Hennops is beautiful, especially after rain, which meant more mud… ONLY STEERING IS REQUIRED EVEN OVER THE ROUGHEST TERRAIN!Book a test driver
Arriving at Gerotek test facilities, I immediately knew I would be in for a full-on testosterone-filled morning. My nerves went into a frazzled state after seeing the daunting ramps, with some at 50 degree inclines up a mountain. I must admit, a big part of me considered chickening out, turning my Suzuki around and heading home – forgetting all about my dreams of becoming a renegade adventurer and staying in my happy comfort bubble.
I decided to soldier on – it was an adventure after all – at a place where tanks and other military vehicles were once tested. I would actually be driving something very close to a tank. Compared to my Suzuki, the Isuzu’s we would be driving definitely felt tank size. There were about 40 people waiting, ready to take on the 4x4 course, mostly men who were excited, ready for action, while I secretly battled to breathe. In the briefing about the features of the cars, words like diff lock, hill descent control and hill assist were lost on me, while my male counterparts seemed excited about the new features.
Once the briefing was done, we jumped into the cars and headed a few kilometres down the road to Hennops, leaving the looming inclines of Gerotek behind us. I felt relieved, not knowing what was in store. I drove the first section of the trail, deciding it was best not to know what was coming. Hennops is beautiful, especially after the rain, which meant more mud to navigate through. The 4x4 track is one of the most popular in Gauteng, with river crossings, mud holes and many other fear-inducing manmade obstacles meant to satisfy any adrenaline junkie.
We were instructed precisely on all the controls – the correct seating position and, most importantly, safety instructions. The trail is designed to get you into 4x4ing slowly, so with each obstacle, you gain confidence. Each car was equipped with two-way radios so you could hear the instructions being given at each obstacle. After a while, I realised there was more shouting at male drivers, which confirmed my suspicions about men listening, and instructions.
This is where I found my advantage. By following instructions, the obstacles became easier and my grip on the steering loosened, allowing blood to flow back into my ADVENTURE. Isuzu 4x4 training is held at Hennops trail. Pictures: Tracy Lee Stark knuckles, which were apparently white before. The Isuzu is amazing and only steering is required while the car drives itself. You’re able to put your full trust in the car, knowing all the engineering and computing is taking care of you. With such precise technology, it’s surprising that accidents still happen.
Other drivers not on the course got stuck and blocked the track as they refused to take advice from our skilled instructors. All offers for help were not well received. In fact, they were told off for even trying to help, proving my theory that men find it hard to follow instructions, even when it’s to their own detriment. I managed the 40-degree inclines, the river crossings and the mud pools. It was starting to become fun and I could really see the attraction of 4x4s. That was until we had to navigate through the biggest ditch I had ever seen.
My brain took over. I mean, how can you release the brakes while you’re driving nose first into a ditch? I froze, unable to move. Luckily the moral support and excellent instructors, Grant and Chris, spoke me through it, telling me really bad jokes that somehow helped. I released the brakes and the car slowly pulled me down and through the ditch.
Self-driving cars are no longer “the future”. Technically, with such advanced cars on the road, it should be easier answering the age-old question of who’s the better driver, men or women...? The answer, of course, is the car.