Ford, Ford Territory, Ford SA
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The new Ford Territory - A road trip from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg

I am not only a passionate car enthusiast who has been involved in the automotive industry in one way or another for many years, but also a keen explorer of roads less travelled. Therefore, I was very excited when Ford invited me to the launch of the new Ford Territory which involved a road trip from Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) to Johannesburg. Although I have been visiting South Africa for many years, I have never done a road trip along this part of South Africa.

Come along with me on a journey on less travelled roads in South Africa while I introduce to you ‘today’s family car’ on a three-day adventure with a Ford Territory. 

This article is for sure not only about my road trip with Ford to celebrate the launch of their New Territory but also about the extraordinary places we visited along the way. I can assure you that foreigners like me don’t know about the many of the hidden gems this beautiful country has to offer.

Hop in my Ford Territory as we hit the road and start exploring together several off-the-beaten-track destinations that you must visit next time you plan a trip to South Africa. 

But before we start, let me give you a short background of my first encounter with a Ford.

My first car was a Ford, and exactly 30 years ago, I took part in a test drive to Norway’s North Cape in a Ford Sierra. As you can imagine,  I experienced a sense of Deja vu, as I was now going to participate in another extraordinary road trip, but this time from the other side of the world. 

I couldn’t hide my excitement of driving a Ford again after so many years and experiencing how far this manufacturer has come since my early days of driving a Ford. Moreover, as no Ford SUVs are available on the German market, it was a great opportunity for me to test this vehicle on a longer route. 

Interestingly, I learned that the Territory was designed in Australia and built in China, but all parts are manufactured exclusively by Ford in South Africa.

In this article, I tell you more about my road trip from Port Elizabeth  to Johannesburg and the performance of the Territory on different surfaces. I will also introduce you to some of South Africa’s best-hidden gems along this route.

Ford Territory , Meiringspoort Gorge, Meiringspoort Schlucht
Proud to drive the beautiful Ford Territory through South Africa

Road trip from Port Elizabeth to Beaufort West in a Ford Territory (stage one)

My journey began with an Airlink flight from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha). This was my first flight with this airline, which is known for its domestic flights to less-travelled destinations in South Africa. At the airport, I met up with Ford’s representatives and the other participants (read media experts). Here, the Ford Launch team divided the sixteen participants into eight vehicles, consisting of the new Territory Trend and Titanium models.

As travel bloggers on Instagram and seasoned travel writers, we are aware of the media personalities and influencers making waves on the platform. Big was my surprise and excitement when I learned that I was paired with @cabin_fever_cpt and would share a car with them over the next couple of days. For years, we have admired James and Kirsty’s Instagram page, particularly their drone footage. I was very excited to meet James, the face behind their associated page @zimbo_with_a_drone. As I imagined from their content, James turned out to be the most likeable and (with a capital A) knowledgeable guy with a fun sense of adventure as well as a skilled photographer. From the moment we met, I knew this was going to be an unforgettable trip.  

My first ‘wow’ moment of the Ford was when James and I loaded our luggage. I was amazed by the large boot space. To give you some idea, the regular boot space accounts for 448 litres, which can be extended to 1,422 litres. After telling Bernie about the massive boot space, we declared the Ford Territory to be the only vehicle big enough for our photographic equipment and luggage. If you don’t believe us, ask Bernie’s husband, Shaun. He will testify to our need for additional space as we are, slowly but surely, learning to travel a little lighter.

My second ‘wow’ moment was when I saw the modern yet comfortable interior, which was designed to include a larger-than-usual touchscreen dashboard and navigation system, a much-appreciated panoramic sunroof, and extra legroom for the rear passengers.

Our road trip started from Port Elizabeth (sorry, I know it has a new name, but as a foreigner, I find it simply impossible to write, let alone to pronounce it. We journeyed along in convoy on a secondary road (the R102) towards Jeffrey’s Bay, which I discovered later is known as South Africa’s surfer’s paradise. Unfortunately, there was no time for me to visit the beach to confirm this fact. 

Did I mention that by now, I was already sold on the new Ford territory with its 1.8 litre Eco Boost engine and 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox?

Ford SA , Territory, Road Trip ,
The cars waiting for us at the airport in Port Elizabeth

Route 62 road trip with the Ford Territory

We continued along the R62 to our first stop in Kareedouw, where we had lunch at the Sweaty Dutchman Bistro & Coffee Shop on Main Street. Hans Pragt, the restaurant owner,  served us the best coffee and Dutch pancakes. Over lunch, Hans told us a bit more about his background in such an entertaining way that I could not stop laughing at his anecdotes. If you’re in the area, make the effort to stop here, even if it is only to meet Hans. Incidentally, Kareedouw is known for its great hiking trails and breathtaking scenery.

