Amarok Getaway Experiance

The Amarok Experience

A picture is worth a thousand words but only going on the Amarok Experience can truly tell the full story.

At 8am I arrived at Lindsay Saker Midrand to find a nice “cuppa” and snacks available not just for me and the others in the Amarok Experience group but enough to feed the rest of the Lindsay Saker Midrand staff. After the short rules and regulations brief we were ready for the adventure to begin. Climbing into the Amarok 2.0 TDI 4motion Double Cab Highline is an experience on its own. It looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside.DSC08477

A little tap on the indicator, sunglasses in the sunglass case, cruise control set, and it’s time to enjoy the drive and let the experience begin.

After some beautiful scenery and a very comfortable drive we stopped for lunch in the Strydpoort Mountains which are part of the Drakensberg mountain range. Can’t beat a fresh cheese and ham roll overlooking a beautiful view.

After the quick lunch we headed through the Mafefe village and onto the dirt roads. Here is where the fun began. The sand roads are no match for the Amarok. What I was really impressed with, considering the amount of dust that is produced by six powerful Amarok’s, was that no dust filters into the Amarok. That was really great. Then it gets really exciting! Once you hit the Wolkberg Mountain route we had to switch into lower gear. The terrain here becomes really rough and for the next couple hours we put the Amarok through its paces. There was nowhere this vehicle wouldn’t go.  A feature that I found great (being an inexperienced 4×4 driver) is the automatic braking. In really rough terrain you put the Amarok in Neutral and it will automatically brake for you which is great in terms of safety and confidence.



After an exhilarating four hour drive we reached our log cabin which had rainforest like surroundings with little streams running next to the cabins. We arrived just before sunset. The view was priceless and it was time for us all to get to know a little more about each other and the experience so far. It didn’t take more than two drinks by the fire and it was like we had all been friends for ages, so by the end of Friday night we considered ourselves the 1st Amarok Experience family.

The next morning we were up and out by 9am. We started off with an incredibly stunning drive up and over the mountains, where we stopped for a well earned picnic about halfway up. From there we drove through a little ghost town called Leydsdorp (1891 – 1991) which showed me a little of how life was back before my day. Then it was back offroad along the Kruger National Park fence (Western Boundary) along the Klein Letaba River. Once again terrain was rough but nothing is too tough for this Amarok, we did however get a tiny chip on the windscreen from flying stones made by the powerful Amarok in front of us. The Amarok Experience crew were really good and knew as much about nature as they did about the Amarok which was great because although we didn’t see all of the big five there are many interesting birds and plants that many of us would not know about, this also kept the three hour drive very entertaining. At around 4:30pm we arrived at our second night`s accommodation inside the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park – this is big five territory. The surrounds and accommodation were even more tranquil than the previous night. Makes you think that heaven could be on earth if we look in the right places and this was one of those places. It was tented accommodation but couldn’t have been nicer. It was clean and very well looked after with everything you need. Electricity was a no go but with gas and very simple but effective kitchens and bathrooms it was as if we weren’t missing a thing.


Time to finish what we started on the Friday night. The second night always has better stories and way more laughs. With the stars above you, earth below you and Mother Nature all around, I was at complete ease and felt liberated from Johannesburg’s constant hustle and bustle. Lindsay Saker Midrand sponsored Saturday night’s awesome Pap ‘n Vleis buffet. After a couple helpings and countless laughs it was time to enjoy a night with nature.

My peaceful sleep was woken by the Lindsay Saker Amarok Experience crew with a full English breakfast with a bowl of fruit and yogurt. After the tummy was full it was time to head back to Lindsay Saker Midrand, but not before a nice cup of tea and apple pie at a great place in Dullstroom. I’m a city slicker but after this incredible experience, I would like to do this more often, especially if it’s in a 2.0 TDI Amarok 4motion.


Amarok Best TowCar of 2013

Not a surprise to Amarok owners or Volkswagen themselves, but the Amarok has been awarded ‘Tow Car of the Year’ in Car magazine’s 12 Best Buys for 2013.

It seems the Amarok’s combination of power, comfort and economy has found favour with caravanners and the press alike in South Africa.

Against formidable competition from Ford, Foton, GWM, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota – all of whom know a thing or two about making great 4×2 double cab bakkies – the Amarok came out on top because of its ability to shrug off the 1,370kg load it had to tow over a set route.

A big factor in the victory was the 8-speed automatic gearbox now fitted to the Amarok, which gives it peerless flexibility in all towing situations.

So, the next time you are stuck behind a caravan on a mountain pass and the driver of the towing car isn’t in an Amarok, pull him over and tell him what he needs to know.

volkswagen amarok tdi

Amarok Automatic

At a recent Cooper Tyres press and dealer launch, we were treated to the experience of driving up and down a 43 degree slope. Now that may not sound like much but, believe me, when you are hanging from your seat belts and looking straight down at the ground, it is actually quite impressive.

One interesting thing that the driver told us was that this sort of thing is actually easier on the mechanicals of the car when automatic transmission is fitted; no danger of slipping the clutch to oblivion and stranding you out in the boondocks.

With that in mind, it seems that the wisest thing that VW engineers could do is to fit the Amarok with an auto tranny. So that is what they have done.

Enter the 8-speed Automatic Amarok, the first bakkie in its class to have a system of this kind fitted.

If you can stomach the official PR speak, here’s what VW have to say about the innovation; ‘The 8-speed automatic transmission was specially developed for the Amarok. The development emphasis was on efficiency, smooth gear shifting, weight reduction and reliability. The gearshift speed is at the level of the sportier DSG transmission. The 8-speed automatic transmission uses a torque converter. This allows for better response at low speeds and less resistance to slip than a DSG transmission. These are key factors during off road driving and towing.

‘The additional gears made it possible to achieve a wider gear ratio spread between the 1st and 8th gears compared to a conventional automatic transmission. As a result, the BiTDI engine works even more frequently in its optimal torque band. Furthermore, the Amarok with the automatic transmission is fuel-efficient. Thanks to the 8th gear that has been configured as a fuel saving overdrive gear that operates at reduced engine speed.

‘The new automatic transmission is combined with a 132kW 2.0-litre Bi-turbo TDI engine. It has maximum torque of 420 Newton metres that is available at 1 750rpm.The top speed of 179 km/h is reached in 7th gear. It only takes 10.9 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h.’

What this really means is that the Amarok is even better than it already was off-road and this performance will now be available to those drivers for whom operating a clutch was something they did when they were young and had muscles in their legs.

Want eve more from your Amarok? Well, those nice boffins at VW have announced that, from April 2013, all Amarok models will be available with BlueMotion Technology. The main features of BlueMotion Technology are stop-start system and regenerative braking. BlueMotion Technology improves fuel consumption and lowers CO2 emissions.

Does this make the Amarok the first 4×4 with a conscience?