EDITION 125 - SUMMER 2017
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE
LAND ROVER OWNERS
CLUB OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
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
Namaqualand Flower Season Page 7
South America - ticking off a trip on our bucket list (Part 1) Page 16
Tech Tip - Defender LED upgrade Page 22
Free State Gravel & Snow Page 24
Algerian Border Control - PTIs Page 27
Moegatle Trail Review Page 32
Dinokeng - Big 5 on Gauteng’s Doorstep Page 34
About 4x4 @ Kungwini Page 39
Revival of the Land Rover meetings of Der-Land-Rover-Treff Page 42
Never to be forgotten Nkhambathi Page 44
Getting to know the “Old Guys” Page 51
Development and Refurbishment Page 56
Ezemvelo - Back to Nature (isiZulu) Page 60
Putting the stamp on Land Rovers Page 64
COVER & BELOW: Bradley and Carrin Glossop’s 1973 Series III 88 inch taken on their
trip through Botswana, Zambia and Malawi.
NEWTO ADVERTISE IN LANDROVING:
Please contact the Club Administrator, Madeleine; [email protected] or
the Chairman - [email protected] Special deals available for first time advertisers.
Posted to LROC members, supplied free of charge to advertising Land Rover dealerships, Parts
suppliers, Workshops and Accessory Outlets.
LEGAL SMALL PRINT:
The opinions expressed in LANDROVING do not necessarily reflect those of the Land Rover
Owners Club of SAoupthperlnyAofrnical,init’es Ctoommbitetece oormmeembaersm. Neomresbpoensriboiliftytihs aeccepted 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 takesAopnplyly5omnilnins etotocobmecpolemteeaanmd yeomub’llebreofretahdey
to reap the benefLitasnodf bReolovnegr iOngwtnoetrhseColludbesot,fmSoousttheesrtanbAlisfhreicda
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
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 (regalia[email protected])
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PRO Johan Kriek ([email protected])
Radio Officer: Jacques Beard ([email protected])
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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]
Port Elizabeth Chapter (Port Elizabeth area): Paul Foster - [email protected]
It’s hard to believe that 2017 is your Defender on page 22), but
drawing to a close. Hopefully the getting out there to experience the
three issues of Landroving this year bush and God’s creation is what it’s
have inspired many more Land Rover all about and I was enticed by the
Owners to get out there and put their chairman’s description of Dinokeng
vehicles to the test, making the most on page 34 and we will certainly
of the trials and trails on offer. I am make sure to take time out there
appreciative of contributions from as in the near future. One of our
far afield as England and Germany, favourite coastal destinations is the
and I think many of us have come Wild Coast – an area often over-
to look forward with each edition to looked but definitely worth a visit.
reading more of Martin Smithson’s Read Malcolm’s article on
adventures in his Defender, Boudie, Mkambathi (page 44) to see why.
and his unique PTI’s and CTM I am sure many more Club members
awards. I was certainly fascinated and are experiencing adventures which
entertained by his article, Algerian we never get to hear of and so I
Border Control, in this issue. appeal to you, once again, to send us
Getting to know our vehicles and your stories. They do not have to be
understanding the technical aspects long, just inspirational!
are both very important, so technical Wishing all our readers a blessed
contributions are also of great value Christmas and happy Landy-ing into
(read about LED upgrade kits for the new year!
CODE OF CONDUCT
Abide by the rules, constitution, conservation code and code of conduct of the LROC.
Be a considerate member.
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.
I cannot believe that we have come Internet search
to the end of yet another year, not to and some
mention the end of my 2-year stint information
as Chairman of the club. It has been included in this
a privilege and a challenge to fulfil edition.
this role. I have realised during these Initially it seemed as if we would
2 years just how awesome the club not be able to publish another
is. We tried to take part in as many magazine this year, but the
events as possible and got to know committee contributed in a big way,
a vast range of personalities. I am with articles ranging from our ‘old
using the term “personalities” with guys’ (no, not members, but Series
a reason, as I believe every member vehicles) to bird watching and
of the club is a personality in his/her hidden gems. You will also find
own right – after all, owning a Land several articles containing informa-
Rover makes you someone special. tion from personal experiences, on
The past 2 years have seen a steady places you just must visit.
growth in membership, attributable A big plus was a last-minute article
to a committee who really put in from Oom Joe van der Merwe, one
extra effort to bring the club into the of the club’s personalities, who has
21st century. The website has seen a regaled us around many a campfire
total facelift, by means of Facebook with the most interesting tales of
members are being prompted and adventures past and present. When I
informed about events and the driver heard about his and Andre Verster’s
training has put on a new jacket, to recent trip to Namaqualand, I just
mention but a few of the big changes. had to have something in writing.
We have received increased attention And that was just what I received, a
from people across the world – we hand-written article. And he even
even have an article on the revival of hand-delivered it to me at home! It
an overseas Land Rover community, made me long for times long gone
who added a link to our Club on when an article was not just about
their website. A member made me the content, but also about the
aware of the huge variety of stamps personality behind the carefully
featuring Land Rovers from around written words. His article below gives
the world, resulting in an enjoyable valuable information on how
expectations can exceed results and the company of some of our big
how to turn this into a new personalities.
In conclusion, I want to wish all of
you a peaceful festive season. If you
are going on an adventure, make it
a memorable one and remember to
share it with us in one of next year’s
The Blikkies will be attending even
more events next year as I will be
able to sit back and enjoy the fruits
of others’ labour. I hope to see all of
you somewhere around a campfire in
NAMAQUALAND FLOWER SEASON
By Joe van der Merwe; photos by Andre Verster
Namaqualand in flower season is ourselves in the late afternoon. As a
a fantastic sight and I try to see it result, the only booking we made
whenever I can. was at Goegap Nature Reserve,
This year, Andre Verster and I We travelled to Upington on the
planned a camping trip travelling via first day and after refuelling we were
Southern Namibia, knowing full well discussing on the radios which of our
that our chance of seeing flowers was two shortlisted campsites we were
slim due to the extreme drought in going to sleep at. We were speaking
the area. Nonetheless, it would be a Afrikaans and during a pause, a lady
Land Rover adventure and there were came onto the air and pleadingly said
two 4x4 trails in Southern Namibia
that I wanted to explore i.e. Quiver “Menere moet asseblief tog nie op die
Tree Forest Trail and the Gamchab Eiland oornag nie!” (Gentlemen,
4WD Trail. please don’t stay over at The Island
Andre and I like to follow a loose Resort). I replied that I had read a
itinerary and we search for tour guide report that wasn’t vey
accommodation wherever we find flattering about the resort. She
repeated her plea but wasn’t prepared
to give reasons. From Upington we Descending into the river bed
crossed into Namibia via Nakop the “forest” is meant to be. I was
Border Post. bitterly disappointed. In years past it
Andre had plotted a route via must have been spectacular, now it’s a
Karasburg that was more than 100km heart-breaking sight. Due to climate
shorter than the route via Springbok/ change, many trees have died. Others
Vioolsdrif but it entailed travelling are in the process of dying, juvenile
on gravel roads. In retrospect, I trees are non-existent.
would rather have spent the money
on the extra fuel and travelled via
Springbok! On numerous previous
trips to Namibia, I found their gravel
roads to be well maintained and very
smooth. This trip, the roads were
badly corrugated, and it was an
ordeal travelling on them.
