Kia South Africa dealers step up to the plate with a R68,000 donation Sportage and Sorento AWD models complete the testing adventure with ease, proving their all-round ability
“As a founding sponsor of the annual SEVEN7 Drive, Kia is once again humbled to have been involved with this epic awareness and fundraising drive,” says Christo Valentyn, GM Marketing, Kia South Africa. “We’re even more delighted that our dealer network across South Africa stepped up to the challenge and collectively donated R68,000 to Cupcakes of Hope.”
Led by experienced journalist Danie Botha, the team departed Johannesburg on 21 September and reached their final destination a week later. In the process, they raised a total of R84,000 for Cupcakes of Hope and spread cheer to kids at various hospitals’ oncology wards and care homes.
This is the story of the team’s ambitious adventure, as relayed by Botha.
Day 1: Johannesburg to Amanzimtoti (670km)
After we packed the Sportage and Sorento’s generous luggage bays to the rafters with gifts and supplies, we set off for Kia Bethlehem for a much-needed caffeine boost before visiting Dihlabeng Hospital. Due to COVID-19 protocols, we couldn’t visit the kids but dropped off supplies and departed for our next stop, Kia Pinetown and Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, which specialises in cancer treatment. There sister Mary Narayanan gave us some insights into the incredible work done by the doctors and sisters at this amazing hospital.
Day 2: Amanzimtoti to Rhodes (500km)
Departing from Kia Durban South, it took us the entire day to reach Rhodes, despite no planned dealership or hospital stops, due to challenging road conditions and slower-going on sections like Naude’s Neck Pass, the second-highest dirt road in South Africa. Of course, the Kias did not put a foot wrong (and looked the part thanks to striking branding applied by Wrap Vehicles).
Day 3: Rhodes to Joubertina (800km)
We started off from Rhodes just after sunrise and not 5km out of town, disaster struck. The Sportage driver didn’t notice a massive rock lying on the verge of the road and hit it with the Kia’s left-front wheel. The rim and tyre were completely destroyed. We fitted the full-size spare wheel and phoned Kia’s team to inform them of the hiccup.
We made slow progress to Khowa and then onwards to Queenstown, where the local Kia dealership went out of their way to assist us. Soon a new alloy and tyre were fitted, the wheel alignment sorted out and we were on our way. We finally arrived at Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital, where we received a warm welcome from the sisters at the paediatric oncology ward.
The driving wasn’t done quite yet… After a long and testing day, we arrived at our accommodation on a farm, in the mountains, in the dark. Thankfully, 4x4 Mega World had fitted a set of startlingly bright driving lights to the Sorento’s nudge bar and they sure came in handy! Soon a braai fire was crackling, and our spirits lifted.
Day 4: Joubertina to Cape Town (650km)
An early morning again as we swept through the spectacular Langkloof to Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp. We then turned off the R62 and headed further inland via Seweweekspoort to Laingsburg and onward to Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital. There, we were met by local teacher Annel Mellet, who had heard about the SEVEN7 Drive and, together with friends and family, sourced gifts and supplies for the kids at Tygerberg.
We reached our accommodation in Cape Town at sunset. The Sportage, despite its encounter with that big rock, soldiered on gamely. It was an amazing feat considering the massive impact it had survived.
Day 5: Cape Town to Upington (850km)
We left before sunrise to master this long stretch in one day, first on the N7 national highway before soon turning onto a 250km dirt road to Calvinia that holds the distinction of being the longest road in South Africa without a town or filling station. We popped in at Tankwa Road Stall, where wedding preparations were in full swing. After being invited to join the celebrations (which we had to decline for obvious reasons), we set off for Dr Harry Surtie Hospital in Upington where four cancer patients and their parents awaited us.
One girl in particular quickly crept into our hearts. Jaydene Prins has been fighting stage-three neuroblastoma cancer for two years yet her infectious smile never left her face…
Day 6: Upington to Marakele National Park (900km)
The longest stretch of the adventure dawned. The initial section still in the Northern Cape was a pleasurable drive, with very little traffic and the open spaces of the Kalahari. Soon, however, things took a turn for the worse once we entered the North West. Reckless driving and potholes threatened to prematurely end the SEVEN7 Drive but the Sportage and Sorento kept us safe and secure, and before nightfall, we reached Griffons Bush Camp in Marakele National Park. We spent some time recuperating around a proper Bush TV – otherwise known as a fire.
Day 7: Marakele to Pretoria (505km)
We left Marakele at the crack of dawn, heading to Polokwane via Rankin’s Pass. Locals had warned us about this route, and they were right; it was a rough old track. The Sportage and Sorento, of course, carried on without complaint. Eventually, we arrived at Kia Polokwane for a quick visit and then we distributed gifts and supplies to the nearly 50 kids with cancer at Polokwane Provincial Hospital.
Soon we were back on the N1 – more questionable driving made the journey more arduous than it should have been – making our way to the sparkling new Kia Hatfield dealership before we reached our end destination at Nicus Lodge, where we were welcomed by the Cupcakes for Hope team as well as the rock stars who work at Nicus to make the lives easier of kids with cancer and their families. Finally, another SEVEN7 Drive was over … until 2022, that is!
Inspired to make a difference
Visit Cupcakes of Hope’s website at cupcakesofhope.org and click on the ‘donate’ button for various way to contribute.
There’s still time to contribute to SEVEN7 Drive! If you or your company would like to get involved, email Margaret Pretorius at email@example.com for more details. Donors will be issued a Section 18A tax certificate.