The 4x4 Story
Way back in the history of this country the first Land Rovers arrived and started their work on farms and mines. Kariba Dam used many and as the only other available 4x4 was a jeep, these new little work horses fitted in well. Even in the mid 1960's you could buy a used SWB Landy for under 100Stg. This paved the way for a small group of guys in 1993 to form the "Land Rover and Off Road Enthusiasts Club" to take advantage of these cheap toys.
We are fortunate to still have Neil Greenway, Ralph Stead and Mac Bailey in the club from the first 20 memebers signed up. The first run was out to Ngomokurira and this is still our annual run every year. About 30 cars/ families attend each year. By 2001 the Club was going from strength to strength but there was trouble brewing: why Land Rover? Surely that is being to brand specific? So at the AGM in March 2001, members changed the name to "The 4x4 Club" (Zimbabwe).
Today there are a vast number and selection of 4x4's on the Zimbabwe roads, apart from the pothole, most have never left Borrowdale and been "Off Road". The 4x4 Club offers these drivers a great social group to expand their 4x4 knowledge, and enable drivers to make full use of these wonderful vehicles and enjoy the scenic country in ways that would not be possible in a 2 wheel drive.
Current membership is near 100 and although some members aren't around much to join in the fun and only read about it in our monthly newsletter, there is a very active core of families who join in with a wide selection of events. Our "Club House" is at Donnybrook Park, outside Harare, and we hold several events a year there while others use it for 4x4 training and general testing of their vehicles.
The Club has had the pleasure of assisting several other organisations in time of trouble. We assisted with transport to where others could not go after Cyclone Elene; collected a crashed aircraft from the Zambezi Valleyt; we collected a Nissan Pickup from the Gairezi River in Nyanga; we cleared 50km of over grown tracks in Hwange; we cleared and re-opened 30km of track in Mana Pools and have collected and supported the Bally Vaughn Animal Sanctuary and SOAP old age pensioners. For Many years we up-lifted lots of orphaned children from Waterfalls for a day at our Donnybrook 4x4 track.
We have well attended training days to teach use of recovery straps and winches, high lift jacks and correct attachment points. There is always a wealth of technical and safety advice available on any run, and on our recent exploration of the outer tracks of Umfurudzi Park, we taught several new members all the tricks of off-road driving.
So you can see we are not just a bunch of mud pluggers in strange specials that give so many a lot of pleasure at the annual Jamboree or similar events. We are a very family orientated club that enjoy nothing more than getting out into the bush with our camping kit and seeing parts of this beautiful country that no one else can get to.