Back in November 2020, Ford invited me on a 3 day ladies-only road trip from Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha) to Cape Town. I was super excited to travel, after feeling so caged up this year. Ford took care of all traveling costs Our team of lady drivers met in PE from all over South Africa, to start our journey.
The road trip starting point was the Radisson Blu Hotel in Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha), South Africa.
Each ladies tag team had the choice of driving the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, Raptor or Thunder each day. On Day 1 we drove towards Willowmore - encountering tar, gravel & potholed roads which really tested the Rangers; but they cruised easily, proving that Fords really do go further.
On the first day of the trip, my 'co-pilot' and I rode the Ford Ranger Raptor.
"...encountering tar, gravel & potholed roads which really tested the Rangers; but they cruised easily, proving that Fords really do go further."
Arriving at very remote Bronville Primerie Skool, we were warmly welcomed by the principal who shared the difficulties that the pupils and teachers face. Including the fact that the closest high school is miles away and only about 17 kids make it there after Grade 7 each year.
A classroom at Bronville Primerie Skool.
Two Ford Rangers were carrying 1000L hand basins (worth R10 000 each!), sanitizers, soap and face shields which were being donated to the school by Ford. The principal was lost for words for the kind gesture and it was humbling for me to be part of Ford's mission to change lives.
Hand basin installation by the Ford team.
On Day 2 we continued with our mission to give back to the community and made our way to Willowmore Clinic to donate much needed face shields for the nurses, patients and community. Fun fact: Ford made them in their Gqeberha Plant & 140K have been donated to the Department of Health of South Africa.
Ford donating much needed PPE masks at Willowmore Clinic.
After the very inspirational morning, we drove on some of the toughest dirt roads on our way to Knysna, but the Ford Rangers were tougher, running unphased in 4-wheel drive mode. All the ladies were real champs while driving the cars and proved that they themselves have range.
Ford Ranger squad goals!
Just like the Ford Rangers need fuelling up sometimes, we also needed some fuel and the Ford team ensured that we had some of the best food that I've ever tasted for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday on our road trip If I gain weight, blame it on Ford.
Ford said, "fuel up ladies".
Big cars, scenic views and the cherry on top is that friendships and new contacts were made. All the other 8 ladies in our group were really amazing and inspirational individuals, shining in their fields. A special mention goes out to my lovely co-pilot for the trip, Lerato.
Can I talk about the accommodation? Ford made sure that we stayed at the best hotels each night and lived a soft life. Pictures cannot even begin to show the range of luxury I don't know if it's a coincidence, but on the last night my room was called The Plants & Roots room.
The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa at Thesen Island.
Did you know that Ford has a Wildlife Foundation which launched in 2014, and has loaned 25 Ford Rangers and donated 12? On Day 2 we visited the Knysna Basin Project which focuses on coastal system research. We were treated to two boat rides to see Thesen Island.
Cruising at the Knysna Basin Project at Thesen Island.
The Knysna Basin Project is an NGO focused on doing research on how coastal systems change and how humans should live within them. This is in line with the Ford Wildlife Foundation's aim to conserve and preserve the environment, hence they support the Knysna Basin Project.
"The Ford Wildlife Foundation supports environmentall education, research and conservation projects around Sub Saharan Africa." - Ford Wildlife Foundation
Henry Ford once said, "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking", and driving the Ford Rangers - which looked really elegant with their stitched leather interiors, inspired me to look good as well.
Girls driving Ford Rangers.
"Quality means doing it right when no one is looking" - Henry Ford
You might wonder if we were protected due to these trying times and the answer is yes! All cars were sanitized every evening and the Ford team made sure that we had enough masks and the hotels we stayed in complied with Covid19 protocols.
On Day 3 we made our way to Cape Town to complete our 970km journey. The weather was bleak but it was a welcome relief after burning in the Karoo for 2 days and it was a treat to try out the Ford Ranger heated seats. If you need a back massage just get into a Ford Ranger.
I've never liked goodbyes.
I would like to thank the Ford team - Tessa, Londeka, Gideo, Andrew and our medic - for taking good care of us and always making sure that everyone was okay. Thank you for keeping us hydrated and snacking throughout the day through the Ford Ranger "food market".
The Ford team really took care of us.
Which Ford Ranger is my favourite you may ask - it's the Raptor of course! I love big cars and this is a big car that slays everything I couldn't even feel portholes and its revving sound makes it the girl it thinks it is. I wished I could take it home! Image: @FordSouthAfrica.
Isn't she lovely?
"I believe that God is managing affairs and that He doesn't need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?" - Henry Ford
this is my journey. this is my story. i am Mbaliyezwe.