Someone once said that it is not about getting to the destination but savouring the journey getting there.
While I'm not too sure who coined the phrase, Ford's unique #gravelog experience certainly rings true to that notion.
Soaking in the sights
Covering a total kilometre span of 2 303km from Cape Town to Johannesburg on 95% gravel and dirt roads, the experience swiftly whisks you out of your comfort zone and into a wilderness of sand, stone and mud.
We used Ford's latest offerings in its Ranger line-up including the Wildtrak, Ranger XLT and the top-of-the range Raptor.
WATCH | Ranger Raptor, Hilux GR Sport, Arctic AT35 go off-road
As the convoy of Ranger bakkies ventured through small towns outside of Cape Town, passersby waved and cheered like we were celebrities. At the same time, it became apparent just how grateful we as 'city slickers' should be.
Things like wi-fi connectivity, Playstations and iPhones have become an important part of daily modern life - with many of us seemingly dependent on it for our careers and social lives. Yet, the basics like water and decent accommodation are necessities many can only dream of.
Lending a helping hand
As a heart-warming act of generosity, Ford decided to help a farmer in Sutherland by supplying his farm with bales of hay so that his 300 sheep have something to eat over the festive season.
The bakkies trekked through Tankwa's steep mountain passes, barren land and inescapable heat with a few bales lost on the way. But on a day averaging 30-degrees, we finally made it.
Photo: Wheels24/Robin Classen
The happiness on the farmer's face was evident. He continuously expressed his gratitude to us and mentioned that it hasn't rained in the area for more than seven years which, he said, would be the greatest gift of all.
How content these people are with the bare minimum is something to behold. The same can be said about the kids we encountered in several roadside towns.
We had more than enough to eat and gave them some of our pre-packed treats.
Many people reflected on how grateful they are for their daily blessings because where we can simply turn on a tap for seamless running water or flip a switch for electricity, some have to drive long and arduous distances for these necessities.
Photo: Wheels24/Robin Classen
They might have heard of Stage 6 load shedding out there, and while they don't have any water, they are at least not affected by it because solar power provides them with the energy they need to get by each day.
Clothes, shoes and faces might have been covered in dirt and mud, but no one cared. When people talk about a holiday is it always abroad, forgetting the extraordinary wonders we have right here under our noses.
While these types of trips wouldn't usually be the norm, it gives a different perspective of how vast and culturally diverse our country is. And, I would most certainly encourage South Africans to do it more often.
Get in your SUV or your bakkie and head off the highway to discover how the little things in life and your loved ones really matter most.
Gravel roads might not be for everyone but in this case the road less travelled is the one with all the memories - that cannot be bought.
*Disclaimer Wheels24 journalist Robin Classen was hosted by Ford for this off-road experience.
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