Nissan Navara sets off on daring 7,000km expedition from Pretoria to Cairo

This Nissan Navara is setting off on a daring drive from Pretoria to Cairo. Picture: Richard Townsend

This Nissan Navara is setting off on a daring drive from Pretoria to Cairo. Picture: Richard Townsend

Published Apr 4, 2024


Built locally in the Rosslyn Plant, north of Pretoria, Nissan’s Navara bakkie is set to take on a month-long expedition which will see the group of vehicles traversing through eight different countries.

Aimed at showcasing the sheer capabilities of the Navara, the 7,000km journey is set to prove that the Navara, which is built by Africans for Africa, can take on the worst that the continent has to throw at it in terms of road conditions.

Dubbed Daring Africa 2024, the expedition also coincides with Nissan’s 60th anniversary of manufacturing vehicles on African soil.

The Rosslyn Plant represents a significant role in the African landscape as manufacturing hub of the Navara for the continent. It manufactures Navara’s for export across the entire African continent, with Algeria and Libya seeing the model introduced in their local markets at the end of 2023.

The latest market to introduce the Navara will be Egypt, hence Cairo as the end destination for the Daring Africa odyssey.

For the first leg of the lengthy journey, we pointed the bonnets of the fresh off-the-line group of Navara’s East to the land of the rising sun.

Nissan’s Menlyn dealership boasts a brand new corporate identity. Picture: Richard Townsend

A short stint to Nissan Menlyn and we were awaited by staff who took the opportunity to show us around their dealership which also happens to be the first to incorporate their all-new corporate identity.

A lengthy drive lay ahead of us however and after fuelling our bodies with energy drinks, we set off onto the N1 North before joining the N4 which would see us munching many miles till our destination.

My and the co-driver’s vehicle of choice was a back-to-basics Navara single-cab SE 4x4 manual fitted with a canopy. Under the bonnet up front is a 2.5-litre turbodiesel mill which in this application is capable of 120kW and 403Nm of torque, with a 6-speed manual transmission employed.

This author is a huge fan of single-cabs and as such, I was pleased to be piloting this steed for the first stint of the drive which would take us to Milly’s Restaurant situated halfway from our end destination.

Much of the drive was fuss-free, with the single-cab workhorse cruising along the well-maintained N4 quite comfortably. The canopy fitted to our unit was a nice touch as we were able to store our overnight luggage and other smaller items. Not before long, we had munched up over 200km and had arrived at our short refreshment break for a driver change.

The next stint would be a tad more tedious as we’d find ourselves driving behind slow-moving trucks with no opportunity for overtaking, thanks to solid barrier lines. What made the stint enjoyable however were the breathtaking views which one experiences along Schoemanskloof – a humbling reminder of the endless beautiful landscape which our country has to offer.

Local media joined the first leg of the expedition. Picture: Richard Townsend

With the sun setting over the land of the rising sun, we departed and headed for our overnight accommodation in White River. Reflecting on the day and after several conversations with the different Nissan staff, one realises the big plans which the auto manufacturer has for Africa.

Nissan understands that Africa is the last frontier for the automotive industry due to the low level of vehicle ownership on the continent.

Armed with a capable vehicle for the African continent, the expedition will prove just that; through successfully traversing the journey. With the following legs of the journey set to take place over Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Egypt, the convoy of Navara’s and one X-Trail is a big deal and will be celebrated for a long time upon completion.

We’ll be bringing more updates of the expedition as it occurs.

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