We reached Noritshame Lodge
outside Ausenkehr in the afternoon
and the following day travelled along
the Quiver Tree Trail. The start of the
trail is quite spectacular. You enter
through a “poort” (gorge) with
beautiful rock formations.
Poort (gorge) Quiver Tree 4x4 Route
After you emerge, you begin to see
isolated quiver trees and then On the brighter side, we came across
descend into a dry river bed where a lone young desert horse stallion
at a horse feeding point where we
stopped for lunch. In the distance we
saw specs moving towards us
and when I checked through my
binoculars, I could see it was a
group of 6 horses. They had seen our
vehicles and obviously anticipated
being fed. When the group finally
arrived, it was a herd of 5 mares and
a very battle-scarred stallion who had
a pronounced limp. Further along
the trail, we came across a group of
5 young stallions. All the horses that
we saw were in a good condition
despite the drought.
After we left Noritshama, we Lunch break in the Richtersveld
travelled along the Gamchab Trail Back along the road to Sendelings-
where we encountered a group of drif, where we crossed the Orange
guided tour assistants striking tents River on the pont and spent 3 nights
in a large encampment. We stopped at De Hoop and then a night at
and established that they were Kokerboom Kloof.
guiding a group of tourists who
were hiking, cycling, and canoeing
through the Richtersveld.
At the end of the Gamchab Trail we De Hoop, Richtersveld.
turned right on the D212. It was our Another tough day in Africa
intention to follow a track that led
off into the Namuskluft Rest Camp.
We were going to “wild camp” in the
mountains. We found the track and
turned onto it. It was heavy sand
and after a few kilometres, we came
across a gate with a “No Entry” sign.
Rather than risking the ire of an
angry landowner, we decided to turn
back, travel towards Rosh Pinah and
enter from that side. We did that and
came across another gate, this time
locked and we discovered that the
camp had closed. I spent a night at
the camp in 2013 and it was obvious
from the guest book that it wasn’t
well patronised. One negative factor
was the horrid 14km track that led
At De Hoop we saw the group of bearing had seized. My replacement
tourists arriving in canoes at the end belt was not in good condition, it was
of their Orange River stint. The roads a belt that I had saved after a service.
in the park are horribly corrugated The tension pulley runs on the back
and we exited from Kokerboom of the belt, so we sprayed it with
Kloof via Helskloof and travelled Q20 and I kept fingers crossed. In
along even worse corrugated roads to Springbok I searched for a new belt.
Eksteenfontein. No Luck! That night, at Goegap, I
My Landy had developed a strange remembered that I actually had
whistling/ squealing sound. I stopped a new belt, so I dug it out. Next
a number of times but couldn’t morning, I travelled to a garage in
locate the source. In the pass outside Springbok to have the seized bearing
Eksteenfontein the steering became replaced. Another scare! The garage
very heavy. The serpentine belt had owner had to make several calls to
snapped. find a replacement bearing for the
repair. The following day we travelled
the 4x4 route in Goegap. No flowers
but I was heartened to see that the
quiver trees were thriving with the
juveniles in excellent condition.
From Goegap we travelled via the
Wildeperd Pass to Die Houthoop
near Kleinsee. The late Alex Greyling
was a good friend of mine and we
kept in touch after he bought the old
church and moved to Soebatsfontein.
Breakdown before Eksteenfontein I was curious to see his renovations.
I radioed Andre who was a fair Andre and I set out to Soebatsfontein
distance ahead and he turned to along badly corrugated roads. As we
come and help me. I had to unpack approached the village, the church
the Landy to get to my spares. Two stood out like a beacon – a beautiful
vehicles passed - local people. Then, green roof and freshly painted walls.
Murphy’s Law, a Toyota Fortuner The grounds were a bit chaotic with
arrived on the scene. I left Andre to piles of builders’ rubble. Alex was in
field the wisecracks and proceeded the process of building self-catering
with retrieving my spare belt. units when he passed away.
Someone has bought the church and
We discovered that the tension pulley is proceeding with the work.
in our track and a Land Rover
Discovery with an off-road trailer in
the other track. They were well and
truly dug in! There was a Fortuner
trying to extract the Landcruiser
with a puny looking pull strap. All it
was achieving was to dig itself in. The
Cruiser had an AHA type conversion
on the back and looked heavy. After
Andre and I arrived, the Fortuner
Die Houthoop left. We enquired whether tyre
We had dinner in the restaurant at pressures on the two vehicles had
Die Houthoop and after a bit of been dropped and were told they
ribbing about Andre and I being very had. We asked to what pressures.
brave to venture far from home in The Cruisers’ were 2.1 bar and the
our Land Rovers, the owner told us Discovery’s 2.3. I told them those
that there were no flowers to be seen were virtually tarmac pressures and
anywhere in Namaqualand this year, Andre said they should follow the
so we decided to follow the track advice on the signboard they had
along the coast in the Namaqualand just passed, 0.8 at the front and 1.0
National Park, from the Spoeg River at the rear. I suggested to Andre that
to the Groen River. The coastline is we should hitch up to the Cruiser in
picturesque with numerous little bays tandem, but he said he would snatch
with kelp forests. In places where the the Cruiser.
sand was really heavy, it split into two The Cruiser owner wasn’t comfort-
and there were signs advising you able with taking his tyre pressures so
to lower tyre pressures and to keep low. I lowered them to 1.0 at the front
right, not left. and 1.2 at the back. I also advised
him to clear the sand from under his
Andre and I had dropped our tyre fuel tank. He had dug himself in so
pressures as soon as we came off the deeply that his vehicle was resting on
tar roads, so we had no difficulties it. His recovery point appeared to be
whatsoever. When we reached OK, it was the pin type. Andre had
the last very sandy section a few to round the vehicle to couple the
kilometres from the Groen River snatch onto the rear recovery point.
Gate we found both tracks blocked His Puma with all its brass bells,
by 2 vehicles travelling in the steam whistles and ribbons did it
opposite direction. A very new with very little effort. Because of the
Toyota Landcruiser was facing us
bottle neck we had several spectators When the Puma was at speed and
from other vehicles. Andre briefed the snatch strap fully extended the
the Cruiser driver on what he needed kinetic force ripped the hitch off the
to do, I cleared the spectators to a bumper of the Cruiser. The hitch
safe distance and we were ready for coupled to Andre’s 4.5 ton rated
recovery. shackle smashed into an aluminium
Andre took off at a rate of knots and trunk on the rear of the roof rack,
I was filming the procedure for him. bounced over the vehicle and hit the
bull bar and bonnet.
Recovery gone wrong
Andre was fortunate that it didn’t pressure, clearing the sand and he
damage his very expensive stream- drove out. That night when Andre
lined roof-top tent. I went to inspect and I were relaxing and having a
the bumper of the Cruiser and beer, we wondered how far the
discovered that the hitch had been Cruiser had gotten - leaf springs,
gas welded onto the bumper, and not overloaded, travelling at speed on a
arc welded. very bumpy sandy track.
