Monday, April 11, 2011

Karoo & Camdeboo 4x4 routes (in the National Park & for FREE)

We are having a ball out here in the wilds. While at the Karoo National Park we did the 4x4 route to Bezwene. The only difficult part was the river crossing, not actually a crossing but a drive along the river bed for about +/-30 meters. Boulder hopping would be a better description. It was great fun.

                Yesterday we went into the Camdeboo National Park and after visiting the Valley of Desolation we decided to try the 4x4 trail. 6.7 Km took over an hour and a half!! The beginning is very easy, then you start to climb into the mountains, here the fun really starts. Once committed you have no choice but to carry on, steep slopes to go up, rocks to go over loose stones to contend with, then at the top there is the most wonderful view over the plains of Camdeboo with the Nqwebe dam and the mountains to the north. (then down on the same route!). An hour plus later we were sitting at the Drosdy Hotel having a G&T.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Augrabies (nearly 4x4ing)

On Saturday morning we left Cape Town VERY EARLY (+/- 4:30) and drove to Augrabies Falls. With all the floods around it seemed a good time to check out some new gear! Drive about 800km to view and photograph water falls in flood, what gear are we checking?

a) The RTT plus modified ladder.

b) the 2up ammo boxes on the roof.

c) the changes to the interior layout.

The decision is made to follow the TAR road because the 'destination' is more important than the journey! Forget about the checking of new gear/lay outs etc.
The journey home is the best - gravel travel. Leaving Kakamas on Monday morning just, (at 11:00), we travel down the N14 as far as Poffadder. Turn left onto the R358 and head for Kliprand, about 190 kms down the road.
The road is straight, some places are corrugated other stony (no punctures!) but mostly in very good condition for SA gravel with minor patches of sand. The only vehicle we see travelling the other way is a truck full of sheep, later we see an "abandoned" trailer at a junction, also full of sheep, we only hope that the driver/owner/purchaser was able to recover them before they all expired.
Just after Kliprand we turned left off onto an unmarked road (I think it may be the P2230) that came out onto the N7 about 40km north of van Rynsdorp. From here it was TAR all the way home.
We did experience some minor problems, like the fridge alarm indicating no power on Saturday afternoon and a very erratic temperature gauge - went from Normal to Overheat and back to Normal in the space of 10 minutes, then went back to overheat. S.T.D. (an old thing from the days of diving) - Stop, Think, Decide. Well we stopped, checked the water levels and everything else, and decided to continue. No further problems!


between Somewhere and Nowhere

The road home

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Tour

Not much is happening as we are away from Cape Town with the most wonderful tour ever - Motorhomes. This is great fun leading a group of overseas tourist in Motorhomes form Cape Town to Johannesberg. To follow more check out either the Touring or Randall Travel blogs.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

AAWDC Western Cape Trophy

This was held on the 9th October at Ou Trekpad, a total of 8 teams of 6 driver and navigators competed for the honour of being named as the 'Best of the Best'. This time around (compared to last year) it was a test of driver skill in off-road conditions and communication between driver and navigator. The 4x4Cape club unfortunatley pulled out of the event at the last moment. I was lucky enough to have a break between tours and was able to go watch and get some photos.

The eight tasks were as follows:

Task 1As Blind as a mouse. The drivers were blindfolded and had to drive through the obstacle course by listening to the instructions of the navigator.

Task 2: The Good Shot. The driver has to operate the vehicle, the navigator steers the vehicle while the driver has to take "shots" (with a catapult) at targets.

Task 3: Don't loose your balls. Drive through the obstacle course without loosing any tennis balls from a tray mounted on the bonnet.

Task 4: Bulls Eye. A plumb line with indicator is attached to the front of the vehicle, then drive the course and stop as close as possible to the bulls eye.

Task 5: The chicken run. Drive through the obsticale course with the navigator holding an egg in a teaspoon.

Task 6: The Reverse. Drive through the course ending with a reverase parking and stopping as close to a pole with out knocking the tennis ball off the pole.

