Okay, it might sound more like bragging, but when you get to go on a road trip in a Jaguar XF R-Sport, it’s pardonable. If not, what can I say except that the car went to my head.
My luxury Indus Silver ride arrived at work a day before the road trip. It was even more magnificent than I pictured up-close and personal.
Aside from the stylish sporty exterior, the ebony-pimento grained interior leather trim made me feel a little like Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez from the Fast & Furious franchise) - eager to get behind the wheel.
When I slid into the driver’s seat, I discovered something my own wheels never offered me - electric seat settings with several options until you find the perfect fit.
On a long drive, which was around eight hours in my case, a “perk” like this makes a huge difference.
The keyless start button was another favourite feature in this automatic rear-wheel drive, which goes from 0-100km/* in 8.1seconds. I don’t need to tell you what it felt like when I hit the open road.
The drive to Durban, where I fetched my friend, and then to the South Coast was pure bliss. There were times when I got so carried away with the drive that I forgot to monitor my speed - so I’m bracing myself for a few speeding fines. And I did this on one tank of diesel. Impressed, I was.
When we got off the N2 at the Oribi Toll exit, we navigated our way past a township before turning into a long and windy road that guided us to our final destination.
We arrived late in the afternoon. Despite it being overcast, the view was spellbinding. Exhausted and in need of some R&R (I still hadn’t completely shaken off the cold), we decided to get an early start the next day.
After a pig-out breakfast session, it was time to explore Oribi Gorge, kicking off with the nature reserve. It was a leisurely downhill drive, where we stopped for selfies and shots of the picturesque landscape.
For someone who has been chasing one deadline after the next, it was therapeutic to be surrounded by the sounds of nature and to breathe in fresh air.
It declutters and calms the mind.
Our next stop was Leopard Rock for lunch. But I made a rookie travel mistake - I forgot to check their operating times and was greeted by a sign saying they were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Undeterred, we continued driving until we got to the Oribi Gorge hotel, which offers the Wild 5 Adventures (wild swing, wild abseil, paint-ball, wild slide and wild water-rafting).
We passed on that option in favour for an off-road drive around the place, stopping to check out the waterfalls and a few brave souls bungee-jumping. We attempted the suspension bridge, but only made it halfway across before chickening out when it started swinging a bit more than we were comfortable with.
This area is also renowned for being a birdwatcher’s utopia.
By this time, we had worked up an appetite and decided to visit the restaurant at the hotel. They served pub-style grub, mostly. My chicken schnitzel was crispy and tender. And I loved the thinly-cut fries that came with it.
My friend’s chicken pasta was underwhelming. No flavour at all. Don’t even get me started on the straight-out-of-a-can sauce.
She took solace in the fact that we were dining back at our five-star accommodation. With the trip over, it was time to drop off my friend and return to Jozi. Just my luck, I had the daunting task of driving through a Durban storm with gusty winds.
On the plus side, this gave me a chance to experience the Jaguar XF R-Sport in a different climate and I have to say this sweet ride handled like a dream on the wet roads and hills. There was one downside to the road trip, though. I had to return my dream wheels. Sob! Thankfully, the memory lives on