I asked who had done the conversion From Groen Rivier we proceeded
and was told “someone else”. down the West Coast following the
I told the owner in no uncertain sand track. Destination, Lambert’s
terms, that he should convey to Bay. For me, this was the highlight
“someone else” that recovery points of the trip. The vygies appeared to be
must be bolted with high tensile unaffected by the drought and were
bolts, and not welded. A good lesson abundant and beautiful. I never
learnt; always thoroughly inspect dreamed that such a variety of
recovery points before doing a colours and sizes existed, ranging
recovery. from dayglo green to multi-coloured.
Andre coupled the snatch strap to The coastal scenery was beautiful,
the steel bumper which was bolted but we had to open and close a
onto the vehicle and the recovery multitude of gates. A substantial part
was completed. I advised the Cruiser of the track runs through private
owner to turn back, he was too property. We reached Lamberts Bay
heavily loaded. He insisted that he and after inspecting the municipal
was going to proceed and would keep caravan park we went to a campsite
a good momentum. I warned him opposite the renowned Muisbos-
that there were tight turns on
the track and he must take care
that his tyres didn’t come off
the rims. He went through the
formalities of thanking us,
exchanged contact details with
Andre (he had volunteered to
pay for Andre’s damage) and
took off at speed. During the
hullabaloo, the Disco owner had
quietly gone about the business
of dropping his vehicle’s tyre
Vygies on the West-Coast Route
skerm. The attendant was humorous Lamberts Bay we travelled to
and sharp. When she came to collect Nieuwoudtville, usually a good place
our camping fees, I enquired whether to see bulb flowers, but, once more,
“bejaardes” (senior citizens) received nothing to be seen.
discount. She replied, “Eers volgende Andre volunteered to accompany me
jaar” (Only next year). Then as a home. I told him it wasn’t necessary,
consolation, “Darem vroeg in die and we parted ways. I drove straight
jaar” (Fortunately, early in the year). home, only stopping to refuel and to
Wherever Andre and I went, people have a water break from time to time.
enquired where our wives were. I would like to do the trip again next
Andre replied that his wife is a year, leaving out the Richtersveld, but
student and she’s swotting for the only if the drought breaks.
exams. They obviously pictured a
young woman and looked at Andre
askance. (His wife is middle aged and
studying for her umpteenth degree).
On this occasion Andre came out
with his patter when I replied that I
didn’t have a wife. He expanded that
I had been married twice. She didn’t
look up from the receipt she was
writing and said, “Dan het hy mos rus
nodig” (Then he needs rest). I didn’t
dare to enquire, “Rest from what?”
Dinner at Lambertsbaai
I had budget constraints and decided
to turn towards home, so from
SOUTH AMERICA - TICKING OFF A TRIP ON OUR
BUCKET LIST (PART 1)
By Vivian and Hanlie Gericke
The prospect of retirement in 2016 Landy tracks in South America
was a daunting thought. Then, after Jumping back to how we got there:
considering all the normal options On one fine day during October
we realised it was now or never 2016, after endless research and
and decided to rather choose the preparations, we found ourselves
abnormal – a bucket list adventure leaving Pretoria behind and heading
to South America. Both Hanlie and for a 44-foot container in Cape Town
I are mountain people - after all, harbour.
we met each other in the Hex river Our Landy was first into the
mountains many moons ago. Since container and our friends “parked”
our student days we have always their Land Cruiser behind us. The
regarded the Andes mountains as a vehicles were lashed to the tie downs
dream destination and therefore in the container, the doors of the
decided to take the plunge before it
was too late. A good friend then
suggested that we rather explore
the continent in our own vehicles
and from there our adventure, that
initially seemed like a far-fetched
dream, slowly took shape.
We have now covered about 26 000
kilometers during our two overland
trips in South America, the first leg
during December 2016 to mid-
February 2017, and the second leg
from mid-May to mid-August 2017.
The tracks of our adventure are
shown next - leg 1 in green and leg 2
container were closed and sealed and America. Monte Video is approxi-
we nervously said goodbye to the mately on the same latitude as Cape
Landy wondering whether it would Town but from there it was a journey
arrive in one piece on the other end. of 5000km to get to Ushuaia. For this
The Landy sailed all the way to Spain part we basically stuck to the east
and then to Monte Video in Uruguay. coast of Argentina. Argentina is a
Six weeks later we flew to South big and stretched-out country, more
America and on the 2nd of December, than twice the size of South Africa.
after completing all the paperwork, (On our website is an interesting
the container was opened. To our comparison between Argentina and
utter delight the Landy was in one South Africa).
piece and undamaged.
After re-connecting the batteries, the
Defender astonishingly fired on the
first spin of the starter – what a relief!
The Landy at the southernmost point in the
world that one can drive to with a vehicle
Our vehicle in the harbour in Uruguay Our son Tiaan, who is with Hanlie in
with our local agent the photo above, flew to Ushuaia and
joined us for the next 2 weeks. From
After clearing customs we started Ushuaia we basically followed the
on our trip down south to Ushuaia, spine of the Andes north, zig-zagging
the southern-most town in South across the mountains and the
Argentina – Chile border a few
times, but keeping mostly to the
Chilean side. We visited some epic
sights along the way - more of that
In mid-February, after two and a half
months and 12 700km, we parked
our vehicle in a barn on a farm south
of San Carlos de Bariloche in
Argentina and returned home for a
while to be with our daughter and
for the birth of our first grandchild.
Some themes that made this trip an
experience of a life-time:
The mountains: We try our hand (and feet) at
Experiencing the Andes mountains glacier trekking
from closeup was probably the high-
light of the trip. We spent quite The wind, the cold and the ice-fields
a bit of time in the mountains, The southern part of South America
camping and hiking in world is known as Patagonia, and at that
renowned areas such as Torres del time of the year the wind blows! The
Paine National Park, the Southern wind regularly reaches more than
and Northern Ice fields and Cerro 100km per hour, and, as in South
Castello, coming close-up to iconic Africa, the wind invariably blows
mountain peaks such as Mount from the front pushing the 300Tdi
Fitzroy. It was cold and windy, but Landy to a crawl of less than 80km
beautiful. We experienced a scary per hour. And it is bitingly cold!
incident where Hanlie was grabbed The third largest ice fields in the
by a gust that literally took hold of world are found along the spine
her backpack, lifted her off her feet, of the Andes in Patagonia where
spun her around and threw her to the we travelled. We were absolutely
ground and onto nearby rocks. awe struck seeing glaciers for the
first time – an experience not to be
Hanlie at the iconic Torres del Paine Glacier Perito Moreno – the ice face is
between 30m and 50m high and 5km long
GO TO EXTREMES.
BRING BACK PROOF.
ADVENTURE PROVEN ROOF RACKS AND ACCESSORIES FOR
JEEPS, TOYOTAS, ROVERS, G-WAGENS AND MORE.
