This article examines the infamous Land Rover 'Himba' advertisement (2000) that shocked South Africans because of its racism and sexism. The South African Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the advertisement constituted a violation of human dignity that perpetuated gender and cultural inequality. This article takes the position that the Himba advertisement builds on the colonial notions of adventure, exploration and discovery of the African continent by the western male. The mystique of travel and discovery during the nineteenth century inscribed the control of the African landscape and its people; colonial explorers and travellers consequently feminized Africa to signify conquest and control. It is proposed that these ideas are re-inscribed in the deeply embedded cultural connotations attached to the Land Rover and Africa as its so-called spiritual home. An investigation into some of the myths and ideologies in the Himba advertisement reveals that a set of binary oppositions operates that draw attention to the distinctions between culture/nature, power/powerlessness, male/female, technology/primitivism and West/Africa. An interrogation of this advertisement is important because of the contentious nature of its content, and because fantasy adventure is a significant tendency in tourism and leisure activities in South Africa.