Great Trek honoured in Style

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Thursday, 26th September 2013

Today a convoy of eight 4x4s will have completed an epic journey starting just outside of Grahamstown, once covered by Great Trek leader Piet Retief.

The group of 34 people came up from the Klipbokkop 4x4 Academy near Worcester in the Western Cape on Monday 16 September.

They wanted to follow Retief's route from the Eastern Cape to Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. The trip, under the guidance of the Federation of Afrikaner Cultural Organisations (FAK), formed part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of the Great Trek.

The Trek saw more than 12 000 people leave the then Cape Province to settle in places now known as the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal between 1835 and 1938.

The modern-day trek started at Mooimeisjesfontein, Retief’s original farmstead outside Grahamstown. From there the group followed his ox-wagon route over the Winter Mountains and Drakensberg into KwaZulu-Natal.

Chief executive of the FAK, Dr Danie Langner, said on their way they had campfire discussions with historians and descendants of Voortrekker leaders such as Retief.

They also visited places of importance on the Great Trek route, such as Post Retief and the grave of Retief’s cousin, Anna Steenkamp.

The convoy passed through Aliwal North en route to Winburg in the Free State before crossing the mountains into KwaZulu-Natal where they visited the Church of the Vow in Pietermaritzburg.

Blood River Monument was the last stop on the trip.

Gerhard Groenewald of the Klipbokkop 4x4 Academy acted as trek leader for the group. He said it was interesting to assess the performance of modern 4x4 vehicles and tyres on the route established by wagon trains almost 200 years ago.

Before embarking on their trek he said that while technology will make the journey so much easier, they still expected challenges. 

The route over the Winter Mountains, the steep slopes of the Drakensberg and river crossings would be their greatest tests, Groenewald said. “However, compared to the trek groups of yonder who had to rely heavily on their own ingenuity and resourcefulness to overcome obstacles, our group is well prepared with state-of-the-art equipment.”

He mentioned, “camping and other 4x4 accessories from 4x4 Megaworld, tyres from Goodyear - including support from Hi-Q dealers countrywide - off-road trailers from Jurgens and lighting solutions, as well as fridges from National Luna.

Staff reporter

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