England Tour 2002
In 2002, the club took 20 cars to the UK to join in the 50th Anniversary Celebration in Reading. Ben Gerber was the main organiser and the 20 cars, as well as more members without cars, enjoyed a great week.
Monday Our cars did very well in the concours, winning numerous awards.
Tuesday We all enjoyed a great day and then had a boat trip on the Thames
Wednesday Poring with rain but we all went up to Prescott for the Hillclimb Our jackets kept us dry.
Thursday A Go Kart race saw the team do well and our ladies excelled, winning the day
Friday and Saturday A two day extraveganza at Thruxton which saw over 600 Austin Healeys
present. That evening, the guest speaker at the dinner was Stuart Turner, the BMC Team Manager
during the 1960s when the Healeys were at their Rally prime.
After this Tour, it was decided to have a National Tour on a Bi-Annual basis, organised by each of the four centres.
Garden Route Tour 2004
Knysna Tour 2012
Cape Town Tour 2014
Prior to this 2004 Tour, National gatherings tended to be on an ad-hoc basis, and were no more than a two night/three day event. These were located at a single venue deemed to be equidistant for all A-H members coming from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Following on from the successful 2002 Tour , the decision was taken to, allocate the responsibility of organising a National Tour every two years, shared between the three Centres plus the Garden Route members, the latter being ex Johannesburg members who had relocated to greener pastures.
Because of the distance from Gauteng, the 2004 National Tour, consisted of a “Pre and Post Tour”, which ensured members from this centre, travelling in convoy to enjoy those places and points of interest that tended to be ignored under normal circumstances. Stewart Cunninghame was responsible for the Pre and Post Tour arrangements, whilst the Knysna and W.Cape Tour was left to Lionel Hewitt, of Knysna. The numbering and nomenclature, is a bit confusing , as can be seen by the comment, “Day 0, ask Stewart why?”
April 14th, the first day of the Pre-Tour, covered 341 Kms, and included an Economy Run, following a scenic route through Bethlehem, Clarens, and ending at Fouriesberg for the over-night stop. The second day[553kms], involved a more stringent Economy Run which excluded six speed gearboxes. The route ignored national highways and wound its way down via ,Wepener [lunch stop] ending at Cradock, where accommodation had been organised at the Tuis Huisies and Victoria Manor. April 16thcovered 392 Kms, and headed South along N10, until reaching N2, then passing Port Elizabeth en-route to Storms River National Park, for registration of the National Tour. The Cape Town and Garden Route members were waiting to welcome their up-country compatriots, whom they had not seen for many years.
The official National 2004 Tour, started with dinner under a balmy sky. This suddenly changed and we were reminded that the Cape is known by many names, “the fairest Cape, the Cape of good hope, but also the cape of storms”. In one night we had experienced all three!
The National Tour consisted of two parts, a short three day run around, covering scenic spots such as Storms river area, Blaukrans and Groot river passes, Knysna area , then over the Outeniqua pass , to Meirings poort for a group photo, ending up for our fare well dinner at Oudtshoorn, for those who had elected not to participate in the second leg of the Tour.
The fourth day of the national Tour, saw us heading towards Montagu for a quick lunch stop before we were taken on a tractor ride up the Langeberg mountains with spectacular views to the North overlooking the Koo valley with its fruit orchards, and to the South, taking in the Breede river valley and the Franschoek mountains. The fifth day was spent driving over Franschoek pass, stopping for a mid-day coffee break of cream/strawberry/ scones.at Hillcrest berry farm. A short run up Hex river pass brought us to Matjiesfontein where we enjoyed our final dinner at the Lord Milner Hotel. After breakfast the next morning, the Gauteng members set off on their long trek, spending the night at Gariep dam before heading off to their respective home destinations.
