Men never grow up, the play pens only get bigger.
In recent times I have had the pleasure to play around on the Moordkuyl 4x4 route with various new 4x4 vehicles. Now this is an AWESOME playpen. I just have to share this gem.
Moordkuyl is situated in the Southern Cape between Groot Brak and Klein Brak, right next to the Botlierskop Private Game Reserve.
They offer a wide variety of accommodation and activities ranging from
birdwatching to horseback trailriding to 4x4 trails, and best of all
they are geared for the local tourist (read affordable). I like this 4x4
trail especially because it will challenge every type of 4x4, with
trail ratings all the way up to 5, while it wont break your vehicle
(unless you do something really stupid). Moordkuyl is a big farm
in a hilly area, and a river runs through it. So the trail runs up and
down, offering everything from forest scenes in the valleys to
magnificent vistas on the hills, free roaming wildlife and several river
crossings. It is for these reasons that I decided to make Moordkuyl the
standard by which I will test my future 4x4 vehicles, so I will be
adding tests and thoughts on 4x4 vehicles to this post in future.
first report contains photos of various visits to Moordkuyl, including
some photo and video footage of other drivers. I have hyper-linked
specific locations in the report. Feel free to click on the links for
the Google Earth Placemark. I have also uploaded the Route Map. If you download the map before reading the report you will be able follow the route much easier.
We start our route in the Bush Camp where members of the SA 4x4 Community Forum
had their Year-end camp. The Bush camp is a large open area with lots
of space and clean ablutions with hot and cold water and no electricity,
perfect if you like roughing it a bit.
BTW - Moordkuyl also has a Caravan Park with nice and level sites with electricity if you don't want to rough it too much.
And a restaurant and pub:
The first route (yellow on the Map)
starts in the Bush Camp and after our brief we were on our way. Fatb
and I were in the Green Wrangler on this day. VERY capable vehicle.
We travel slowly in a group all the way to the first REAL fun - Winch Hill:
believe me, photos never do inclines justice. This is HIGH and this is
STEEP. Throw into the equation loose gravel and little or no traction
and you have a recipe for success. I have seen more than one person grab
for their smokes when they see this for the first time.
But first we admire the view:
photo was taken during my recent test of Chev Trailblazer 2.8 Diesel
Auto 4x4. It does not come with Diff lock as standard which had me
skeptical at first, but damn, this Chev surprised the hell out of me.
to Winch Hill - the idea is to descent slowly and under full control of
the vehicle. Well, that is the theory anyway. The thing is, without
much traction and with the severe incline sometimes gravity takes over
and it's more about keeping the vehicle in the trail than anything else.
the people in the background and the angle of the vehicle gives some
sort of idea of the type of incline we are talking about:
The Jeep Wrangler Pentastar can crawl at 0,8km/h in low range first gear. It had no problem crawling down this hill. The Arctic Truck
Amarok with it's huge wheels had enough traction also and the Hill
Descent Control function is awesome. You do nothing but steer. Same
thing with the Chev Trailblazer. Fitted with standard road tyres it had
less traction so the Hill Descent Control really had it's work cut out
on the steepest sections, but that too negotiated the downhill with
Trying to go up this hill would be utter madness,
not to mention all but impossible. On the day we were there with the
Jeep no-one was crazy enough to try. On my second visit I was driving
the Arctic Amarok and several people tried...
Land Cruiser and Triton:
is too steep and there is no traction. To date no vehicle has made it
to the top. I have compiled a video showing some of the attempts. Notice
in the beginning how the stones roll down the hill after the Hummer and
never stop rolling. That gives a good idea of the incline.
have a look at the Arctic Amarok in action. Lots have been said about
that 2 litre motor. And there has been questions about "loss of power"
after the big wheel conversion. I think this video makes it clear that
there is more than enough power on tap. The Arctic Amarok never runs out
of power, even at the top where it spins all wheels. The runs were done
in 2nd low.
After the Winch Hill fun & games Steed Hill awaits.
you drive down Winch Hill, you have to drive up Steed Hill. It's
impossible to get a shot of the whole section, but I'm sure you get the
idea that this too is quite a high climb.
The Hummer cresting it:
And so does the mighty Jimny.
Arctic Truck doing it in the wet:
Next the route takes you to the Viewpoint. A nice shot en route:
From here you can see most of the farm.
this day we were on a sightseeing trip with the new Nissan Murano.
While we certainly didn't attempt any of the obstacles with this vehicle
it was more than adequate to take us to the scenic places, you just
need to watch the ground clearance here and there.
A good shot of the Caravan Park from up here:
Our next route was on the other side of the river, so down we went again. How awesome is this:
The Rivercrossing depth varies with the rainfall. It can get quite deep here at times...
The next obstacle is called Fat Lady. Heaven knows why. A Fat lady would not even be able to walk up here.
The section as seen from afar:
starts out steep and the climb includes a cross-axle obstacle, followed
by a turn (which breaks your momentum) and an even steeper climb with
another cross-axle situation just before you crest. The whole thing is
designed to catch you out.
This gives an idea of the incline near the top:
What happened here was caught on the video footage that follows.
The view down:
Note the cars in the top left of the photos above. The following pictures were taken from that position.
The Arctic Amarok in action - first section:
Going around the bend - look at the incline of the section ahead:
Almost at the top:
View from the top:
the day we were here with the Jeep only 5 vehicles made it to the top.
The Jeep had no problem dancing up the hill in 3rd low. All vehicles
that made it had Diff Lock except one: the new Trailblazer, stock
standard. At the Press Launch of the Trailblazer the absence of Diff
Lock was questioned, but GM was adamant that with all the driver's
aids and systems working together adding Diff Lock to this vehicle would
be overkill. I was skeptical, but it's harder to question their
statements now. There were some serious 4x4's with custom additions in
this group and the Trailblazer stood it's ground.
A second thing
I'd like to point out is that I come from a Dual Sport biking
background. It's quite intimidating driving between seasoned 4x4 gurus,
especially if you're in the latest or a specialized vehicle. If you make
a rookie mistake, it could reflect badly on the vehicle. On the day we
were here with the Arctic Amarok I was one of the last vehicles to come
up. Butterflies galore! With all that was happening I forgot to engage
the Diff lock... Talk about a rookie mistake! And I only realized I forgot the Diff Lock when we were steaming towards the last cross-axle section at the top. The Arctic Truck rolled over it without breaking a sweat. With so much traction and suspension travel it simply was not necessary to lock it. Awesome vehicle.
Next up - fun in the river loop:
And then we headed for Track 4. Back through the river we go.
At the start of Track 4:
This road takes you to my favourite place on the whole farm: The Tent Camp.
This area has 4 permanent tents and a central kitchen tent, complete with fridge and gas stove.
are tables and chairs, a central fireplace and the whole setting is
under big shady trees. The area sleeps 14 people, or more if you pitch
additional tents on the grass.
4 takes you through a forest area. We did this part with a Suzuki Grand
Vitara, so the emphasis here is very much on scenery and the beauty of
nature, rather than hardcore 4x4.
The area teems with bird-life. We spotted lots of Knysna Loeries, as well as several species of raptor.
I have always liked these types of trails and without a doubt this is my favourite part of the farm.
Some more random pics on the trails:
Some fun on the trails:
Varying terrain and scenery:
And some excellent areas for vehicle photography (also known as just playing around ).
All while being out in nature.
For more info join Moorkuyl 4x4 on Facebook or have a look at their website: http://bainslodgesinternational.com/