One of the hidden gems within the BMW offerings for its customers is the BMW X5 Experience Program Adventure Trip To Namibia. Here is a description from BMW’s website: “The BMW Adventure Trip to Namibia provides an exciting adventure which uniquely combines creature comforts with the pure magic of wildlife. In the BMW X5 you explore one of the most fascinating landscapes in the world. Guided by satellite navigation, you set off through diverse terrain: over gravel and sand tracks, through canyons and dried river deltas and along steep mountain passes and magnificent coastal roads.
Even when you get out of the BMW X5 you will be fascinated: whether out in a boat looking for dolphins or setting out on a rhinoceros safari, on the BMW Adventure Trip to Namibia you will leave your everyday routine behind you. You will especially appreciate this when you stay at high-class ranches and farms where you will savour the very finest African cuisine and spend the evening at the bar or by the pool, looking back over the events of the day in your thoughts or in discussion with other trip participants.”
The trip lasts 8 days and it includes maximum 12 people in a group. Included in the 3,850 euro price is 7 overnight stays with full board with single room in selected accommodations, transfers, team support, English-speaking travel guide, program of activities with local highlights, insurance.
The folks over at Auto Evolution decided to adventure themselves into the unknown land and share with us an amazing story and photos.
DAY 2 – HELLO BMW!
Waking up at 7.00 a.m. is practically the harshest punishment we could have received and, unfortunately, this is exactly what we had to do every morning during our stay in Namibia. And as if that wasn’t enough, the first night was all about heavy rain so sleeping was more about laughing and making the best of a bad job, as the co-pilots were the ones to jump in the mud if the driver was in trouble.
And the fun was about to begin. We were presented with a few basic off-road and car maintenance tips which, for us, were pretty useless given the fact that we dream cars all day long. Still, we were impressed by the way the BMW xDrive system does basically everything for the driver. In fact, there’s only one thing the driver has to do and that’s pressing the throttle pedal (irony).
Since we knew so much about the traction control systems, we decided to remain tight-lipped, mostly because we were there to enjoy the cars and not to start a debate on which one is the best. After lunch, we finally got the chance to meet our off-roaders.
Our X5 was equipped with a 3.5-liter biturbo diesel engine with 286 horsepower, just like all the other models, but still, it was unique in its very own way. In a bad sense however… The
car we received had some kind of technical glitch, so each time we pressed the throttle pedal, we felt just like in an old French model with 55 horsepower. Imagine us screaming in the walkie talkie “STOP! Our turbo is kaput!”. We’re still not sure if our desperation was the result of the mechanical problems or because we knew we could remain all alone surrounded by wild animals…
This is how we got a second chance, a new X5, although we don’t know if “new” is the best term to describe it. The new car had no GPS and walkie-talkie and, from our point of view, it was the perfect tool to learn the dashboard instruments and the service warnings displayed on the LCD screen. Parking sensors, airbags, safety belts with pretensioners and many other features were still there. The only problem is that they were broken so… Never mind, we said, let’s get going!
A few kilometers and we had to scream once again: “STOP! God Dammit! Our car is smoking!” We weren’t sure if they got the message but we’ve been told that this is quite a common thing, so we should go on, the blue trace will soon disappear. And it did… Still, we couldn’t stop thinking about the raw eggs we’d been offered in the morning (yet we turned it down), it could have really helped us that day since we were the only one screaming all the time…
Since we were finally ready to go, we moved further to some kind of “circuit” full of rocks and downhills that really put the Hill Descent Control system up to the test. In our view however, this was the star of the day and it was actually the first time when we really felt like off-roading.
Of course, it was also the first time when we figured out the concept behind the custom made aluminium engine protection cover that measures 2 centimeters thick and protects the main parts of the engine. The BMW representative was pretty clear when he emphasized that “regular” models shouldn’t be tested like this because the engine bay is the first one to be damaged in such conditions.
Our main concern in the desert was still the tire puncture, mostly if you’re not careful enough and you run over a sharp rock. We got Bridgestone M+S tires, non-runflat because we had to adjust the pressure when going over sand. If you’re wondering which is the fuel consumption rating in off-road, you shouldn’t. Especially if you’re a tree hugger. With an average speed of 10-20 km/h (6.2 – 12.4 mph), the on-board computer indicated 25 – 30 l/100km (9.4 – 7.8 mpg).
Read the full experience at Auto Evolution