Warm welcome, firm friend­ships


De­spite show­ing up com­pletely un­pre­pared, John, the pho­tog­ra­pher, and I were given a warm welcome, of­fered empty space on the braai grill, some pa­per plates, and a com­fort­able place to rest on some bor­rowed camp­ing chairs. This was the level of kind­ness and hos­pi­tal­ity we wit­nessed through­out the week­end. Con­cerned neigh­bours fed us with muffins and bis­cuits for break­fast. On a day trip to Le­sotho, lo­cal chil­dren were given snacks when we stopped at vil­lages. Key mem­bers also used ra­dios to help keep the en­tire con­voy rolling. Even though some went their own way, ev­ery­body even­tu­ally made it to the lunch stopover. It’s clear that the ca­ma­raderie in the club runs deep. With only a ve­hi­cle brand as their bond, it’s amaz­ing to think of how many friend­ships have formed over the 55 years that have passed since the Land Rover Owner’s Club was es­tab­lished. New­com­ers are wel­comed, no mat­ter how ju­nior they are, or how lit­tle of­froad ex­pe­ri­ence they have. In­struc­tors and ex­pe­ri­enced mem­bers were on hand through­out the week­end to make sure no­body got stuck on the tricky trails. As the an­niver­sary week­end wrapped up, the club hosted a film evening – in just the same way it hap­pened at the first gath­er­ings: video clips and pho­to­graphs of yesterday’s trav­els were pro­jected on the big screen in the club­house; sto­ries were swapped over din­ner; plans were made for the next great off-road ad­ven­ture… and the bonds of friend­ship grew even stronger. In­deed, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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