Land Rover fellowship: Wild-camping next to a beautiful
Ever tried explaining to a mechanic stream below a glacier
in Spanish that you need the
universal joints greased on your Land The ferries of Chile: Chile is a
Rover – it is difficult, believe us! long and narrow country and the
Amazingly the bond between Land southern third of the country is a
Rover owners is just as strong as in patchwork of islands, rivers and
Southern Africa. The only difference sea-lagoons. In this area there is only
is that there are not as many Land a single road from North to South,
Rovers as back home, newer generally known as the Carretera
Discoveries and Range Rovers are Austral, which is also one of the most
seldom seen. Nevertheless, the Land beautiful roads in South America.
Rover club of Argentina has a strong By necessity the Chileans have thus
and active membership, their website established a network of ferries
is comprehensive and members use throughout the southern region
this actively and are very willing known as Patagonia.
and able to assist with any type of
information – see: The Landy being guided to reverse onto
http://www.landroverclub.com.ar. the ferry Don Fernando
Argentina and Chile are relatively The number of ferry routes are mind-
safe and we did a lot of wild camping boggling; Chile must certainly be one
en route. The community app
I-Overland, is used and updated by
most overland travelers in South
America and is very handy in finding
suitable wild and formal camping
spots close to the road and further
afield. We wild-camped for one out
of 3 nights throughout the trip. Ever
wild-camped in full sight of a glacier?
In the photo below, we are doing just
that (unfortunately the glacier was
under cloud cover when the photo
was taken). During this leg of our
trip we only camped, we never used
of the world’s leading nations as far Cusco (more of this in Part 2 in a
as ferry transport is concerned. Even future edition). The only crucial item
travelling on the Carretera Austral missing from our vehicle is a diesel-
itself we had to make quite a few powered heater which is indispen-
ferry crossings. sable for a reasonably comfortable
Lastly, before we are asked this night in that environment.
question again – No, the Landy has In Part 2 we will describe leg 2 of
not broken down once, we’ve had our adventure to the northern part
26 000 km of trouble free over- of Argentina, fascinating Bolivia, the
landing (touch wood), apart from Atacama Desert in northern Chile,
replacing a few fuses, globes etc! Our and Peru. e-mail: [email protected]
conversion with the pop-up roof Further feedback from our travels
worked very well. The Defender can can be found here:
be a bit small to live in for 3 months Articles and photos on our website at
at a time, but it is relatively light http://between2safaris.com/
on fuel and maneuverable when Photos on Instagram at https://www.
encountering narrow streets of instagram.com/between2safaris/
ancient towns such as Potosi and
TECH TIP - DEFENDER LED UPGRADE
By Arthur Smith
The LED upgrade kits are a really indicator tell-tale light on the
nice upgrade to the standard dashboard panel. The English
indicators on any Defender. They have never been known for being
tend to be brighter, more clearly fantastic when it comes to electrics
visible and they do add a bit of bling on cars and in the Defender it
to the Defender as well. Generally becomes very clear. Once the LED
the kits are very well made and the kit is installed you may find your-
kits are complete with everything self with four blinking indicators
you need to do the installation. They when all you want is for the left or
even come with a really nice relay right to blink. The reason for this is
that automatically changes blink rate fairly simple. Both wires going to the
when a trailer is connected. These instrument panel are either Live or
relays have a little button that can Ground. The indicator stalk switches
be turned to adjust the sensitivity of these two wires and their respective
the relay and normally takes a full polarity. When the LED kit is
10 seconds to adjust so that you get installed the globe on the dash panel
a perfect blink with or without a acts as bridge and “bleed through”
trailer. This adjustment is a once off happens. This means that all four
so once it is adjusted you can close indicators get voltage. With the
the fuse box and forget about it. standard globes on the corners this
is not a problem because the
standard globes won’t come on
without sufficient voltage, but
because LEDs need very little
voltage, the bleed through is enough
to light up indicators that were not
supposed to be on. Though there are
replacement bulbs to fix this, they
are scares and expensive.
The problem with these kits are To fix this problem you only
mostly with the older Defenders, require a bit of automotive wire and
especially if you have only one two Diodes. You will also need to
remove the instrument cluster
which is a fairly straight forward
process. Once the cluster is out
you will notice two long white just cut the wire and run this wire
connectors on the bottom of the to a ground point on the body of
cluster. The one on the left-hand side the car. This one will now become a
of the cluster is the one we looking permanent ground point. Next cut
for. On this connector there are two the other one of the two wires - also
wires on the right-hand side of the about 50mm from the connector. All
connector; they are normally green/ Diodes have
white and green/red. (Cars vary, so indicators on them to indicate
please use a test lamp and confirm which direction power will flow
that they are the correct wires). (Diodes only allow flow of electricity
These two wires are both ground in one direction). In this case
and live wires depending on the electricity will flow from the car to
direction your indicators are the cluster so you want the thick
switched. silver band on the cluster side to
prevent electricity flow back from
the cluster to the wrong indicator.
Solder two Diodes onto the
connector with the silver band
facing towards the connector. Next,
take the two wires that you put aside
and slip a piece of shrink wrap over
each of them (the Diode should be
able to just slip inside the shrink
wrap). Solder each one of the two
wires to the Diodes and insulate
Now is the time to disconnect the them using the shrink wrap. If your
battery. Preventing forest fires dash board tell-tale light does not
begins with you :) . Cut any one of blink, the Diodes are the wrong way
these two wires around.
(after testing and
confirming that they To indicator circuit
about 50mm from
the connector and
put the tail end aside.
Now solder a piece of
wire onto the con- To Car ground
nector where you point/ Body
Free State Gravel & Snow.
Growing up my Dad had a 2.0 Ford The drive down to the Basotho
Cortina Station Wagon which was for Cultural Village in Golden Gate
all intents and purposes our intrepid usually takes about three and a half
overlanding vehicle. In the early days hours if you use the N3 and follow
we lived in Bethlehem in the eastern the R712 past Sterkfontein Dam,
Free State and my Dad, being with however that was not on the cards for
the SA Perm at the time, was often this trip. Thinking back to my Dad’s
visiting farmers in the area and stories, I decided that the long road
smaller branches in the outlying was worth the extra effort and I set
areas. He often spoke about the Free about planning the trip in detail, my
State with an exuberance I didn’t tool of choice: Google Earth.
understand at the time, but was later I didn’t want to touch tar, but
to discover for myself. unfortunately driving out my gate
Although I was too young to had already defeated my strategy,
remember the trips he took us on so it would have to be the next best
back then, his stories of exploring thing and that was to limit traveling
the back roads, getting the old green on tar as much as possible and
girl (he had a few more colourful believe me, avoiding tar in Gauteng,
names for her), stuck and waiting for on the way to the Free State is no
a tractor to recover us while meeting mean feat. I’d get myself to Villiers
with the friendly folk living in this and then hit the gravel, Gauteng
large, beautiful expanse along the wasn’t in the plan this time round.
foothills of the mighty Maloti
Mountains somehow instilled a
passion for exploration in me.
