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LandRoving Edition 124 - September 2017

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Published by Land Rover Owners Club of Southern Africa, 2017-08-25 06:14:04

Landroving 124

LandRoving Edition 124 - September 2017

Keywords: Land Rover,Magazine,4x4

EDITION 124 - WINTER 2017
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE LAND

ROVER OWNERS
CLUB OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

Inside: Love, Life and Landies 1
and Recovery (but only for Landies)

2

Visit: www.lroc.org.za or Telephone: 062 926 3649

The official magazine of the Land Rover Owners Club of Southern Africa

IN THIS ISSUE:

From the Editor Page 5

Chairman’s Desk Page 6

How to find a wife using a Landrover and compass Page 8

December Land Rover adventure Page 16

Land Rover - a family heritage Page 18

Matchbox Page 24

The joys and sorrows of a wedding with Landrovers Page 29

Remote: Africa or Australia? Page 36

Escarpment to Kruger (Old Diggers’ trail) Page 45

Recovery Series - Recovery equipment Page 50

The French ‘Disconnection’ - French Synchro Page 56

Reflections on an LROC evening out Page 61

CODE OF CONDUCT
Abide by the rules, constitution, conservation code and code of conduct of the

LROC.
Be a considerate member.

Drive responsibly.
Assist fellow members.
Promote the safe and responsible use of Land Rovers.
Respect rules in all Parks, Conservation areas, Public and Private land.
Maintain your vehicle in a sound on and off-road condition.

Do not litter.

3

NEWTO ADVERTISE IN LANDROVING: Please contact the Club Administrator, Madeleine;

[email protected] or the Chairman - [email protected]
DISTRIBUTION: Posted to LROC members, supplied free of charge to advertising Land Rover
dealerships, Parts suppliers, Workshops and Accessory Outlets.
COVER: Justin Blignaut proposing to Carna Roets at the Piesangkloof weekend, also asking her to
share his adventures in his Defender 90 2.8i (the Landy agrees as it is smiling in the background)
LEGAL SMALL PRINT:
The opinions expressed in LANDROVING do not necessarily reflect those of the Land Rover

Owners Club of SoAutpheprnlyAforicnal,iint’seCotmombitteeecoor mmemebaers.mNoermespbonesirbiolitfy itshacecepted for any

damages or injuries which may arise therefrom or from Advertisers adverts.

Land Rover Owners Club of Southern Africa
How to become a member of LROC

The process takesAopnpllyy5omnliinnsetotocboemcpolmetee aanmdeymoub’lel rboefrethaedy
to reap the beneLfitasnodf RboelvoenrgOinwg ntoerthseColuldbesotf, SmoousttheesrtnabAlifsrhiecda

4x4 Club in Africa

The process takes only 5 minutes to complete and
you’ll be ready to reap the benefits of belonging to the

oldest, most established 4x4 Club in Africa

www.lroc.org.za/membership/

Chairman: Ansie Blignaut ([email protected])
Vice Chairman: Jacques Beard ([email protected])
Secretary: Malcolm Timberlake ([email protected])
Treasurer: Dana Cloete ([email protected])
Editor: Alida Timberlake ([email protected])
Clerk of Events: Hennie Steyn ([email protected])
Driver Trainer: Brendon Lowe ([email protected])
Trophy Secretary: Lizette Beard ([email protected])
Quartermaster: Lizette Beard ([email protected])
Membership Secretary: Jonathan Bydendyk ([email protected])
PRO Johan Kriek ([email protected])
Radio Officer: Jacques Beard ([email protected])
Club Administrator: Madeleine Zwaneveld ([email protected])

Join one of our Chapters:
Border Chapter (East London and surrounds): Athol Cocks - [email protected]
Eden Chapter (Garden Route and Little Karoo): Alta Naude - [email protected]
Lowveld Chapter (Nelspruit and surrounds): Lorraine Dicker - [email protected]
4 Port Elizabeth Chapter (Port Elizabeth area): Paul Foster - [email protected]

FROM THE
EDITOR

Alida Timberlake

It’s always interesting to see a of Land Rover ownership has
theme emerge in every edition of influenced the course of its members’
Landroving and when it comes to lives through the generations and on
family - and indeed, love and p29 the Smits relate how their varied
marriage, LROC members have great collection of Land Rovers ended up
stories to tell. It comes as no surprise featuring at a marriage celebration
that the love of Land Rovers (even as they mourned the sad loss
appears to have impacted many a of one of their ‘family’) - and this no
family. Personally, we welcomed our doubt set the scene for many future
own son’s Defender into the family family gatherings.
with as much joy and excitement as I am sure the adventures we Land
we would another grandchild and it’s Rover owners experience and the
added a new dimension to time spent hurdles we overcome along the many
together!  roads we travel have shaped our
This issue features more great articles marriage and/or family relation-
by LROC members. On page 8 you ships and there must be many more
can read about the role a Land Rover interesting stories out there. Some of
played in bringing about a marriage these were shared at the recent Braai
that has seen 40+ years of partner- and Boot sale - with the promise of a
ship - in spite of (if not because of) few amusing articles for future
an initial hiccup or two. On p18 you magazines. We look forward to
can read how a family history reading your personal story ...

Braai and Boot Sale
This is one event you don’t want to miss, we
always walk away with something, but this year
I think we ended up at the ‘Car with Boot Sale’.
Thanks, Bernard for allowing us to buy this
prescious Disco 1, V8. The start of many more
adventures for the Blikkies.

Christo & Ansie Blignaut 5

CHAIRMAN’S DESK

Landy life got even more meaning Jacqui had sand-
in the past few months. Our son, blasted with the
Justin, who owns a Defender 90, 2.8i, couple’s names
decided to determine once and for all and betrothal
whether his girlfriend, Carna, really date.
shares his passion for Land Rovers,
will fit into the LROC family and last, This is what
but not least, whether his Landy being a member
will accept Carna. So, they started of LROC is about.
camping with the club, did Recovery Meeting people,
training, where Carna joined the testing potential partners to see
club, and then he had a serious whether they will share your Landy
discussion with the 90. passion, and then celebrating with
members who have become family!
His Landy agreed that Carna could
do the basic LROC training driving Christo and I also did the basic
him and that was when Justin knew training at Piesangkloof, and I can
he could buy the ring and bide his assure you, one can actually teach an
time. At the Piesangkloof weekend, old dog new tricks. I would seriously
after the basic training, the Blikkies, recommend that everyone do both
the Stroebels and Hennie Steyn, the basic and the recovery training
Justin & Carna’s “Landy parents”, (26 August at Moegatle 4x4). We
went for a walk. Justin had already have one of the best training teams
parked his Landy in the bushes, so who really know the different
when we got there, it was just a models of Land Rovers and their
question of proposing, the old- idiosyncrasies.
fashioned way as can be seen on So, if you want to learn more about
the front page. The Landy looked your Landy and your significant
suitably impressed and we could other, whilst meeting like-minded
all toast using the most amazing people, make sure you book your seat
champagne glasses that Johan and around the next event’s campfire.

6

7

How to find a wife using a Landrover and compass

By John Menasce

The year was 1976. I was 26 years old. and Pretoria, except through the old
I was working as a South African manual trunk dialling system.
expatriate in war torn Rhodesia as
a site engineer. I owned one ancient For those used to iPads and smart
(1962 vintage) but trusty Series 2A phones, and too young to remember
109 inch diesel Landrover hard top the old technology, one phoned the
– affectionately known as “Chug-a- local exchange and booked a call for
Lug” – and one bedroom’s worth of three minutes. If the lines were busy
furniture and personal effects in a one might wait a few hours for a gap
commune in the suburb of Highlands to place the call. If you were lucky,
in what was then known as Salisbury. the recipient of the call was at home
and the call could be connected.
My widowed mother had married an
American citizen and had emigrated At two minutes and about 40 seconds
to the USA. My younger brother Phil into the call the operator would
wanted to follow her. I knew that I interrupt the call and say “Three
had no home to go back to in South minutes up, do you want another
Africa and would have to set up three minutes?” or, worse, “Three
house from scratch either there or in minutes up, please conclude call”,
the USA. I also wished to return to and the call would be disconnected at
University somewhere in the world exactly three minutes.
and complete my engineering degree. This kind of erratic communication
So my life was at a cross roads... was not conducive to planning a
two-Landrover expedition into
I had long wished to visit Botswana central Botswana in the 1970s, so
before I left Rhodesia and we had to find a better way of
accordingly set up communication organising things. The solution came
with two long-time friends in with a friend of the Smithies who
Pretoria, Stafford and Shirley resided in Johannesburg.
Smithies, and my brother, Phil, who
lived in Johannesburg and who also Johannesburg was on the direct
wanted to pay Botswana a visit. dialling system to Salisbury. Hence
Jeannette came into the picture as the
Now, in those far-off days – there organisational “go between” on
was no direct dialling telephone condition that she came on the trip
communication between Salisbury too.
8

