SA duo wins RV Rampage across New Zealand

2014-06-10 13:52
Cape Town  - South Africans Deanna Grace and close friend Byron Branfield took on the Travel Channel’s RV Rampage across beautiful New Zealand - and they won, beating four other teams. We chat to them about the experience.
Hosted by Henry Cole and Amanda Byra,  RV Rampage saw five international teams of two battle it out in a survivor-meets-amazing-race styled challenges - all set against a backdrop of New Zealand's breath-taking landscapes, stunning scenery and incredible coastline.

The teams were literally pushed to their limits with Tourist Challenges, designed to immerse them in the culture and lifestyle of New Zealand and Rampage Challenges that to tested them both physically and mentally. News24 Travel caught up with Deanna and Byron after their win.

What was the final like and what do you plan on spending your prize money on?

"We thought we had really messed things up when we went the wrong way then went to the wrong bungee jump location, we had resigned ourselves to third place because the girls were coming back so strong and we were so proud of them. We pushed it on the way back and luckily saw the flags really early and the bolt to the finish gave us the chance to get back those precious seconds we needed.

From that point on the money was secondary, winning the competition was what we wanted to do together, getting the votes was truly amazing and I can only give the other contestants my thanks and gratitude for voting us in and just generally being such super human beings."

How did the two of you meet and what made you decide to enter this radical RV Rampage challenge in the first place?
Byron, "Deanna and myself have been friends for about a decade, we are both from South Africa and she was married to one of my closest friends. Deanna entered and then asked me to be her team mate, we are both competitive and driven so it made sense. From my side it was a no brainer.

Deanna, "I saw an advert from the casting agency on Facebook, just randomly. I'd always wanted to go to New Zealand and figured I had nothing to lose by entering.  I wasn't expecting to hear anything back, but I received a response within a few hours.  They asked me some questions and I had to send some photos through.  They really liked me, but said I needed a partner.  Byron was my obvious choice because we are such good friends and I knew he was just as active and competitive as me." 

What’s been the most significant discovery you’ve made about yourself during the RV Rampage adventure?
Byron, "Well I have realised that fear is inherent in us but can be overcome. The fear will always be there but if you choose to let it get the better of you you let fear win. I was very very scared of any height challenges but there was nothing that was going to stop me from doing it no matter how daunting it felt at the time. Regret is much much worse than fear!
Deanna, "RV Rampage was life changing.  I learned that I really can do anything I put mind to.  I'd never even considered doing anything like bungy jumping or sky diving before, but having this opportunity of going to New Zealand (my life-long dream) and having the motivation of potentially winning a competition gave me the determination I needed to do all the challenges.  I was so focused that I managed to stay really calm throughout most of the challenges.  I am now able to use that determination and focus in my everyday life.  I decided to become a Weight Management Consultant while in NZ, and am now studying to be a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist.  I am also busy starting up my own business.  I never would have found my purpose in life if it wasn't for RV Rampage!

What were the highlight/s of this competition?
Byron, "White River Rafting, not so much the challenge but the trip back to base was amazing. We literally had to paddle for our lives because we got caught by light, we uncontrolled and very exhilarating. I loved learning the Haka on sacred ground by Maoris, you had this sense of culture and honour. Every challenge and location had its beauty and appeal, New Zealand is a special place. She has some of the most beautiful sceneries you could ever hope to see in your life. Queenstown was my favourite location by far, dynamic and very exciting place.

Deanna, "I'd definitely recommend touring in an RV because you really get a good feel of the place.  The resorts are usually situated in really beautiful locations, like the one we stayed at in Rotorua - it was next to a spectacular lake, surrounded by forest and mountains.  Breathtaking!!

Complete the sentences…
The worst thing about road tripping in an RV is… "Space... Space is the biggest issue and access to toilets..."
The most amazing thing about road tripping in an RV is… "The road is something special to experience, driving from place to place taking your time to take in the scenery is out of this world. There is a wildness to it all.
The next place I’d definitely consider doing this sort of adventure in is….  "Obvious answer....South Africa, I can only imagine how amazing this trip could be in SA. The diverse culture, amazing scenery, every extreme activity you could think of. Besides SA, I would say South America.

Deanna - I totally agree with Byron on all those answers!

Would you try anything like this? Tell us in the comment section below or come join our travel community! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, hang out with us on Google+, snap away on Instagram and share your inspiration on Pinterest.


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Read more on:    new zealand  |  travel and leisure  |  good news

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