Cape Town Tour 2006
Monday 24th April
23 Austin Healeys gathered in the top parking area at the Protea Hotel at Techno Park, Stellenbosch - hoods down as there was some sunshine around but still cloudy and a winter chill in the air after the rainy day on Sunday. We set off towards Somerset West and above Gordon's Bay cruising in convoy onto the scenic coastal road beyond. Suddenly, shortly before Kogelbay,our Cape Town chairman Don Knobel - leading the pack - had to take evasive action when he was confronted with two Klipspringer buck that sprang up the side of the embankment above the road - I wonder what they thought of the rainbow of Healeys passing below them!!?? We continued with the majestic rock face rising above us and the waves crashing below - just a slither of tarmac between carrying our convoy and a blue bay stretching out towards Simon's Town on the opposite side. Climbing up the hill at Rooi Els, past Pringle Bay where evidence of a recent flre had blackened the trees along the roadside, wispy clouds overhead and misty ones caressing the mountain peaks as we drove into Bettt's Bay, cooling us down. The temperature dropped a few more degrees as we travelled over the Palmiet River at the Kleinmond Nature Reserve and Boet and Nita Kannemeyer had a close shave as an impatient driver in a bakkie narrowly missed them at the 4 way crossing going through Kleinmond. After the Arabella Golf Estate we turned onto the road to Hermanus first waiting for Keith Gentles (Durban) and others who were helping him with repairs.
The Hermanus inhabitants were treated to the rare sight and sound of the pack of Austin Healeys droning into the village and we were guided by the local traffic officers to the allotted parking area above the Old Harbour where the locals and tourists alike wandered around, cameras clicking merrily!! We enjoyed a scrumptious carvery with lovely vegetables and salads, followed by ice-cream and chocolate sauce at the "On the Bay'' restaurant (formerly MacRib) that has an amazing view of Walker Bay where the whales congregate in the latter winter months each year. We had an enthusiastic visitor (Diseree Visser) at lunchtime who had owned a Healey in Paarl many years before and after reading the number plates outside was convinced that Boets car with a Paarl registration had been hers -she also recognized James De Villiers from the Paarl Old Car Club in the 70's and his wife "Cissie" (Francis) who had been at Stellenbosch University with her. She said she had purchased her Healey in the early 60's so unfortunately the dates did not correspond with Boafs later 1967 car and James said they remembered her in a Healey Sprite - verified by Boet when he called a relative of hers. But she was so happy one could not steal the moment!! ffier our gourmet lunch 13 of the Healeys went up Rotary Drive to enjoy the panoramic view of Hermanus village, its Vo6lklip holiday suburb where the popular beaches are, the lagoon and distant mountains stretching behind Stanford and Gansbaai. While up there Maureen Knobelwas accosted by a local inebriated beggar who also behaved rather aggressively when photographed by another Healey club member, wanting to grab their camera as she thought the photo would be given to the police.!!! (What did she have to hide??)We hope our visitors enjoyed the views from this beautiful spot known as one of the best hang-gliding and paragliding sites in the Cape.
We were free in the afternoon to make ourway back to the hotel in our own time - our small group of 4 Austin Healeys followed our hosts Boet and Nita past Theewaterskloof dam and Villiersdorp back to their beautiful farm in Simondium where we were staying. Quite an eventfulfirst day!!
The day dawned early and a look out of the window showed us enthusiastic Healey members giving their cars an early morning bath. We couldn't have asked for better weather for our drive through the four passes, being Hellshoogte, Franschoek Pass, Viljoens Pass and Sit'Lowry's Pass.
En route we had enthusiastic cheers from school children, also a farmer in his bakkie trying desperately to catch up from behind to take a photo of the cars.
We had a short stop on Franschoek Pass to admire the magnificent view then continued on to Franschoek for morning tea and a look at the attractive shops in the main road. Our route took us across the Theewaterskloof Dam and on to our lunch destination at the Orchard Restaurant outside Elgin where we were served a very enjoyable meal.
