If you’re a Defender driver with a passion for exploring off the beaten track, then this event is for you. Taking place from 18 to 23 May 2020, Bundutec Defender Trophy Limpopo is a rollicking overland tour through the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
Since the very first Defender Trophy in 2004, this overland challenge has become synonymous with adventurous fun. It’s a chance to explore off the beaten track and learn more about local heritage and indigenous fauna and flora as you self-drive through three different countries.
What Bundutec Defender Trophy Limpopo isn’t, is a driving contest, founder and organiser Johan Kriek is at pains to point out. While the five-day event includes plenty of natural obstacles like river crossings, soft sand and rocky ascents, it’s more about enjoying the experience and honing your driving and navigation skills. “We see it as an overlanding experience, not a race,” says Johan.
The competition aspect comes by way of a daily questionnaire about the sights you encounter along the route. This is where your Tracks4Africa GPS map comes into play. “You might, for example, be asked to identify the tree to your right at a specific waypoint,” he says. Luckily, you’re welcome to use your tree guide, bird book and other field guides for answering the questions.
What to expect
The 2020 Limpopo edition kicks off with an undesignated border crossing as drivers cross the Limpopo River into Zimbabwe. The route then runs through the community-owned Sengwe Corridor wilderness area where the Defender convoy will stop at a local school or clinic to distribute aid packages. “It’s a token of our appreciation for the opportunity to traverse their land and camp in an untouched spot,” explains Johan.
Wild camping is part and parcel of Defender Trophy, and one of the aspects that makes this overland tour so memorable. “Pitching your tent in these remote areas is really only possible during Defender Trophy. And it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. At night you hear the lions roar and we’ve had ellies walk by our camps.”
For the Limpopo edition, Johan has also obtained a special concession to camp in a wilderness area of Gonarezhou National Park, the destination for the second night. And if you think things can’t get better, the third night is spent at the foot of the impressive Chilojo Cliffs. “It’s absolute magic. That day’s route will take us along the escarpment for unlimited views across the Runde River before we descend. The sight of the cliffs painted red by the setting sun at the end of the day is a real highlight.”
From there Defender Trophy will head to Mozambique, where the last night is spent on the banks of the Limpopo River. “Very few people have sat in that spot, downing a cold one while looking over the river.”
See the complete itinerary: https://defendertrophy.com/limpopo-event/
What you need to take
If you want to share in this experience, it’s paramount you’re well prepared. Participants have to be completely self-sufficient in terms of food, drinking water, firewood and camping equipment.
You will also need a two-way radio and a GPS loaded with Tracks4Africa maps. Aside from enabling you to answer the questions posed during Defender Trophy, your Tracks4Africa GPS map has other roles to play.
Because Tracks4Africa really does cover the entire continent, you’ll be able to follow the route on your GPS and know what to expect. Even so, some parts of Defender Trophy Limpopo 2020 will be breaking new ground and venturing where there aren’t tracks! (We’re counting on you to update us with the route.)
If you should be separated from the group for any reason, like a mechanical failure, your T4A map will enable you to meet up again or safely make your way to the closest exit point.
How to take part
Whether you’re an old hand at overlanding or new to self-driving Africa, this family-friendly event fits the bill. “It’s an opportunity to go into the wilderness with like-minded people and come away with some new knowledge,” Johan explains. “For Defender fanatics, it’s interesting to swap stories and compare kit. And it’s always amazing to see the different ways owners have kitted their vehicles out.”
What’s more, Defender Trophy has some great prizes lined up, so you could come away with useful overlanding gear or swish new accessories. The biggest prize of all, of course, is spending time in Africa’s wildly beautiful places. What are you waiting for?
The entry fee is R10,000 for a team of two, R1,750 per additional participant. This includes participation in the event, use of the overnight camping spots and a Defender Trophy T-shirt. Border and park fees in Zimbabwe excluded.