Dearly B. Loved
OnToplist is optimized by SEO
Add blog to our blog directory.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Newsletter No: 76
P O Box HG 594 Highlands Harare Zimbabwe

The Chairman and Editorial Team:

CHAIRMAN: Tim Thorburn 498723 / 0912.645.518

EDITORS Mike & Pat GILL 494028 / 0712.400.243 / 0712.440.794

4x4 Club Website Face Book Site: 4x4 Zimbabwe

The 4x4 Club is affiliated to the Zimbabwe Motor Sports Federation - ZMSF

Our Club is a member of the Mashonaland Motor Sport Association Club House, situated at: 2 Annan Rd. Eastlea. It is available for hire for weddings, conferences, kids parties, 21st birthdays, etc.

News, comments and opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Club or the Committee


THE EDITOR’S DESK - Michael and Pat GILL

We have written up three fabulous events since last newsletter, we have reported on them in detail and will therefore forego our editorial this month.

Michael and Pat


Having just come back last weekend from the fantastic Expedition to Sanyati, you realize that it is “who you know“ that is important, or at least who Kelvin knows. A trip to Sanyati taking the route we took could not have been possible without permission and good guidance and advice from Denys and Tracy Chapman whose farm in Vuti we drove through, and Corris and Hilary Ferreira and Ray and Pat Townsend whose hunting concessions we went through. As a club we thank them for making our Expedition possible, and of course Kelvin who organized this journey.

During our trip we had to use 3 different radio systems, an essential tool in keeping the 15 vehicles moving. Only problem is that none of the systems were compatible with each other and trying to talk on each system at the same time can be quite confusing, with whose calling on what radio, and don’t forget to navigate, you have 14 other vehicle relying on you not to take the wrong route. 3 point turns are not possible on many of the roads we took. So, going back to the radios, radio etiquette didn’t last too long before much banter came through to the lead vehicle and much fun was had by all. Lastly, if you are buying radios for yourself, remember that if it says 5km range on the box, they mean 500m. Check out the write up on the Expedition further on in the news letter, definitely will be an annual event on our calendar. Happy holidays and good driving. Cheers for now. Tim Thorburn


Murray BLACK (Muzza): Came out on the trail drive and decided to join the club. He was "Blue Leader" on the Sanyati Expedition.

Paul CLARK: Of Clark Marine, has joined us and was also on the Sanyati run.

We welcome you both to the 4x4 family and trust we will see a lot more of you in the future.


Sean Quinlan: Night driving in Botswana on his way to Francistown proved expensive. Sean hit a cow, destroyed the Mazda pickup and killed the cow. Shaken but OK he was glad to see that in Bots the cow owner is charged by the Police, not the vehicle driver.

Dee Jenkin. Pete's wife, has been in a coma in ICU but has recovered enough to go home. Daughter Dawn flew out from London so we wish Dee a speedy recovery.


Please note we have closed our post box and are using the Box for the Motor Sports Club House. In future all correspondence should be sent to The 4x4 Club, P O Box HG 594, Highlands, Harare. The Street Address is: 2 Annan Road, Eastlea. Harare.


1. Regret to advise that the Aberfoyle week-end has had to be cancelled.

2. We will try and put on another breakfast drive to Kite Hill in August. Flyers will go out in due course.


Eco Challenge 25 / 27 June

Once again we used the Carolina Wilderness and although numbers were lower than last year we had a big group for lunch on Sunday. This is just a week-end in the country; we went for a long drive around, what is left, of the game sanctuary and saw a Sable, Zebra, Wildebeest and others saw more because they were in front. The competition at this time was for three photos, Macro, scene, animal, so there was much stopping and clicking.

Doug MacDonald took a group for a good walk and discussed points of interest but the birds were few. I think it was too cold. Richard MacDonald gave us a fact full talk on spiders and later on we had an inter-team quiz which was well controlled this year. The major entertainment must have been the challenge to make your idea of how you would "Save The World" with a piece of wire and string. The ideas were varied from a Heart to promote love to a Solar paneled kites and Salt Water desalination. Once again a fun filled family weekend thanks to Carol and Tim.


Ring, ring. "What are you doing on Monday and Tuesday?" "Nothing special" "Good come with us to help recover a pick-up that ran down a hill into the Pungwe River in Nyanga" "OK – we are in". Some 7 kms after the Falls Trevor Gilbert of Autoparts turned off the rough track and set off downhill towards the river, followed by us, Pat & Michael in the LWB Patrol and Richard MacDonald and Mac Bailey in the SWB Patrol. Trevor was bumping and sliding down to a nearly level bit in his 2wd Mazda pickup. Due to the low cloud and very wet grass, stopping was not too easy.

We were asked to go along to help as the Autoparts Wrecker could not negotiate the 4x4 tracks we had to drive.