All the cars involved behaved themselves as responsible middle-aged cars should do and returned safely! Stewart & Thelma Cunninghame missed this day's run as he wasn't happy with the carbs on his 100M, and had parts couriered down from Johannesburg. Fortunately he had the car ready for the next day's run'
Another perfect day saw 25 Healeys making their way through Paarl, Wellington and Bain's Kloof Pass on route to Tulbagh. The scenery along the route was as spectacular as ever. The vegetation already starting to recover after the recent devastating flres. ln Wellington we were joined by Dave and Julie Mitchell, in their E-type. A Healey in disguise? ln Bain's Kloof Don Knobel went on ahead to try and take a few pictures of the cars as they went under Dacre's Pulpit - the overhanging rock. He underestimated the speed these classic cars can achieve and his camera went into overload as we all flashed by. There may just be one or two pictures for the album. Just outside Wolseley, as we were cruising along at maybe a little over the 60 kph speed limit we spotted a "Speed cop" beind his camera. Not even having time to smile as we whizzed by, we crossed fingers and prayed that he was too mesmerized by the sight of all these lovely cars to click away. Time willtell!
On reaching The Paddagang Restaurant we were able to park in the shade of the oaks. Being a lovely wind free day tables were set outside under the vines for our lunch. An enjoyable South African lunch of Babotie, Yellow Rice and sambals was served. Malva Pudding ended off the meal.
Some members decided to walk off their lunch through the historic town and then we were on our way back to Stellenbosch. Boet Kannemeyefs car developed an unusual undercaniage rattle and he decided that he would put it in mothballs for the rest of the tour.
It was indeed a most enjoyable day.
The 4th day saw another glorious sunny day break for the last day of our tour. The 8 of us rose early for a quick light breakfast and to pack as we were leaving Boet and Nita's lovely homestead, Langerust in Franschoek, where they had hosted us for the past 4 days. We headed for Stellenbosch, to meet up with the rest of the tour group at the Protea Stellenbosch for the great trek to Arniston/Aghulas. Roll call at 10.00am found two cars missing. One having its exhaust welded in town the other to meet us on the N2. Slight concern as we suddenly remember it's a public holiday. What's the traffic going to be like once we hit the N2? Healeys hate standing in logjams. No problem. Road busy but cars still moving slowly enough for kids to hang out of adjacent cars to admire the convoy of Healeys and shout, " I want one of those ".
Up Sir Lowry's pass the traffic thins and the power of the Healeys allows the guys to put foot, 70 MPH, it s a long haul to Agulhas. Caledon soon appears. Right turn through the town now heading for the coast again. Thousands of hectares of bare fields on each side of the road. This is winter wheat country but still too early for planting. Only flocks of our national bird, blue cranes are evident. The farmers are waiting for the rains.
Pit stop at Engen garage in sleepy little Napier. Onwards towards the coast and our anticipated luncheon date at Antoinette's. Turn left for Stormsvlei for 20 kms brings us to the tum off to the farm.
Horrors, a dust road Gingerly we persevere, leaving big gaps between the cars. What a lunch. lt was worth it.
At 3.00pm we were still indulging. Getting late for the run to Agulhas. Decision to split ihe group, those for Agulhas and those who want to head for Arniston. All meet at our overnight stop, the Herberg Hotel at Amiston, eventually, having done their own thing.
Dirty cars get washed first for the next morning'S group photo session' Only then the owners clean themselves up for the evenings entertainment, a lecture by Ben on the latest fuels ( forgive us ladies but there was a warm fire) and our farewell dinner followed by speeches, appreciative gifts and, Kobus's rendition of the 2006 Soccer World Cup envelope opening, only this time nominating Natal to organize the 2008 National meet. Kobus stated he wants to break the record and have a minimum of 50 cars there.
Another early morning call with much juggling of cars for the group photo in front of the hotel.
Sad farewells of new friends, with some up country drivers returning to Cape Town for a longer stay, and then heading up the west coast via Augrabies back home, whilst some of us locals broke our retum journey at the Maritime Museum in Bredasdorp and the Toy Museum in Napier'
A long enjoyable outing and best of all our cars gave no trouble and went like
Who's for Natal in 2008, even if we have to truck our cars up there!
KwaZulu Natal Tour 2008
The KwaZula Natal Tour started in Salt Rock on the Natal north coast. A number of the participants had just completed the 50th Spridget Tour so were eager to get going on the tour. Based at the Salt Rock Hotel, Monday morning saw us heading up the highway to Eshowe. where we visited the Eshowe military museum before going into town to the local hotel where
we had lunch and visited the local brewery. The next day we were again out and about and visited an aviary and cat walk with a magnificent number of bird species were to behold.