Early last year, my wife, Hanneke, Villiers-Frankfort
and I wanted to take our daughter,
Trinity, out for a weekend to see the
snow in the area between Golden
Gate Highlands Park and Clarens
and so the planning began, some-
thing I enjoy as much as the trip
Once in Villiers, we turned off the but bypassing it along a myriad of
tarmac at the R26 towards Frankfort. farm roads. The scenery, although
The road was in good shape and we beautiful thus far, was becoming
made good time to Frankfort, even more so, with a few one-way
eventually hopping on to the R34 to bridge crossings and sand stone hills
get back on to gravel. Once we were starting to dot the landscape.
back on the soft stuff, we made our
way towards the next town, Tweeling, As we closed in on Kestell, the
landscape started to change
mountains and cliffs, rocky
mountain streams and farm
dams dotted around were the
norm and although the roads
had official names, most were
little more than jeep (land
rover) tracks by now with
rocky river crossings.
We passed by small villages
and subsistence farms and
Tweeling Area 25
I must add that a visit
to the area is not
complete without a trip
to Clarens. Park the
Landy and take a walk,
it will keep you busy
all day and they make
decent beer there too.
Western Entrance To Golden Gate
at one point a big male jackal who
popped his head out to see what
these city folks were up to.
We finally got to the western Our take from this trip was a
entrance to Golden Gate and ahead simple one: The Free State is
of us we could see the snow capped flat and boring, viewed from
mountains of the Mountain the N3, but once you really
Kingdom, Lesotho. Although we start exploring its gravel roads
didn’t see much snow, we loved every and tracks it’s easy to figure
minute of driving around Golden out why the old man loved
Gate National Park, seeing its many this place so much. The clean
inhabitants, both hairy and feathered. air, friendly people and
magnificent vistas are well
Bastho Caltural Village 26 worth the effort and we will be
Algerian Border Control - PTIs
By Martin Smithson
PTI – Progress Temporarily Impeded First our legally compulsory escort in
We were on our way from Tunisia to the militarily controlled Algeria was
Algeria. We were soon to learn about more than an hour late arriving to
squandering time at a border control meet us at the border post. Getting
post in Northern Africa. Boudie, my Lightweight, and Taska,
my Disco, through customs was
Leaving Tunisia’s customs post was beyond anything I had ever
smooth, efficient and friendly. experienced anywhere during a life
However, we could not have foreseen spent travelling the world. It was a
what we were about to endure on new and exhausting, though
entering Algeria. enlightening, experience for all of us.
Progress was definitely very PTI’ed The Customs
at the Hazoua Frontier Oasis. The Officers,
border post into Algeria, a little way though well
south west of the lovely, welcoming mannered,
and friendly Tunisian town of were more than
of the vehicles.
To top it, they
making and processing procedures.
Very soon we grasped that to appear
in any way anxious to be on our way
made them even more unhurried;
so, we relaxed and left them to it. I
think they were grateful for the work
as this is a rather lonely spot in the
desert! ‘Overenthusiastic’ is not an
adequate enough portrayal of their
endeavours. tickled they didn’t find the secret
Each ammo box, storage drawer compartment I had built into the rear
and bag was opened, unpacked and tub of Boudica, not that there was
meticulously searched through. Our any contraband there to be found.
overloaded Landies were like nectar Amongst the confiscated items were
to a swarm of bees. They acted like our binoculars and two-way radios.
worker bees at the honeycomb. Items They merely cut the wires and
were removed from the vehicles at removed the radios, yanking them
random. I should have heeded from the vehicles, leaving us with just
Robert Jefferson’s advice of 1907 the handsets, aerials and severed
about ‘overloading’. He took just a wires. Fortunately, our cameras,
box of tools in his single cylinder phones and Laptops appeared not
Rover on the first African overland to be of any great interest to them.
from Durban via Johannesburg to Perhaps they wanted more up to date
Cape Town. A trip which took him versions!
16 days; it felt as if we were about to We arrived at the border at around
spend 16 days at the border post. three in the afternoon. It was after
Advice I have since heeded during ten at night when we eventually
later trips - “do not overload”. pulled out, complete with the
Every detail was painstakingly necessary paperwork and receipts for
examined and recorded; at least that the confiscated items. Our planned
was the perception given. The route did not include returning
preliminary and final paperwork was through Hazoua, as we were headed
manual and tedious. Moving from south through Algeria and on into
human counter to human counter Niger. Little did we know then what
at a snail’s pace. Computers, whilst lay ahead!
evident, were not in use. Boudica This PTI was as a result of ‘Border
certainly attracted more focussed Control meddling and confiscation’;
attention from the ‘worker bees’ than a BCMC-PTI.
Taska. Maybe it was her ‘military’ The Trophy almost couldn’t hack
appearance that lured them toward it here, though we all
her. We were, after all, in a militarily muddled through – like the
controlled country. Despite my CTM we were ‘upside down’
painting her LR Camel Trophy Sand by now!!!
Glow yellow in an attempt to At last we were on our way south
camouflage her roots, she became into a very breath-taking Algeria.
the nectar for the bees. I was
We drove the length of Algeria from which provides a more than adequate
north to south, crossing the Sahara water supply. The water enabled them
Desert in the direction of Niger to make bricks; hence El Oued is one
toward the I-n-Guezzam/Assakka of the very few brick-built towns in
border post, some 2,200kms away. the Saharan desert.
The border itself is 375km south of The locals we found to be extremely
the southern Algerian town, of polite and friendly, though security
Tammanrasset. was very evident and stringent.
I targeted Niger as I longed to visit
Agadez, the City of Clay buildings. Security personnel
It comprises the most clay buildings almost without exception
together in any one place, also the were most helpful.
tallest such building. The guard, who warned
me that photographing in
public was an offence as I
took a picture of the
national flag painted on a
wall, was polite about it. I
managed to convince him
I had deleted the image -
as you can see - Almost a
PTI by detention.
As we left Tunisia at Hazoua, we were
told camping was not permitted
between the border and the next
town. Crossing into Algeria late at
night, tired and frustrated, opting to
avoid confrontation, we booked into
a ‘recommended’ hotel in the town
of El-Oued. The town is known as
the city of a thousand domes;
constructed over many years to
provide shelter from the fierce sun.
It is built over an underground river
Later the same guard popped up out south into the sunshine and sand of
of nowhere when I went to Boudie the amazing Sahara Desert and
in the hotel car park. Again, the next stunning Hoggard Mountains, both
morning, he appeared beside me in with their own little PTI challenges.
the street for a chat and check-up. I Several weeks passed when, once
had just visited three banks that were again unexpectedly, thanks to Al
unable to exchange currency for me. Qaeda, (another story to follow) we
He ushered me to one which did were back at the same border post,
change some cash for me. Hazoua Frontier Oasis, on our way
When I came out of the bank, after a back into Tunisia. We stopped at the
chat with the manager, there he was control point, not knowing what to
waiting with his bakkie to drive me expect. Well, it was like a meeting of
to wherever I wanted to go. Later, long lost friends. They instantly
with a few friends, he took us around recognised and welcomed us,
town happily showing us the visitor reminding us of the considerable
attractions and introducing us to his collection of items they had
colleagues. When we left town they confiscated from us, which they
all gathered to wish us ‘bon would now happily return. We just
voyage’. He well deserved one had to show the receipts we were
of my CTM trophies. given by them when we arrived in
In the hotel, without exception, the country. While ‘Paps’ and ‘Fixer’
everyone was polite and helpful. One had theirs to hand, not unusually, I
guy, a lawyer, invited us to join him couldn’t find mine, and yes, the bulk
at his table when he ran through our of the ‘bits’ were taken from me. Very
planned route, making many helpful soon they happily came up with a
recommendations. copy for me and back came the two-
It was time to make more tracks way radios, binoculars and other
in the sand. Once more we headed confiscated items.