A Nissan Patrol Pickup, only 5000 kms on the clock, had been left where we parked, and then ran down the ever steepening slope till it rolled over and landed back on its wheels in shallow water. One problem was the very large rock at the front wheels and a river bank at the back. Everything was still there; the engine started and ran but every panel was damaged and the windscreen, though still in was very broken.

We spent Monday planning the extraction and laid out chains and cables for Tuesday morning. The weather was kinder on Tuesday and as the clouds lifted we were able to enjoy the stunning beauty of this untouched area. The Pungwe runs down a series of small rapids at this point and although Mac spent a long time in thigh deep water inspecting the front end and securing cables, etc. he said it was not too cold.

The truck had been there for 3 weeks untouched, so we left all our chains, etc. and went back to the cottage for the night. This saved a lot of time on Tuesday. In fact we had the truck out about one hour after arriving, Mac having helped by driving it, covered in broken glass, while we pulled with two 9000 lb winches which were on their limits. It was up, on its wheels and towable after we partly straightened the steering rod. Then the towing started, including pulling the 2wd Mazda up two of the steep bits before we rejoined the main track.

We also stopped on the top of the ridge to look down on the Pungwe Gorge nearly a 1000 m below after it has plunged over the falls. An amazing sight which would have had a large fence and warning signs if it was anywhere else in the world. Unmarked and unseen by us on Monday in the thick cloud.

Mac chose to be towed by us in the Patrol Wagon and with no power brakes or steering he had a hard job for the 40 kms back to Montclair Hotel where we left it in the car park.

The roads in this area are steep and very winding, logging roads with no maintenance. We passed one 30 tonner that had been at the bottom of a hill for 4 days while they repaved the road with broken rock. The Nyanga mud is very slippery.

Trevor's wrecker came from Harare the next day to recover the Pick Up.

It was very heartwarming and informative to see two very experience recovery men at work. Trevor and Mac have had many years of experience recovering wrecks but not ones with only 5000 kms on the clock.

And that is that, job well done by the GRT. (Geriatric Recovery Team)


Day One: Friday 17th July. GPS: 000

Left home 12 noon to Karoi, met up at Twin Rivers Inn at 14.45 hrs. 16.00 drove 45 kms north to Vuti. Left turn, through the village, to the farm of Denys and Tracy Cha[man. Offloaded Lloyds Jeep and Ellis trailer. A further 6 km to a camp site on edge of escarpment overlooking magnificent hills with hazy view of Kariba in far distance.

Denys had placed a water tank for our use and a long drop loo.

Mass Kirk's alternator, on the Cornil, fell to bits and was glued together with Prime Bond and hose clips.

A pleasant evening round a large log fire. Kelvin briefed us on the next day's drive.

A planned early start at sun-up.

GPS distance for the day: 275 kms

Day two: Saturday.

Left camp by 06.30. We were now in two groups. "Blue Leader – where are you?" "Green leader - we missed the turnoff and Gareth has a puncture." "Blue Leader – we are about 4 kms from camp and road is blocked by large tree; looking for bypass" We had to make a bush track around the hillside to re-join the main track further on. Toilet paper in the trees became the sign posts. Kelvin had briefed us that we needed to average more than 11 kph and after 8 hours we had done 60. Blue team had caught us up but we could see there was a long day ahead.

Somewhere "Grunta", the Ellis V8 half breed Range Rover/Jeep had munched its oil filter and lost all the oil. Towed by Greenway it got it to where "Prime Bond" glue and tape came out again, then a second hole appeared, more glue!

Wonderful views and interesting hairpin bends kept us all occupied until another large tree had to be chain sawed and winched off the road. By the time we arrived on the main bus route, at the power lines crossing, complete with a bus off edge of a bridge, we decided that camping at Gache Gache Lodge on the Kariba shore was a very sensible idea. Even the Lions gave us a singsong way into the night. It sounded like two prides serenading each other.

GPS distance for the day: 90 kms

Day three: Sunday

Left camp late, 0800, we were now going up the escarpment on a trail that had many people very nervous. 1000m vertical drops only a meter or two away. By hugging the hillside Paul Clark cut two tyres on a sharp rock and if it was not him then others would have suffered the same damage. A large hammer beat that rock into pulp. Shane Ellis had already torn one casing further down the hill. Three down – any more to go?

This was real "White Knuckle" driving and Mac Bailey, who has been in many places, said he had never driven anything like this before. The Gill's agreed. We reckon it is Zimbabwe's equivalent and 'better' than Namibia's famous Van Zyl's Pass. Not quickly but we eventually arrived at the view point over the Sanyati where we had originally planned to camp Saturday night. I am glad we stayed at Gache Gache, that track and views would have been wasted in the dark.