Up early for our trip to The Nest in the Drakensburg. This venue is quite unique and we have spent many pleasant days here over many years.
A trip to the battle fields in Dundee
A day of leisure followed leading up to our farewell dinner which was enjoyed by all. Onwards to Gauteng in 2010 for the Egoali Tour.
Gauteng e'Goali Tour 2010
The tour took place within two different world heritage sites, the Cradle of Humankind and the Vredefort Dome. The Cradle of Humankind area comprises a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves containing the fossilised remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominoids. At least seven of the twelve sites have yielded hominoid remains. In fact, together these cave sites have produced over 850 hominid fossil remains, so that to date they represent one of the world's richest concentrations of fossil hominoid bearing sites. Our ancestors have lived in this area for more than 3-million years. By coming here, you are coming to the birthplace of humanity.
From here we made our way down to the other world heritage area, the “Vredefort Dome”. We stayed for two nights at the SunWa resort on the banks of the Vaal River in Parys. The Vredefort dome is very fascinating and is the largest Meteorite impact zone in the world. We went on a tour with a geologist who is an expert on the area and he provided proof of the impact and see some of its consequences. At 2023 million years ago, it makes Vredefort one of the three oldest known impact structures in the world. The original crater diameter is 250 to 300km which is larger than the 250 km (155 miles) Sudbury Basin in Canada, and the 170 km (106 miles) Chicxulub crater in Mexico. (Our universe is about 4600 million years old)
It is estimated that the meteorite would have been between 5 and 15 km in size and created a seismic event around 14 on the Richter scale which is 100 000 greater than the largest earthquake recorded. The Crater site is one of few multi-ringed impact craters on Earth
Sunday 3rd.Oct 2010
Tours to The Tour ended with a welcome and registration at our first base hotel “Amanzingwe” in the hills of Broederstroom where we stayed until Wednesday morning the 6th October 2010.
Day one – Monday 4th October
Breakfast in the lodge and ready to tour at 9.00. The tour left west from the lodge passing the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory where a short 1 hour tour and chat was arranged. Off to Sterkfontein Caves driving through Magaliesburg and touring through the World Heritage site of the Cradle of Humankind. From there off to lunch at Kenjara Lodge.
After Lunch we visited the old Kromdraai Gold mine which is the first registered gold mine in South Africa and then a pleasant drive back to Amanzingwe. We were back at about 3:30 and unwound with a cool drink or two and had time for local visits and sightseeing or game viewing as the lodge was also a game reserve. The evening meal was Braaivleis (Barbeque for the overseas visitors) down at the Lapa inside the game reserve area.
Day two – Tuesday 5th. October
Breakfast at the lodge and ready to tour at 9.00. East from the lodge around Hartbeespoort Dam. A short stop at the numerous curio shops at the junction and then Bush Baby and Monkey Sanctuary north west of the dam. From there we continued in a Westerly direction just North of the Magaliesberg mountains in the direction of Rustenburg. We bypassed Rustenberg to the South and stopped at the Wigwam resort for lunch. Homeward bound after lunch we passed around Olifantsnek Dam and then Easterly to a tea stop at Goblins Cove. A short drive from Amanzingwe and via a few different alternatives before returning directly home to Amanzingwe.
Day three – Wednesday 6th. October
We vacated Amanzingwe after Breakfast and were ready to tour at 9.00; The women went by bus to Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre which is on a farm not too far away. and the men went off to the Silverstar Casino for a morning of driving fun in one of their car parks. Bob Osborn had promised to set up new and intriguing challenges for the event. The losers can always win in the Casino. The girls joined us for lunch at the casino and then we drove down to the “Vredefort Dome” near Parys and stayed on the Vaal River at SunWa River Lodge. Dinner at a quaint restaurant in town called Ruby’s where the food and entertainment were magnificent.
