Why any vehicle is great to travel Africa!

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Often the biggest giants to kill are the mythical ones… No such myth is greater than the one that a tourist wishing to travel in Africa, must have a fully equipped, 4x4 truck. 

I will admit…  the myth got me too. Back in 2010, for the first scouting trip, I ended up buying a fully equipped Land Rover, with extra fuel tanks, dual battery system, air suspension and tons of other gadgets… it was kitted!  I travelled 11,000 km on and off-road in 31 days… and never needed a single one of these toys. What an eye-opener!

On the outskirts of Maun, Botswana in late 2010

On the outskirts of Maun, Botswana in late 2010

We drove from Cape Town across Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and then down to Mozambique…. and realized that there were brand new tarred (black-top) roads all the way around Southern Africa. The road from Nata to Kasane had just been completed, the road from Livingstone to Lusaka was still shiny, and the road from Chimoio to Maputo was in the final stages of completion.

So having witnessed travel across Southern Africa first-hand, I knew we needed to get the message out to the world… and open the doors for everyone to visit Africa!

Put Foot Rally Mission:

“To prove that a 4x4 was not needed to travel across Southern Africa.” 

The slogan: “Any Car, Any Route” was born… and that meant vehicle categories!

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Let’s have a look at why you can use any vehicle to travel Southern Africa with examples of from over 3000 Put Footers that have participated in the past 8 years!

Every person has a different reason for choosing their particular chariot… their decisions were not all about vehicle capability and busting myths.

Vintage Class

For some, it is all about the challenge, and the adventure!

All sorts of incredibly colorful chariots representing just about every decade as far back as the 1930s have turned up in Vintage Class… some carrying mechanics and plenty of spares. While others carried a roll of duct tape and a positive attitude!

These Put Footers are the living proof that a 4x4 is not a requirement for traveling across Southern Africa…


Vehicle: Born 1994 or before.
Average Speed: 75.5 km/hour* (*downhill + tailwind, and Crew skipped breakfast)
Best Known For: Being absolute legends… and breaking down often.
Most Likely To: Be having a beer, and not worried about tomorrow in the slightest…

Car Class

For others… it’s about keeping a happy balance. The stress free, simple way - throw a bunch of tents, sleeping bags, a cooler box into the car and hit the road. It’s like going away for the weekend, only a bit longer… with 300 soon-to-be friends!

Happy campers, glampers, bnb’ers, hotel’ers, even roof-top-tenters…. just about everyone with a passion for cars and travel has represented in Car Class.

Warning: Put Footers in this category often think life will be normal again once they return home, only to find it never is….


Vehicle: Born after 1994
Average Speed: 75.5 - 120km/h* (*depending on size of potholes)
Best Known For: skidmarks prior to big potholes. Arriving early.
Most Likely To: have the fire burning when you arrive, or searching for unleaded petrol

4x4 / SUV Class

The most popular vehicle class! To be fair, the majority of folks entering SUV/4x4 Class, do so, not because they think it is required… but because they prefer traveling in comfort.

Aka the “Hotel on Wheels” group… These Crews are known for trying to bolt on any and every accessory under the sun onto the chariots. From massive LED spotlights to the latest mobile coffee machines… they are known as the “First Responders” due to coming to the rescue of many Crews before anyone else. *You want to make best friends with them early…


Vehicle: 4x4 or SUV born after 1994
Average Speed: 80-120km/h* (depending how much meat & firewood onboard)
Best Known For: being the best at animal spotting (and tyre changing)
Most Likely To: be arguing Toyota vs Land Rover, discussing tyre and fuel prices..

Bike Class

Our 2-wheeled warriors! You have to give credit to any human willing to expose their buttocks to 9000km of crazy bumps and vibrations.

While we always recommend only the experienced riders take this challenge… there have been plenty of Put Footes entering scooters and mopeds (and laughing in our faces).


Vehicle: Scooters, Thumpers, Tourers, Adventure…
Average Speed: very-very slow (scooters) to very-very-very fast (adventure)
Best Known For: Traveling light. Needing a shower. Singing madly in the wind….
Most Likely To: Have wild stories! First to bed at checkpoints, “never do it again on a bike…” **or fall-off and break a knee 100m from the Finish Line (true story).

What do International Participants do for vehicles?

Each year we have about 40-50 Crews representing over 30 countries from around the world, which is insanely awesome! We’ve had folks from Brazil, Denmark, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Sweden, UK, Canada, USA, Malaysia, Malta, Czech Republic, Portugal, Chile…. and many more!

Most international Crews opt to hire vehicles… it is easier as they come fully equipped with roof-top tents, secure storage, and a full kitchen and dining equipment.

International Crews often have to spend a lot on fights, accommodation etc so, it makes sense to go for a less risky (than a Vintage class) option which is more comfortable too.

Put Foot 4x4 Safari Rentals - fully kitted 2019 Toyota Hilux Camper - Elephant Sands in Botswana

Put Foot 4x4 Safari Rentals - fully kitted 2019 Toyota Hilux Camper - Elephant Sands in Botswana

Others will ship their vehicles to South Africa, which needs careful planning and timing (or your vehicle may arrive late or worse, arrive early but be delayed by customs).

Spots still available on 2019 Put Foot Rally XL

Dates: 27 July to 15 August 2019

Limited to 40 vehicles only. Be a part of history on the first ever XL rally.

Is it Different? Same route, same checkpoints, same parties… 100% the same adventure!

Entries Close: 30 April 2019

What does “Put Foot” mean?

It is a humorous South African colloquial slang term with many similar meanings for “Put your foot down” or “Go (drive) faster” or event “Hurry up”. The Put Foot Rally also plays on the term with an additional meaning “put shoes on feet” a reference to providing young underprivileged children with school shoes, a major part of the rally’s charity drive.

“The road goes on forever… and the party never ends…”
— Robert Earl Keen