Task 7: The wet one. Drive the obsticale course with the navigator holding a leaking bucket of water out of the window loosing the least amount of water.

Task 8: The clever one. The navigator has to complete a questionnaire (in car) on Ou Trekpads' history while the driver negotiate the obsticale course.

The Winners

Seeerious Concentration

Wet one

Lose your balls

Friday, September 10, 2010

New additions to the Terracan

Just before we went to Montague for the weekend I fitted a Hannible roof-rack and a single gas cylinder holder. Last week I was in the local Second hand camping shop and there was the Roof Top Tent (RTT) I was after, a Serengeti, made just up the road in the town of Paarl. The price was right, I had the cash, so I bought it. Yesterday it all came together, the tent was fitted (had to have new mounting rails fitted, the originals were the wrong way for the mounting I needed) and a brand new awning complete with sides. All we need now is a new table. I will get one from Hannibleand they can fit it under the roof rack.

All we need now is a week end to test it all out. The closest I will have is the end of September when we have a Public Holiday. The wekend has been booked, we are going to Kromrivier in the Cederberg Mountains with the 4x4 club

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trail near Montague

Towards the end of last month Caretha and I decided that we both needed a week-end away. I got onto the internet and started to search out a camp site that was close to Cape Town, pet friendly and with a 4x4 trail. The result of the search was a place called Badenfontien just outside Montague. A quick phone call backed up by an email and we were in.

We left Cape Town at lunch time on 29th April arriving later in the afternoon. A lovely quiet camp site and we were the only people there! Camp was set up in a matter of minutes (we are getting this down to an art now). The site is marked out with 12 camp/caravan sites some with power and others with shade, we had the pick of the best, shade and power! The ablution block is an old rondawel converted to 2 (family) shower/toilet combinations and 2 separate showers and toilets.

A lazy start the next morning, why get up early if there is no need to! Then we decided to have a go at the 16 km 4x4 trail, leaving the camp at 09:45 had lunch on-route and came off the trail at 13:30. As this is not a circular route we now had to go back to the camp through Montague, a round trip of 44 km.

The trail starts out with a steep climb with loose rocks and some nice tight bends and switch backs to get to the top of the first ridge, a short respite with a wonderful view site and then up again to the next ridge that ends by some Telkom/radio towers. It took us about an hour plus to get to the top of the ridge at about 990 meters. The track now went through farmland, with plenty of open gates, that had at one time been sheep farms, what they farm now is any-ones guess! We carried on climbing to just over 1040 meters. The top was like an open plain with Proteas and Ericas everywhere. The decent was not as tricky as the assent, but the views were just as spectacular. There is a section that is crying out for a bit of exploration, this is a branch road the goes to some rock formations.

When we asked the farmer on whose farm the camp is situated about the trail he told us that the original owner (who put the trail in) passed away and that the farm was put up for sale, it is now owned by a person from Bredasdorp, unfortunately there is no real upkeep of the trail.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Saturday afternoon

The club I belong to has an agreement with a local Wine Estate that we can drive on the farm using specified roads and still have fun in the Sand Pit, the Sand Mine, under the Peach trees etc.etc. etc......
Well last Saturday was no exception we met at the gate at a pre-arraigned time (usually 14:00, {2:00 pm for the non technical/military types}) and proceeded to the Sand Mine, after about an hour playing on the climbs and descents it was decided to go to the play area of the Sand Pit, BUT via a very devious route that few of us had been on before. I then tried my luck at the axle twister. NO GO, with the weight of the drawers, water tank, and other equipment I could not cross one of the obstacles, no problem just reverse out the way you came in, ha ha ha in trying to get around the very sharp corner I put one front wheel onto the twister, the back slid down and there I was two wheels in the air and two on the ground, unfortunately in a cross axle situation. The only way out was to be recovered by winching backwards. Boy am I glad that we have a group of people who are willing to help and teach. I learned a lot and will not get into a situation like this again. In the end we had a wonderful afternoon and finished off with a very South African thing 'Boerewors Rolls'. Basically a local 'farm sausage' in a hot dog roll!!