also the features needed to go for a drive through the hills or through mountain paths. Features such as all-wheel drive and an optional off-road mode.
The engine is turbocharged for that extra ‘oomph!’ and it even has paddle shifters.
Hill Descent Control will make it easier going down those slopes, but a really great feature is 4MOTION all-wheel drive, which is its all-wheel-drive system. What it does is transfer torque between the front and rear wheels. In your ordinary urban situation, power going to the front wheels. But when needed, the feature sends torque to the rear axle.
It also boasts the highest ground clearance of any of the Golfs, aiding it on the off-road.
This one’s great for a romantic off-road adventure with your partner, or a family outing, to an out-of-reach wood cabin. The infotainment system features plenty of apps to make the experience that much better.