“Dust off your passport and be at the airport on Monday morning at 9”, so came the instructions.
Followed by a rather cryptic email “do you enjoy horse riding” and “decide between Monster Rolling and abseiling”. What is Monster Rolling anyway?
I knew we were off on a road trip with Ford South Africa, so although we met at OR Tambo International Airport last Monday, the only flying we would be doing, past experience had taught, would be the low kind. You see, the invitation was for a Mustang Road Trip. And that was the sum total of what I knew as last week Monday dawned; but man was it to be a week for the books!
Partner selections next, or as I like to call them, Driving Buddy determinations, but this fine Monday I was selected by my usual Ford cohort, Meruschka aka Mzansi Girl. The correct driving buddy is crucial on a road trip and Meruschka and I had proven we were well matched on our last adventure, so it was a natural selection. Plus Meruschka is tons of fun and has one of the most amazing playlists on her phone, win win win I say! Our last trip saw us instigating Carpool Karaoke over the two-way radios, and I will forever remember varying renditions of Brown Eyed Girl as we entered Clarens to a beautiful setting sun. But we were asked to restrain ourselves on this trip, to ensure we did not wear down the batteries on the radios.
Part 1: Joburg to Rosendal, Free State
Leaving the city is always fun as we headed out in convoy, nothing like the sight of six Mustangs heading down the N12. We started our four-day experience in the direction of the Free State and were soon on the back roads putting the cars through their paces, their agility being tested as we dodged some serious potholes.
A quick stop at Peerland padstal was my first opportunity to reconnect with the very essence of a South African road trip. Our country has an untold number of these interesting little stores spread along many of its backroads with a variety of items on sale, not just refreshments. Peerland had a really colourful windmill which captured my imagination and had me clicking away.
The remainder of the afternoon saw us navigating the Free State roads as we headed for Rosendal, a small farming town and artist colony in the eastern Free State. Touted as the next Clarens, here we once again engaged with the heritage of the land as we spent the afternoon exploring this interesting dirt road town.
But first lunch, which saw us hosted at Die Kos Huis in Kriek Street. We were treated to a hearty Free State meal including biltong quiche and rosemary chicken that insisted I return for seconds. The people of the Free State are friendly like that, no such thing as no! (just to clarify, I was not the only one returning for seconds)
The remainder of the afternoon saw us take in the emerging artists who make up the town of Rosendal, everything from glass blowing, weaving and soap making. An assortment of cheeses paired with good solid Free State coffee was our fond farewell to the town.
Part 2: Rosendal to Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve, Free State
As I contemplated all that we have experienced in Rosendal, Meruschka and I jumped back into our Mustang and head down the road for a short 45-minute drive to Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve. Passing a field of sunflowers along the way called for an impromptu photo shoot, who was I to say no!
Arriving at Moolmanshoek, the sneaky Ford people positioned certain of the Mustangs in our group in a grassy patch at the bottom of the valley. As the excitement built amongst us, the sound of hooves could be heard in the distance, but no one was sure of what was to come. I was yet again to experience a proud heritage, this time though, that of the Mustang brand.
The sight of more than a hundred horses in full gallop right before my eyes is something I will never forget. Their sheer animal instinct and raw power as they hurtled past me was a striking reminder of the power of the mechanical beast I had been enjoying all day in our ventures through the Free State. This gave me a closer connection to the Mustang brand and insight to all that it embodies.
Another hearty Free State meal under my um belt, this time in the form of dinner, and the first day of our Mustang Road Trip had come to an end. The great thing about Moolmanshoek, which also serves as a phenomenal wedding venue, is that it is situated in a valley between the Witteberg mountains, located between Ficksburg and Bethlehem in the eastern Free State. And this means limited WiFi connectivity. This gave me even more reason to sit back and enjoy my evening at Moolmanshoek, with the social media hungry world just that bit out of touch.
Waking up on Tuesday morning, we set off for a time of game viewing at Moolmanshoek, but with a difference – on horseback. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I can bearly bring myself to pat a friends dog, so spending two hours on a horse was quite a stretch for me.
It was an amazing experience, one I am so glad I decided to get over myself and actually do. Experiencing the valley on horseback is so much more intimate than doing a standard game drive. I was taken places by my rather slow horse (which I was really grateful for) that gave me a renewed sense of appreciation for the fauna and flora of our beautiful country. And horseriding is not that bad, tick that off the to-do list!
Join me for part 2 of my Mustang Road Trip Aventure, when I share my exploits on a vintage steam train and an encounter with the local herdsmen of Lesotho. Plus I’ll tell you what a Monster Roller is, and how I fared as I pushed myself down a mountain on one.
Win a Mustang! (cap)
Do you fancy the Mustang cap I wore during my Mustang Road Trip Adventure? Would you like one? Here is how you can join the club:
- Find the video post on Twitter and Facebook of me driving through a certain part of the country on the Mustang Road Trip and contemplate where I am driving (hold that thought).
- Then find my Win A Mustang (cap) post on Twitter and Facebook, retweet or share it and then comment on the post with your guess from 1 above. You can enter on both platforms.
- The giveaway closes at 12h00 on Friday 23 March 2018, after which I will randomly select one winner from the correct guesses across both platforms. Only one winner will be determined across both platforms.
- The giveaway is open to anyone living in South Africa and you may enter on either platform as many times as you like. The determination as to the winner, once announced, will be final.
Find out more about the Ford Mustang range I drove during my trip here.