Mastering 4x4 obstacles in a feminine way
Four-wheel drive training for ladies
We gazed over the off-road course. I’m sure some of us had our jaws touching our toes. Holes in the ground, big enough to swallow the wheel of a vehicle sneered at us. Slopes worthy of causing our vehicles to topple over and roll into a heap of scrap metal at the bottom taunted us. Would we conquer these 4x4 obstacles?
Off-road adventures with Bush Babe Adventure and Safari Club
In 2011 my husband and I were in the Drakensberg enjoying a thrilling helicopter flip. Shortly after we landed, my heart still pumping adrenalin, my phone rang.
It was Leilani Basson. At the time she was a photo journalist for Leisure Wheels magazine. Leilani was the pioneer for Bush Babes, an adventure and safari club – for women only. She had launched it with 6 other ladies to assist her, in 2010.
Earlier in the year I’d entered a competition through Leisure Wheels and she contacted me regarding the outcome of that. They had chosen 10 winners out of all the entrants and she was pleased to announce that I was one of them. What had we won? A weekend away in the Waterberg. The main objective of the weekend was to teach a group of ladies introductory 4x4 off-road skills. André de Villiers, notorious in South African 4x4 circles would be guiding and training us.
You may well say it might not be a typical pastime for ladies, but my husband and I felt it would be worth it if I learnt some skills for those times we drove in off-road conditions while we travelled. It would give me more confidence to handle off-road situations.
We arrived at a place called Thaba Moia. Our accommodation was rustic but adequate for the weekend. We settled in and had a welcome braai (barbeque) to get to know the other ladies. There is nothing like a good ‘kuier’ around a huge fire. What is a kuier? It’s a South African term for visiting or socialising. We were each allowed to bring a friend – ladies only, apart from the instructor and his team of male helpers. To be honest, I think he needed some moral support amongst a bevy of 20+ beautiful Bush Babes.
The following morning, Saturday, we spent a few hours listening to the boring but necessary theory and then we were allowed loose on the tracks. Pfft! I won’t bore you with the details… I was more interested in playing in the mud.
Roaming Fox’s hot tips for 4x4 driving:
Slow, and steady.
Keep the momentum going.
Deflate your tyres appropriate to the terrain.
Consider the environment.
Real women aren’t afraid to play outside and get dirty
We tossed our high heels to one side, touched up our lipstick and exchanged our facial powder with dust while we traversed through a few little hindrances that where in our way.
Here are a few examples:
We pulled some jitterbug dance moves as we staggered through craters, one wheel in a ditch and one spinning in mid-air.
Avoided face planting with a free nose job while driving down a steep slope.
Narrowly missed seesawing on top of a mound and prevented an exfoliating belly rub in the bushveld sand.
Some of us however, wheel spun in mud, like high heels on a slippery floor at a shopping mall.
We all conquered steep inclines without parking on our rear ends.
Drove no-one up the wall and instead drove around in circles at a 45-degree angle. (Ah, ok, maybe we drove André up the wall from time to time)
How ladies learn to conquer 4x4 terrain
Throughout the training adrenalin was seriously pumping overtime. There were squeals of delight when we mastered the obstacles. Some even shed a tear or two when they struggled to master the technique, but eventually and triumphantly they made it.
Soon our confidence rose and we managed to master a few more skills. By the end of the weekend we were thrilled with what we’d achieved and were filled with confidence when we left on the Sunday. Naturally we were pleased as punch that we conquered what was at that time, primarily a playground for men.
This of course led to further ‘ladies only’ 4x4 excursions…but more about that another time. Did I mention we had fun?
Oh, yes, for sure, we certainly did!