The idea was that my brother and I there was no guarantee that I could
would proceed from Salisbury down top up with diesel fuel in Maun as
to the Botswana border in my supplies were erratic. So upon advice
Landrover and then meet up just of my Salisbury office, I then sent
on the other side of the border or in a telex message via my Salisbury
Francistown with the Smithies and bank manager to their branch in
Jeannette in Stafford’s long-wheel Maun asking them to reserve a
base Series 2 petrol Landrover. 44-gallon drum of diesel for me.
From there we would proceed to Can you imagine asking your bank
Makgadigadi Pan, Nxai Pan and then today to reserve you fuel in a foreign
to the Okavango via Maun. country?
There were further complications... The day of departure approached.
Rhodesia was into severe fuel My then girlfriend bailed out of the
rationing, South Africa had fuel trip and the Smithies had various
restrictions, and we heard that problems confirming their departure
Botswana was in the middle of a date. I then phoned Jeannette and
chronic diesel fuel shortage too. So my brother and said I was leaving for

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9

Botswana on a certain date with or convoy. Rosalind, at my request, also
without the Pretoria party and also phoned the Smithies in Pretoria and
without my then girlfriend and, if asked them to delay their departure
they wished to accompany me, they by two days.
should meet me at Salisbury airport, Then we hit another snag. The
spend the night at my commune in military did not recommend
Highlands and we would depart for camping as Figtree was becoming a
Figtree the next day. ‘hot area’. The Figtree Hotel which
So at 01:30 on the appointed day was under armed guard, was full and
at Salisbury Airport, I met a rather there was only one room available
bleary eyed brother and a petite so we three had to share it. Very
curly-haired, cheerful brunette called reluctantly this stranger and I
Jeannette whom I had never met shared the double bed and my
face-to-face before. brother slept on a camp mattress in
The next morning we finished the same room.
loading Chug-a-Lug and proceeded The next day the precious document
at its sedate pace to Figtree where arrived at the hotel and we proceeded
we intended to purchase our last on our way.
rationed diesel fuel and proceed over We met up with the Smithies just the
the border. other side of the border as we had
arranged, camped for the night and
Happening No 1 proceeded to Francistown the next
Jeannette had left her passport at day.
Salisbury Airport immigration.
I phoned my colleague, Rosalind, in Happening No 2
the Salisbury office as she knew lots My brother had a cine camera with
of people in the immigration service. him and was walking around
They had found the passport. The Francistown filming the odd shot.
next problem was to get it to us as I Unbeknown to us there was a
didn’t have enough diesel coupons Russian envoy in Francistown and
to drive back to Salisbury. Rosalind the Francistown Police took
had a plan and phoned up a colonel exception to this strange man with a
in the Rhodesian Army. He arranged cine camera. So we were picked up
not only to pick up the passport but by the Francistown Police and both
to have it delivered to the army vehicles were escorted to the police
garrison stationed at Figtree. We station and locked in the yard.
had to hang around Figtree for a There the questions began. The main
10 day while it came down in the daily

11

problem was my Rhodesian However, the landmark turn-off to
registration on Chug-a-Lug. The Makgadigadi Pan was a large
Russians were convinced that we baobab tree and we found this
were Rhodesian spies. The cops without too much problem. The
thought otherwise but had to put on road was a vague track and so we
a big show for the Russians present set a compass course for where we
and made us unpack both vehicles. wanted to be and headed off through
The station commander who was a the bush arriving at the Pan late in
really decent guy took me aside and the afternoon.
explained the charade. However, one By this time Jeannette and I had
of the problems was we had more discovered that we had a common
than our duty-free allowance of beer circle of friends but somehow,
between the two vehicles. So we despite living two kilometres apart in
had to sort that out with a beer Johannesburg, and having attended
donation to the police recreation the same university as under-
club. My brother had to surrender his graduates, had never met.
film to the ‘authorities’ and we were I think that Makgadigadi Pan and its
then allowed to repack our Landies flock of beautiful flamingos was the
and were free to go. start of our romance. We both had
We left about five hours later relationships that were problematic,
somewhat shaken by our experience with partners that were in no hurry
but relieved that we had not been to commit themselves. We wandered
locked up in a Botswana jail, and off for a long walk late one afternoon
proceeded to Makgadigadi Pan and and found we had a lot to talk about.
camped for the night somewhere Arriving in Maun a few days later
along the roadside. I went off to the bank to collect my
In those pre-GPS days we had only a “reserved drum” of diesel only to
rather rudimentary ordinance survey find that they had not done anything
map of Botswana and a prismatic for the simple reason that there was
compass. The roads were dirt tracks no fuel shortage in Botswana. So we
and a major road was still being filled up our thirsty vehicles, mine
constructed between Francistown being able to carry about 200 litres
and Maun, so the road deviations of diesel in long-range tanks and
wandered off through the Botswana Stafford’s about 150 litres of petrol in
bush especially when some large tanks and jerry cans. We drove off
truck had got stuck in the sand and to Crocodile Camp to base ourselves
had churned it up. there for our Okavango trip.

12

Then I discovered that I had broken campsite at Savuti Channel.
the main blade of one rear spring. So He had become the campsite bully,
it was back to Maun and to Riley’s chasing tourists and staff. Phil was
Garage to find a spring blade. Riley’s sitting on the roof carrier taking
was a story in itself as the larger pictures as we ground slowly through
Landrover spares were simply piled heavy sand into the camp. As we
by part number on the floor of a large rounded the corner of an ablution
shed with the prices attached to each block we came face-to-face with this
part with a paper tag and a string tie. elephant who charged us. My brother
Stock rotation was clearly not a let out a yell and leapt off the roof
priority so I selected the part I carrier directly into the ablution
needed based on the price on the block. I had no option but to
paper tag as well as a few others continue grinding towards the now
we might need and we returned to alarmed elephant or we would be
Crocodile Camp to rebuild Chug-a- stuck in the soft sand. Clearly he had
Lug’s rear springs with a 4 lb hammer never heard the incredible noise, nor
and a portable vice attached to Chug- smelled the smell of a Series diesel
a-Lug’s front bumper. Landrover because as the engine
Romance continued to blossom roared in low range and a black
when we were paddling a makkoro smoke cloud emitted from the
and it was swelteringly hot in the exhaust and we continued to
October weather. I stripped off and approach him, he stopped in his
dived naked into the water to be tracks, lifted up his trunk, bellowed
followed by Jeannette. When we both at us and turned tail.
look back I cannot believe how naïve Our hearts returned from our throats
and stupid we were to swim stark to our chests. The final chapter
naked in crocodile-infested waters!! was my brother’s head cautiously
We headed off to Moremi and appearing round the corner of the
Chobe. Back then entry was simply ablution block doorway.
a fee paid at the “gate” and we just We didn’t see the elephant again
headed off into the reserves to while we were in the camp. Clearly
designated “camps”. the bully had been vanquished for a
while.
Happening No 3
Moremi was disappointing as we saw Happening No 4
little game, but we had an adventure On our last night in Botswana, we
in Chobe with an irascible elephant camped next to the Chobe River
who had taken up residence in the outside the park. As night fell an irate 13

