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

Hooked on a feeling…

Regular readers will by now be familiar with Bush Run and the antics of the enthusiastic guys and girls who form part of this group of Land Rover fanatics. So, when they invited us to tag along on a weekend away in the mountains just outside Lydenburg, Anton and Mary Willemse jumped at the opportunity to meet this crazy bunch.

We’re always up for adventure, so when we were invited to join a Land Rover Bush Run in the Mount Anderson Catchment Reserve, we accepted without a moment’s hesitation. Besides, this was our chance to finally meet the group of people who have been keeping us entertained with regular stories about their conquests and experiences in their Land Rovers. So, early one Saturday morning, we headed to Nooitgedacht Trout Lodge in the Lydenburg area, where we were to meet up with the clan. Upon arrival, Nico Denner introduced us to the group and instead of an awkward first introduction, it felt as if we were reconnecting with old friends.

The Bush Runners all have one thing in common: they love their Landies! The group was established in 2019 and currently has almost 100 members – or rather friends – who regularly embark on trips across South Africa. From Nico, a geologist, to a German named Roman, the group is as diverse as the Land Rovers they drive.

Since we are not Land Rover owners (yet – if this bunch has anything to do with it!), we jumped into the super cute series 3 Land Rover game viewer with lodge manager, Arabella, for the drive up the mountain. General Jan Smuts once said that this area has the best vistas in the whole of Africa, and he wasn’t wrong. The rolling hills down to the Spekboom River with its crystal-clear waters were a sight to behold. All around us cliffs, dotted with Cape Vulture nests, rose out of the hills as nature showed off in all its glory. The route we took was a fairly easy drive, but this trip was more about taking in the magnificent views than testing the vehicles.

The area was a mecca during the gold rush of the early 1900s and a few open mine shafts are still visible. The large cement blocks that were used to anchor pulleys to pull mine carts up the hills also remain as reminders of this bygone era. Gold can still be found in the area and according to Arabella illegal miners still venture into the area in search of their pot of gold.

We made our way up to a viewpoint overlooking the river as it snakes through the valley. Below us, the hill was dotted with large circular ruins, which have been the topic of many debates. Dating back more than 2 000 years, there are many theories about who actually built them. The most popular and generally accepted explanation is that they are the handiwork of ancient Indian seafarers who visited Southern Africa in search of gold and emeralds. Some also believe that they can be linked to Zimbabwe or even Mapungubwe.

The best known and most substantial of the exotic explanations has been offered by Cyril Hromník. He has long maintained that most of the significant innovations and social systems in Africa are the result of Indian influences. This perspective has led him to argue that the Mpumalanga stone-walled sites are Hindu temples and that the Indian Forgotten World settlers who worshipped in them lived in nearby shelters or caves. If you look closely, you will see sections of stone walling breaking the grass cover all over, as well as kilometre after kilometre of stone ridging traversing the hillsides. If you were to fly over the area in a small plane, you would be amazed by the endless stone circles, set in bewildering mazes and linked by long stone passages that cover the landscape below. In some places the coverage is quite sparse and intermittent but in others it is dense, continuous, and intricate. If you study the views provided by Google Earth and focus on the ghostly circles that cover the landscape you may get a sense of the extent of the heartland of this world, which stretched from Ohrigstad to Carolina, and connects over 10 000 square kilometres of the Mpumalanga escarpment through a complex web of stone-walled structures.

About halfway up the mountain, Arabella received a call from the homestead to say that one of her horses had gone missing. She needed to leave us, and we jumped in the back of Nico’s Defender 110. He has owned it for 19 years now and although the engine has been replaced three times, he adores his steed that now boast almost half a million kilometres on the clock. As we continued to wind through the landscape, it became abundantly clear that Nico has a special bond with his vehicle. The same can be said for the rest of the group, who are all completely under the spell of the brand. Why else would they be willing to put so much time and energy into keeping their Landies in such tip-top shape?

We must admit that by the end of the weekend, we were also completely smitten, not only with the beauty of the area, but also with the camaraderie of the group. If this is what owning a Land Rover is all about, we definitely want one!

Nooitgedacht trout Lodge

Only three hours east of Johannesburg, in the province of the rising sun – Mpumalanga – lies the hidden gem that is Nooitgedacht Trout Lodge, a place for refueling, reviving, and revitalising the soul. This luxury lodge nestles on a nature reserve in the heart of South Africa’s most captivating natural wilderness.

The lodge offers some of the finest trout water in the country. Whether you’re fishing the Spekboom River or any of the three dams on the property, the waters are well stocked with trout, and will appeal to astute fly fishermen and beginners alike. And there’s more… soaring eagles and Cape Vultures, a wealth of indigenous flora and prolific birdlife, and an abundance of game – ranging from leopards and kudus to otters and notoriously reclusive brown hyenas – will keep you enthralled for hours.

Nooitgedacht Trout Lodge provides comfortable, stylish accommodation in nine en suite rooms, catering for a maximum for 23 guests. All of the rooms have open log fireplaces and children of all ages are welcome. Guests have the use of a lounge, bar, library, and heated swimming pool. The campsite next to the river is exquisite, with 10 beautiful open stands and well-kept ablution facilities. The lodge provides various fun-filled family activities. Aside from fly fishing, activities include game-viewing, hiking, clay-pigeon shooting, horseriding, 4×4 trails, tours of the hatchery, picnics in the mountains and sailing.

CONTACT: +27 71 088 0606 / +27 63 002 2355 | enquiries@nooitgedachttroutlodge.co.za / arabel@nooitgedachttroutlodge.co.za  www.nooitgedachttroutlodge.co.za

About Bush Run

A group of Land Rover enthusiasts regularly undertake Bush Runs, exploring the rough terrain and beauty this country has to offer.

Contact Nico Denner via WhatsApp to join the group and get more information: +27 83 653 0864.

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