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This week was another jam packed week of learning, this time it was focused on 4×4 driving however we still enjoyed several game drives with some amazing sightings including cheetah. The week started off stormy, with over 72mm of rain one night which filled the normally dry riverbeds with a flowing river, making our week very interesting!!

We started our week by learning the inner workings of off-road vehicles, the different types of cars and the differences between 4×4 and 4DW. Our practical sessions started with learning when to use low range, the diff-lock and how to do reverse stall starts. These are very important because it is a safe way to start a car on a hill. As the river was flowing we got the opportunity to learn how to drive river crossings and how not to get stuck; as slow possible but as fast as necessary.

Vehicle recovery is an important and useful skill in the guiding world and this week we all got the chance to recover vehicles that were well and truly stuck in the Makhutsi River. All three groups had very memorable experiences that I’m sure we will never forget.

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On Thursday the plan was to get a vehicle stuck in the river and then for us to pull it out, however our task was not made easy by the fact the river level had risen from the previous day. The Landover got stuck as planned but then started to sink more and soon the front seats were in the water as well as the exhausts. By the time all the equipment was secure and ready to be pulled out with the land cruiser, the engine would not start so the job was made harder with much pushing and with great effort we managed to pull the land rover mostly out of the river. This was not the end of the story though, as the land rover did not want to go any further. After many attempts and long after the sun had set, a second vehicle was brought in to help pull it out. With a last ditch attempt with 2 vehicles pulling and the rest of us pushing we managed to pull the land rover free and out of the river. We then had to tow the broken land rover back to the campus in the dark. Thankfully it did start in the morning after spending the night drying out!!

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Blog by Annabelle Ward

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Pictures contributions by Annabelle Ward and Jenni Smith