The most recent trip by the Nelspruit Autotec 4x4 Club followed the historical ox wagon route to Maputo and tested the offroaders skills to the limit at times. "It is a very rocky route, especially in the mountains near Barberton, and the vehicles were definitely put to the test," says Kallie Klopper, coordinator of the event. On the way, the deeply grooved ox wagon tracks were clearly visible in places. "The modern 4x4 vehicles had it tough crossing some of the terrain and our respect for the ox wagon pioneers grew ten-fold.
The steep slopes are daunting and one can only wonder at how the old wagons crossed these mountains and how long it took them to do so." Kallie says they found some of the pioneer's campsites on their way. They also found many graves where members of the local communities have buried loved ones, some allegedly victims of HIV/Aids. "The cemeteries are saturated and apparently there have been cases where up to eight people have been buried in one grave." "We ended the day's hard work with good food, cosy camp fires and great company under the stars. The opportunity to place oneself in the shoes of our forefathers, even for a day, made it a day to remember."