First 4×4 Night Event in Eastern Cape a HUGE success On
the night of 28 February
2009, EC Offroad Adventures had our first night event, which was also a
first for the Eastern Cape. When ECOA was formed in October 2008, a
night event was high on our list of priorities and we knew the best
place to hold it would be the beautiful Baviaanskloof. Planning of the
route started in November 2008 and a lot of effort was made by
us to show the Baviaanskloof to people in a different way, but still
make sure no damage would be done to the environment at any stage.

Everyone gathered at the
Kouga Dam
wall outside Patensie at around 17:00. There were a total of 11
vehicles taking part including teams from PE, Humansdorp, Grahamstown,
Cradock and East London. Everyone was welcomed by Chris and Barto went
through the rules and instructions, while Bernadette was happily
snapping away to get photos of all the worried and excited looks on the
faces of the participants.

The rules were set up in such a way
that it was ensured that the participants and their vehicles would be
safe and no harm would come to the environment. This included maximum
speed limits, how to stop to get answers, engaging four wheel drive
when going up and down the passes to avoid wheel spin and what to do
when dangerous animals were encountered. An important point highlighted
was that the event is not a race against time and it is all about
paying attention to find the answers to the questions. The instructions
explained to the participants how the competition would work and what
they needed to do. They had to follow the main road through the
Baviaanskloof and find answers along the way while staying on the main

At around 17:30 the participants set
off with their first set of questions to the picnic site where they
were questioned about the rules that they were briefed on and then
given the rules sheet as they left. This little event was purely there
to get everyone to think about the rules again before heading off. They
then made their way from the dam to the main road into the
Baviaanskloof. Along the way they were asked a variety of questions.
These questions were aimed at teaching people more about the
Baviaanskloof and what it has to offer.

A few of the questions were:
In what year was the Kouga dam built?
How long does it take to drive from the Komdomo camp to Rooihoek camp?
What is the number on the lock at the Weir upstream from Komdomo? (The
weir is hidden and not many people know about it)
They were asked the phone numbers of a few different lodges and camp
A question was asked at the World Heritage site, also something not
many people have seen.

Along the way they were also asked to
take pictures of various items, more to serve as a
memory of the event afterwards than for actual points.

After making their way along the main
gravel road, the participants entered the reserve gate. From here the
instructions were not to leave the vehicles unless instructed to do so.
This was not only for safety reasons but also because even though the
road is open like any other public road, you are not allowed to enter
any camp sites without a permit.

From here they started up Combrink’s
Pass and at the entrance to Bergplaas the participants had to write
down the rules that are used at all the camp sites and take a photo of
the sign as well. This will remind them of the strict rules applicable
in the reserve and use of the

The next stop for the participants was
at the parking space next to the road at the top of the Holgat’s Pass.
This parking space is there for the viewing of the steel cable
stretched across a valley by a farmer many years ago. At this point we
gave them a task to do. The participants had to go down to the edge of
the cliff and take a picture of the cable over the valley, then come
back, remove one wheel, roll it around the vehicle and refit it, time
was stopped when everyone was back in the vehicle and the tools were
packed away. This event provided for a lot of excitement as by this
time it was after 8pm and already dark. Some of the teams really put
their hearts into this event and posted some really good times. Other
teams on the other hand realised that their wheel changing equipment
was insufficient and the event actually helped them realise the
shortcomings of their equipment in a controlled environment.

After the wheel change event everyone
was given the next set of question and they carried on with the road
down Holgat’s Pass. They were given plastic trash bags and were
instructed to pick up any rubbish along the road for phantom bonus
points in an attempt to leave the area in a better condition than we
found it. The pass is in a very bad condition and the going was very
slow. The instructions took them past the Doodsklip and Rooihoek camp
sites up to the Smitskraal picnic site, with a few questions in
between. At Smitskraal the participants had a long code to decipher
with a clue found at the Smitskraal picnic site. The deciphered code
then told the participants to head back up the Holgat’s Pass.

At the same place as the tyre change
event the participants were again met by us for another little event.
This time it wasn’t as hard work and they had to reverse with a sinker
hanging from their rear tow ball up the a given point. The idea here
was to get as close to the given point as possible while everyone
remained in their vehicles. The event went a lot quicker and everyone
was given their final list of questions and instructions to go to the
Komdomo camp site.

The first few vehicles had no problem
making their way down Combrink’s Pass, but the last few vehicles were
met with very thick mist and were slowed to walking pace. Since there
are sheer drop-offs next to the road, everyone took a lot of care and
drove very slowly.

At the end point the first
participants arrived at around 23:30 when it started raining.
the time the last participants came into the camp site at 2:30 it was
still raining. The amazing thing was that everyone was still positive
and full of smiles after the very long evening. Some people chose to
drive back to Port Elizabeth and others set up their tents in the early
hours of
the morning in the rain and went to sleep.

Everyone was up by about 8am and got
themselves ready to go home. The prize giving was held at 9:30 and
after that everyone went their separate ways.

The top 3 positions were as
: Mike Rybnikar, Bresby Du Preez, Gordon Nolan

We as the organisers really enjoyed
setting up and running the event, and every one’s positive attitude
throughout the event made it all worthwhile to us. We would like to
thank everyone who made the effort to be there and also 4×4 Megaworld
PE who sponsored a few prizes for the top 3 positions.

Night Event Photos

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