hippo objected to our occupation of the Rhodesian Bush War].
of his space and stormed through the Our last night together on the trip
campsite!! We picked up the was to be spent at the Matopos
damaged gear and made a plan for National Park where we had some
that night. accommodation booked. From there
Stafford, Shirley and Phil would
Happening No 5 proceed back to Pretoria and the two
We returned to Rhodesia via of us would return to Salisbury from
Kazangula which was also a ’hot where Jeannette would fly home as
zone’. Stafford’s Landrover decided she had a return air ticket.
to break down just at this point due I knew that night that unless I made
to an electrical failure. I knew of a bold move that I would lose this
several terrorist attacks on tourists cheerful spunky woman who had not
on this road, particularly late in flinched away from any of the
the afternoon, so was not a “happy “excitement” we had experienced
chappy” at this breakdown as we over the last three weeks. So I
were sitting ducks for about an hour knocked on the bathroom door with
until the fault was fixed. a cup of coffee for Jeannette and sat
However, we made it into Vic Falls down on the edge of the bath.
without incident but decided that we “I need to talk to you”, I said
had camped enough and so found nervously, knowing that this was
some accommodation for the next make or break.
few days. Then we ran into an LROC After some small talk Jeannette said
group on their way to Botswana who without much prompting, “I won’t
were as surprised to see us as we were play second fiddle to any other
them. woman so you need to decide who
Vic Falls then was the most amazing you want, me or her.”
place to play tourist and we dined in My reply was, “Will you marry me?’
colonial splendour on the terrace at Her answer was,” Yes that’s fine, now
the Vic Falls Hotel, drank pink gins please pass the soap.”
in the sunset and did the usual Dumbstruck by her reply I asked,
sunset cruises above the falls. All the “Did you hear what I said?”
while our secret romance continued “Yes, I said that’s fine, dear. Now
to blossom with the other three please pass me the soap.”
blissfully unaware of it. So, after getting to know each other
We set off for Bulawayo a few days
later in convoy with an armed escort
14 [remember that 1976 was the height

for only three weeks, we were Megan was born some eight years
married some four months later in later and I decided that Chug-a-Lug
Johannesburg, took Chug-a-Lug on was getting far too old and
honeymoon, and have been married cantankerous so needed to be retired.
now for 40 years. Jeannette cried when we sold her.
And that’s how you find a wife using
a Landrover and compass!

Chug-a-Lug continued to be our We had in the meantime bought a
faithful transport until our daughter second-hand Series 3 hard top to
replace Chug-a-Lug, which we still
own some 32 years later.

15

DECEMBER LAND ROVER ADVENTURE
By Braydon Bul - a 10 year old LROC member

My dad and uncle Russel in their Landies

Before I take you on an adventure,
let’s tell you who is in the Landy, my
Dad, brother and me. It’s early in the
morning and it is time to go. I tried
to fall asleep on the way there, but
we’re on an adventure and I can’t
sleep... What a long drive, but at least
we are in Pinetown now. We were
just in time to have a dip in the pool.
Next morning we took a drive to
Tugela, where grandpa Carli has a Collecting mussels for lunch
beach house. It is right next to a large I am not usually tired but when I go
light house. So we park our Land camping I love to sleep in tents. So
Rover next to the beach. Now it is then it’s time for bed.
time to set up our rooftop tent. Now When I wake up there is a beautiful
beach next to me. We all love that
sight. We also took our dog Oreo.
She loves running up and down
the beach sand, and swimming in
the water with two other Poodles...
It took about 13 hours to get there
which is a loooong time. Now for a
swim in the sea. The waves were big
and we had so much fun. On the way
Camping at Grampa Carli at Tugela back from the sea, I fall asleep, then
during the drive the rooftop tent
it’s set up, let’s have some lunch, fresh
mussels we caught ourselves!

16

opened and fell on both sides of the hill to find a geocache, but we could
land rover in the middle of the road, not find it.
what a disaster! It looked so dark in
the Land Rover, my Dad had to get On top trying to find the geocache
out and he saw the rope for the cover It was very beautiful to be there. Let’s
broke. So he had to pack it all by set up the rooftop tent. That night
himself. we had such a big braai and danced
After a few days in Tugela we were to music, we played games, and lot’s
going to go camping at Grootfontein more fun stuff. I also went skiing
Dam with uncle Russel, he also has with the boat, it was about ten
a Landy, the GPS took us to the dirt degrees! Freezing cold. We hiked to
road so we had to do some serious a cliff where a falcon had lots of eggs,
4x4 to get to the highway. very cool. The cliff was very high, it
was so awesome! We all went for a
GPS sending us the wrong way swim in the dam. That is the end of
Now we are at the camp. Let’s go and an epic Land Rover road trip. I can’t
do an adventure! We drove up a steep wait to have my own Landy.

Moores Auto Sales Ad_horizontal_2016\p.indd 1 17

2016/08/30 2:00 PM

LAND ROVER - A FAMILY HERITAGE
By Arthur Smith

To share my story, I would need to something that makes people stop
give a short history of my family. and take a second look.
My dad has an immense love for Now my dad is one of the most DIY
British cars; he, personally has owned people I have ever met, and the
various Mini’s, Triumph’s, Jaguar’s reason I say this is because the only
and now a Land Rover. I can’t think time he would consider purchasing
of a time that there wasn’t at least one an item, was when there was just no
British car parked in the driveway or possible way of making it himself.
whisking us away on a family holiday. From carburettor needles for my SU
side drafts to trimmings and badges
I fondly remember the trips down to that just simply could not be found;
Munster on the back seat of the XJ6 brushes for a starter motor that
that cradled us like a leather lounge haven’t been made in years would
chair or the round indicator cluster quickly be fashioned from modern
on the Triumph’s dashboard that alternator brushes; leaking water
fascinated me to no end. I could sit pumps would quickly be modified
for hours and stare at those cheese to look just as factory-made as it
wedge red, blue, green and yellow should, but with all the modern-day
lights. Then there is also the British mechanics that stopped the leak
sports car engine sound that seems permanently; 6Volt to 12Volt
to have come standard on any conversions that the keenest of eyes
car made by the Brits; one of my could not pick up. Even a perfectly
favourite sounds was when my sister working dash port clock in a 1958
in law’s brother used to come and Borgward that actually had the
visit in the TVR he was looking after mechanics of a modern-day battery-
for a friend. From the wood trim operated clock. This was the genius
on the dashboard and the doors to we looked up to and still, to this day,
the polished stainless-steel ashtrays, respect. This was the way we were
something about these cars just has raised, nobody has any tools you
that little something that sets it don’t have and you don’t need
apart from anything else the world someone to do something for you.
has to offer. No matter if it is an This meant that if you wanted a pool,
Aston Martin DB6 or an Austin you dig the hole and you build it
Healey Sprite, an MG B or a Jensen yourself. If you wanted a car then you
Interceptor, they all have that little

18

19

fixed it yourself, basically the only bought a TD5 - probably around
thing my dad didn’t do was change 2005 or 2006 and it’s been his long
our diapers, something else that was trip weekend car of choice for a very
passed down to his sons. long time, towing the caravan to
Growing up we would spend most of many parks and taking their
our time in the garage either fixing family from coast to coast with very
our cars or bringing a relic back to few things going wrong and never
life and most of these where British requiring major work to be done.
cars. Needless to say, both my
brother and I inherited that almost The second Land Rover to come
obsessive love for British cars. A few into our lives was a Discovery 2 TD5
Jaguars and many years later, life that my brother bought after their
changed and the need for more second child came along, but I want
family orientated cars with towing to leave that part of the story for last.
capacity had come and in this regard My brother bought the TD5 and
England did not disappoint either... eventually handed it down to my dad
that is where our Land Rover story who had a Ford Ranger 4.0V6 which
begins. was a little too glutinous with fuel,
When the Discovery 2 was first especially when towing a caravan.
released I had the opportunity to My dad traded the Ford in on a
drive one for two days. Discovery 2 V8 that my brother then
The company I worked for arranged had for about 6 or 7 years. This was
a team building weekend and a fairly plain car at first but thanks to
somehow got a Land Rover dealer- a donor car we added a few “extras”.
ship to sponsor a few Disco’s and Initially it was mechanical sunroofs
instructors for the weekend. The car and then the black wheel arch
I drove around that weekend was a flares. Later on, we built an off-road
white Discovery 2 V8, and from the bumper to replace the stock cracked
moment I got into the Landy, I was bumper. My brother’s father in law
in love. I had found my dream car
but a 20-year-old IT tech working for
a small private company could not
easily afford a Land Rover and my
dream car was exactly that for a very
long time.
My uncle was the first member of
our family to buy a Land Rover. He