We spent a long time in friendly rush back through Algeria, though
tete-a-tete and banter at their office. we were anxious to get moving. As
They were fascinated by our tales we parted they guided us to a safe
of travel and of our experiences in ‘wild’ campsite not far from the
their country. Our disappointment border. As promised, it turned out to
as to why we were back at this border be a quiet comfortable spot.
control they genuinely shared and This experience proved an enjoyable
sympathised with us. PTI – in fact a total opposite of our
It was now getting late in the previous visit to the Hazoua Frontier
evening. The senior officer border post.
announced he was now off duty and
insisted we wait whilst he changed A double Camel was
into his civvies, and that we gather given for their efficiency
together for a party. and friendliness upon
He returned in traditional robes and our return.
off we went to the coffee bar where Our time in Algeria, while not as
we whiled away the time over several expected or planned, was all the same
coffees, snacks and banter. This was an exciting and enjoyable experience.
an unexpected pleasant end to the I will relate more of the amazing
times in Algeria in future articles.
MOEGATLE TRAIL REVIEW
TRAIL RATING 3-5
By Jonathan Bydendyk
Moegatle, known in the 4x4 so, it is possible to break the drive
community as one of the three down into two or more days. I’m
“Terror trails” in South Africa, is by under the impression that the entire
far one of the most exciting and trail can’t be done in less than two
challenging trails around, but what days, maybe three.
makes Moegatle unique, is that you The first section crisscrosses a dry
can enjoy the trail as a novice or river bed and washed out dongas,
really test yourself as an experienced offering some enthralling obstacles
off-road driver. that can be bypassed if they seem a
Moegatle, situated about 40 minutes bit too daunting. They are, however,
outside of Brits, towards Thabazimbi, all doable in low range with slow but
is a short drive from Johannesburg steady momentum.
or Pretoria however I would
recommend spending the night so
you can really enjoy more of the trail
and the hospitality of the owners,
Alex and Betsie. Accommodation on
offer ranges from family chalets, a
safari tented camp to a well shaded
campsite close to the swimming pool
and bush pub.
The trail, property of the Mpudung River Bed
Community, can be done in sections
Ou ryperd your driving skills
The drive inside the sandy river bed on an open area with
(a great shady area to stop and have deep river sand.
a bite to eat and a cold refreshment), The second section
passes obstacles like Ou Ryperd, a takes you further
technical uphill section with loose north through acacia
gravel, a cross-axle half way up and bushveld along the
an uncomfortable right camber river bank, crossing
which eventually leads out to an area deep sections from
called Klein Botswana which tests time to time. This
section can get very
technical in places,
so should only be
attempted if you have
some experience or the support of
other skilled drivers.
There is a small loop to the west
which can be very muddy in the wet
season, while the main route consists
of challenging dongas and obstacles
with names like Sledge Hammer,
Prado Killer, Klipdrift and Skipskop.
Koos Se Klim
The final section is where the insanity is also a bypass route leading up the
begins. Turning back east you travel side of the rock and once you get to
towards Tsogwe village and between the top you will be rewarded with
the houses towards the infamous spectacular views.
Koos se Klim, a path up a massive In the same section, around Tsogwe,
granite rock from which the village there are other even more extreme
gets its name. Koos se Klim has the obstacles, like “God se pad”, but in all
ability to scare the pants off of even seriousness, I would not recommend
the most skilled 4x4 driver. It’s a 43 it unless you have a highly modified
degree ascent/ decent and although vehicle and the skill to boot.
the rock does offer good traction and All in all, I highly recommend the
I’m of the opinion that most Land Moegatle 4x4 Trail but would
Rovers are more than capable of recommend a vehicle with a
making it look easy, it takes some in- minimum of low-range, good ground
ternal dialogue to calm your nerves. clearance and it’s always best done in
For those not willing to risk it, there a group.
DINOKENG - BIG 5 ON GAUTENG’S DOORSTEP
The Dinokeng Game Reserve is the a weekend break. For this reason, we
first free-roaming Big 5 residential kept a close eye on Dinokeng’s
game reserve in Gauteng – and development. Initially self-driving
probably in the world – next to an was not an option, but in 2015 the
urbanized area. It is a private/public first self-driving visitors were
initiative for which planning and allowed. We went there early 2015 for
development started in the early our wedding anniversary, staying at
2000’s. It was officially opened on Ouklip, one of numerous beautiful
22 September 2011 after the lodging options inside the Reserve.
introduction of four of the Big 5. The Although there were not yet a lot
last of the Big 5, the buffalo, were of game it was worth our while, as
introduced in late 2012 and they have unbelievably, within one hour, one
settled in well. could drive to a place of peace and
The Blignauts are avid Kruger quiet. Since then the Reserve has
National Park enthusiasts, but grown and became one of the best
unfortunately that is just too far for break-away weekend destinations
possible. THE ELEPHANT WATERHOLE
For my 50th birthday we
decided to camp at Elephant Picnic sites with braai and swimmingpool @ R30 per car.
Waterhole, one of the smaller Clean toilets - Refreshments at the Café - Breakfast and lunch
camping sites in the middle
of Dinokeng. Bushveld Camping site
During one of our previous
visits we had discovered this R250 per night - sleeping 2 - R50 pp extra
gem whilst looking for a place
to have a glass of wine. Self Catering Accommodation
One family unit sleeping 4 @ R850 per night
Two double rooms sleeping 2 @ R550 per night
NELMARE: 082 802 9392 OFFICE: 012 711 0609
EMAIL: [email protected] or [email protected]
Join us on facebook - Elephant Waterhole Dinokeng
on families and groups. They have
since built 3 en-suite rooms, 2 aimed
at couples and 1 for a family of four.
The tariff structure is such that a
family will not have to get a loan to
stay there, and they also cater for
groups consisting of campers and
We enjoyed the serenity of Elephant My youngest son, Philip, and his
Waterhole so much that we booked girlfriend have camped twice at
a tentative place for my birthday. Elephant Waterhole. They were so
When I phoned to confirm our visit, lucky to experience Africa at its best
I was informed that the previous – a thunderstorm that shook the
owners had sold the place, and that earth, followed by a camp invasion
I had to contact the new owners, by elephants! Elephant Waterhole
Wollie and Nelmarie. Nelmarie was has become their favourite spot to
clearly caught off guard – they had unwind after a hectic year of studies
been planning to concentrate on and exams.
lodging and not camping. Luckily During one of our self-drives we
they felt obliged to accommodate discovered Mooiplasie Offroad camp.
us (we even had to decide on a What a unique camping site. This
reasonable camping tariff). is the closest you will get to Mother
Nature next to Botswana, without
having to spend a fortune.
