Category Archives: News

Botswana’s Hidden Gems

In this article we will uncover some of Botswana’s hidden gems. With the current travel restrictions this would be an ideal opportunity to get kitted up and set off on an adventure around Botswana. Our Tourism industry has taken a knock as a result of restricted travel from outside the country. The industry is relying on local travel. So, we are encouraging you to support them! We have set out a 15-day travel itinerary that we feel covers some of what our beautiful country has to offer. This will take you through some of Botswana’s iconic landmarks! Here is a map to outline the route:  The Route covers some of Botswana’s greatest tracks with some of Africa’s most iconic landmarks and heritage sites. Botswana is famous for the Okavango Delta which has been named as a World Heritage site. These routes host some of the most spectacular sceneries that you will ever experience.    DAY 1 - Gaborone to Ghanzi This is long stretch of road, therefore an early start to this leg of the trip is recommended. With a travel time of approximately 7 hours and covering a distance of approximately 645km. You will head towards the western side of Botswana. Ghanzi, known as the Capital of the Kalahari is home to some of the country’s largest cattle farms. We would not recommend traveling these roads at night. Although, most of the cattle in this region are kept in feed lots, there are smaller subsistence farmers in the region, who rely on moving their cattle to find water and food in the open plains of the Kalahari. These herds sometimes find themselves on the main roads.  There are a few camping accommodation options in Ghanzi. Here are some options you can look at.  Palm Afrique - is a lovely unique lodge that…

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Black Ops Vehicle

Operation Black Ops

The 76 Station Wagon that has kept the heads turning in our workshop for the past two weeks.   An idea of Anthony’s that has kept him awake for the last year, has finally come to light and a lifelong dream for most!   When Anthony arrived with his stock-standard cruiser, none of us had any idea of what this station wagon was going to transform into. Anthony had an idea in his head, but no clear image of the finished product. Who knew that the idea in Anthony’s head was to become masterpiece and nothing like anything that we have built before!   Day 1   Straight onto the lift for the removal of the standard suspension. This was replaced with a full Tough Dog Suspension kit that included – - Big Bore adjustable shocks - Medium-load leaf pack - Greaseable pins and shackles - Nine-stage adjustable steering damper which is protected by a 5mm sump guard from Front Runner.     In the meantime, we sent the six 17" Pro Comp mags to be fitted with BF Goodrich tyres. This gave the guys time to finish off with fitting the suspension and the LA Sport rear wheel-spacers.     Measurements are taken before and after any suspension fitment. We need to be sure that the lift and droop (full shock extension) does not exceed what is recommended by the OEM.   The leaf springs and front coil springs constant load rate is determined by the additional weight of accessories that will be added to the vehicle as permanent fixtures.   What this means is that the vehicle will maintain a 40-50mm lift with the additional weight of accessories. So, by determining what accessories will be added we can gauge what the estimated "constant" weight will be and therefor…

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Letaka Safaris support truck!!

Letaka Safaris is a mobile safari company based in the north of Botswana, in Maun.   Their operation requires vehicles for back-up and support to carry their equipment out into some of the most remote areas of Botswana.   Based on a truck that we completed for them a few years back, we had a good idea of what they were looking for. The purpose of this vehicle was going to be for back-up support, which will assist in carrying equipment needed for the mobile safari setup. These will be items such as tents, bedding, fridges, food and drinks, tables, chairs and so much more!   We have made a few minor tweaks to this version, compared to the original design:   The original truck, that we had equipped previously, had a basket over the cab. The problem with the original design is it required structural support around the cab to support the weight of the basket and for any additional luggage loaded into the basket. This design had its disadvantages. It required a lot more material and added additional weight to the truck. The experience from the client, based on the first build, was that the framework on the cab was flexing when the vehicle was articulated in rough terrain, which meant that the framework could potentially damage the body of the cab.     With a new design and plan in place, the fabrication team set off with getting some pipes bent. They started off with an angle iron frame around the load bin. The pipes were then bent individually to start shaping the structure, which was welded to the angle iron frame that was already bolted down to the load bin. Profiling the bends so that each individual pipe had exactly the same angle took time and…

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De Graaf Performance Exhausts!

