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ABOUT

A SHORT PORTFOLIO OF MASAZANE EXPEDITIONS

The word Masazane comes from the isiXhosa language meaning “getting to know each other“.  Masazane is the foundation to the cordial, friendly and professional service we provide for, and on, all our expeditions.  Masazane Expeditions wants to “get to know you” just as much as you want to get to know other people with similar dreams and aspirations, i.e. to travel and experience Africa…

We are a family-orientated business that is committed to your and your family/friends needs – you and your family/friends are our family/friends…

Masazane Expeditions is a reputable, established expedition company.  We have had editorials in magazines such as SA 4×4, Leisure Wheels and Getaway as well as regional newspapers such as Die Burger, Zoutpansberger and the Paarl Post.

Dave van Graan always dreamt of one (1) day having his own safari business…  In 1995, the dream was realised when we, Dave and Jacqui van Graan, started our guided self-drive expedition company into Africa as Van Graan Expeditions.  Our first professional expedition was the Friendship Expedition 1995 – from Pretoria (RSA) to London (UK).  In December 1998, we decided to change the name of the business to Masazane Expeditions as the name better fits what we are about.

From 1996, we ran one (1) to two (2) week expeditions to the neighbouring countries of the Republic of South Africa (RSA).  Although we may still be chartered for shorter expeditions, in 2005 we decided to specialise in extended Trans-Africa Expeditions (our forte) and expeditions to countries of Central West and East Africa.  Dave has successfully completed numerous expeditions throughout Africa, Europe and the Middle East, each with clients.

Dave (GP 0838) and Jacqui (GP 0773) are a husband and wife team that are both registered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) as Professional Trails and Overland (Adventure) Tourist Guides.  Dawid, our son, also sometimes helps out when he is with on an expedition especially to entertain the children so that Mom and Dad can have that little bit more relaxation and enjoyment…

Dave has been involved with work and/or recreational activities requiring bush knowledge and 4×4 skills since around 1978.  We have been involved specifically in the 4×4 self-drive guided expedition business since 1995 and have considerable knowledge and experience to ensure all our expeditions are appealing and exhilarating.  Our positive personalities makes you just that little bit more relaxed, making your experience of Africa all that more memorable and enjoyable.

Dave is a registered emergency paramedic (ANA 0001651) with many years experience of medical emergencies and fire fighting in Limpopo and Gauteng.  This adds to the relaxed atmosphere on our expeditions, considering the remoteness of certain areas and the almost non-existence of modern medical facilities in most countries north of RSA.

Dave’s most important asset is probably his calmness in the most adverse of conditions/situations.  The combination of his many experiences through his travels in Africa, his cooking skills, his vast knowledge of the African bush and its wildlife, his varied experiences in medicine and his advanced driver training make Dave the best choice for a guide in Africa.

We are committed to the management of natural resources and this is reflected in our business motto – “We support the responsible use of 4×4 vehicles in sensitive areas”.  We are committed to the conservation of nature and wildlife and thus can ensure an extraordinary experience for the nature lover, the outdoor enthusiast and naturists alike.  As a result of this commitment and the fact that most countries are members of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), we discourage our clients from purchasing corals, ivory and other wildlife products, especially the purchase of very large wooden carvings (although beautiful) as these have placed a strain on forest resources.

We are a self-drive company, i.e. your vehicle and your camping equipment – you basically determine the level of luxury with the equipment you take along.  However we can also provide transport for you in our vehicle should you not have a 4×4 vehicle or should you rather prefer to relax as passenger.  We also offer shorter tailor-made (chartered) expeditions in our vehicle for couples, families, LGTBI and naturists.

Masazane Expeditions do all the preparations and organising, including the mountains of paperwork usually involved with extended overland expeditions.

On our expeditions, 4×4 and outdoor enthusiasts can truly experience Africa from the luxury and privacy of their own (or hired) 4×4 vehicle, and in the company of their own family and/or friends.  Our expeditions cater for the more adventurous – those that want to experience Africa as opposed to staying in a luxury tented camp.  However, should luxury be your thing then a luxury expedition, as far as possible anyway, may also be arranged.  All our expeditions have varying degrees of discomfort due to the remoteness of the areas we visit.  Although we provide a few luxuries on the expedition (e.g. a substantial dinner after a tiring day on our Christmas Serengeti Expedition to Tanzania), we still encourage all clients to feel and experience “a true African expedition“.  Masazane Expeditions specialise in regions of Africa not usually visited due to their remoteness but we still ensure that the well-known tourism attractions on the main tourism routes are also visited.  Most of these remote places are more suited to the more adventurous, e.g. a visit to Mahale National Park (Western Tanzania) – one (1) of the last places where chimpanzees can still be seen in their natural habitat.

