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70 hours of freedom

12 December 2011

Bush Babes                                                                                                                                                  KOSI BAY JEEP ADVENTURE

What could be better than celebrating Jeep’s 70th anniversary by travelling 700km for a 70-hour weekend of undiluted Bush Babe fun in two of the sexiest vehicles around?  You’re right. Absolutely nothing!


Text: Leilani Basson

Photography: Jannie Herbst


It seemed only fair. Since the men in the office have had more than their fair share of “Jeeping” it up this year, writing about and attending all kinds of 70th anniversary events, it was time for the girls to have their own little celebration. After an action-packed year of “going bush” with the Bush Babes, and exploring all kinds of off-road terrain and overlanding novelties, it was time to try our hand at sand… in two brand new Jeep Wranglers. Oh yeah!

We decided to use this opportunity as a bosberaad on the official launch of the Bush Babes Club and Safaris, and brainstorm our programme and modus operandi for 2012. 

Since Explore Africa Adventures had come on board as our tour operator and one of the  main partners for the Bush Babes projects, who better to team up with for a Jeep adventure extraordinaire? With this partnership in mind, it’s not difficult to see how this Bush Babe adventure turned out to be one of the best we’ve had so far.

Andre van Vuuren, our beloved and respected father figure and tour guide, Mu Babe (Andre’s wife and Bush Babe mom and matriarch by default) and Explore Babe (Andre’s adventurous daughter and the iron fist behind the successful organisation of Explore Africa) whipped up a Bush Babe getaway that will be remembered for a long time.

Destination: Kosi Bay – the Jewel of Maputuland. We couldn’t wait. With its 18km of estuary that is separated by some of the highest vegetated sand dunes in the world, this was the perfect place to rediscover the Beach Babe within. Pristine beaches, raffia palms, fish farms and mangrove swamps – it was all there. 

We had 70 hours of freedom to look forward to, away from the children, men, the pets, work and other stress-related activities. We were on a mission to rekindle that bright eyed, bushy tailed and spontaneous girl we left behind on the matric vacation in Margate, sometime in the nineties. (Most of us are seventies babies, you see).

Hair down, heels off and heads up, we hit the road from Joburg to Jozini at 5am on a Friday morning. Getting us up and running this early in the morning usually takes quite a bit of motivation and urging (lying in bed chatting until the wee hours does take its toll!) but this time, there was no stopping us. We couldn’t wait to pack our last things and bond with the luxury and leather interior and off-road savvy of the new Jeep Wranglers — powerful, mind-blowingly seductive and oh so addictive.

The girls were soon discussing who would drive when, since no one was going to miss out. This weekend, everyone wanted to get as much time as possible behind the wheel of what is, in most girls’ minds, the epitome of a 4×4.

We tackled the road head on. “Be a Babe. Go Bush” the slogan read on the “forehead” of the Wranglers’ windscreens. One white one and one sand-coloured one. Gorgeous!

The road works, stop and go delays and detours resulted in an eight-hour journey. Not that it felt like it. Besides, we had a lot of catching up to do since our last Bush Babes bash. Since this had been declared an essentially eighties music weekend, we were soon entertaining ourselves and singing to each other over the two-way radios. We only reached Kosi Bay Lodge at 17:00 that afternoon.

Andre, Mu Babe and Explore Babe were ready to welcome us with peach champers, and  settled us into the quaint, spacious log cabins. We were one big happy family, where every Babe could just be herself, knowing she was within the confines of a safe family set-up. This is what makes our girls’ trips so fabulous and unforgettable: being able to go wild, but knowing there is a mother and father figure and a big sister keeping an eye on you.

After a flurry of chatter between the sips of champers, Andre hurried us to the boat for our sundowner cruise on the lake. Pure bliss! We were lucky to see hippos playing in the water very close to us. Jannie even managed to capture a “Chomp moment”.

As we cruised through the reeds, Andre shared interesting facts about the lake, the fish farms, the bird and animal life, and the locals of the area.