Day four – Thursday 7th. October
Breakfast at the Lodge and ready to visit the Vredefort Dome at 9.00. We took a guided tour from an expert to best understand the grandeur of the area. The tour was a half day tour ending with a lunch in the mountains. The roads in the area of the dome where we visited were mainly dirt so a bus was used. After lunch back to the lodge for a free afternoon lazying on the river banks. Dinner at SunWa was our farewell dinner.
Friday 8th October
After breakfast we said our fond farewells and made our various ways back to our homes, forming groups to enjoy even the homeward journeys.
Garden Route Tour 2012
Day 1 of 2012 National Tour, commenced on Sunday 15thApril 2012 at Klein Plaas Resort, Oudtshoorn. Prior to the opening dinner, members were subjected to a short “crash course in geology “ on the formation of the Cape Folded Mountains, so as to facilitate the next day’s excursion
Day 2 Three 22 seater busses and a Kombi were used as transport as much of the journey was on gravel roads. First to "See Were Poor" on the school buses. The windows rattled so much, we could not hear ourselves talking. The points of interest within the Little Karoo included, the Red Stone Hills, Kruis rivier and Matjiesriver valley. There after we crossed the mighty Swartberg mountains and descended into the Great Karoo
Day 3. Travelling from Oudtshoorn to our next over-night stop. Various options were available and included inter-alia, exploring the tourist sites around Oudtshoorn, an organ recital in Calitzdorp Dutch Reformed church, followed by consuming giant cream scones at a near café. Others spent a pleasant morning at Eight Bells Country Hotel at foot of Robinson pass. We regrouped at Grootbrak, for lunch and were joined by an Australian couple who just happened to be passing by, looking for anybody connected to the A-H Club. A restful evening was spent at Pine Lake Marina, where Denise supplied the group with soup and home made breads, to which was added, lasagne and port .
Day 4. The local MG and Garden Route Motor Club, were invited to join the A-H National on a light hearted rally. A total of some sixty classic cars wound their way in and out of the area. We paused for morning tea/coffee at Belviedere Mannor before proceeding to Keurboom Strand for lunch and prize giving. . The rest of the afternoon was free, but for those wishing to see some truly magnificent cars, a short stop at Rudi Greyvensteins house, was arranged
Day 6. We re-located to Tsitsikamma Village Inn. En-route to Storms river, arrangements were made to visit one of the following attractions. The Elephant Park Tenikwa Cat Sanctuary , Birds of Eden and Storms river National Park, or spend time and money at the various way-side stalls. The afternoon was spent in enjoying the ambiance of Tsitsikamma Village Inn.
Day 7 Whilst learning about harvesting forest ferns at the Fernery, a relaxing morning was again appreciated in the midst of some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere along the Garden Route. This proved to be an ideal way of preparing for the long return journey home . Final dinner was enjoyed at the Inn.
Cape Town -Langebaan Tour 2014
Day 2 Monday 10th - Lindsay Ashley
After a full English breakfast at the Sutherland Hotel we headed off to visit the Southern African Astronomical Observatory. Our guide introduced us firstly to the Observatory static exhibitions including a DVD that put distance and size of objects in our Universe into perspective. A most interesting and thought provoking start.
We then toured the smaller 1.9 metre telescope followed by the Giant SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) This is a complicated open structure with 91 minor segments and the largest in the Southern hemisphere.
A delicious lunch of chicken pie and salad was waiting for us at the hotel on our return. Our next destination was Matjiesfontein where a welcoming drink awaited on the veranda of the Lord Milner Hotel.
We then wandered through the various museums and enjoyed a short tour on an old London bus along with folks who arrived on the Rovos Rail train which stops in Matjiesfontein for a short while. Thereafter pre-dinner drinks and a sing-song in the bar, with Johnny tonking on the old piano, was enjoyed. We had Springbok fillets for dinner which put the seal on a most entertaining day.
Day 3 Tuesday 11th
It was a glorious morning in Matjiesfontein when we were awakened by the throb of the first Healey starting up. It seems that many owners simply must check that their cars are still alive first thing each morning. Ah well, I guess it's also thanks to a few nut-cases who cherish their old cars that we are in this beautiful place, enjoying a rewarding trip to less-known parts of the country!
