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.