20

had bought a Silver TD5 by that suspensions in the past with the only
time and it was clear that the Land downside being that the cheap
Rover bug had bitten our family. This compressors tend to be a little bit
one had a few initial issues that we noisier than the factory units.
quickly worked out: the infamous
two amigos which turned out to On one occasion while trying to
be the shuttle valve circuit and understand why the ABS light lit up
recalibration of the air suspension. but not its two compatriots, I
This specific car has already made discovered that the genius who
several trips to Cape Town, Namibia worked on the car previously found a
and Botswana and in most cases, did way to turn them off by stuffing toilet
this towing an off-road trailer. paper into the instrument cluster.
A few years later I joined in with a Every time we worked on the car she
Discovery 2 V8. I was over the became more and more her old self
moon, yes, this car was barely and in the end the only work left was
running but that didn’t matter one cosmetics; the previous owners had
bit. I had something to tinker on built a fairly hideous bush bumper
over weekends and I finally had my and the bonnet and mudguards
dream car. We spent the following had lost most of their clear coat.
few months rebuilding the brakes, The interior did not come away
power steering, air suspension, unscathed either. Apart from the
active cornering control and engine. usual sagging roof liner, the cloth
The previous owner somehow inlay on the door panels was worn
managed to force a VW master through and the seats had a couple
cylinder onto the brake booster, this of holes. The roof liner was a quick
was a very successful modification if fix along with the door panels and
stopping wasn’t a requirement. The with some patience the interior
air suspension at some stage died out already started looking worlds better.
and the air bags were replaced with I had the car for about a year when I
coils that could only have been received a phone call from the SAPS
salvaged from some form of who informed me that the car was
industrial vehicle. The compressor involved in a theft case and I would
had also died due to a snapped need to surrender the car, as the
conrod but a trip to the local spares person accused of the theft will most
shop and a cheap travel tyre likely be prosecuted. I was crushed;
compressor made for a very good my dream had come to an end and
substitute. In fact, this little with a very heavy heart I drove her
modification has fixed a few air to the SAPS VIS Station and that’s
where I gave her a last pat on the
21

door mirror before walking away. is beyond me but never-the-less its
Unbeknownst to me my brother had working now.
his eye on a 2004 Discovery 2 TD5.

I got a phone call from him at about Not that long after I was “gifted”
5:30pm on a Thursday afternoon my Landy, my sister in law joined
saying that he had bought the face the Land Rover fraternity when she
lift and that I needed to take “my” got her Freelander 1 TD4. This little
Landy because it was in his way. I am Landy in itself has changed the way
pretty sure I do not need to describe I thought of the little Rover. She is
the emotions and words in that not as big as her siblings but she
specific telephone conversation. But definitely has the same heart. This
essentially, I was back in the game. one also needed a little tender loving
My brother gave me his V8 and I was care to begin with. A worn wheel
back behind the wheel of a Landy bearing and the rear door window
and soon I would see the places very electrics needed some attention but it
few had the means to see. wasn’t long before the Freelander was
100% back in action and faithfully
Thanks to another donor car, I added doing the school run on a daily basis.
the electric seats, electric sunroof So now on to my dad’s Rover and the
components and cruise control to my reason I saved it for last. This specific
new pride and joy. While I was doing car has been a bit of an anomaly to
the electric sunroof modification us. The speedometer is marked in
I also added a light circuit to the kilometres as well as miles per hour
harness so that I would finally have which in itself is not strange at all.
the little green lights light up on What is rather strange about this
the sunroof switches. Why Land specific car is the colour. The fac-
Rover never did this to begin with,

22

tory standard paint work on this lines. But I am new to the club and
car is black and not that really dark only starting to learn how to use my
midnight blue or the very interesting car properly so there is plenty of time
dark green that appears black from to get out there and make the dreams
a distance - but gloss black. The car’s come true.
colour has been confirmed as Black On a happy note, just before I started
according to the vin number but we to pen this story I was again
are not able to confirm the origins contacted by the SAPS and informed
of the car. From the information we that the court case has been thrown
were able to collect thus far the only out as a criminal case. As per the
thing we know for sure is that Land prosecutor I am the legal owner of
Rover did not offer the Discovery the car and I can collect her from the
2 in Black in South Africa. For the VIS station. Well, there is the start
most part, this car has remained to a whole new story. I am not sure
untouched or modified but the one what the future holds for her. Maybe
thing we have done was to replace she will become another donor car
the air suspension with coil springs. or maybe I will turn her into a more
The main reason for this is that the rugged bush going car. One thing is
car appears to tow better with coils for sure. This is definitely not the end
and the caravan it tows fairly of my story.
regularly (at least once a month) Until next time
seems to sit steadier behind her with Happy Rovering.
a marked reduction in fish-tailing.
Everything is still 23
in place to change
the car back to air
suspension should
the need ever arise.
Well that’s my
story as brief as
I could make it.
Hopefully in time
my stories will
include more tales
of adventure into
the great unknown
and maybe a few
to add to our time

By Dirk Uys

The Matchbox name originated marked the starting point for the
in 1953 as a brand name of the mass-market success of the
British die-casting company, Lesney Matchbox series. As a result of the
Products, whose reputation would inspiration for the toys’ size, the idea
be moulded by John W. “Jack” Odell was born to sell the models in
(1920–2007), Leslie Charles Smith replica matchboxes — thus yielding
(1918–2005), and Rodney Smith the name of the series. It also resulted
(hence the name Lesney, a in the description of the models’
combination of Leslie and Rodney scales being “1:box” (as opposed to
Smith’s first names). Their first more mathematical scales such as
major sales success was the popular 1:87 or 1:64).
model of Queen Elizabeth II’s
coronation coach, which sold more Box types
than a million models. Shortly TYPE A - Moko Lesney with Script
thereafter, Lesney co-owner Jack Lettering (1953 - 1954)
Odell created a toy that effectively TYPE B - Moko Lesney with Script
paved the way for the company’s Lettering (1954 - 1960)
future success. It was designed for TYPE C - Lesney Line Drawing Box
his daughter: her school only allowed (1961)
children to bring toys that could fit
inside a matchbox, so Odell crafted Model numbering: The “1-75”
a scaled-down version of the Lesney Series
green and red road roller. This toy Lesney decided that models in the
ultimately became the first of the standard series would be numbered,
1-75 miniature range. A dump truck and that the series would only ever
and a cement mixer completed the comprise 75 models at any given
original three-model release that time; when a new model appeared,
one of the existing models was
24

discontinued, its number being
reallocated. This meant that display
stands only needed to accommodate
75 models.

Lesney No. 12 Lesney Matchbox No. 12C Land Rover Safari
Matchbox Regular Wheels No.12A The third version of the Land Rover,
Land Rover – Series I with green the 12C long wheel-base Series II was
body, light tan figure driver. first released in 1965 in a dark green
with brown luggage on the roof.
From 1967 to 1969 it was produced
in blue with the last few in 1969 in
an unrealistic gold. In 1970 the Land
Rover Safari was unfortunately
replaced by the Setra Coach No. 12D.

Land Rover Ninety

Lesney No. 12A Land Rover Ninety (MB180)
Matchbox Regular Wheels No.12B
Military Land Rover - green, silver The Ninety was produced as part of
trim to bumper and head-lights. the 1-75 series. Produced in 1987-
Manufactured between 1959 and 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2016-2017
1965. (MB721 from 2007). The scale of the
Ninety is 1:62.
No.12B
Military

Land
Rover

Land Rover Defender 110 (1997) 25
The Defender 110 (1997) model is
part of the MBX Metal series.

Produced in 2006 to present with one During the 1980s, Matchbox began
or two models per year. to switch to the more conventional
plastic and cardboard “blister packs”
Land Rover Defender 110 (1997) that were used by other die-cast toy
Jungle Explorer 2011 Edition brands such as Hot Wheels.
As Land Rover, Matchbox changed
A few of the Defender variants ownership over the years. After
The 1997 model has two casting Lesney Products Matchbox was
variations, one with the cargo on the owned by Universal Toys followed by
roof being cast as part of the body Tyco Toys.
(MB697), and the second version Matchbox was bought out by Mattel
having the cargo molded as part of in 1997, uniting Matchbox with its
the windows (MB838). In addition, long-time rival Hot Wheels under
the snorkel was moved from the right the same corporate banner.
to the left side of the windshield. The buyout by Mattel was greeted
Scale 1:64. with considerable fear by the
Defender Matchbox collectors’ community.
110 two The rivalry between the Hot Wheels
and Matchbox brands was not only
casting a battle fought by the companies;
variations collectors of each of the brands felt
(MB838 & strongly about the qualities of their
MB697) brand of choice. For the typical
Matchbox collector, Hot Wheels
26 were inferior in scaling and model
choice, making them less desirable.
There were fears that Mattel would
either impose a Hot Wheels-style
philosophy on the Matchbox line,
or actually fold the Matchbox line
into the Hot Wheels series. Early
concerns of this nature by collectors
were countered by assurances
from Mattel that Matchbox would
continue to develop its own product
line independently from Hot Wheels,
and that it was intended that

27

Matchbox represent “real” and unrelated to any 1-75 number used
traditional vehicles, while fantasy in any market — is cast onto each
would be placed firmly in Hot baseplate. The relevant 1-75 series
Wheels territory. number is printed on the blister pack
or box.

