Sutherland Snow





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Thread: Sutherland Snow

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Sutherland Snow

    Seeing that our Meerkat trip with the Land Cruiser Club was canned for obvious reasons we decided to head into the Karoo anyway. A possibility of snow made Sutherland an easy choice. We've done this on previous occasions with no success but enjoyed the trip through the Tankwa via Ouberg Pass and had some other routes into the Moordenaars Karoo planned as well.

    We stayed at Rooikloof on a previous occasion and their impeccable attention to detail and well equipped cottages was the perfect place. With 8 bags of wood pre-ordered we were looking forward to what would hopefully be a cold weekend.

    Late Saturday afternoon there were signs of snow or maybe just my imagination creating small snowflakes but come Sunday morning the world was white with snow. Everything was covered. I can't think that this is a something often seen in South Africa an out of this world experience.

    Sieb and Hannetjie Sieberhagen, owners of Rooikloof, visited us to bring some extra wood in case we decided to stay another day, this after we used an additional 6 of 8 bags they delivered on Saturday. (in our defence, the isolation in the small houses are not too hot)

    We drove to town and after some coffee and discussion with Theo Wolfaardt the owner of Jupiter Restaurant and Guest House all indications were that the road out is difficult but should be possible. OubergPass, my original plan, was a no no though. I took some phone numbers of people that wanted to follow if I made it and off we went with a few pointers from the owner.

    The going was slow but do-able. My snow driving experience and the outside temperature had a lot in common and the nearer we came to Verlatekloof Pass the worse the conditions became with visibility next to nothing. All tracks made by previous vehicles, if any, was blown away by the wind. We ran into Nico Nel, the first and probably only vehicle coming up the pass, posing us the question "Sneeu dit regtig in Sutherland?". This while standing in foot deep snow.

    At this stage I noted the vehicle behind me, driven by what seemed to be a young farmer from the area. As he knew the area well he led the way from that point. It is only when he came skidding past me that I noted he was in a 4x2! At first I could not believe his self confidence and snow driving ability as he disappeared in front of me. Unfortunately the conditions got the better of him and minutes later he stood at a 90 degree angle to the road with his rear wheels firmly in a ditch.

    I had to turn around to recover him, which in itself is not easy if you do not know where the road ends on each side. This after reversing 50m while not being able to see anything in your right hand side mirror or window. With all diff-locks engaged the weight of his vehicle and my loss of traction just pulled me towards the ditch. I tried until I was stuck as well. I unhooked, dug away some snow and forced the Cruiser out. Walked the 100 metre back to tell him to come with us but he refused and wanted to stay with his bakkie. Two other vehicles arrived, one of which followed us back to town. Conditions were getting worse by the minute. At one stage on our return journey I could not see anything and asked Ciske for my glasses I took off during the recovery only to realise I had them on! We informed the police of the vehicle being stuckand went back to our cottage. With some meat, red wine, Amarula and 6 bags of wood to see us through the night we were sure to make it.

    Monday morning everything seemed more or less the same, it was very cold and ice would definitely be an issue up the Verlatekloof pass. The news was that 32 people were rescued from the exact spot we turned around (including the young farmer) with a police Casper (or something similar) the previous night. All vehicles were left there, including those of some of the locals that went up to recover tourists.

    All indications were that it will only get worse. We decided to take the Fraserburg route out, it snow driving the first 20km and then wet gravel for another 80 or so. It was worth it, we saw Theekloof Pass for the first time and experienced a green, wet and rainy Karoo. A once in a lifetime experience.
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    Louis Kruger
    Land Cruiser 105

  2. #2
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    Default

    Thanks, those pics are awesome. Glad you are safe
    ORA
    -------------------------
    Ian

  3. #3
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    Very nice, wish I could have done that. It'll surely snow again this winter though.
    Dewald

  4. #4

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    I just love snow
    Vastrapper. Kobus v d Berg @Kimberley .
    Jeep Grand Cherokee ..8)( Cooper STT and 3 inch lift) and V8 Defender Pickup, Range Rover V8 and Series II aka"Die Rooi Gevaar."

  5. #5
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    Default

    You write nicely! Glad you got out, but can't help feel jealous about those that got stuck in the bar...

    Next time it snows I'm coming with you Dewald.
    2001 Mitsubishi Colt 2.4i Trailbuster
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  6. #6
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    Jul 2009
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    Default

    Baie mooi!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by superhansie View Post
    Baie mooi!
    Thanks for a well written report and the beautiful pics.

    Looks like you had fun!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OwenD View Post
    Next time it snows I'm coming with you Dewald.
    Usually middle July or so, but you have to be able to go on short notice when snow becomes probable. It's a nice drive through the Tankwa Karoo.
    Dewald

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Kimberley
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    Make a thread in the NC section when you make the trip for the snow DCR/Owen. I'm sure a couple of us from the area will come along to meet you guys and maybe test the Jimny in the snow!

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