That was how they ended up The camp is unfenced, you must be
deciding to focus their development self-sufficient (no power or water).
The only all in the same visit, making
allowance Dinokeng Reserve the closest
for human to the Kruger National Park, in
comfort all senses.
is a single
is a cleared
to a stream,
with peace and quiet surrounding
you, a dream come true!
Philip decided to celebrate his 21st
there. Even he didn’t realise just how
basic we would go, as our off-road
caravan’s water pump broke, and we
really had to rough it, with kettle-
boiled water in a small basin, serving
as “bath”, and cold water from a
bucket used for washing hair. His
girlfriend, Jolandi, proved that she is
a real Land Rover stalwart who can
be taken anywhere.
We have had the luck to see 4 of the
big 5 as well as cheetah, albeit not
Fully equipped workshop.
Services of any make and model car
SPECIALZES IN REMANUFACTURING OF:
012 653 8941
144 Edward Street, Hennopspark, Centurion
This year we decided to introduce
the Club to Dinokeng. As Mooiplasie
is only for the real adventurers, and
then only 4-5 groups (maximum 10
people) at a time, Elephant Waterhole
was our obvious choice. We filled the
camp to the brim with a group of 14
vehicles; 31 adults and 6 kids. We
could accommodate club members
who didn’t want to camp as well as
our avid campers.
The owner, Wollie, at one stage We had the good luck to see rhinos,
started getting anxious as he couldn’t buffalo and elephant on the day, and
imagine where we will fit in the enjoyed lunch at Arlington Brewery
people who kept on arriving. and Cidery
All enjoyed the weekend. Eleven of
the vehicles joined us on Saturday for
breakfast at “Veldjie-rondom-my”,
a beautiful picnic spot built by the
owner of that portion of land.
Everyone just relaxed the rest of the
So, if you feel like breaking away for a
weekend to peace and quiet, with the
call of jackal and the chance of seeing
the Big 5, not to mention cheetah
as well, don’t think twice – book a
place at Dinokeng. We can certainly
recommend Elephant Waterhole,
and if you really want to go basic,
try Mooiplasie Offroad camp, it will
change your outlook on life….
About 4x4 @ Kungwini
By Brendon Lowe
On 30 September & 1 October 2017, more advanced drivers. The beginner
the LROC committee hosted their course is specifically used for training
Spring Trial and Driver Training at purposes and allows trainees to get
the [email protected] centre. The venue to know their vehicles better in a safe
is located near Bronkhorstspruit and controlled environment. The
about 60km from Pretoria CBD (via 2nd course, aptly named ‘Academic
N4) and 64km from Kempton Park Course’, is for more advanced driving
via Bapsfontein (via R25). and a thorough test of the vehicle
and driver’s skills over man-made
What makes this venue a must-do? obstacles.
Obstacle courses: There are three Each obstacle is professionally laid
excellent 4x4 obstacle courses, one out and graded, allowing the driver
for beginners and the 2nd and 3rd for
to test his/her vehicle on virtually stops on the way. Some members
every possible obstacle in the book. opted to do the Eco-trail on the
The 3rd course consists of natural Sunday rather than participate in the
obstacles laid out in a nearby river trial event.
bed and this also became the perfect Mountain Biking: For mountain
setting for our Spring Trial which bike lovers there is a scenic trail
put driver and vehicle to the ultimate comprising a single track and a jeep
test. These must be some of the best track alternating between veld and
laid out 4x4 facilities in Gauteng and vlei farm roads. Trails vary from
definitely a must-do. 20km to 60km.
Trail Running and Hiking:
Kungwini Trails has recently been
launched and will offer trail runners
and hikers some challenging terrain
to traverse whilst enjoying the
natural bush and a huge variety of
birds along the way.
Camping: The well laid out, shady
and spacious campsites have no
electricity, but hot water is provided
in the ablutions using a ‘donkey’. The
ablutions are rustic, but functional,
just what you would expect in the
Eco Trail: There is also a 20km long bush. If you have your own shower
Eco-trail which runs over the Eastern in your bush caravan, this is a good
Magaliesberg mountains and time to put it to the test.
promises exciting driving and
viewing, with several interesting
HOW TO GET THERE:
Take the N4 East from
Pretoria (note there is a toll
gate!) or the alternative route
R104. From Johannesburg
travel via Kempton Park and
Bapsfontein using the R25.
The sites have common braai
facilities which are great for getting
groups together to share stories from
the day’s activities.
Lapa and Boma: A neat lapa and
rustic boma can be hired separately
for larger groups or functions.
WEBSITE: For more details, please
All-in-all we had a great time at
Kungwini and were well received by
owners Johan and Hugo. You can
contact them on 0824940950 (Hugo)
or 0832774648 (Johan) for enquiries
GPS CO-ORDINATES OF [email protected]
(S25.86617° E28.70052°) or
(S25° 51’ 58.2” E28° 42’ 01.9”)
Revival of the Land Rover meetings of Der-Land-Rover-Treff
By Michael Schildener (Germany)
After lots of years without anything Wülfrath, Germany.
to do with Land Rover, my Landy- The logical consequence of all this
virus was re-awakened in 2015. A was the revival of the Land Rover
friend asked me for a place where he meetings of “Der Land Rover Treff ”.
can park and work on his Defender. On the 13th of May 2017, eleven
I had a lot of place at my barns... Land Rover drivers and some Landy
So after many years of abstinence of friends accepted my invitation for a
Land Rovers there was a Landy next meeting.
to my home.
I decided to re-initiate my internet It was great to see so many Land
project www.der-land-rover-treff.de. Rover vehicles and friends on my
Then I applied for the Land Rover land.
Experience Tour 2017 to Peru and
went to the first qualification. There
I drove a Discovery 4 through the
off-road parkour. That was great. So I
A friend and I participated in an
off-road driver training at the Land
Rover Experience Center in
The weather couldn’t have been
better. Everything was perfect. We
had a fantastic day.
Together with Stefan from The next meeting will be in
www.e-landy.de, I organized another November. In Germany it could be
meeting on the 30th of September at cold in this season, so we will meet at
Stefan’s land in Ostharingen, my fire barrel.
Germany. Once again, we had perfect Recently, I started to write English
conditions for the meeting and about articles on my webpage
20 people with 12 Landies joined us. (http://www.der-land-rover-treff.de/
Our Landy community is growing index.php/en).
and I’m meeting more and more
Moores Auto Sales Ad_horizontal_2016\p.indd 1 43 2016/08/30 2:00 PM
NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN MKHAMBATHI
By Malcolm Timberlake
Back in 1998 Guy Burnett, a We took the R61 from Port St Johns
colleague of mine from Maritzburg to Lusikisiki and then on to Holy
days kept on about Mkambati. Cross Mission winding our way
(The spelling of Mkambati on Google down to Mkambati. As you pass
Maps. The other version Mkhambathi Mtonsasa, the road takes a few sharp
is from Wikipedia and Eastern Cape bends and as you look down over the
Tourism. Mkhabathini is the isiZulu deep Msikaba river valley the river
name derived from the Zulu word takes a great horseshoe bend and
eMkhambathini meaning the place of then disappears into the distance as
acacia trees. We didn’t see any.) it flows to the sea. That’s where we’re
You have to get there some time, he
would say. It has awesome views and
you can just chill out. You’re likely
to be the only ones there. Not many
people know about it. Get to the
rondawels if you can. In summer the
road isn’t good so it may take a few
hours to get there. But it’s worth it.