Blister packaging - Defender 110, Matchbox have produced a number
(model 55 of 120) of Land Rover models over the
years that also included the Classic
New owners Mattel expanded the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport,
regular Matchbox series to include Discovery II and Freelander.
100 models in 1999, changed it back Hopefully Mattel will keep the
to 75 models for 2001, and once tradition that Matchbox represents
again increased the series from 75 “real” and traditional vehicles,
to 100 models from 2008. These including our beloved Land Rovers.
changes were not applied in all
markets.
The actual numbering of the 1-75
series number on the individual
models (starting in the mid-’50s,
numbers were cast onto the base-
plates) was discontinued in the
Universal era. This was in part due
to the new concept of offering
country-specific lines of models
for many of the key markets, which
led to the same castings being used
under different numbers in different
markets. In recent years (Mattel), a
sequential casting no. (e.g. MB687),

28

THE JOYS AND SORROWS OF A WEDDING WITH

LANDROVERS
By Willem Smit

The story begins in 1964 when a Series 2A being restored
series 2A Land Rover left the factory. The restoration project was
Through its life it has had many sufficiently close to completion
owners including Mike Ilsley, a to serve as a wedding car for the
previous chairman of the Land Rover cricketer Jacques Rudolph later in
Owners Club (LROC). It was in 2014. The vehicle has since been
March 2001 that we (the Smit family) used for various other functions
saw this particular Series 2A for the as well. At the end of 2016 the
first time, during a LROC event at restoration work was completed with
Rust de Winter. the last mechanical work having been
My father, Attie Smit (well known to done. Adriaan, for the love of Land
LROC members as former chairman Rovers, bought his first Land Rover
of the club) bought his first Land 2008 Discovery 3 HSE TDV6 in
Rover 110 Defender in 2000. He August 2015.
bought his second Land Rover, a It was in December 2015 when
1999 Discovery 2 V8 GS in 2009. Willem proposed to Christi-Mari.
The intention of this purchase was
for it to become a lodge hopper, 29
however, the Discovery was driven
for a short time by me, his son
(Willem or Wilan) and later became
the vehicle of Attie’s wife, Helen.
Many years later in 2013 Attie bought
his third Land Rover: it was this
particular Series 2A. In 2014
Attie and his oldest son Adriaan
undertook the restoration project
themselves. This project earned Attie
the Series Vehicle Battlers Trophy of
the LROC (this trophy is awarded to
the person who battled the most with
his series Land Rover).

She gladly said yes and a wedding Series 2A - First day of Journey
date of 25 March 2017 was set. The drivers of the Series 2A were
During the planning for the wedding Attie, Ben and Adriaan and they were
it was decided that it would take supported by Stephanie (Adriaan’s
place a mere 1468 km away from girlfriend) and Alta (Ben’s girlfriend)
Pretoria at Porterville in the in Adriaan’s Discovery 3. One of the
Swartland – close to Christi-Mari’s concerns of driving the Series 2A
hometown, Moorreesburg. The Series was quickly dismissed when it was
2A was also chosen to be the discovered that the vehicle could
designated wedding car. As with manage a steady speed of 55-65 miles
many good concepts agreed to an hour (according to initial
around a braai, a family friend, planning). The drivers alternated
Ben Burger, the owner of a 2002 every two hours. The first leg of the
Range Rover P38 suggested that we journey was 512 km, taking them to
undertake a road trip with the Series Kuruman. True to family custom,
2A from Pretoria to Porterville whenever possible, they deviated
instead of towing the car with an from the tarred roads and travelled
A-frame. along the back roads instead. The
Due to the wedding taking place so day’s journey took approximately
far away, all the Land Rovers of the 8 hours to complete, this included
Smit family were included in the lunch breaks, fuel stops and the like.
logistics of the wedding. The first The fuel consumption for the day
Land Rover, the Discovery 2 left was a surprise at 7,2 km per litre.
Pretoria the Sunday before the A fraction better than Helen’s
wedding on March 19 with Helen Discovery which had only managed
and the bride, Christi-Mari. They 6.5 km to the litre.
arrived safely on the 20th in the Early the following morning all the
scorching heat of 44 degrees in fluids in the Series 2A were checked
Moorreesburg (the Hometown of and attended to wherever necessary.
Chirsti-Mari).
On the 21st of March Ben’s suggestion
came to fulfilment when they left
Pretoria on an epic journey to
Porterville. It was decided not to
follow the conventional N1 route but
rather a route through the Northern
Cape via Upington.

30

This day’s journey took them to At a stop at the Bottle Store Adriaan
Brandvlei via Upington. The first took the opportunity to cool down in
stop of the day was in Upington one of the refrigerators. He then later
around midday. Like the heat in also bought a beer. They departed
Moorreesburg, Upington did not for the guest farm in scorching heat.
shy away. Old friends of Alta were Upon arriving around 16:00 they
visited and were surprised that the could not help but jump into the
Series 2A made it all the way from “plaasdam” to cool down.
Pretoria. They wished them well for
the remainder of the journey. The following morning after all the
fluids had been checked they
Series 2A - Second day of journey departed on the last leg of the
journey to Porterville. The surprise
of the day was driving in rain from
Brandvlei to Calvinia.

This brought a significant change 31
in temperature. From Calvinia they
journeyed to Clanwilliam via the
Botterkloofpass and the Pakhuis

Pass - again keeping to the custom of to the seaside at Paternoster. The
using the back roads. groom, Willem, had arrived at the
airport in Cape Town earlier on the
Series 2A - Third day of journey morning of Thursday the 23rd of
Going over the mountain at Pakhuis March, and later that afternoon the
Pass was the only time when they Smit family was once again reunited
thought failure to complete the - with most of their Land Rovers
journey might come about. This present.
was due to the slipping clutch of the With the ladies busy with the final
Series 2A. Ben nursed the Series 2A preparations at the venue, (just
over the mountain in second gear. outside of Porterville) Attie and Ben
On top of the mountain with were preparing the Series 2A for the
Clanwilliam in view, enough friction big day.
was regained for the clutch to work
again. The problem was related to Series 2A in Porterville
a common Land Rover fault, most Willem and a friend went to town
probably an oil leak on the rear to make some final purchases. It was
crank. After arriving in Clanwilliam on the farm road between the venue
they stopped for fuel and departed and the main road that Willem lost
from there on the N7 to Porterville. control of the Discovery 2 and
They traversed the Piekenierskloof joined the ‘Roll Over club’ in a piece
Pass without any problems and of burnt wheat farmland (“koring-
arrived in Porterville at mid- land”).
afternoon.
Meanwhile Helen and Christi-Mari
took the Discovery 2 on what would
be the Discovery’s last visit to Cape
Town. They spent time at the Big
Wheel at the V&A Waterfront,
visited Table Mountain and travelled
32

33

spotless condition and ready for the
task at hand.