Unfortunately I cannot report fully on all the day's events, as our cherished old girl started to piddle oil and, unsure of making it over Bainskloof Pass to Ceres, we opted for a swift belt down the highway to rejoin the others at Opstal Winery near Rawsonville. We are told that the Ceres run was lovely but some did it so quickly that they cannot have had much time to smell the flowers. Opstal Estate's restaurant gave us an excellent light lunch which was followed by an illuminating tour of the working part, where processing of the grape harvest was in full swing and we could taste the delicious, barely fermented most.
The transfer to Goudini Spa took only a few minutes and we were soon installed in our rondavels to prepare for the evening's entertainment in the restaurant. Rose and rat were justly awarded - the rat apparently even more coveted than the rose that night - and prizes, just for being there, distributed. And so another very successful and hugely enjoyable day on the National came to an end. It is always fun to tootle around the country in the Healeys, which attract so much interest and good-will, but it is chiefly the camaraderie among the participants which makes the tours so special.
Day 4 Wednesday 12th - Jenny Fletcher
The day started with the usual cleaning and polishing of cars and one puncture...us! A sunny start from Goudini Spa, with a beautiful drive over Du Toits Kloof Pass (height 120m) to Franschhoek Motor Museum. Danny Kodesh was waiting ready to take video photos which hopefully will be flighted on lgnition TV. John Reidy and Barry Fletcher had their moments of fame when they were interviewed by Danny and we look fonrward to hearing what they had to say!
We were directed to display the cars outside the museum with the Simonsberg mountains as a backdrop. They proved to be a spectacular, colourful sight, receiving a lot of interest from the museum visitors. Meanwhile we enjoyed a delightful lunch on the verandah having looked around the amazing car disPlays. It was a fairly long, hot drive, luckily with a tailwind, to Club Mykonos at Langebaan on good rural roads with expansive views over the wheat fields.
Dinner was at Boesmanland Plaskombuis, a short walk along the beach, with very traditional, interesting food and music....the tripe being very popular on our table..?l Peter Pretorius was the proud recipient of "The Rat", not least for filming the previous evening with Roger's GoPro fixed back to front so producing a delightful film of his worry lines! Veronica was honoured with "The Rose" because that's what she is...as well as being very efficient!!
Day 5 Thursday 13th - Rusty Hrabar
The morning dawned with the enjoyable prospect of a lie in before breakfast and then a relatively relaxing day ahead.
After breakfast we had time to work on our cars or just relax before lunch. And work on cars was the order of the morning. Elna's car was sick, it had been coughing, spluttering and smoking the day before and it was obvious that an operation was needed. The surgeon, Brian Bruce, and his assistant, Cyril Maree, came to the fore"
They found that the carbs were all gummed up and the spark plugs were wiggling and jiggling inside her. Lots of free advice was handed out by at least ten other Healey "doctors" but only two did all the work. Their prognosis after the plugs were now as "tight as a fishes arse" was that the patient was healed. While all this was happening Elna was catching up on all the latest fashion news with Hayley or any other woman who was around.
Meanwhile at least eight of the other Healeys had their hoods up and if one wanted to find ones husband one had to be able to recognise his rear, as it was a case of "bums in air and heads in engine" once again.
When all the repairs were completed we headed off to Patemoster for a super lunch of fish and chips. Then some of the team went to Perlies in Langebaan to catch up on news and a few beers. Thanks to Roger we all enjoyed more snacks and drinks only to leave in time to go to supper at Bouzoukis.
The evening was lots of fun with the draw for the grand prize being the highlight of the evening. The prize was a model of a racing green 100/4 m and a limited edition Healey watch sponsored by Frederique Constant, Geneve. It had been decided that the fairest way of awarding this prize was to draw names out of a hat. There was lots of tension while the draw took place with many of us holding thumbs that we would be the lucky ones. The deserved winner was Ferdie Cronje, whose Healey is the same colour as the model. Ferdie and his wife Elise were totally surprised and overjoyed at being the winners.
After the formalities were over we went to another more private area where Lionel Hewitt proposed a toast of thanks to all the generous sponsors and Veronica and John for all their hard work and another successful tour.