The 2014 edition of Ford South Africa’s action-packed Ranger Odyssey is set to continue where last year’s epic cross-continent adventure left off.
This year’s competition is now officially open to the public, and will see 20 brave contestants embarking on the trip of a lifetime. After a rigorous selection process, the top contenders will be chosen to tackle the extreme challenges of the Kaokoland in northern Namibia in a fleet of mighty Ford Rangers during September.
“The Ranger Odyssey gives contestants the opportunity to experience the adventure of a lifetime,” explains Ford Marketing Manager Gavin Golightly. “The Ranger is Built Ford Tough, and through this competition we aim to bring together a group of ordinary people with an adventurous spirit to experience the best Africa has to offer.”
Last year, 10 finalists experienced a truly life-changing 22-day trip encompassing six countries and 8 000 km through rugged Africa. They pushed themselves and the vehicles to the limit as they experienced the majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro and the humble Maasai people in Kenya, the pure awe of the Ngorongoro Crater and its rich wildlife, and the origins of East Africa’s slave trade in Bagamoyo, Tanzania.
This was followed by the beauty of Zambia, the breath-taking Makgadikgadi Pans and Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Botswana, along with the far northern stretches of the Kruger National Park and southern Mozambique before returning to South Africa.
Although only one person walked away as the overall winner for the 2013 event, each one of the contestants emerged with new-found respect, inspiration and desire to explore more of the great African continent. That the mighty Ford Ranger was the hero of the Odyssey was, of course, beyond dispute.
However, long before the 2014 finalists head off to the far north of Namibia, the process kicks off with a call to action in July during which aspirant adventurers are invited to submit an online entry via the Ranger Odyssey website (www.rangerodyssey.com). The campaign is supported by adverts on radio and television, as well as in print and social media. Entries close on 20 July.
Once the entry has been registered on the website, the applicants will be asked to visit their local Ford dealership and take a ‘selfie’ photograph with the Odyssey-edition Ford Ranger and post it on the website to qualify to be selected as part of the final 20.
Ford South Africa has produced 120 special edition Odyssey Rangers at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria for distribution to the dealer network in the build-up to this high-profile competition.
Although the distinctive Odyssey Rangers are expected to attract plenty of attention on Ford showroom floors across the country, the candidates will be hoping that they attract the attention of the selection panel and are among the 40 who will be chosen to attend the Ranger Odyssey Boot Camp from 22 to 24 August.
This intensive training and assessment session takes place over three days at De Rust Outdoor near Hartbeespoort Dam, home to Ford’s official off-road driving academy. All of the candidates will be trained and evaluated on the essential aspects of 4×4 driving, navigation, team work, physical and mental stamina as well as camp craft.
Ultimately just 20 contestants will be chosen for the main event, which takes place in the remote Kaokoland from 7 to 19 September.
The roughly 2 500 km route encompasses some of Namibia’s most spectacular and arduous terrain, including the notorious Van Zyl’s Pass and the famous Purros Loop renowned for its desert elephants.
Unlike last year where the contestants competed on an individual basis, for the 2014 Ranger Odyssey they will be paired up in teams of two. The 10 teams will be evaluated and scored throughout the trip by the judges.
Aside from it being a genuinely life-altering adventure, the contestants will also be vying for the main prize. Each member of the winning team will get to drive an Odyssey Ranger for a year and will receive R5 000 for fuel per month.
For further information on the Ranger Odyssey go to www.rangerodyssey.com and follow @FordSouthAfrica on Twitter using the #RangerOdyssey hashtag. You can also like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/