After lunch, we continued our journey on the R339 through beautiful landscapes towards Uniondale, where we stopped for a coffee break. I guess now is the perfect time to confess that I have a long-standing back problem which requires me to take regular breaks on road trips. However, thanks to the Ford Territory’s comfortable seats, I didn’t even feel the need to stop for a break and just wanted to continue driving to admire the magnificent landscapes along our route.

Our journey continued away from the R339 onto the R341 towards De Rust. There, we took a breathtaking scenic route on the N12 with extraordinary views of the Swartberg mountains heading towards the highlight of today’s road trip, Meiringspoort.

The Sweaty Dutchman, Kareedouw
Hans Pragt telling his anecdotes
The Sweaty Dutchman, Kareedouw
The Sweaty Dutchman is famous for his dutch pancakes

Road trip through Meiringspoort Gorge

I am surprised that there is not more mention of this impressive road strip on South African travel blogs. This road trip is often downplayed in comparison with the world-renowned Chapmans Peak Drive. Meiringspoort is a deep gorge that runs through the centre of the Swartberg Mountains. It is the gateway from the Little Karoo to the Great Karoo and, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful roads I have driven in South Africa. The almost vertical drop-offs and the sometimes bizarre rock formations make this road one of its kind. On this section of the route, where the road twists and turns its way through the gorge, I enjoyed switching to the Ford Territory’s Sport mode to test the car’s road manoeuvrability. As you probably guessed, the Ford exceeded all my expectations on this stretch of the road.

After today’s fantastic scenic drive, we continued our journey along the N12 to Beaufort Manor Country Lodge, where we spent our first night. Beaufort Manor Country Lodge is the ideal boutique hotel for a homely countryside stay in South Africa.

Meiringspoort Gorge, Schlucht, Karoo
The twisty road in the Meiringspoort Gorge

Road trip from Beaufort West to Kimberley (stage two)

The second day began with another beautiful and unexpected road trip. After Beaufort West, we turned off onto the R381, a gravel road that connects Beaufort West and Loxton. The road twists and turns over three passes: the Roseberg Pass, the Molteno Pass, and the Blounek Pass. I enjoyed admiring the breathtaking gorges, interesting river crossings, and beautiful scenery of South Africa, which I had never seen before.

Bernie often says that she finds it strange that I love driving on gravel roads in South Africa, but this is because there are hardly any in Germany. Can you believe that even our forest roads are tarred? As I predicted, the Ford Territory performed well, too, on the gravel surface despite being a front-wheel drive. This smooth performance is due to Ford’s Mountain Mode, which optimises the traction and allows one to set the balance control. Even though the route was challenging, we covered the 115 kilometres to Loxton at a good pace. 

Loxton is one of the few Karoo villages showing significant growth and development. I could see why it attracts artists and travellers in search of peace and tranquillity away from the big cities. At our next stop in Loxton, I ordered a traditional Karoo coffee, which consisted of strong coffee and sweetened condensed milk, at a place called Loxton Lekker. True to its name, this was definitely one of the best coffees I have ever had in South Africa.

You can read more about Loxton on Stephanie Marthinus’ travel blog. 

If you are planning a road trip through the Karoo in South Africa, we recommend visiting their website.

 

Road trip from Loxton to Victoria West

From here, we drove the R63 from Loxton to Victoria West, where we turned off again onto the N12 towards Britstown. Here, we stopped for lunch at the Kambro Accommodation and Farm Stall, where I could not resist buying some unique South African delicacies. They have everything from homemade jams to proudly South African chutneys, biscuits, gifts, cushions, and even dolls. Kambro offers unique overnight accommodation from their 3-star chalets, to a caravan park and even private Waterfall Camp.

From Kambro Farm Stall, we followed the N12 towards Kimberley. The flat and barren landscape reminded me a lot of our road trips to the Kruger National Park. 

We spend our second night at the Protea Hotel in Kimberley right next to the ‘Big Hole’. Are you wondering, like me, what happens in Kimberley? The Occidental Bar @ The Big Hole Kimberley, in the Old Town, is where everything happens. But let me not get ahead of myself.

The next morning, after breakfast, we set off to the Big Hole Museum to learn more about the history of Kimberley and the Big Hole. 

How much is the entrance fee to the Big Hole Museum in Kimberley?

