You will never tyre of this! A must have publication launched today.

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Time to get some dirt on the wheels? In the guiding industry, tracking is an important skill set. Many can tell a dormouse from a dassie, but can you tell the difference between the tyres on a Land Rover to those on a Land Cruiser? This book will help you to take your tracking skills to almost impossible levels.

 

 

Thanks to all involved in the production of this …

 

 

 

 

This brand-new book is now available online. Written and photographed by two of the best in the business, this is a must for the nature lover who wants to take their knowledge to the next level.

The book covers the following:

Types of 4×4 tyres and their tread patterns.

Does air pressure affect the tracks that the various brands leave.

Tracking on gravel and tar…is it possible?

Note taking of sightings. Is it important.

And several other chapters that cover tyre tracking from Novice to Advanced levels

 

 

 

This is part of the reason for the book. The innumerable tyre tracks sometimes obliterate the animal tracks that are being followed.

Now, instead of getting angry, upset or just plain annoyed, this book will enable you to add to your tracking experience.

Major training facilities are being approached to have this pocket guide included in their curricula.

 

 

 

Well-known travel writer, Blogger and photographer, David Batzofin, has had a passion for wildlife for many decades, and although his tracking skill set cannot match that of Bennet, he does try very hard…

The beginnings of a book in his words.

It was the Beatle’s song “The Long and Winding Road” that was the precursor to what was about to become a collaboration between Bennet and myself.

He has covered the backstory to this pocket guide in his comments and as I don’t want to replicate what he has said, let me rather explain why this book is even available on the shelves.

Several years ago I jokingly asked a field guide if he could identify the tracks of the various vehicles that crisscrossed the reserve he was working on. He looked at me as if I had just landed from a planet on the edges of our solar system.”Why would you want to know THAT”? he asked me.

“Because they are there” was my response.

I have been privileged to work with some of the best trackers in the industry and seeing they are capable of identifying the most minute tracks, I pondered on if this knowledge could be utilized to identify care tracks.

Perhaps I have watched too many police drama series, but they seem to be able to identify car tracks from a data bank of many models, whereas in the bush you have got two brand names to focus on.

Therefore I figured that it would not be too difficult.

But I was wrong. Those two brands had a multitude of tyre choices for their vehicles and given that they are pushed to the very limits of their working life, they leave tracks that are not always clearly defined. My tracking skill set is limited at the best of times, hence my reaching out to Bennet who is not only a first-class tracker, but he lives relatively close by.

My question “Would you like to assist with the technical aspects of this book” was not immediately met with a cackle of laughter and choice words that I cannot repeat here, Suffice to say that I was able to convince him to come on board and to be the driving force(pun intended) behind this publication.

It would be remiss of me if I did not thank those faceless guides who gave so freely of their expertise. I would name you all, but I fear that I might leave someone off that list, so I hope that this combined “thank you” will suffice. You know who you are.

To AF publications, without you, this special day would have never materialized.

To Bennet, you are truly a scholar and gentleman of the African bush.

Without your expert eye for detail, this volume would be the poorer”.

1st April 2024

Linden, Johannesburg.

David Batzofin.

 

 

 

On the occasions that my wife, Carolyn, got to accompany Bennet and me, she was immediately tasked with identifying areas where tracks occurred.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Motsumi Bush courses

This is why the book is so important to Bennet. Trying to teach students when the tracks you had earmarked had been almost obliterated by a vehicle.

 

 

 

Bennet de Klerk is a legend in the guiding industry. He runs Motsumi Bush Courses in the Northwest Province and is passionate about helping young and old achieve their goals as field guides.

This is his version of how our book came to be…

October in the greater Balule, and David and I were both thirsty, hungry and hot. We had arranged for a pick-up along a two-track, and, standing there in the shade of a scraggly acacia, we were looking at fresh vehicle tracks.

Could they belong to the vehicle which was supposed to pick us up? Had they been here, maybe, and passed by, misunderstanding the location of the rendezvous point? Or, was it just another vehicle?

Somewhat jokingly, David asked me: “Well…as a tracker, surely you should know what vehicle those tyre tracks belong to”?

And that is where this book, light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek at first, was conceived.

Soon we were kneeling on the ground, trying to find answers to the multitude of questions we were both asking…

How fresh were the tracks? What type of vehicle might it be? What direction was it travelling in?

We were equally surprised, once the penny dropped, how simple the answers were and how unequivocal the evidence was. And then came the chirp that would set the wheels in motion (pun intended), “We should write a book on tyre track ID!”

That evening, back at camp we spoke at length – still half-jokingly about the concept and what it would take to produce a book of this nature.

During the next few weeks, back in the Northwest, I started looking at vehicle tracks differently. How were the sand, pebbles, gravel or mud dispersed? How deeply worn was the tread? Up to what lateral distance do I see freshly deposited dust on vegetation or rocks next to the road?

I was measuring tyre to tyre width of so many different vehicles, that I was often viewed with great suspicion!

I would drive my old RAV 4 for 50-metre stretches at speeds of 20, 40, 60 and 80 km/hour, detailing the differences seen from those speeds in various substrates. David managed to get data about all the standard tyres of all popular dirt-ready vehicles, and we obtained images of almost every type of 4×4 tread.

We were assisted greatly by many guides who were tolerant enough to allow us to “tail” them, at a respectful distance, getting out to investigate results after every turn, acceleration, deceleration, stop and pull away.

During the years of extensive data gathering for the project, we travelled racked up many kilometres ourselves – often stopping to observe what our tyres had done when we slowed down, accelerated, etc.

The results culminated in this book, and we are certain that it will be a ground-breaking new addition to the large volume of work already available about the tracks and signs of Africa“.

1st April 2024

Northwest Province

Bennet de Klerk.

 

 

 

This is what legendary tracker Lee Gutteridge had to say about the book:

“I wish I had written this!

I just couldn’t put this book down. The diversity of tyre treads discussed here simply blew my mind. I mean, who knew about the soil displacing properties of Hankook Offroad SP190 x 17’s, and how to separate its trail from the Goodyear 230 on-off series?

Well, David and Bennet do.

Spending time in the field with these two amazing researchers of tyre tread is simply a mind-blowing experience.

Sometimes, it is even a tyre-blowing experience!

Tracks and signs of the 4x4s of Southern Africa is a must-read for all lovers of wild places. Understanding the difference between Land Rover and Land Cruiser pastings is a critical skill, without which, in my opinion, one should never leave home. Sidewall drag, spin factor, braking scrapes and many other fascinating topics are covered in detail in this ‘ground-breaking’ work“.

High praise indeed from a giant in the tracking industry!

 

 

 

Online purchases only. We will pay your postage, no matter where in the world you might be!

To order your copy, email either David or Bennet at gotyou@aprilfool2024.co.za. All currencies, including Zim dollars, are acceptable.

 

 

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Bennet has a Motsumi Bush Course coming up in May and I am certain that this will be a module on that course. The book will be available for sale before and during the course.

and…

 

 

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