We enjoyed an evening around the fire and a dinner to die for that Mu Babe prepared for us. The camaraderie was amazing. We turned in early, though. It had been a long day, and there was more excitement to come.

The main priority next morning was to take the Jeeps’ tops off. Oh yeah! The feeling of the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and the world’s weight off your shoulders with Erasure, OMD or Yazoo pumping on the Wranglers’ phenomenal sound systems was something else!

From 4×4 sand driving, snorkelling at Kosi Mouth, swimming at Black Rock, having fun in the sun, lunch on the beach and conquering the highest dune in Kosi Bay – we did it all in one day. Fast tracked fun, we’ll call it.

That night we were in for a seafood extravaganza of gastronomic proportions at the popular restaurant inside Kosi Bay Lodge. Over fabulous food and great wine, we conducted a mean bosberaad and brain stormed some exciting and babelicious Bush Babe adventures for 2012. (see page …).

In the morning we left just after breakfast – a tasty and beautifully displayed and presented spread of fruits, Bulgarian yoghurt, cold meats and cheese. Divine.

We all needed to get home at a decent hour. Hubby, the children, the pets and reality were waiting.

On this trip we proved that you don’t have to take too much leave and stay away from home for longer than three or four days in order to gain the maximum enjoyment of a 4×4 ladies trip. With careful planning we were able to enjoy and experience everything we wanted to, and never had a dull moment. There was simply no time to get bored. Fast paced, fast tracked fun. It worked for us.

With the roofs back on the Jeeps, the sand washed out of our hair and shaken out of our slip slops, we gradually turned back into the responsible, multi-faceted women we have to be every day. But all the girls agreed. Regularly “going bush” in a controlled, secure environment with likeminded women is essential to being a happy, fulfilled and balanced babe – whether you’re a mom, wife, partner, friend, employer or employee. Join the Bush Babes Club and come along on our next adventure. You deserve it!



So, what do the Bush Babes think about the Wrangler?


After some research, we found this little checklist on the web and used it to establish whether the Jeep Wrangler would be a Bush Babe’s choice.


If you don’t like the outdoors, you won’t like a Wrangler.

Bush Babes and their families love the outdoors.


If you’re overly concerned about luxury, safety or security, you won’t like a Wrangler.

The new Wranglers certainly sport all these features.


If you really need a passenger vehicle, a Wrangler probably won’t work for you.

What passenger problem?


If you need space for hauling things (luggage, groceries, etc.), the Wrangler won’t do it for you. Nor does it have a trunk compartment that locks.

Maybe in the olden days and with the two-door version, but with this model, nothing has to stand between a Bush Babe and her luggage. 


If you have a long commute, you won’t enjoy the noisy ride, and the Wrangler guzzles gas.

The only noise we heard was ourselves singing along to music from the eighties, like OMD and Yazoo! The fuel could be a problem, but there is nothing that good planning and living sparingly elsewhere can’t fix!


If you (or your passengers) are concerned about how you’ll “look” when you get to your destination, then you might not appreciate the “sweat factor” or “windblown hair” you get from riding in a Jeep convertible.

Bush Babes have the answer: Wet Wipes, a DisChem battery operated straightening iron, top-up make-up and a mirror. Easy peasy!



Two Wrangler Unlimited models accompanied us during our recent trip to Kosi Bay. The first was the new Wrangler that boasts an improved diesel engine. Like its predecessor, is has a 2,8-litre oilburner, but this engine is capable of generating 147 kW of power (12% more than the previous model) and 460 Nm of torque. Thankfully, though, the engine is still capable of sipping 500ppm diesel.

The second model was the 3,8-litre V6 petrol model that offers 146 kW and 315 Nm of torque.

Much as we expected, both vehicles performed impeccably. With powerful engines and impressive 4×4 systems, they dealt quickly and efficiently with sand, dirt and rock.

All it takes is one overland trip in the Wrangler to understand why it remains an off-road icon!

  • Ruan

    One thing the checklist forgot to mention…. If you are afraid of Chuck Norris… dont get a Wrangler… He will roundhouse kick you for it!

    Live without limits.