It is true. There is no other country like South Africa anywhere in the world. From the mountains, through the deserts and rivers and across to the East and West coasts, diverse ecosystems await, ready to unveil their unique beauty, flora and fauna. But roads off the beaten track in South Africa, especially dirt or gravel roads are often not mapped on Google Street View, leaving travelers and adventurers unprepared for the road conditions they will encounter.
Iconic tyre brand Dunlop, always ready to take on any road and tackle any frontier, took on the challenge to map new roads and add them to Google Street View to make it easier for travelers to head out and explore – safely. The mission: Grandtrek Uncharted, an ambitious project that would go where Google had not yet been.
“It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic and various level lockdowns have had a dire impact on the tourism sector,” said Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, manufacturer of Dunlop tyres. “With the help of technology, we are playing our part in opening up the economy and the tourism sector again – showcasing the proverbial road less travelled and making it safer for travelers planning their journeys.”
The campaign took the modern-day explorers Peter van Kets, Jacques Marais and their support team through a diverse range of eco-systems and landscapes, showcasing some of the hidden gems of South Africa. From kayaking at Hole-in-the-Wall on the Wild Eastern Cape coast, exploring the vast Karoo from the scattered rock kopjes, the gold-washed veld to the ancient rock engravings or exploring the Hennops Off-road trail and Groenkloof Nature Reserve in Gauteng, the Grandtrek Uncharted now has it mapped.
Thanks to Grandtrek Uncharted, travelers and tourists can now find a few well mapped out roads to get you to the Tongaland in KwaZulu-Natal, the bird lovers’ paradise of Magoebaskloof in Limpopo, the crystal clear sinkholes of the Groot Marico in the North West Province, Mariepskop in Mpumalanga, the arid Kgalagadi in the Northern Cape or across the eco-diverse Western Cape region from Piekenierskloof to Strandfontein and Doringbaai in the Western Cape.
“Not only were we able to chart the uncharted, but we are playing a pivotal role in encouraging South Africans to get back out there after lockdown and explore our beautiful country, from the mountains to the deserts and the coast. We set out to capture some of the spirit, with a modern twist, of the adventurers who, in the old days, would map out the new places they discovered, and encourage South Africans to go places that until now, even Google had not yet been. This has been a unique opportunity and something no other tyre manufacturer has ever done,” Haffejee said.
Ready to take to the road for your next adventure? Prepare for a safe journey with the Grandtrek Uncharted 360-degree footage uploaded to the Google Street View platform. To view the footage, as well as the destinations visited, visit www.grandtrek.co.za.