Pretoria resident Liane van Dyk won the 2015 Ranger Odyssey following 12 days of evaluation and competition while travelling 2 000km through the remote Damaraland and Kaokoland regions of Namibia. She beat all the men in the competition.
The 23-year-old computer programmer and part-time DJ beat 19 other contestants to the title, including 13 from South Africa, two each from Nigeria and Ivory Coast, and one each from Angola and Mozambique.
The ultimate prize: an Odyssey Ranger for a year, plus the equivalent of N$5 000 fuel per month.
The 17 Ford Ranger convoy in the Ford Odyssey completed the arduous 12-day 2 000 km off-road expedition through the extremely remote and rugged Damaraland and Kaokoland regions of northern Namibia last week.
There were many highlights during the trip, including travelling through Desolation Valley, the infamous Khuwarib, dust holes, Crowther 4×4 Trail and camping at the base of Brandberg – each just as spectacular as the last. The convoy also traversed many of Namibia’s main rivers including the Huab, Omaruru, Hoanib and Hoarisib River.
The route officially started at Spitzkoppe, and contestants travelled via Palmwag, Khuwarib and Desolation Valley to the final destination point at Brandberg campsite where the final two days were spent beneath the highest mountain in Namibia. The terrain varied dramatically during the course of the trip, from smooth dirt roads to soft river sand, suspension-testing rough and rocky 4×4 trails through the mountains leading into barren planes that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Each day the contestants were assessed and scored by the instructors, Ford representatives and media crew, on a wide variety of aspects, including 4×4 driving, camp etiquette, communication and leadership skills, special tasks, as well as their overall demeanour throughout the trip.