Our expeditions are based on camping, and although campsites are utilised as far as possible, true ‘bush camps’ somewhere in the bush (mostly close to the road) and staying in hotels, are often a necessity.  As a result of his vast experiences, Dave has an eye for amazing sites for ‘bush camps’ in the middle of absolutely ‘nowhere’.  Although our expeditions are based on camping, we do spoil ourselves regularly with a stay in a hotel and/or lodge en route.  On some of our expeditions, especially the Trans-Africa Expedition, staying in hotels and/or lodges is unavoidable due to the circumstances but also to provide just that little bit of reprieve and a small taste of luxury on what is definitely an overwhelming and arduous expedition.

We have found that there is only one (1) constant factor in Africa – and that is, that it will change!!  This ‘changing Africa’ is the true temptation and lure of Africa.

We also offer shorter tailor-made (chartered) expeditions in our vehicle for couples, families, naturists or LGBTI, whatever your interest may be…  Masazane Expeditions can plan your ‘dream’, unforgettable expedition.  We can be planner and/or booking agent and/or guide and/or caterer – all depending on what your desires/needs are.  Your expedition may include everything Africa has to offer – interesting natural phenomena, history, magnificent scenery, breathtaking sunsets, game viewing, bird watching, lakes, rivers, mountains, islands, cultural experiences, and so much more…  Should you be interested in a tailor-made, unforgettable experience into Africa, contact Jacqui on info) for planning and/or a quotation.

We also run daily to extended period tours exploring the Limpopo Province of RSA, especially in the Soutpansberg and Komatiland Forestry areas.  These tours are run from our base, Camp Africa, in Louis Trichardt.  Contact us for more details…

Born of our experiences in the bush, we have grown to become chefs capable of preparing a feast in the most remote places.  We generally prepare South African meals and our tasty meals were well known with the Radio Sonder Grense (“Radio Without Boundaries“) Club members.  We successfully catered for Francois Rossouw in conjunction with Radio Sonder Grense from 1997 to 1999 on their 4×4 weekend outings to places such as Kosi Bay, Venda, Lesotho, etc.  On one (1) of the trips to Kosi Bay, (where everything has to be brought into the camp area), we catered for 120 people.  Dave was also the chef and paramedic during the 4×4 Eco Challenge Semi Finals 2002 in the Kalahari and the 4×4 Eco Challenge Finals 2002 in Namibia.

Masazane Expeditions shares their knowledge of overlanding to fellow guides and interested adventurous individuals with the Professional Trails and Overland (Adventure) Tourist Guide Course.  We obtained SATOUR accreditation as a training institution in June 2000 to present the course.  We obtained THETA Accreditation (Interim) as a trainer provider in July 2001 but unfortunately the Unit Standard for this particular field has not as yet been registered so THETA is unable to provide accreditation.  We are happy to mention however that much work has recently been completed to get the Unit Standard(s) registered.  We have presented the course since August 2000 and have registered many Overland Adventure Tourist Guides since then.  The course is comprehensive and is presented with the help of other specialists in the field.  General Tourist Guide Attributes; Bush Mechanics; Cooking in the Bush; First Aid with respect to African diseases; Survival; Expedition Planning and Organisation; Navigational Techniques; Communications; Environmental Aspects, etc. are some of the subjects covered during the course.  All participants have to complete a written exam and assignments.

Masazane Expeditions founded the Four Wheel Drive Guides Association (4WDGA), to bring all these guides together as one (1) voice for the National Off-road Workgroup (NOW)…  and also hoping that the association would assist with the process of getting the Unit Standards for overland guiding registered.

Masazane Expeditions have provided a few 4×4 driver training sessions – beginners and advanced – for companies such as Anglo Platinum and Anglo American.

Dave guides most of the expeditions himself but strongly relies on the organising and administrative skills of Jacqui.  Jacqui handles all the gruesome and arduous paperwork for all our expeditions and tries her best to make life just that little bit easier for you to join us on one (1) of our expeditions.  Jacqui is also quite capable of guiding a group into Africa.  She is a qualified Analytical Chemist with a National Higher Diploma in Analytical Chemistry.  She has been a Total Quality Management Specialist, especially in the field of data quality, since 2003 and is a capable auditor of non-financial data.