The rolled Discovery The bride with her significant other in the
Luckily Willem and his friend wedding car
escaped with no serious injuries but
for a few scratches on Willem’s arm.
The Discovery 2 on the other hand
was not that lucky. It was written
off by the insurance company. The
Discovery 2 had been part of the
Smit family for just over eight years.
It was a sad moment to part ways in
this manner.
The last part of the preparation that
the Series 2A had to undergo before
the wedding, was to be cleaned. Due
to the water shortage at that time
the vehicle could not be washed,
however, Hi-Q in Porterville came
to the rescue and offered to clean the
vehicle and it was delivered to their
premises later in the afternoon. On
hearing that it had travelled from P
to P on its own steam, the assistant
accepting the vehicle at the shop
made his disbelief known with some
savoury language. Photos from Attie’s
cell phone convinced him that this
was a true story.
On the morning of the wedding day
the Series 2A was picked up in a

34

The Series 2A was a superb wedding
vehicle and will remain etched into
the memories of the Smit family and
also the guests at the wedding who all
complemented them on the fine resto-
ration job and the fact that they drove
the vehicle down.
Back in Pretoria the hunt for a
replacement vehicle for Helen ended
with Attie buying his fourth Land
Rover: a 2002 Discovery 2 TD5 ES in
a superb condition. We hope that this
new addition to the family will bring
many more joys as have all the others
thus far.

35

Remote: Africa or Australia?
By Timo Rebel

We moved to Perth, Australia in are busy catching up with Australia.
January 2016. As a result, we had Jurgens sells an Explorer look-a-like
to sell our trustworthy faithful here, branded TuffTrax, with a price
Defender 110 Double Cab (nick- tag of around AUD 50,000 (multiply
named “Blink Stefaans” by Jess Rowe by ten to get South African rands).
when it was new) and our Jurgens The price tag of a new Explorer in
Explorer. We have explored many of 2016 was around R235,000. We opted
the sub-Saharan countries with the for a “Hard top, forward fold camper
Defender/Explorer combination. The trailer”, as it is called here. The trailer
furthest north we went was Uganda. is built in China, and assembled in
On most of the trips, we travelled Australia, and costs around AUD
alone, just my wife, Gerda, and I. 20,000. If you opt for a top-quality
No satellite phones, just our mobile Australian made brand, the price
phones. I think we could say that we goes up to around AUD 35,000
went remote in Africa. for a similar trailer. So far so good
Arriving on the red continent, we with our trailer. The chassis and
settled in, and it did not take long suspension are a bit of an overkill I
for the Land Rover withdrawal think, as the roads are generally far
symptoms to get the better of us, so better here.
we went to the Land Rover dealer-
ship for a fix. We drove home in a Our Discovery and Camping Trailer
Discovery 4, SDV6 SE. Wow, what Off-road caravans are big and heavy
a car!! The next thing was to find here, mostly double-axle. I refer to
a mobile bed & kitchen. In South them as high rise buildings!! It is
Africa, the Explorer was the largest not uncommon to see 3 axle caravans
off-road caravan. My motto, ‘go-big- or an expandable fifth wheeler
or-go-home’, was tested in Australia connected to a Ford F250.
where the Explorer is the smallest Aussies seems to take everything
off-road caravan. Although car prices with them on holiday, almost like
are very similar in South Africa and
Australia, caravans are about double
the price here, or more. This was
based on our assessment in 2016,
subsequently prices in South Africa

36

the big red, dusty Outback. What
an adventure this was! A few hours
into the trip, we got bogged in a Salt
Lake. It took two trucks and a crane
to get us out. And all we wanted to
do was to take pictures and taste the
salt. I did not want to block the nar-
Typical Australian Off-Road Caravan row road, and drove just off the road
some Gautengers. Aluminium boat where I thought the surface was still
on the roof, outboard motor hanging hard, but ended up in black cotton
from the spare wheel carrier, large soil under the white crunchy salty
caravan, bicycles, paddle skis, the surface. Rooky error, but hey, we got
lot. We have even seen a large lots of pictures and met some very
expandable motor home towing a friendly Aussies! And the salt is very
double decker trailer with a medium salty! Black cotton soils are expansive
sized 4wd at the bottom and a full- clay with
size motor boat on top! high
potential for
Motorhome towing a 4WD and boat shrinking
We have done several short trips in or swelling
the area north and south of Perth. because of
Beach driving and camping are changing Bogged in black cotton soil
allowed in many places, often free
of charge. Free camp sites are well moisture
marked, but you need to be self- content.
sufficient. Commercial caravan You stick
parks are often fully booked, so the shovel
planning ahead is important. in easily, but
Popular sites are sometimes fully you cannot
booked more than three years in lift it, as the This mud sticks to everything
advance during school holidays.
In May, this year we headed into soil sucks onto it!

The Discovery has many protection
plates under its belly which the mud
sucked onto as it was sinking into the
black cotton soil. I tried to raise the
air suspension, but that just pushed
the wheels deeper into the mud. The
Discovery went into extended off-
road height and offered me further 37

lifting, which I selected, but once details on the
again pushed the wheels even deeper lid, put the exact
into the mud. We were not going amount due in
anywhere, and the Disco slowly the envelope and
started to sink deeper and deeper place it in a secure
into the mud. We flagged down the box. You keep the
first car that came past, as there top copy of the lid
was no mobile phone coverage. It as proof of payment in case you are
was not long before we had several asked by a ranger at some stage. Then
mining vehicles and trucks from a you are free to drive through. Most
nearby mine, helping us to get out. National Parks do not allow open
The entire road was closed off. We fires, so no campfire or charcoal
unhooked the 1,8-ton camping braai. Most people here have a
trailer and pulled that away from portable gas braai, or a barbie as they
the Disco. After we broke a 5-ton call them here.
recovery strap, we opted for a 7-ton Karijini National
snatch strap. The trailer was hooked Park was one of
back onto the car using a crane. our highlights. It
When we ended up on the hard features the most
surface, the miners could not beautiful gorges,
believe the ground clearance below streams, rock
the Disco! (this is Land Cruiser formations and
territory, and Discoveries are mainly waterfalls. We did
seen in town only). I was stunned a lot of hiking on
myself! From here on, we avoided well-marked tracks. Not much four-
salt lakes! wheel driving; all the roads were well
We went further north-east, and maintained. We often came across
spent many a night under the stars in graders that fix the roads after the
the middle of nowhere. You can rainy season, which is the summer
sometimes drive hundreds of months in the northern parts of the
kilometres with no mobile phone Outback.
coverage, and not see any other cars Most of the campsites in the Outback
or humans, just shrubs and dust. are very basic. There is no full-time
Most of the National Parks are not staff-attendance at the campsites, just
manned at the entrance. Payment a volunteer camp manager during
works on an honesty system. There holiday periods. The volunteers,
is a holder with envelopes with a mostly retirees, get to camp free of
38 carbon copy lid. You write a few

charge for extended periods, and to see the large trains they operate.
in turn, they must manage the site, Three locomotives hauling as many
collect camping fees and make sure as 236 ore cars. It is truly spectacular.
there is toilet paper and sanitising On this road, a stone from an
liquid in the dunny. oncoming car hit our windscreen,
(A dunny is the resulting in a big star and crack.
Aussie term for a Driving through the Outback and
long drop). specifically the Pilbara region is on
Ablutions are basic red gravel roads, hence the name the
but clean. They red continent. That red dust gets in
don’t always have everywhere!! It stains paintwork and
showers, basins or water. There are cloth, as it contains metal and rust!
no cleaners, everyone cleans up after From Millstream, we headed south
themself. There are no rubbish bins west to the Cape Range National
anywhere, you must take your Park at the coastal town of Exmouth.
rubbish with you. That is how it Here you must book and pay your
works here, and the system works! actual camp site on-line before you
From Karijini we went to Tom Price enter the Park. There is no water at
to get a permit to drive north west on the camp sites, so you must bring
the Rio Tinto Railway access road to your own. Park fees are still paid at
Millstream National Park. the Park entrance. There are many
things to do in the park, such as
Rio Tinto Rail Access Road snorkel and dive on the Ningaloo
The access road is a private road and reef, scenic flights, hiking, a few
serves as maintenance access to the four-wheel drive tracks, etc.
Rio Tinto rail network which is the We were planning to drive all the way
largest privately-owned and operated down the coast line to Coral Bay. We
rail system in Australia. The permit read somewhere that you must have
is free; however, you have to attend a chemical toilet for this section, as
a 20 minute on-line informative “velties” are not allowed here. Much
induction course at the visitor centre. to our horror, the Australian “veltie”
When driving on this road, you get is not buried, like we are used to,
they are just left in the open! It can
be messy at the toilet-less rest areas
next to the road! The challenge was
that our chemical toilet was inside
the camper trailer, so to set up camp

