An Archive for Fanatics of Land Rovers

An Archive for Fanatics of Land Rovers










Off Road 4x4 Trail in Land Rover Defender 90 Td5

Our first off road trip was at Mont Eco near Montague in the Cape somewhere. The saying: “The first time is always the worst but it is the one you will never forget” is very true in this case. The planning started about two months in advance. It was quite a mission to find off road 4x4 trail places at that stage. I finally found the details for Mont Eco on the 4Xforum website. The best part was that I could book and pay online. 

Because we were going alone, I was very worried that I might get stuck somewhere or something. The route descriptions were quite clear on the difficulty of some of the off road driving routes, and I was worried that my Land Rover Defender Td5 was not up to the job. I shared my concerns with one of the owners and when he stopped laughing he told me that I have a proper vehicle and should not have too many hassles. At that stage Mont Eco used a Defender for work on the reserve and a Unimog to do site seeing. 

The accommodation at Mount Eco was really great. We took the cottage that was far away from everybody else. No other buildings or people in sight. And the price is also pretty awesome. This is not a tourist trap that caters for Pound and Dollar paying customers only. Normal people can afford to go there as well. No that I would describe Land Rover Owners as “Normal”. 

The first trail we took was fairly easy. It crossed a dry riverbed a couple of times. You have to be careful and clearance on lesser trucks can be a problem. The terrain is very rocky and it is HOT. Damn HOT. On this trail we were lucky enough to see some game and the original farm “house”. This dwelling makes the RDP matchboxes look like luxury condos. Hard to believe people actually lived there. I also had a very close encounter with nature. You see being a newbie, I was fascinated with the Defender’s axle articulation. I still am. So I get out  to take a picture of the axle articulation. After taking the picture I walked back to the car and I saw that there was something wrong in the car. When I go to the car my wife was pretty pale. “What the hell is wrong?” I asked. All she could do was point. As I looked over my shoulder I saw the biggest damn Puffadder I have ever seen close up, slithering into the bushes just about where I was taking my picture from! I often wondered why my wife didn’t yell to warn me. Maybe my Life insurance is too much…

The one difficult trail includes a section called the “Knife’s Edge”. This had me pretty nervous. The knife’s Edge is a section on the ridge of a mountain. The Defender just fits. You have a near vertical drop on either side and a down hill that touches on 40 degrees in some spots. (Ok OK I may be exaggerating, but it was my first time…) We got through a bit rattled but content. The other difficult trail had a section called “THE downhill”. After the knife’s edge I decided to go an speak to the owners first. “not that bad” he said “Just make sure you miss the two big rocks in the middle, because you will start sliding when you are near them.” “Sliding?” I asked. “ Well it is a 50 degree downhill at this point.” The man said. I was very close to not making like a Toyota and get out of there. Wel went and when we got to “THE downhill”, it was well, very downhill. And yes, we did slide a couple of meters, missing the two rocks. The slide was impossible to avoid. We went into the slide without even touching the brakes. Just before the rocks we regained traction again. Scary but a lot of fun.

 On the down hill I engaged the rear airlocker, and it seemed as if it assisted in the slowing down of the vehicle. I may have been dreaming or trying to justify the price I paid for it, but it seemed to help. Or maybe I am trying to convince myself I really NEED a front locker as well…

The Conti Tracs were not in great shape after this trip in the mountains. It had bits of rubber missing in some spots. But this was only the start of hassles I had with the Conti’s…But as for the ARB airlocker I wonder why LR don’t offer these as an option? Make it a model in the range. I can see it now: The Defender Nemisis. Standard equipment include front and rear lockers, dual battery system, snorkel, skid plates, roll cage, Kinetic suspension etc… Ok maybe I am getting carried away a bit but it would be nice.

Submitted by Sats Oosthuizen 




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