Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Destination unknown

Since 2015, the Mystery Rally has brought families and 4×4 enthusiasts together in the country’s biggest Easter egg hunt, searching for clues while enjoying spectacular campsites and great 4×4 trails around the Western Cape. Huge prizes are up for grabs for those who travel the shortest distance or make the best potjie, but at the end of the day it’s all about adventure, as nobody knows exactly where they’ll end up. Andrew Middleton joined in this year’s fun.

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic we were all locked up in our homes for far too long, with our 4×4’s looking much too clean for their own good. So, to have the WC 4×4 & DL Mystery Rally back on track for 2022 after a two-year hiatus was some of the best news I’d heard in a long time – this has been my favourite 4×4 event in the country for many years, and 2022 would simply not feel complete without it.

The rally usually starts at West Cape Brake and Clutch Centre in Brakenfel, where teams meet, greet, and enjoy a muchneeded early-morning cup of coffee before embarking on their quest. It is here where organisers hand you a way point to enter into your GPS and you’re on your own. Zigzagging over unknown mountain passes, gravel tracks and private farms, the event takes you to some of the lesser-known corners of the Western Cape.

Every year brings a different adventure, and despite much speculation, nobody guesses the route and getting lost becomes part of the adventure. This year took us on a 300 or 400km round trip (depending on who you ask) to the secluded campsite and 4×4 trail of Kopbeenskloof near Touws River. Here we set up camp and enjoyed some hard-earned leisure time in the boma.

The brilliant 4×4 trail at Kopbeenskloof is a true test for man and machine and it took our group about five hours to complete. One of the reasons was the nasty grade 5 descent, which caught a few unsuspecting participants off guard. My camping neighbour, Dustin, put it best (I’ve removed the expletives) after he locked up and slid halfway down a rocky outcrop: “That was the dodgiest … (insert expletives here) … I’ve ever done in my Ranger!”

After spending the entire day in the mountains, the legendary potjie contest took place on night two. It is held every year, but this time cooking skills were tested to their limits as participants were judged on the team spirit, flavour, presentation and time. Each team received R2 000 which they had to spend on ingredients at a local shop on the way to camp. This challenge is taken very seriously and despite the copious amounts of beer on hand it turned out some extremely tasty food from all teams. This included pastas, breads, braaivleis and a variety of potjies. The Mystery Rally is a family-friendly event where kids are always welcome, and the gees is top notch. You’ll get lost, have a big party and experience places that I can guarantee you didn’t even know existed before. We will be back again next year, and every year after that – it simply never fails to disappoint.

Congratulations to Servaas Smit who took first place and received a 270 Degree awning from Razorback. Second place went to Gerhard De Vletter, who was rewarded with a chassis treatment from Glazed. Carel Kruger received a Victron charging system for placing third.

V8-swapped beasts

Charles Muller may not strike you as a man who seeks attention. He walks with a quiet confidence, as if hiding something, and perhaps that’s because he is. Lurking under the front of his otherwise fairly normal-looking Hilux is an engine that sounds like a river troll and comes from America; the venerable Chevrolet LS2. First seen in the Corvette C6 in 2005, this engine has since become the go-to for anyone needing big power on a budget. lS3 heads and aggressive cam profiles cause the 2005 Hilux to splutter and gargle at idle, while all the way open it will spit out well north of 300kW. Other mods include, Ironman foam cell pro suspension, 33’’ Cooper STT Pro tyres on beadlocks, and a front air locker. This vehicle was built purely as an offroad toy… and to embarrass GTi’s from the lights.

Unlike Charles, Ricky Jacoby uses his Nissan Navara with its swapped-out VK45 engine as a camper to get away with his son on weekends. A regular feature on the Mystery Rally, Ricky and his rig travel far and wide in the hunt for perfect camping spots. Only he knows why he chose a V8 returning 5km/litre for this task, but its 300kW sure sounds good in the morning.

Where we stayed

Featuring fishing spots, hiking and mountain biking trails, and family-friendly activities, Kopbeenskloof is a perfect weekend getaway destination. Located just 200km from Cape Town at the southern side of the Klein Karoo, the large grounds offer camping areas for tents, caravans or camping trailers, as well as ablution facilities with hot water. All your needs will be met with the famed hospitality of the region, and it is the perfect venue for team building, events, a countryside wedding or a jovial weekend of fun with your friends, family and 4×4’s.

CONTACT: +27 82 829 6308 |www.kopbeenskloof.co.za

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