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 7 tot 10 Jan 2010

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Posts : 24
Join date : 2009-07-22
Age : 63
Location : Pretoria

PostSubject: 7 tot 10 Jan 2010   Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:03 pm

The group:

André, Marieta and late comer Tarien, in Land Cruiser 80 with rear diff-lock
Lukas and Frieda in Hilux 2.5. with rear diff-lock
Johannes and Pieter with their sons in Hilux 3 L with rear diff-lock
Anton, Anton (Jnr) and George in Land Cruiser 80 with rear diff-loc

The group from Pretoria left Pretoria at 05:00 on Thursday to meet up with Hilux (Johannes from Sasolburg) at 08:30 in Bethlehem. At the crossing close to Reitz we bumped into friends of ours that was on their way home from St Francis Bay. With a bit of persuasion from our side, their daughter Tarien decided to come along. We quickly rearranged our Cruiser to make space for her. We stopped at Wimpy in Bethlehem for breakfast and to meet the Sasol group. We passed through Maseru border post at no time and arrived at Ramabanta at 14:00. We had a lekker braai in the rain the evening and hit the bed quite early.



Next morning we were on our way at 06:30. Everybody was quiet on the radios. Marieta prefers the quiet and tranquility of Ramabanta above the adventure of Baboons, so she stayed behind and it was only me and Tarien in my LC. We did not even start and it came over the radio: “Andre I blew a shock.” It was Lukas in his Hilux. We decided that he must turn back. Sorry Lukas better luck next time. With only three vehicles the going was good. The road was worse than it was in Sept 2008 when I last did the pass. We did a lot of road building but with all vehicles with rear lockers and enough ground clearance the going was good.


The whole trip was actually very uneventful. No recoveries were needed and each vehicle had a good guide and driver and that made things much easier. But it do not stop you to think to yourself, what the hell am I doing here, am I crazy? Then you realize that this is anytime better than a good day in the office.



We stopped twice for about 15 minutes to take a brake and stretch the legs and to have some coffee. At 13:00 we stopped 30 minutes for lunch, with the ever present locals looking the food out of your mouth. We reached the “campsite” at 14:15. After a quick discussion it was decided with only about 5 km to go that we will push on and finish the pass,. At 2 km/h it will take us not more than 3 hours and we will be able to hit the main road before dark. But on Baboons, those assumptions are not always true. It was only around the corner when we reached Yeaah Hill. With very loose rocks and sand I did not make it on my first and second attempt.



We again did some road building and with a different line it was much easier. Then it was Anton’s turn in his Diesel 80. All went well until his 160 L auxiliary tank hit the last rock before the top. Diesel just poured out. I quickly moved out of the way and send him just over the hill so that his LC stand nose down. Then it was Johannes in his 3L Diesel Hilux. No event and he made it easy to the top. We struggled about an hour and a half to close the hole in the tank and transfer diesel from aux. to main tank. Something was also wrong with the pump between the two tanks. I rest my case that I do not want a big auxiliary tank. Two Baboon trips and two holes.



From here on the trip went well until the heavens really opened up and it started to pour down with some hail or rather ice rain. The rain did not hamper us that much until we reached the top and hit the last couple of km’s to the main road. The holes in the road and between the rocks got filled with water and made that we had to be extra careful. The road got so slippery and very narrow at stages and with the rain pouring down it sometimes was very hard to see where you go.



The next moment, driving at a speed that the needle doesn’t even lift, my truck just started to slip to the side and into a “sloot”. At that moment the rain eased off. In no time Anton pulled me out and we carried on with the last km to the main road. Twelve hours and twenty five minutes since we left Ramabanta this morning.

Baboons; we will be back!

To do the Baboons you need;
Good sense of humor
A good co-driver/guide

Your vehicle needs;
Good ground clearance
Rear lockers advisable

André Nel
National Culture Guide
National 4x4 Trials and Overland Guide
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