Lost City of Atlantis opens up to 4x4s

Sowetan Reporter

Sowetan Reporter

A Toyota sponsored 4x4 family fun day in the Atlantis dunes, near Cape Town, is becoming a popular event.

This followed the recent overwhelming success of the event, which provided 4x4 enthusiasts with a chance to try out their vehicles when faced with a series of obstacles.

Spectators who did not own 4x4s were able to use a Toyota shuttle service to access the dunes and experience their magic first-hand. They enjoyed a guided drive to a number of challenging deep-sand obstacles.

The Western Cape branch of the Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa and Toyota South Africa organised this day of fun, which emphasised responsible 4x4 activities.

Permission was granted by the city of Cape Town authorities to stage a series of obstacles and entertainment in the heart of the Atlantis dunes.

"We are absolutely delighted with the response to the Atlantis 4x4 fun day, and the turn-out exceeded all expectations. Members of other 4x4 clubs in the region have indicated that they would like to be involved in the future," said Western Cape club chairman Fred Bartens.

The club had planned to limit entries to 60, but in the end there were 86 competing cars with another 90 vehicles driven by club members, sponsors and spectators.

While drivers of all makes of vehicle participated in the fun, Toyotas were in the majority and Hilux bakkies scooped the major prizes.

Toyota's senior public affairs manager Roger Houghton said the fun day was inspired by the success of the up-country Rust de Winter Jamboree, which had been running for 28 years, 18 of them with Toyota sponsorship.

"Our involvement with the fun day is in line with the company's philosophy of encouraging Earth-friendly driving techniques and the responsible use of 4x4s in off-road situations."

Willie van Greune of Toyota also praised the commitment of the organising club. He said he believed the feedback from participants was a clear signal that it should become a yearly event.

He said priority had to be the protection of the Atlantis dunes because of their scenic beauty and importance as a source of underground drinking water, but pointed out that vegetation in the dunes was not indigenous and vehicle tracks were quickly obliterated by the wind.

The gleaming white dunes north of Cape Town are a popular venue for filming and fashion shoots, with a special permit system allowing access to a separate controlled area that caters exclusively for 4x4 drivers and quad riders.

Proceeds will benefit local charities.