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

Wild and wonderful – Bush Run

To properly celebrate Bush Run’s fifth anniversary, a handful of enthusiastic Land Rover owners kicked off the new year with their eighteenth meeting since the establishment of the Bush Run group. After the festivities of December and January, everyone was eager to be back in the great outdoors, having fun camping and socialising. Even though the group has 128 members, there are always newcomers who tag along for the first time. THERESA LOOTS shares her family’s first Bush Run experience… which certainly won’t be their last!

Photos: Angelique & Nico Denner

Just for the record: I did NOT want to go. The start of a new year is stressful enough without hanging out among a bunch of wild strangers. I have no problem with the outdoors, it’s where I recharge my batteries – but a weekend among people you don’t know at all is not exactly my idea of ​​fun.

However, my significant other, Paul Sr (aka Pilatus), nagged in his quiet way and by the Wednesday before we were to leave, I gave in. I would go along, but I was not doing the 4×4 route! Pilatus promised I wouldn’t have to, because our son Paul Jr and his son, Luan, would be joining us.

So, we arrived at De Wildt on Friday and were introduced to the Bush Run group. The people seemed nice enough, but I didn’t really feel like making small talk and I made my feelings abundantly clear to Pilatus. I didn’t want to seem rude though, so that evening we sat around the campfire and got to know the rest of the crowd. However, there was a storm brewing and I was relieved when everyone decided to tuck in early.

That night we drifted off to sleep as an owl (as Oelof confirmed the next morning) serenaded us from the darkness… we slept like logs. By the way, it was Oelof who invited us to join the group about a year before… so, it’s actually all his fault! Saturday morning arrived and it was a lovely day, but this is where the trouble started.

All of a sudden Pilatus forgot his promise that I didn’t have to go on the 4×4 trail, but Angelique reassured me that it was an easy route and to keep the peace I agreed to ride along. Within the first 10 minutes, we arrived at a stretch of ‘road’, which I could not even imagine in my worst nightmare. There was no way I was going to stay in Old Lady, our Range Rover. I jumped out and decided I’d rather brave the sun while softly praying that the poor Landy would survive.

When they finally came around a corner, the men in my life were grinning from ear to hear. They were having an absolute ball!   Reluctantly, I got back in, but my bum had barely touched the seat when I had to escape to safety again. This was NOT how I wanted to meet my end!  

Needless to say, I walked practically the entire route, but in the process, I got to know the people. I even got coerced into participating in the impromptu bokdrol spoeg competition by Angelique (the same person who had so blatantly lied to me about the route).

My nose was burnt red, but I have to admit that I quite enjoyed the whole experience, even though I didn’t spend much time in the vehicle. What I also enjoyed was seeing the Land Rovers in their off-road element. I studied each ride’s undercarriage from back to front and although I couldn’t make out head or tail of what was going on there, I was impressed. I genuinely never knew that Landies could climb rocks, wade through mud and even swim like geckos!  

My men were in their element, and we were certainly no longer strangers. I was having a blast with the new friends we were making… and then they kicked us in the teeth! Little did we know that they were conspiring to play a dirty trick on us.When leaving to drive down the mountain in convoy, the Old Lady simply refused to move an inch. My first thought was what the hell did we break and how much would the thing cost to fix! I panicked all over again. 

Pilatus wanted to take over from Paul Jr behind the wheel, because how could he not get the Landy to move when he was able to drive all the obstacles? The Old Lady’s wheels spun furiously, but we made no progress. Eventually we got out and the entire group indicated that there was a problem at the front of the vehicle. We looked but couldn’t see anything wrong… not that we would be able to tell anyway. We started looking around for a good Samaritan who could lend a helping hand and that’s when we realised we’d been caught out.  

The Old Lady was firmly attached to Dreyer’s Land Rover with a tow rope, and he was stepping on the brake pedal as if his life depended on it. Everyone was in on it was all part of the fun… and besides, among friends you can only laugh at yourself. Needless to say, we had a great time for the rest of the weekend, and I completely forgot that I didn’t want to be there.

When at one point I embroidered Into the bush I go to lose my mind and find my soul on my dish cloths, I didn’t realise what prophetic words these would turn out to be.  I can’t wait for the next Bush Run, provided of course the rest of the group won’t mind if the Old Lady, Pilatus, another old lady, Paul and Luan join them again. And be warned… we are not going to be outwitted again. After all, we are not rookies anymore! 

More about Bush Run

A group of adventurous Land Rover owners and enthusiasts regularly undertake Bush Runs to explore the rugged terrain and beauty this country has to offer. Any funds raised are donated to organisations that care for the less fortunate.

Feel free to contact Nico Denner on +27 83 653 0864 for further information or visit the group’s Facebook page: Land Rover Bush Run. 

De Wildt 4×4 Nature Park and Resort

De Wildt is close to the town of Brits and boasts accommodation options that include camping and caravan sites, tented camps and log cabins. Activities include the 4×4 trail, mountain biking trails, beautiful picnic spots, game viewing and game drives, hiking trails, bird watching, swimming and fishing.

CONTACT: +27 83 268 8185 / 83 253 4641 | info@dewildt4x4.co.za | www.dewildt4x4.co.za

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