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De Wildt 4×4 New Year’s night drive – Reader story


With Covid 19 hitting the world by storm, I found myself alone at home this festive season as I could not get the leave I wanted. So with the wife and kids out for the holiday I had to make plans for New Year’s Eve. All I knew for sure was that I want to wake up in the bush 1 January 2021.
I have always had a soft spot for De Wildt 4×4 trail and that had me thinking of booking a stand for the night and then on the 1st January I could go for a good 4×4 drive to start off the year. So scrolling around on Facebook I saw an ad for a night drive at De Wildt 4×4. I took that as a sign and asked De Wildt admin if they still have some space available for the special they were running and in seconds they responded with a “Yes we do have some spots available” and the booking was made.

Until now I just wanted to get out and I was not filled with hope that I was going to be able to make it a reality, but now it was on and all of a sudden I realised how unprepared I was. It was the night of the 30 December and I was working on the 31st December. The plan from here was to get the Navara packed and as soon as I get home after work, it’s in the Navara and off for an adventure! So the first thing to do was to make a call to my parents to hear if they wanted to join. Second, was to make a cup of coffee and write up an to-do list. With so little time to pack you need a list to keep track of what you need. It’s too easy to forget something important.
Its 21:00 and time to set the list into action.

I do a check on the Navara to make sure everything is ready for our trip. I do not want to get stuck with a breakdown that I could have prevented. Fortunately, it’s all good news! Working through the list from top to bottom it was not long till I had all I needed to take ready for loading. I have a fridge for the bakkie and its place is in the back, but seeing that we are only 3 people I took the opportunity to fold up the double rear seat portion and put my fridge there. There is still a single rear seat open and now I don’t have to stop for a nice cold beverage. Bakkie packed and ready for the next day.

31 December and I am up way before my alarm. I am ready to go, all that’s between me and a great trip is a day’s work. It had to have been one of the longest days in my life and it’s done. I am home and into the Navara as fast as I can. The highway is quiet and progress is good. +-45 minutes later I pull up to the gate at De Wildt 4×4.
I phone the number on the gate and moments later I am in and paying track fees. Time to set up camp and start the fire. The plans are that we all set up camp and make dinner and 22:00 we meet at the office parking to set off for the night drive.
The camp site was really perfection. Every campsite has an electrical point and a cement slab to pitch your tent on and SUPER CLEAN ablutions. Seconds later my parents arrived and wasted no time getting the tent up. With dinner served we are ready for the night drive. (My first time) I have been to De Wildt a few times in the past and I know the track well. Its time and I am so excited I feel like a child at Christmas.
We waited for a couple of guests to join us and soon we were on the way. It is unbelievable how much the scenery changes at night. De Wildt is beautiful in the day, but at night it’s a totally different place. Unfortunately because we waited a bit long we were running out of time for the 23:45 schedule on top of the mountain. So we had to miss a few obstacles and we made it in time. The view that greeted us was totally unbelievable. Lights in the distance as far as the eye can see.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Happy new year! Champaign popping and high 5’s giving we turn our focus to the lights and it looks like the ground is alive and moving. What a brilliant plan to have us there for the “fireworks show”. Its late and it’s time to make our way to camp. There is just no way a group of 4wd enthusiasts are going to drive straight to camp. As the road continues down the mountain it is truly a spectacular sight to see the line of 4wd’s snake their way forward. Wow, what an absolutely amazing night. A great way to start the New Year with good company and heavenly views. Back at camp and we the night is so perfect that even the bugs have decided to take the night off. Or they are also keeping their social distancing.
It’s the morning of 1 January 2021 and I am waking up in the bush. Life is pretty good right now. We grab a cup of coffee and start to pack up. I cannot just drive home without exploring the tracks in the day time.

Now there are a few track that you can take, but the last time I was there we drove up the river and I just had to show my parents how much fun that route is. Everywhere we look we see animals with babies.

As it is on any 4×4 track if you stop at any obstacle you will meet people that get to share the stories of your experience. In the 4×4 community it does not matter who you are or what you drive, if you share the passion they will always make you feel welcome.
As it is, all good things come to an end and it was at this moment that I was so happy that we packed up in the morning before we left for our drive. It is time to leave and I must say. If this is how the year starts. We are going to be just fine.