By about 2-00pm we found a washed out river crossing, stopped for lunch and much fun was had hearing the Limericks people had made and answers to the quiz. The best bonnet motive had to be Mike Brophy's caged Dachshund puppy "Bumi". By 4.00 pm most people pulled out for a long dark drive home, and left Brophy, Greenway, Ellis , Crook and Gill's to spend the night there under a large tree. We had done 55 km. The main group got back to Harare between 10.30 pm and midnight.

Water. A hole was dug in the riverbed, plenty of water for washing so the Gill's Patrol was driven down to provide a shower for the bathers. As it stopped so it started sinking and finally stopped at the floor level. With Mike's B's winch working with a snatch block, on top of the 2 m. bank we managed to get it free and reversed flat out back to some drier sand. Phew – a close one! GPS distance for the day: 55 kms

Day four: Monday

We left camp at 8.30 am and followed the tracks left by the other 10 cars, not forgetting the

toilet paper signs, and regrouped at Twin Rivers, Karoi.

We drove back the 90 km. to the farm collect the Ellis trailer while "Grunta" crew sourced a new oil filter and oil, the repairs with Prime Bond had done well but the filter was leaking again.

We got home by about 6.30 pm and the total distance was 850 km. Worth doing again – definitely – but in 4 days so we can visit some of the interesting points that we did not have time for on this expedition. i.e. The site of the Viscount crash and the Hot springs.

GPS distance for the day: 418 kms.

Total distance: 850 kms.

Fuel Used: 124 ltrs.

Our limerick: "The little Jeeps gasped

While the F'ing 350 just barfed

As down the hills

And over the Rocks

The Patrols took it easy and laughed"

A huge thank you to Kelvin Weare who put in a massive amount of work organizing and planning this trip.

To Tim Thorburn and Grant Weare who plotted all the GPS points from Google Earth and marked out the whole distance. Kelvin produced 20+ pages of photocopy maps with all the GPS points marked. It was a fantastic event and well worth all the effort they put into it.

Michael and Pat Gill.


Kelvin WEARE, Tim Thorburn and Malcolm Attwell Toyota L/C Pick up "Green Leader"

Michael and Pat GILL Nissan Patrol "Patti"

Gareth and Ashleigh GEACH and baby Karla Range Rover

Neil and Flossie GREENWAY Nissan Patrol "The King"

Mike BROPHY and Stan NEWMAN and Puppy "Bumi" Land Rover Defender "Bumi"

Margie GIBSON with MUZZA BLACK Land Rover Defender "Blue Leader"

Paul CLARK and Gary HOWARD BEARD Nissan Patrol

Mac and Jenny BAILEY Toyota Cruiser "Casper"

Lloyd CLARKE (On his own) Jeep

Wally HANKEY and Angus OGILVY Ford F350 "The F'ing 350"

Peter BENZON and Angus WILD Nissan Patrol

Shane and Roger ELLIS and Simone Range Rover / Jeep "Grunta"

Bob and Pam CROOK Land Rover Defender

Alex and Pam van LENHOFF and Nick Toyota L/C Pick Up

Mass and son Martin KIRK Cornil

Flatulence: Emergency vehicle that picks up someone
who has been run over by a steamroller.


These dates will change as the year progresses, but flyers will be sent out before each event. This is a very full calendar and there are still a number of events we would like to add.

Aug TBA Trail drive to kite Hill. Breakfast run

Sept 10-12 Bush Pig Away

October TBA Three Hills Harare local

Nov 20-22 Mutare Dungbeetle Mutare

Dec 5 Christmas Run Day


To enter Donnybrook on a non-event day it will cost you $1 per car, providing you have you membership card. Non-members will be charged $5 per car. You must sign the book at the gate and put your name, you Club and membership number. Do not pay without signing the book.

Please note: If you wish to go to Donnybrook to play and there is another event on, then the organizing club can charge what they like for you to enter as they will have hired the entire complex for that day. Please don’t try and argue with the gate attendant as they will just be doing their job. Either pay-up or go away and come back on a free day.


If you have paid your subs and have not received your membership card, please contact me to make arrangements to collect. Pat Gill 494028 011.440.794


Have you had a look at our Web Site. Grant Weare, Kelvin’s son has done a really good job of updating it. Go to:


We have a Face Book site and for those members, who are on Face Book, feel free to join the site: 4x4 Zimbabwe

Motor Sports Association Club House

MSA Membership: The Club House bar works on a Swipe Card basis and any member of an affiliated club can join. Bar prices are double for non-cardholders.

Hall for Hire - Hire our affordable Club facilities for parties, Wedding Receptions, meetings, seminars, courses and other functions. Assist us in this way to obtain funds required for the upkeep of the Clubhouse.

Esplanade - to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Michael and Pat GILL

1 comment: