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03 February 2020 - Pieter Greyling
LROC’s first event of the year got off on the right foot when we gathered at the Total Petroport on the N14 and soon realised we had taken over the petrol station. No less than 17 Land Rovers stood gleaming in the Sun and rearing to go. On this occasion Defenders showed up in force with anything from Military wolfs 90s, double cab 110’s and modified V8 130’s. It was if nothing else a sight to behold. After a quick briefing on convoy driving and making sure everyone was accounted for we lined up the convoy and started the slow but short trek to the Lion and Rhino Nature Reserve.

As we meandered through picturesque scenery along the R357 we dodged many a cyclist on this popular route with a few cyclists giving a friendly smile at the sight of the Landys moving by. Some cyclists took the opportunity to slipstream a Defender, no doubt knowing the bricklike defender was the perfect candidate for just such a manoeuvre. As we entered the park we were immediately greeted with Impala, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Ostrich and Roan antelope. As the process of getting everyone through the gate took some time we switched off the clatter of the diesels to enjoy the pristine wildlife on offer. This is of-course was where my Landy decided to throw its first fit of the year and went completely dead.

Not wanting to slow things down we quickly attached my Landy to a sympathetic Defender (No doubt having been in the same situation before) and navigated to the first noteworthy obstacle of the day just 1km shy of our picnic spot. Realising we wouldn’t be able to tow the Landy through the obstacle we elected to do a bush repair and let the convoy pass which was now lead by Gary Sam in his disco 2 (thanks again Gary). After discovering a 100AMP fuse had blown and we didn’t have a spare we made the quick decision to bridge the fuse resulting in the sweat purr of my td5 bursting into life. It was all smiles driving into the picnic spot with a few cheers and a mandatory joke or two from the TDI drivers about electronics in later Defenders.

Breakfast amongst fellow Landy owners and LROC members went as suspected; with plenty of laughs, Landy tech and accessory talk and my personal favourite, hearing about everyone’s trips. Some members elected to go for the full English breakfast while others had wide array of ready to eat options. Ranging from an impressive platter to the humble samie. We took our time with breakfast while not forgetting the Lions, cheetahs and wild dogs would be fed at 13:00 sharp.
As breakfast starting winding down everyone packed up and we were able to get the convoy of 17 Land Rovers moving again in good time, no small feat with the wide diversity of people. Promptly after leaving we where again faced with the same obstacle we had come through the first time. The reverse side was to be much more challenging with a few extra run ups needed by some while others took the perfect line with just the right amount of right boot. Janet Sherrard made a lasting impression with the ease and poise she took her Defender puma 90 up the obstacle. The rest of the route provided a good chance to take in the views and get lost, which I shamefully did…twice.

We arrived in the predators camp in good time with a individual scramble to get all the Landys into just the right spot to see the big cats devour their lunch. From there it was every man from himself as it was easier for everyone to decide just what they wanted to see and photograph. Seeing these big cats up close was really something to behold. The wild dogs were definitely also a highlight as these near extinct canines looked in their element when being fed and playing in the drinking pools on this hot summer day. The day had come to an end for some and everyone met at the predator gates for a last goodbye. In true Landy spirit a few members just couldn’t get enough and decided to enjoy a drink at one of the Parks numerous restaurants. A memorable start to the year and the LROC calendar if ever there was one. A big thanks to everyone who participated and looking forward to bigger and better events throughout the year.



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