We now offer De Graaf Performance Exhausts which can be supplied and fitted at our workshop. Fitting a performance exhaust to your vehicle can be very beneficial to the performance of your vehicle from increased power to improved fuel consumption. It is important to note the advantages of a performance exhaust.       When you increase airflow coming in and out of your engine you are allowing the engine to run cooler, which also helps prolong the life span of essential moving parts in the engine. Such increase in airflow can be achieved by fitting a snorkel for better inflow of air. By increasing the exhaust pipe diameter, you allow the engine to exhale air a lot easier. Kind of like trying to breath through a blocked nose, once you clear the air ways the body can take in more oxygen, which helps the body function better. Advantages of a performance exhaust – Increased power Better fuel efficiency Improved sound   The increase in power allows the engine to run at lower RPM. The engine then uses less fuel to achieve the same power output. This particularly makes a big difference when driving in soft sand, as ideally you want to keep the revs as low as possible with maximum torque. The exhaust also gives the engine a rumbling sound that isn’t overpowering especially on the diesel engines, but distinct enough to know that something is cooking under the bonnet! We can accommodate most current vehicles but not all of them. So, get in touch with us to find out if we have a system available for your vehicle.   [ngg src="galleries" ids="32" display="basic_thumbnail" thumbnail_width="220" ajax_pagination="1"]

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2F Cruiser Build

The famous Toyota Land Cruiser 2F pick-up is well known for its unique classic look and strong reliable engine! Built on the FJ40 chassis, the FJ45 was the pick-up version of the station wagon. The FJ series were available in a 4-door station wagon, Long Bed pick-up and Short Bed pick-up. The first of the models came out with a 3-speed manual and was later upgraded to a 4-speed manual transmission. These vehicles are becoming more and more sought after. Luckily for Mark, he managed to find the needle in the haystack! This is the removable hard top long load-bed model from the 1980’s. Mark has spent the last 2 years working on restoring the old girl, keeping as much as he could to original spec. This can be tricky with these builds as parts are becoming harder and harder to find, so restoration of existing equipment is always a good start. The interior of this 2F is still in mint condition and a clear image of what we could have expected to see from the factory. Apart from our custom made, grey diamond stitch padded canvas seat covers, door lining and rubberized foot well - the rest of the interior - dials and switches are still in very good condition. The idea behind this build is that Mark wanted to be able to tow his cruiser to the farm with a detachable A-frame which can then be used around the farm on a weekend. Brilliant vehicle to spend a weekend cruising around the farm with the kids and Mom on the back. Ideally Mark wanted to design something that compliments the style of this vehicle. Step down rails are the perfect match for this classic! With that in mind, we set off with the outlay and basic design of…

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Wild Wheel’s Latest Addition!!!

If you know anything about travelling in Botswana, you will understand why a call for such a beast - is nothing - but a necessity. Harsh conditions dominate the travelers experience in this part of the world. With a self-drive safari rental vehicle this is the perfect match! From badly corrugated roads of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to the deep river crossings of the Moremi and Delta, its important to have the correct set up for such a mix of terrain. Wild Wheels has just the right offering. Of their fleet of 8 vehicles, they have a single cab V8 Land Cruiser, 4 double cab Toyota Hilux Revo’s, two Nissan NP300 (Hardbody) and 1 double cab Land Cruiser 4.2 Diesel. They have the perfect pick of vehicles best suited to the customer but also the terrain. If you are looking for a 4X4 rental company with friendly staff, good advice and offerings then Wild Wheels is your answer! After being on a long waiting list for this vehicle from Toyota, it eventually arrived and was in line for some serious upgrades! We started off by taking off everything we don’t need. These are accessories fitted at the factory that won’t be needed for this build. Removing the cab rail and load bin spare wheel mount to allow for the rubberizing team over at Canopy Centre to rubberize the load bin and later for the Rhino-cab canopy to be fitted. Before rubberizing, the fabrication team installed load bin skins. Because the load bin of a cruiser is a single sheet panel, to protect this we add in a layer of sheet metal to form a “double layer” and reinforce the internal section of the load bin. These are primed with a grey metal primer to avoid any form of corrosion.…

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Letaka Safaris game viewer conversion done and dusted!!