  • Adults pay R100
  • Children pay R60 (4 to 12 Years)
  • A family of two adults and three children between the ages of four and twelve years old pay only R320
  • There is a discounted price for pensioners of R80 on Mondays only
  • Students can also enter at a discounted price of R80 upon presentation of a student card
Loxton Karoo, Ford Territory
The Ford Territory in Loxton
Ford Territory, Gravel Road, Molteno Pass
The Territory performed well on all surfaces
Ford , Molteno Pass, South Afrikca , Karoo
I enjoyed South Africas gravel roads

Absolutely, YES! Kimberley, also known as the Diamond City, has an open-air museum right next to the Big Hole that explains its role in the diamond rush during the 1870s. South Africa has a formidable and long-standing history with diamonds. Did you know that the biggest diamond, weighing 530 carats, was discovered near Cullinan in South Africa and presented to Queen Elizabeth for incorporation in the Crown Jewels?

The Big Hole in Kimberley is the deepest hole ever dug by hand, although Jagersfontein disputes this fact. A total of 2,722 kilograms of diamonds were mined here until 1914. Visitors can look down into the impressive, water-filled hole From a large viewing platform. Our guide told us many interesting stories about the impressive history of this mine. We were then taken underground to witness the place where uncountable mining accidents occurred in the early years. Here, we got a glimpse of the insane working conditions of the more than 50,000 miners back then. The museum is so big that you could probably spend the entire day here learning about what is often referred to as the ‘cursed mine’. After visiting the museum and “Old Town”, with its beautifully preserved and renovated houses dating back many centuries, I can now understand  why the world’s most luxurious train, Rovos Rail, also stops at this historical town en route to Cape Town.

The Big Hole, Kimberley , South Africa
The viewing platform at the Big Hole
The Old Town, Kimberley
The Old Town in Kimberley
Old Town Kimberley
The Old Town in Kimberley is part of the open air museum

Road trip from Kimberley to Johannesburg with a Ford Territory (final stage)

The last part of our road trip to Johannesburg was less spectacular (read – a bit boring), but it allowed me to switch from the Ford Territory’s Sport mode to its Eco mode.

We followed the N12 to Potchefstroom, where we enjoyed our final lunch together at an interesting restaurant called Jukebox. Our road trip over 1,800 kilometres, from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, ended at OR Tambo Airport.

For those of you who are sold on the new Ford Territory (like me), here are some more hard facts to make up your mind about purchasing this exceptional family car:

The Ford Territory is positioned in the highly competitive mid-size SUV range of the family car segment. This 5-seater SUV slots in between Ford’s Puma and Everest models.

The Ford Territory is available in three trim levels: Ambiente, Trend and Titanium. All models have the same drive system and are available in seven unique colours.

Features of the NEW Ford territory

Ford
  • 1.8 litre 4 CYLINDER TURBOCHARGED Eco Boost
  • 138 kW POWER
  • 318 Nm TORQUE
  • 7-speed DUAL-CLUTCH automatic transmission

Safety and Security features

  • 12.3-inch touchscreen
  • Six airbags
  • Electronic stability control with traction control
  • Cruise control
  • Collision warning system
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Rearview camera
  • Hill start assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors

Extras depending on the model line selected

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android AutoTM
  • Wireless charging for smartphones
  • Eight loudspeakers
  • Rain sensor
  • Heated side mirrors
  • Panorama sunroof
  • 19-inch aluminum wheels

For me, the best-selling feature of the Ford Territory is its price tag. 

  • The Territory Ambiente sells from R590,00, 
  • The Territory Trend from R646,000 and 
  • The Territory Titanium from as little as R721,000. 

Now, you probably understand my obsession and excitement for this exceptional SUV.

Conclusion

Ford
Thank you Ford South Africa for an unforgettable experience

Thank you, Ford South Africa, for inviting me to experience this well-organised road trip. Not only did I witness some of South Africa’s hidden gems, but I experienced the exceptional performance and potential of the new Ford Territory. You have a winner here!

PS: As a German, I had to consistently remind myself that I was not driving on our ‘autobahns” because I would have liked to put my foot down and experience the speed of this formidable vehicle.

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About Author

Petra Top is a dynamic freelance travel journalist hailing from Altusried, Germany, who expertly balances her roles as a Motorsport enthusiast, translator, author, and social media strategist. Her expert skill set includes web designing, multilingual communications, and photography, enriched by notable memberships in international travel and food writers' organisations. Petra's life philosophy—"I travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape me"—captivates her audience, reflecting her passion for exploration and sustainable innovation at Travel Buddies Lifestyle.

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