20 – 22 May 2022
The super group of weekenders started arriving at Rangers Reserve from early Friday afternoon, with Colin & Diane and their Gecko caravan being first, Andy and I with our Jurgens XCape caravan following, and then suddenly there was a rush of members arriving: Kevin & Lesley Steagemann, Walter & Val Mohr, Ken & Shona Sturgeon, Kevin & Jenny Childs and last, but certainly not least, Hilton Joffe.
Some time was spent greeting each other and catching up on news as some of us had not seen each other for a few months. The time catching up flew by and before we knew it, the sun was dipping behind the hill, the air was getting cooler and it was definitely time to put on some warmer clothes and light the fire!
It was getting dark and we were getting concerned when Jurie & Sanette had still not arrived so I tried sending them a whatsapp message asking if they were still joining us on the weekend outing but the reception at the campsite is sketchy and the message took some time to go through. When it finally did, I received a cryptic message back from Jurie saying, “Yes! They were certainly still joining us…… next weekend…….?” Thinking it was a joke from Jurie, Andy phoned Jurie on the sat phone whereupon Jurie realised that he had gotten his dates all wobbled up! Your loss Jurie – you missed out on a fantastic weekend! But we did miss your and Sanette’s company! J
It was really lovely to catch up with everyone around a huge “Andy” fire – although I must add that this time around it should be called a “Kevin” fire as Kevin Steagemann had ordered 20 bags of wood from the managers on the reserve (which we scaled down to 12, thankfully!). Many bags of wood meant many coals and everyone had a chance to braai their meat that night with some warmth left over after the cooking had been done. With the cooler air and a dying fire, it was not long before people started drifting off to their campsites to bed down for the night.
The Saturday morning dawn was cold but what a crystal clear blue sky! As soon as the sun poked its’ head over the hill onto the campsite, the scene was reminiscent of dassies sunning themselves in the sun as the members lounged around chatting, drinking coffee and getting warm in the blissful sunshine. In due course, once the sun was higher in the sky, enough coffee had been consumed and tyres aired down, several vehicles prepared to drive some of the tracks on the farm with Andy leading the convoy. We had been warned by the managers on the farm that they were not sure if the tracks were driveable so we were in for a bit of adventure while exploring the farm tracks!
We left camp driving towards the dam whereupon we immediately took a wrong turn and had to turn around to find the correct road. It was not far along the correct road where we came across a donga in the road that could probably have been driven with a bit of roadworks but Colin found a way around by going down onto the dam and bypassing the bad section of track. Everyone proceeded to follow that route without any incident.
We were soon back on the track and winding our way up the hill towards the viewpoint over the neighbouring farm. The track was surprisingly good with no real bad or technical sections.
We arrived at the viewpoint where we took a breather and soaked in the wonderful sunshine and clear mountain air not to mention the beautiful scenery.
Backtracking a little bit, we turned right onto a different track and wound our way around the hill and down into the valley. We came to a section where the track went left and right and so we decided to get out and walk along the track to see which was the better one – Andy and I went right and Ken went left along the track. It was decided that the lefthand track was the better one and so we proceeded that way.
Shortly after that we came upon a hill climb which looked a bit dodgy and washed out where we could see from the bottom so again, we decided to walk up it so see if it was driveable. A short way up the track, there was a washaway on the left hand side and all it took was some rocks thrown into the washaway to make it driveable. This did not take long and soon the vehicles were back on the track, some straddling the washaway and some driving to the right of it.
We had one more slightly technical downhill section requiring guiding, but everyone got down safely.
The rest of the track was not difficult to drive and we eventually arrived at another viewpoint where we took a break enabling everyone to have a bite to eat and soak in the wonderful scenery.
After that, it was agreed to head back to camp to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
The campsite was very quiet on the Saturday afternoon as opportunity was taken for members to either read, do more catching up with others or disappear for an afternoon kip (guilty as charged! J ).
Once again, as soon as the sun started dipping below the hill, the air turned chilly, warmer clothes were donned and a fire was started in the lapa.
Another super evening was spent braai’ing and socialising but I don’t think anyone stayed up long as the freezing night air started encroaching into one’s bones once the fire had died down.
Sunday was a lazy start for most of the resident 4×4 “dassies” in camp with many only poking their heads out of their tents once the sun had made an appearance. It was another beautiful clear and cloudless sky which everyone took advantage of.
Packing up was a slow process with more chatting amongst the “dassies” – mainly about what everyone would be doing in the next few months – but eventually the big trek home could not be delayed much longer and vehicles started departing for home.
As usual, it was an incredible weekend spent with wonderful people and it flew by much too quickly!
Thanks to Andy, the outings leader, and everyone who came on this outing to make it the success it was.
Looking forward to seeing you all on the next outing!