As we wrap up and add yet another Game Viewer to the Letaka fleet. These builds are always great fun but come with challenges;  having to build this with just a few pictures of their current vehicles. The challenges always lie in getting the bends, measurements and seating positions right. However, our fabrication team live for challenges and pulled off yet another fantastic build!! The fabrication team get tasked with some of the most challenging tasks. Every day brings on new challenges for them, but they play a vital part to the operations at Hi-Range. Pipe bending on its own is an art and their attention to detail and smart-seamless welds gives a unique signature in the market. Whilst we awaited Letaka’s slot at Kavango for the cab to be cut and a fresh Raptor paint job, the guys managed to get the basis of the rails and side rails tacked up. The side rails run from the front bull bar all along the side of the vehicle, which then bolts on to the rear bumper. Whilst the vehicle was at Kavango in Maun getting the Cab cut off, we were full steam ahead with pipe bending the four post, eight-seater configuration! We got as much done on the rails so that when the vehicle arrived back, we could get straight into putting the rails on and starting the fine work. Sounds easy? Well I’m sure our fabrication team had other ideas about this. Once the vehicle returned, we could do the cut out on the side of the load bin where the access point is for the guests. We then put some load bin skins in and got it into rubberizing to get the load bin, wheel arch’s and access point trim rubberized. Now remembering that all of this…

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The Grand Relaunch

The Grand Relaunch came and went almost as quickly as the renovations flew by. Though at the time, it felt like time was dragging on at tortoise pace! The hard work, long hours and offices full of dust surely paid off. Our relaunch event that was held in November, was open to the public to showcase/display Canopy Centre, Ground Control and Hi-Range’s new up - market facilities, including its spacious, organized workshops and its outstanding showroom. The relaunch gave customers and suppliers an opportunity to come together and have a glance of what we now have to offer. It was a good opportunity to instill confidence into the market with regards to our capabilities and offerings which are now available. Coupled together with entertainment and extraordinary displays of vehicles that were kindly given to us by some of our loyal customers to use as display to showcase some of the work Hi-Range has done. There were some impressive vehicles on display, from self-contained Land Cruisers to hunting vehicles, camping trailer, fully stock Ford Rangers and even some fully kitted Land Cruiser 200 Series. The event was open to everyone, even the kids! We had some lucky draw prizes up for grabs and even a colouring competition for the kids to participate in as well as other activities like a jumping castle and pop corn machine! All the proceeds made from the food and drinks table were donated to La Modimo Charity for their great cause, which aids the help and care of under privileged children. Hi-Range and Canopy Centre have been supporters of the La Modimo Charity for several years. We were honored to have everyone here and greatly appreciate their attendance. Surrounded by good people, entertained by good music and not to mention Benju’s Ginologist evening. Benju provided gin…

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Opposite lock recently added Outback Roof consoles to their basket of great products!

  We are glad to announce that these products are now available in our store. We have stock available for most single and double cab bakkies. The Outback roof consoles have a neat design that fits well with the interior of the vehicle. With a range of options available for various vehicles, this makes a great product to add storage space to your cab without compromising too much. Great features you can expect – Front interior lights that is a plug and play with your OEM interior lights. A console for a DIN size radio. Optional inserts for smaller radios. Microphone cable holder. Keeps the cable tied neatly against the console, keeping it out of harm’s way! Bluetooth speaker holes. A neat solution that allows for clear sound. Lined storage box locker. This locker box stops contents stored inside from rattling and possible damage against sides of locker box. Smart Leather-grain finish gives the console that "Part of the vehicle - not apart from it" look.   So, if you're looking for some extra storage space, but still keeping the factory feel, then this is the product!    

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Hi-Range Rangers

Our team recently completed some major work on two Ford Rangers. It seems as if these Rangers are reproducing in our workshop. We entered into long discussions with the customers to decide on a setup that would work for the vehicle’s intended application. In the case of the first customer (Extra Cab), the vehicle was to be setup as a self-sustaining camper and would need all the necessary gear to achieve this. The work on the Extra Cab Ranger was set out for us! While the other client, with his Double Cab Ranger, would do shorter more frequent trips, that didn’t require as much, sustainability gear. Well…that’s what he says now. The first port of call is protection! Out there on the trails, your vehicle gets put through very rough terrain and is very exposed to the elements, so its important to have quality protection. So, starting on the front, we fitted an Oppositelock bullbar. Oppositelock bullbar is an Australian built and tested product with Airbag Certification. OL pride themselves in quality products that offers the durability needed to take on the outback thus making it a great competitor for the African market and more so for the Botswana market. We fitted the same bar on the double cab, except that we put a set of LED 215 Light Force spotlights on the Double Cab. The Double Cab will do driving at night and requires that extra lighting. Sump protection is vitally important against sharp, rocky objects that may cause serious damage to the under carriage. So, with a Front Runner sump guard protection that offers the needed protection for the under belly of your 4X4, it is a must have. We fitted both Rangers with this sump guard. On the rear we fitted an ONCA bumper with a single…

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