What a day it was, with a rumbling crew of kwaai offroaders pulling into a rural zone laden with good food and school supplies for children.
It was an outreach initiative pulled off by Off The Beaten Track, a lively crew of adventurers who saw a need in the rural area they would cross during offroad outings, and returned to give back.
Bobby Nitro spoke to Gershwin Williams of OTBT about the origins of this new crew. He says: “Myself and my family have always loved travelling locally and have a keen sense of adventure. So we started documenting our trips and soon people started asking to join us, and that’s how we came up with the idea.”
OTBT has grown over the past six months to over 200 members, who come together to participate in 4x4, camping and overlanding trips.
Gershwin says: “One thing that sets us apart from other 4x4 groups is that we’re all about family, fun and the outdoors, so our wives and kids are always included.”
OTBT has a real sense of discovery, says Gershwin. “As a crew we look to go to places that aren’t your usual holiday spots like Langebaan and Goudini. We look for the places that aren’t visited very often, and this is how we’ve found many hidden gems. The Western Cape has so much to offer, so you could say we’re behaving like tourists in our own province.”
Bobby wanted to know how they were inspired to do an outreach initiative in the Grabouw area.
He says: “We spend most of our travels on gravel roads and we’re always welcomed by the friendly faces and waving arms of the farm children. They’ve touched our hearts on each and every trip, so we felt as a collective that we wanted to do something for them.
“We contacted a few farms in the Elgin/ Grabouw area, found out which kids needed help the most. Then we secured a venue, spoke to sponsors such as Jet clothing, Double “O” cold drinks, Turnmet, TW projects and Jettwrap SA, and suddenly we had enough school shoes, stationery, socks, food and snacks to help 60 children.”
He describes his top moment as being the one when the kids saw the jumping castle inflated. “Their faces lit up,” he says.
About the vehicles, Gershwin says: “We have two Mitsubishi Pajeros, both are V6 motors - I mean, what guy doesn’t love the sound of a V6. I chose to go with Mitsubishi as you get more features than most 4x4s out there for a fraction of the price, and being a petrol engine I can work on them myself if anything should go wrong in the wild.
“We are also lucky to have partnered with MitsuCare and with the help of Jacques Norval, also known as the ‘Mitsubishi whisperer’, our vehicles are meticulously maintained by them.
And 4x4-ers are famous for add-ons. When asked what he had added to his vehicle, Gershwin says: “Where do I start.”
So he starts at the front, with the front and rear steel bumpers and winch system.
Then he goes up top to the roof racks with LED lights, kitchen in the back with a 75 litre flex fridge, communication through a two-way radio system and vmonitoring via an NGauge wireless system. Then there are the rock sliders, bash plates, built-in air compressor, dual battery with 220v inverter, GPS camera system, suspension lift and much more.
He adds: “The main thing is to get up off that couch, break the rugby, braai and TV cycle! You don’t even need a 4x4 to roll with us. Kids don’t remember the days spent on the PS4, they remember the sandwiches by the roadside along an awesome forested pass traversed with their adventurous parents.”
Gershwin invited Bobby on a family trip to Kogel Bay, so look out for that one.