It’s billed as the adventure of a lifetime, a true life-changing experience. For 20 contestants from South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s Ranger Odyssey 2015 – 12 days of simply amazing 4×4 endurance and action through north-western Namibia’s most spectacular and rugged regions, which kicks off on 23 July in Windhoek.
It’s an opportunity to experience the splendour of some of Africa’s most remote and challenging destinations in the ‘Built Ford Tough’ Ranger – and with the allure of potentially winning an Odyssey Ranger for a year, plus an equivalent in local currency of ZAR5 000 worth of fuel per month.
This is the 2015 edition of the Ranger Odyssey which features 20 contestants, including 14 from South Africa, two each from Nigeria and Ivory Coast, and one each from Angola and Mozambique.
As the top contestants chosen from thousands of entries – and narrowed down to the final 20 at Boot Camp in June – the finalists will experience some of the Namib Desert’s most remarkable destinations over the ensuing 12 days.
The challenging route includes extreme off-road driving through the mountainous Khuwarib region, experiencing the breathtaking Purros canyons, tackling the desolate Gainas Plains, visiting the UNESCO heritage site at Palmwag, travelling through the aptly named Desolation Valley and traversing the steep 2 500-m high Brandberg by foot.
While many of the challenges will be taken on behind the wheel of the mighty Ford Ranger, the adventure is a test of brains and brawn. Aside from testing each contestant’s driving and vehicle-related skills, every individual will have to prove that they are tough enough to be crowned the winner.
They will be assessed by a panel of judges on their mental and physical endurance, as well as on a variety of other aspects such as communication skills, leadership abilities, camp craft and overall demeanour.
In a new twist for this year’s event, the trip will end prematurely for the lowest-scoring contestants, as two people will be eliminated from the competition at the end of day four (26 July), and a further four contestants will leave after day eight (30 July).
The www.rangerodyssey.com website features a leader board that is updated daily for fans to follow the progress. However, the rankings for the highest-placed contestants will remain hidden and placed randomly on the chart, adding a further element of intrigue to the competition.
The winner of Ranger Odyssey 2015 will ultimately be revealed at a Ford event in Sandton on 11 August.
Back Seat Driver Competition
Aside from the main Ranger Odyssey action, fans are able to follow and participate in the event themselves by entering the ‘Back Seat Driver’ competition hosted on the Ranger Odyssey website (www.rangerodyssey.com).
The competition runs to 4 August, and participants are required to register on the site, interact by viewing the content – including the daily blogs, photographs and videos – and book a test drive. Each interaction scores points, and the more times you visit the site the better the chances of winning.
There are a total of 16 prizes, a selection of which is awarded and then refreshed after every three days based on the highest scores as listed on the Back Seat Driver leader board.
Entrants can only win one of the interim prizes, which include four pairs of Oakley sunglasses valued at over R2 000 each, a Garmin Virb Elite Action Camera (R5 000) and 11 Garmin Nüvi GPS units (R1 600 each).
All entrants qualify for the grand prize – a Garmin Montana GPS unit valued at R9 500 – which will be awarded to the person who scores the highest points over the entire competition period.