On major drive events, including our May tour of South Africa’s Garden Route in new 2014 Subaru Forester XTs, organizers often include a medic among the team.

This ensures prompt response to emergencies when the group may be hours from the nearest medical facility.

From broken bones to insect bites, car crashes to allergic reactions, the medic is not only the first responder but in some cases the only medical professional in hundreds of miles.

But there’s a second, subtler reason for having a medic along: It underscores that traveling in an unfamiliar country, through novel terrain and unknown perils, is not to be taken lightly.

The ever-present reminder that prompt medical attention may be needed at any moment keeps participants alert—and encourages responsible behavior.

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In the case of our Garden Route tour, our traveling medic was Jaco Van Rooyen, known as JJ.

2014 Subaru Forester XT convoy on tour in South Africa

2014 Subaru Forester XT convoy on tour in South Africa

The firm he worked for, Outdoor Medical Consulting, equipped him with a white previous-generation Subaru Forester—white absorbs less heat in the searing South African summer sun.

Van Rooyen's car was a base South African model, with silver-painted steel wheels and a five-speed manual transmission with its 2.5-liter flat-four engine.

The standard all-wheel drive was much appreciated n the variety of roads and surfaces we encountered on our three-day drive trip.

Those roads over time would undoubtedly put Subaru's reputation for sturdiness to the test.

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Regrettably, Outdoor Medical owner Bertus Prinsloo didn't respond to our questions about why the company chose the Forester.

But we had to appreciate that on a 2014 Subaru Forester test drive, the backup car was ... also a Forester.

Subaru provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-person report.


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