And don’t delay – it may not stay that
Since then he left for Australia.
I left for Joburg. He for a more secure
spot, perhaps tranquility, peace of
mind - time will tell. I left for new
opportunities, for another spot under
the sun. We haven’t met since. But
what he told me never left me. Until
January 2016, when we decided
to do a round trip from Hogsback
to Dweza, Port St Johns and on to
Mkambati. It was Alida and my first
time in Port St Johns. That’s another
story for another time.
The road is good, a lot better than
I had thought. As we get closer to
Mkambati we drive along the river
after which the reserve is named.
Nothing like the Msikaba in size,
but it spills over into a number of
waterfalls as it cascades towards the
After the normal reception visit, country. The sea, the sky, the sun.
we make our way along a track as it Indeed, He made it all, and for our
meanders over grass-covered hills, enjoyment!
crossing little streams, some with The rondawels have all you need. You
lovely looking pools and as we do, we can’t miss the large deepfreeze in the
make a mental note – we’ll be back bedroom, which doubles as a work-
for a swim. space. A small table which can seat 2
The track, which now takes the form also in the bedroom (this is a round
of a two-lane concrete track makes room house after all), and then a
one last turn and there in front of small kitchen, with a gas stove to the
you are the six simple GweGwe one side, and a shower toilet on the
rondawels; first the rooflines appear other side. The large steel window,
and then the full picture - a rocky although in a state of disrepair, looks
coastline with a stunning section out over the sea. (We had to prop up
of beach with the Mgwegwe river the opening window from outside
feeding into the sea on the one side. with a stick to keep it closed when
It cries out to the soul. This is God’s the wind blew!) All pretty basic but
that’s exactly what is needed.
Being December-January holidays Near the Mzikaba lies some of the
some of the other rondawels were other more formal accommodation,
occupied and we met our neigh- one being the Mkambati Reserve
bours, who have been coming River lodge. It’s a large stone-built
regularly for all of their now teenage house higher up on the hill over-
children’s lives. One evening we looking a beach formed by the
decided to braai. The wind was Mzikaba river mouth. In the same
blowing and my attempt at using the area you will find the remains of
normal braai was a complete waste what was a hospital for mentally ill
of time. However, the other neigh- patients. The same neighbour had
bour who had been coming for the fond memories of the place as his
past 20 years knew better. He dug a uncle had worked there as a doctor
hole, made a fire in it and we braaied but was equally distressed by its
our meat in the protected area. After current state of disrepair.
cooking we simply filled in the hole.
No possibility of flames jumping
onto a thatched rondavel roof. The
St Francis Bay fires on the Canals
immediately came to mind, as did
the more recent Knysna fires.
Across from the Mtentu river, but
outside of the nature reserve, there is
the Mtentu lodge which has a good
view overlooking the river mouth
and the sea.
A drive there takes you over grass
covered hills where you will find a
The nature reserve is not very big number of grass birds. Among these
when compared to some of our we spotted the African Stonechat,
parks. It spans some 7720 hectares Long-billed Pipit, the Common
and lies between the two large rivers Quail and the Black-winged lapwing,
in the Pondoland section of the Wild which was a lifer for us.
Coast, the Mzikaba and the Mtentu.
Further on you will need to cross the
Mkambati river. The trick is not to be
fooled by the boom gate with a chain
that looks locked.
The Mkambati river has a number of
larger and smaller waterfalls like the
Strandloper falls, with the last one
cascading into the sea. Its worth
parking your vehicle and walking a
section to enjoy either some of the
smaller pools above the falls or a
longer walk to the larger and
impressive Horseshoe Falls. Getting
to the top of the falls, which form a
large arc is a lot easier than getting
down to the large pool at the bottom.
We ended up having to do quite
some climbing to access it, but it was
worth the effort. You are assured to
be the only ones around. Here you
may also stumble across the Cape
Rock Thrush and the Cape Wagtail. Continue along the track towards
Mtentu river and park where the
track stops. You cannot continue,
as there is a steep drop towards a
long open beach. After making your
way down to the beach it will entice
you to keep walking in a northerly
direction. You will eventually end
up at the Mtentu river. If the tide is
low enough you could cross over and
go for a drink at the Mtentu lodge
or park out, take a swim in the river
and enjoy the peace and tranquility
of your surroundings. Before we
set out we cooked a breakfast with
all our portable kitchen equipment
in the vehicle and with the back of
the Disco opening up like a table top
it offers protection for the gas stove
against the wind (which blew
On our return journey we took a Scattered along the watercourses are
track that more closely hugged the riverine forests which can keep one
coast, having to cross over some busy finding the more elusive birds
shaky looking, low-slung log bridges. whilst keeping an ear out for their
I expected the worst with the Disco calls. You won’t miss the cry of the
weighing in at 2.7 tons, but the logs Trumpeter Hornbill, however, which
held. Along this route you will sounds like the distressed cries of a
encounter large herds of Eland, all baby. Also along these water courses
looking in very good shape. You you will find secluded little pools
will find a number of other animals perfect for an afternoon drinks stop-
found on the plains, from Zebra to off and a refreshing swim. January
Red Hartebeest and smaller buck. can get quite hot especially when the
Can you identify this one? coastal wind takes a break.
Not far from the rondawels, tucked
away behind riverine forest is Lagoon
Lodge which caters for a larger group
of about 20 people. Whilst not on
the beach, it gives easy access to the Whilst roads do improve mobility,
Mgwegwe river. reducing travel time and increasing
The whole coastline from the accessibility to various places along
Mzimvubu river at Port St Johns to the coast, it would be sad if this
the river Mzamba at Port Edward were not done in a responsible and
environmentally friendly manner.
is a Marine Protected Area, where More recently a group called
boating, fishing and vehicle access Ufudu Wild Coast Adventure have
are restricted. Most beaches are not initiated the possibility of having
easily accessible to vehicles because this part of the wild coast declared a
of the type of coastline but it’s good World Heritage Site. I, for one, will
to know that such a decision has be following their efforts with great
been taken to protect this wonderful interest. Whilst there we were told by
coastline. the couple who have been holidaying
Some are concerned that this coast- there for over 20 years that we were
line will begin to attract a more the last bookings to be taken for the
commercial tourist activity and that rondawels as a concession had been
it will lose its wild attractiveness. given to a developer to build a 5-Star
boutique hotel on the very spot
where the rondawels were located.
My heart sank at the thought.
Did I respond to Guy Burnett’s
warning just in time?