Read of the Week

Our Ultimate 4×4 Trips Collection

Mariëlle Renssen

MapStudio South Africa

Review: Karl Bergemann

I’ll try not to be too critical of this work as I feel like the author put a lot of hard work into it and it certainly ticks a lot of boxes on the effort-output ratios. However, it must be said that from the word go there was just something about the style of the book that got my back up.

Perhaps I am simply not the right target market, although, being a 4×4 owner myself, I would have thought there’d be no better target.

But, as I began reading I had the distinct discomforting feeling that I was reading a travel blog that my aunt had written and was now forcing me to go over lest she decided to quiz me on the details of her trips.

Of course, the author, Zimbabwean born Mariëlle Renssen, never denies the fact that what she is writing is of her personal experiences on the routes but still, it comes across as overkill and bloggy when what you really want is to-the-point information that is still vivid.

Not to say that the book is poorly written and let me tell you what they did right. Putting together a work of this scale has taken some serious and extensive research and application. The book maps out 22 routes in an amazing magnitude, with each instalment ending in a “plan your trip” section where the reader is given a list of resources, handy hints and tips as well as some of the failings the author experienced on the route – which you now have the luxury of knowing in advance and being able to work around. Picture-wise I was amazed by what I found in this book. If anything, besides the exhaustive output of maps, which, being a MapStudio book one can only assume was the primary purpose of the project, the pictures are what could really make this book worth the purchase.

With everything from pictures of the flora and fauna, sunset landscapes and sprawling views to the never-ending stream of pictures of the Freelander posing dutifully along the routes, they definitely did justice in the visual department.

The book also comes with a CD collection of PDF maps and GPS tracks to follow the route yourself, not just in textual and pictorial reference, but to actually get out there and put some dirt on the tyres of your own ride, and that, perhaps, makes it a successful work.