THE EXPERT’S CHOICE: CARLA GEYSER (Founder of NPO, Blue Sky Society Trust)
Mama Africa takes your breath away with her magnificent sunsets and sunrises. She leaves you speechless at her amazing wildlife and her boundless energy that reawakens raw emotions.
Yet, amidst all this splendour and magic, there is a sad, ugly reality – a festering wound of poaching, over-population, poverty, and human-wildlife conflict. And so, in 2016, I lead my first all-female expedition into Africa called the ‘Elephant Ignite Expedition’.
Using 3 Avis Safari 4x4 Ford Rangers, we travelled for 100 days, and 16 000 km from SA all the way up to Kenya, raising money and awareness for elephants.
When you’re out in the African bushveld (without a support crew), you need to be certain that your equipment is up to the task, and not once did our Coopers let us down.
Fast forward to 2018, we set off again on our second all-female expedition called the ‘Rise of The Matriarch’, an 11 235 km journey through 4 countries, driven over 50 days. This time, however, I was driving my beloved “Dora”, a 1997 TDI Defender 90.
‘The Rise of the Matriarch’ expedition spanned South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, and attracted 12 women from around the world to join in. We had no back up team, or support crew; just a group of passionate ladies with a deep love for African travel, conservation and adventure.
Needless to say, we wanted the toughest tyres we could find, and after witnessing how well they performed on the Avis Safari vehicles, we opted for the Cooper S/T MAXX.
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Over the years, and many more expeditions, our S/T MAXX tyres have never failed to impress. From tackling thick sand in Mozambique while collaring elephants at Gile National Reserve, to the muddy roads of Manyoni Game Reserve for my ‘Soul2Sole’ humanitarian project.
During this latter trip, we delivered 449 pairs of school shoes to communities in rural and marginalised villages, and often had to contend with thick mud and immense rainfall. To date, we have handed out close to 10 000 shoes to children in underprivileged areas.
The adventures have been boundless, and I look forward to the day when I can once again turn my bonnet northwards and head back into Mama Africa’s territory. To march to her ancient drumbeats, indulge in her wild beauty, and to confidently tackle whatever challenges she throws at us, knowing that our Coopers are underfoot.