4X4 driving after a flood, it will be fun they said !

There were some good rains, and a friend called and said the game scout called him, and claim that the water levels in the game reserve are dangerously high. And what did you think? YES, I’m in, the more water the more fun lets go bro…

We fuel up the Toyota Land Cruisers and headed down to the Groenkloof nature reserve in Pretoria, South Africa. Arrived at the gate only to find out there is no one else as crazy as us that have entered the park on this day, obviously, it is a huge risk to damage the vehicles. even be swept away by the cross river. Well, we decided to enter and paid our park fees. Stopped off for a coffee ( i packed from home), and discussed the route in detail to understand every aspect of the flash floods involved.

Here is a link for you: PARK

Here is google link to look at the PARK

The route is planned and all the recovery gear have been checked, off we go…tremendous amounts of raid keep pouring down and making visibility almost none, but we keep pushing forward over all the obstacles and small tracks. However the music is fun and the coffee is keeping me warm, actually spilling all over the place. Time to stop for a quick photo in one of the small and very technical terrains.

The photo is quite blurry, as the lens got wet and the tripod was unstable with the winds.IMG-20141124-WA0022

Actually talking about tripods, I have recently bought a super light and steady one, that I used for my solo BMW bike adventure through South Africa for 14 days.  Smartphone Tripod

 Now that I have taken a semi selfi, it was time to catch up with the rest of the guys. The rain has calmed down now, but the rivers are still flowing very strong and the wind persist as we manage over the technical routes. I was observing and realise how beautiful and privilege I am to be able to attend and be in nature so easily and conveniently. other people pay big $$$ to do this. I felt proud to be part of the heritage.
Next up was one of the major river crossings, little to none I didn’t know what was about to happen…
As I approached the crossing we all stopped and had a quick safety briefing, part of the safety briefing was to be careful to close all windows and doors carefully for the water level will be covering most of the car, and only a small amount of the roof will not be submerged… I thought OMG this is going to be epic! and prepared the Land Cruiser for a good one. There is also a silicon spray you can use to repel water from the electronics, however, this is limited and not guaranteed for submersion. I use this product for preparation: WD-40 Specialist Electrical Contact Cleaner   The first one went through and got stuck halfway through, LOL this met serious shit is about to go down. because when the vehicle stops the gravity of the water flushed into the cab and destroys all the electronics leading to huge and costly damages.  We were able to recover the LC and yes that is just what happened, completely filled up with water and looks like a fish tank on the inside, when the doors were opened.
Now it’s my turn for the deep water.
I selected the right gear, in 4×4 low gear and slowly engaged the diff lock front and back. I could see from the previous car there are some major deep ends and potholes with rocks that make the bottom tractions surface very very unstable. Windows closed, checked, deep breath, done. Roll the LC into and the water and then I started to add momentum and speed to conquer the deep end. I can hear the engine high revolutions, as I moved from obstacle to obstacle. Here is a photo of the starting area:
Water, mud, slip and slide is the name of the game…
Navigating through the water and mud, slowly getting there with good speed and revolutions on the LC.
 Damn this was a tough one to driver trough, but I am so happy that I was able to get it done with distinction. And indeed there was water on the inside, but luckily not too much on the inside.
 After the BIG one, we have moved on to the more lighter areas, as everyone has made it to the ”other side” except for the one guy ! to this day we still joke about the fun we had and what he could have bought with the money spent on the breakdown…
mmm, this is a good time to recheck the engine and electronics, on a safe spot, just to make sure that there will be no water on the critical areas of the engine computer.
The Land Cruiser V6 is an absolute beast! I have seen the whole Africa who relies on the Asian quality, and you can actually buy spare parts most places, that includes a butchery I have seen in northern Botswana. Spare filters and spark plug next to the road. Some places, which I will tell more stories about in Botswana even offer services and mud cleaning in the remote parts, which they know will be required.
As the day has progressed, on the excursion and things went well. The rain has eventually stopped but the water keeps on flowing, trough the areas of forest and grasslands. Look over there, the sun has started to drop down over the skyline and partial mountains, the colours are beautifully pink with black clouds and silver/golden outlines on the clouds. The pastel colours have promised that today will never be the same. ” I think some people will be grateful for that” The guys had fun and this will be remembered for days to come!
I hope you guys can make it out to the park and have fun, remember to check out the weather report and plan your day. never go alone, and pre-check your recover gear, this is what I will recommend: Rugged Ridge Recovery Kit, also your car should have a proper winch on for recover: WARN Winch. Don’t buy cheap products when your life depends on it.

Happy driving, and leave your tracks!

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