39

just to do number two was a bit brochures and websites claimed
ridiculous. A small temporary (but to be the biggest Monolith (rock)
secure) modification to our in the world. Not true. The biggest
Discovery bridged this problem. monolith in Australia (some claim
Some of our South African friends in the world) is Uluru, or Ayers
frowned upon the solution, however, Rock which is close to Alice Springs
we used it with comfort and style! in the centre of Australia. Mount
Unfortunately, the road was closed at Augustus is the largest Inselberg or
the south of the park due to the high Monocline (stand-alone mountain)
water level of the river that must be in Australia, and still very impressive
crossed. We went to have a look, and and very remote! The area around
you definitely need a ferry to cross. Mount Augustus is flat, making the
Pity they don’t have a ferry here, so 750-meter-high mountain visible
we had to turn back, taking the long from miles away. To drive around it
and boring way around to Coral Bay. is about 55km. You can take a 12km
We continued sightseeing south- hike to the top, which we did not do
bound to Carnarvon. From here we owing to time constraints. Due to its
turned east, back into the Outback to remote location, not many people
visit the Kennedy Mountain Range visit Mount Augustus.
National Park. It was spectacular. According to the latest maps and a
very handy mobile phone app, fuel
We did all the hikes in the area. A is available at Cobra Cattle Station
highlight was the orange sunrise (A large farm is called a station in
views of the mountain range. From Australia), which is about 60 km
here, we wanted to go south, but then from Mount Augustus. We calculated
realised we were so close (relatively that we would be able to reach Cobra
speaking, only 260 km) to Mount with the fuel we had, and we should
Augustus National Park, which many be there before dark. You don’t want
to drive at night with the risk of
40 kangaroos or cattle crossing the
roads.
With Cobra already in sight and
about a kilometre to go, our right
rear tyre was cut by a sharp rock
and deflated instantly. We were not
impressed, as we had fitted four
brand new General Grabber AT tyres

41

before the trip. But, “no worries” as Augustus Station, which is an
they say around here, we fitted our operational farm. When we checked
spare tyre and headed towards the in, they offered to help us fix the tyres
Cobra station. We were greeted by the next day, and if needed, they have
sign boards “NO FUEL” and a few spare tyres to choose from.
“PRIVATE PROPERTY, DO NOT They mentioned that the area around
ENTER”. We decided not to enter Cobra was notorious for cutting
and ask for fuel, but rather opted to tyres. We slept well that night
stop on the side of the road and knowing all would be OK. We were
fuelled from our two jerry cans happy to see humans again, as the
(which we took with us from South entire day, we had only seen one
Africa). By now it was almost dark, other car, and that was a rental 4x4
so we could not even enjoy the camper. Other than them, not a
wonderful sunset views of Mount single human was seen along the way.
Augustus that many brochures The next day, we asked the local
depict. But, no worries mate, we handyman if he had any 19 inch tyres
continued, keeping the speed low in his shed. (They call a garage a shed
and carefully watching for animals here…). He looked at us, laughed a
crossing the road. We were horrified bit, and said, “Show me your tyres,
to hear the same rumble coming as there is no such a thing as 19 inch
from the right rear tyre 15 kilometres tyres”. At this point I knew we were
later. Another flat. The spare wheel in trouble. Needless to say, he did not
that we had just fitted was cut by a have any 19 inch tyres, and he could
sharp stone, the stone still inside the not fix the big gaping holes in the two
tyre! You could hear it falling around damaged tyres. From here we would
as you turn the wheel! Luckily, we go without any spare tyres. At least
bought a spare rim before the trip, so they had diesel, although very
we had a second spare. expensive, so we could fill up the
tank. We paid $1,75 per litre. The
First tyre damaged Spare tyre damaged going rate is about $1,30 per litre
We fitted it and reached Mount everywhere else. I guess being so
Augustus with no further problems. remote, it cost more to have the fuel
delivered to them. The nearest
42 The campsite is at the Mount service station from here is 375 km
along gravel roads. The entire area
does not have mobile phone
reception.

The staff at the station recommended Outback covered a distance of 5,700
we take the more travelled road back kilometres.
to Gascoyne Junction, just in case we
ended up with another flat tyre. The In all our many years of travels and
standard advice if you have problems plenty of kilometres driven in Africa,
is to stay with the car, pitch your tent we had never written off a tyre. I
(in the road) and wait for help. Do think in all those years we had two
not try to walk to help, there is none. flat tyres - and those could be fixed.
We felt uncomfortable, but had no
choice but to hit the road without a Comparing overlanding in Australia
spare. We went past the Mount with Africa, our opinion is that
Augustus lookout point to take Australia is substantially more
pictures before heading towards remote, but surely a lot safer. Both
Cobra area again. At the lookout are equally beautiful and enjoyable. A
point we came across an elderly few interesting thoughts:
couple changing wheels… It is
horrible to drive a car on perfectly • In Africa, wherever you stop,
good gravel roads, but not trusting people will pitch up out of
the rubber underneath you. We nowhere. They could be of
continuously set goals for ourselves. assistance in most cases, however,
If we could just get past Cobra, then they could possibly attack you or
the biggest risk would be behind us, want your money.
then it was to reach another road, as
there was another station not too far • In Australia, if you camp in these
from there, and so it continued the remote areas, you don’t need a
entire day until we got to the sealed shower tent, as
road at Gascoyne Junction. We only there is no one to
saw one other car the entire day!! see you. Even in
The next day was a Sunday, so every- some camp sites
thing was closed. We were told that in the remote
even in Carnarvon, a sizable town, National Parks,
we won’t get 19 inch tyres, they will there is no one
have to order them from Perth. So, there, not even
we just kept on going south. The a camp manager
rest of our trip was planned mainly as they are only
on sealed roads, so the risk was low. there in the holiday season.
We managed to get back home with
no further issues. Our trip to the • Australia has huge areas
(including small villages) with no
mobile phone coverage. Our
experience in Africa was that most
small villages have mobile phone

43

coverage. It is just the stretches in Africa. We miss that here. What
between that are not covered. we do not miss is having a gun
• Australia has some of the world’s pointed at us by an aggressive
most spectacular scenery, these police official asking, “What do
sights are just really far apart! The you have for me?”
beauty of Africa is abundant and • Aussies generally stick to the
scenic even along vast distances. speed limits, so there is very little
• In Australia, just about every town need to overtake, as most vehicles
has a visitor centre. Here you can drive the same speed, even the
get information, fill up with free big trucks and road trains. Road
drinking water and dump your trains are big trucks towing 3 or 4
rubbish in containers. trailers that can be up to 56 meters
Each town has chemical toilet long.
dumping points and are well
marked. In Africa, it is hard to • Just Western Australia (one of
get information, drinking water is the seven states of Australia) is
bought in bottles at the shops and 2,646 million km2. The Australian
rubbish is dumped everywhere. continent is 7,692M km2. South
Are there chemical toilet dumping Africa is 1,22 million km2, thus
points? less than half the size of Western
• With no border crossings, Australia. The continent of Africa
travelling in Western Australia is 30,37 million km2, almost 4
is easy. I don’t think I need to times the size of Australia. The
explain much about border total Australian population is
crossings in Africa. about 24 million as opposed to the
• The one huge thing that is African population of about 1,2
missing from Australia is big billion. We’ll let you do the rest of
game. We truly miss seeing wild the maths yourself.
elephant next to the road in
Botswana (even outside National
Parks), hearing a lion roar or
seeing iconic giraffe silhouettes on
the horizon.
• In Africa, the locals gathering
along the main roads create an
atmosphere and vibe that is so
relaxed and unique to beautiful

44

ESCARPMENT TO KRUGER (OLD DIGGERS’ TRAIL)
By Chris Watcham

Easter Weekend 13 April 2017 - because of its health risks to miners
THABAKGOLO CAMP and consumers.
We met on the N4 at The Rose
Garage (Sasol), where we topped Penge Mine
up fuel and travelled in convoy at The scenery was stunning. We
a leisurely 80 to 90 km/h pace, via crossed the Olifants River, and drove
Middelburg and Burgersfort, onto a community owned farm
stopping for a tea break in a nice and headed up into the mountains
open area. to Thabakgolo Camp. This is a
Community Project, run by the
On our way to Middelburg we stop for a break people. It was built by them and
Burgersfort has exploded since I maintained with some sponsorship
knew it in the 1970’s, due to the from Transfrontier Parks. The pass
discovery of chrome in the area. The up the Mountain appears to be man-
Mine and Processing Plant we passed made and for 4 x 4 vehicles only.
are really massive. From Steelpoort
to Burgersfort, there are informal Community Road to the Camp
settlements on either side of the The camp site is very neat, and the
road. The traffic was practically showers and ablutions spotless. The
grid-locked at Burgersfort, so our clouds closed in and it started to rain
leader, Johan Kriek, took us around just as we finished setting up tents.
the town to avoid the chaos, and we
headed for Penge Mine. This was an 45
Asbestos Mine, owned by Transvaal
Gold Mining Estates based in
Pilgrims Rest, discontinued and now
derelict, since asbestos was banned

We stopped for a coffee break and
tried to identify some of the many
varieties of trees. We found a spot
where it was possible to drive
through the river, where the river
bed was very rocky. (giving the Disco
a hard time with its stupid low tow
bar).

We set up camp at Thabakgolo
We used their communal dining tent
to sit and have sundowners, while the
fire was started. Dennis braaied some
fish for us in the soft rain, (Chris
helping with umbrellas) and then it
stopped raining for all to braai their
meat. We ate while the rain came
again, but it stopped for us to get
into our tents before it rained
Crossing the Olifants River
heavily. However, it was not as cold We then drove through brush and
as I thought it might be. reeds on a track that might have

14 April 2017 - MAFEFE CAMP been a wagon trail, up into the
We all packed wet tents, and were Strydpoort Mountains. The track had
ready to leave at 9:30, having to be cleared of branches to allow us
showered and sat around chatting through, sometimes in the rain, as
over coffee. We drove back down the the clouds built up heavily over us.
mountain, across the Olifants River The Disco had its side awning front
and turned right to drive along the bracket lifted out of the roof-rack rail
river under huge Sycamore Fig and due to the rough ride. Fortunately,
Jackal berry trees. we managed to get it bolted back into
place. The road zig-zagged up the
escarpment (magic 4 x 4 driving) to
a view point which we missed out
on, as the hills
were covered
in cloud and
mist. We then
46 We descend back down to the Olifants River drove down the

escarpment on the other side to the
African Ivory Trail’s MAFEFE Camp,
arriving at 4:15 pm. This is also a
Community Project Camp, high up
on the escarpment.

Setting up camp at Mafefe Camp We entered the Lekgalameetse
Two members of our group decided Nature Reserve and descended the
to upgrade to a rondavel at a cost of escarpment in a spectacular Rain
R150 pp. Forest, on a very steep track in
intermittent heavy rain.
Anita inspecting the Rondavels Again,
There were clean communal there
ablutions and a Lapa with a kitchen was
and a central fire-place, where we quite a
could all sit and have sundowners lot of
and braai our meat on an open fire. branch
15 April 2017 - LEYDSDORP cutting
HOTEL for us
We slept a bit later than normal, to do.
which was very nice and relaxing.
After breakfast, we were ready to Wild
leave at 10:00 am. Mushrooms

47

Vehicles are supposed to travel one President Kruger stayed here.
way only, but we were passed by four With the Gold Rush at that time,
motorbikes, and then after we had there was a population of three to
stopped for lunch, we waited half an five thousand people staying in the
hour for two approaching vehicles vicinity. The large dance hall of the
to pass. We pushed on only to find time, is now the dining hall. We were
another three vehicles coming up the due to camp in their camp site, but
trail. They literally crashed their owing to its undergoing renovation,
vehicles, rather recklessly, into the they put us up in their hotel (at no
brush on either side, one bumping extra charge). We decided to support
into the vehicle in front of him. them and had dinner and breakfast
(Johan referred to them as ‘Hill in their dining hall.
Billies’ which seemed very apt)

We exited Lekgalameetse Reserve Leydsdorp Hotel.
and entered the Lowveld. Travelling
via OFCOLACO (Officers of the 16 April 2017 - BADEROUKWE
Colonial Land Company), land CAMP IN LETABA RANCH
which was acquired by Officers of RESERVE.
the Colonial Army to settle on after We set off for Letaba Ranch, now
the war. They and their descendants open to Kruger Park, which in turn
have been very successful on this
beautiful, rich soil. On to Leydsdorp
Hotel, where President Kruger stayed
to sign a proclamation. To make
this signing valid, Leydsdorp Hotel,
including a few houses, was
declared a city, which was legally
48 necessary for the proclamation.

is now part of the Great Limpopo drove along the border of Kruger
Transfrontier Park. Arriving at the Park to a view point of the Little
Letaba River, where we had lunch. At
gate, we a point where we were due to enter
decided to go the riverbed and drive to our camp,
up the Pass the river was too wet to drive and we
that Orrie decided to drive to the African Ivory
Baragwanath Route’s Baleni Camp, (A Community
built leading Project) We settled in our rondavels
up to his house on top of the with en-suite bathrooms, to which
mountain, giving him a wonderful all but one of us upgraded at a cost
view over the park. Clouds and mist of R200 pp. We drove down to the
prevented us getting a view from the River where we found it dry enough
top. We followed the Levuvhu 4x4 to drive a short distance, and settle
trail to our camp, Baderoukwe, in down comfortably in the clean river
the Big Five territory. Along the way sand, until sunset, having our sun-
we saw Elephant, Buffalo, Wild Dog, downers. We had hoped to see the
Giraffe, Zebra and Impala. After women gathering salt from waters
setting up camp, we enjoyed sun- in the tributaries flowing into Little
downers while watching a herd of Letaba River, which they have been
Ellies in the Baderoukwe river below. doing for hundreds of years. The salt
A really nice bonfire in the centre is then processed. However, these
of our Land Rover circle, gave us a ladies were obviously still enjoying
wonderful setting in which to enjoy the Easter weekend.
our drinks and braai (a few rounds 18 April 2017 - DEPART FOR
of Jägermeister loosened some HOME
tongues). We said our farewells to our
17 April 2017 - BALENI CAMP wonderful LROC group, and thanked
Elephant and a Buffalo greeted us Johan Kriek for a job well done.
in the morning as we watched them It was a wonderful, well-planned
drinking from their water holes they tour and we saw and experienced
had dug in the river sand. We exited things none of us would otherwise
the park on the Levuvhu Trail, and have experienced.
following the fence of Letaba Ranch
on 4x4 tracks, we drove to the Little 49
Letaba River, which we followed to
its confluence with the Great Letaba
River. We enjoyed a nice relaxing
break at this beautiful spot. Then we

RECOVERY SERIES - RECOVERY EQUIPMENT

By Brendon Lowe (LROC Driver Trainer)

To put it simply, if you’ve never 1. Sit back, relax and survey the
been stuck with your vehicle before, situation. Don’t panic! Take out
you’ve never really put your Landy to your camping chair..
the test...getting stuck is par for the
course, it’s going to happen to you 2. Decide who’s in charge – this is
at some stage or other…and don’t sometimes the most difficult part
worry it’s perfectly normal! But as everyone wants to take over
when you have the right gear at your and give orders. Get consensus
disposal, and knowledge on how in the group as to who has the
to use it properly, there’s no reason most experience to deal with the
why you won’t be able to quickly and situation and let this person make
safely get yourself unstuck and on the the decisions and give instructions.
road again.
If you’ve attended the LROC’s 3. Get a plan together – Decide what
Module 3 : Recovery Training needs to be done; the plan must be
program, then you’ll be well safe, executable and cause no or
equipped to deal with recovery least possible damage to the vehicle
situations. During this training we and absolutely no-one must be put
spend time on the various kinds of at risk. The most important aspect
equipment, safety aspects of recovery is to identify and communicate all
situations and some practical potential dangers for the drivers,
winching training. But for those that bystanders and vehicles. Agree on
have not done it before, or if you just who will give hand signals and
need a simple refresher, this article what they mean.
deals with the basic equipment you
should be having in your recovery 4. Check your equipment – check
arsenal. all available recovery equipment at
Now, lets start with some simple your disposal for suitability of use
basics: If you ever find yourself in a and apply your mind on how to
situation in which either your vehicle use it correctly.
or another vehicle in your group gets
stuck and needs to be recovered, One very important aspect of
follow these simple steps to get you recovery equipment is to check all
out of trouble: Working Load Limits (WLL) of
equipment and ensure that it exceeds
50 the laden weight of the vehicle being
recovered, at least by a factor of


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