A weekend of tourism activity and community experiences, culminating in an ascent of a snow laden Sani Pass, were the highlights of the Land Rover Experience – a proactive initiative involving celebrities and stake holders in the promotion of local attractions and the strengthening of a joint Pietermaritzburg – Lesotho tourism partnership.
Now in its third year, the experience ranged from steam train excursions, traditional gumboot dancing and school tree planting ceremonies to a visit to the Nelson Mandela capture site, adventure paddle boating and a food tasting festival. The cherry on the top was a convoy ascent of the rugged 42 kilometre Sani Pass – one of the most spectacular mountain passes in Africa – and the opportunity to raise a traditional toast in the highest pub on the continent.
Land Rover Pietermaritzburg sales manager Brendon Meintjies said that participants in the experience included government officials, community stakeholders, tourism entrepreneurs, media personalities and television stars Leleti Khumalo and Naymaps Maphala from the popular series Uzalo. “It was a fantastic success, and a wonderful opportunity for the proactive promotion of a number of related initiatives” he said. ” All the participants embraced the spirit of the experience, which was clearly illustrated on the Sani Pass when during photo stops impromptu snow fights were very much the order of the day.”
In addition to fun opportunities, he said the snow on the Sani Pass added a sense of adventure to the experience. “The first time a vehicle successfully climbed the pass was in 1948, when it took 12 hours to get to the top” he explained. “Today it takes a lot less, particularly in a Land Rover 4×4, but it is still an incredibly dramatic drive and a thrilling African experience, with the road snaking upwards beneath towering cliffs and past tumbling waterfalls. Among the final hairpins is a waterfall that remains frozen from May to September.”
The Land Rover Experience is seen by SMG and Land Rover Pietermaritzburg as part of an on-going commitment to give something meaningful back to the community. It is designed to not only focus attention on the activities and attractions of tourism orientated initiatives, but through such involvement, to embrace and foster local communities.