Bass Lake 4×4 training

Bass Lake 4×4 training

Bass Lake 4x4 driver training

Bass Lake 4×4 driver training

04:45 N2 to Cape Town International.

What am I doing at this time on this road?

09:45 Boma, Bass Lake with coffee in hand. Jimny’s waiting outside. Ahh, now I know why.

Keep two wheels on the ground

Keep two wheels on the ground

Alan Pepper is a good instructor, but he is an even better story teller.

He has fairly strongly held views on matters off-road which I for the most part agree with. He gave us some really good advice and a solid theoretical grounding in 4×4 principles.

Then he let us loose on the very varied training ground, always on hand to show, to explain, to guide.

Alan has a fleet of 3 manual Jimnys and an automatic Grand Vitare.

We took turns getting the basics right and learning to read the road before lunch. That Malva pudding alone is worth the trip to Bass Lake.

After lunch the ten of us tackled the more adventurous section.  There are one or two inclines which I would have been inclined to avoid on my own. Not with Alan around. What a day.

One piece of good advice: “Drive the back wheels”.

Ooops. Getting it.

Ooops. Getting it.

Kyleigh Smith, Suzuki Auto SA’s PR Co-ordinator did a great job behind the scenes. Thank you Suzuki.

Speaking of which. Those Jimnys are great vehicles. Simple, solid engineering. The right stuff.

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Namaqualand daisy spring flowers

Late August into September is the perfect time to go and look at the West Coast’s Namaqualand daisy explosion of spring flowers.
Carpets of purples, yellows, oranges, from white to red and everything in-between. They open on sunny days which are above 17°C but are great even on cooler slightly overcast days.

Flower-Trip-094

Flowers on Travellers Rest

The whole area from Durbanville right up to the Orange river becomes a riot of colour.
There are plenty of places to stay, from rustic B&B’s to grand lodges. Go to http://www.sa-venues.com/attractionsnc/namaqualand-flower-route.htm .

One of the secret places where the greatest variety blossom is the Pakhuis Pass, northern Cedarberg area. In this area fynbos, vygies and the daisies mix it up in a glorious display.

Namaqualand flowers

Namaqualand flowers

A great place to base yourself is Travellers Rest on the Wupperthal or Eastern side of the pass. This is one of my favourite hideaways. Accommodation is simple but good and it is quiet. The houses are clean, the showers are hot, and all you need to bring is your food. There is a little shop and cafe at reception. The units are far apart. Website is: http://www.travellersrest.co.za/.
An added plus, apart from the flowers, is the 11 cave bushmen’s painting hiking route.
To get there turn off the N7 at Clanwilliam and head east over the Pakhuis Pass. It is on your right where the road crosses the Brandewyn river about 5km from the pass.

Every year Clanwilliam puts together a spring flower show in their old church hall. This is worth visiting as well. They group flowers from the different regions. Sandveld flowers in a display, coastal flowers, karoo succulents, mountain flora and so on.
Clanwilliam is an easy two-and-a-half hour drive from Cape Town. There are three restaurants at the top of the Piekenier’s pass before you descend into the Olifants river valley. Well worth a stop for a snack but also to check out their farm stalls.
Do yourself a favour. Go and look at one of the natural wonders of the world. The carpets of flowers will lift your soul.