WATCH: When bakkie owners seek nirvana at #Nampo2019 - Here's why Harvest Day is such a hit
For one week in the year, the little town of Bothaville comes to life for the Grain SA's Nampo Harvest Day.
I've heard of Nampo before, I mean it's only been in existence since 1967, and when the event grew rapidly, it became an official event at Nampo Park in 1974. I always thought it was a big "show and shine" for farmers to show off their livestock, tractors, and agricultural equipment.
You know, "My pumpkin is bigger than yours" or "My prize bull is surely better than yours."
Watch the two cool videos above by Netwerk24 to see what I mean.
However, it's so much more than that.
In recent years I have been more exposed to it since local manufacturers began inviting media to experience Nampo. Most automakers use it to showcase their latest commercial vehicles. Still, I had no inclination what the magnitude of the event was. Until this week, I got to see it for myself.
According to Grain SA, Nampo Harvest Day is one of the largest agricultural exhibitions under private ownership in the southern hemisphere.
"The event enables producers and other role players in the agricultural industry to experience the latest technology and products on offer in the farming industry first-hand and on one terrain, with more than 750 exhibitors," say organisers.
Ford SA launched its highly-anticipated Ranger Raptor in the Northern Cape this week, but the new bakkie also made its debut at Nampo, much to the delight of all the bakkie owners.
Isuzu also had its new Arctic D-Max model on show, while many other manufacturers were also present. It'a proper battle of the bakkies, and for the largest growing segment customers all being in on place, no one could ask for anything better.
The drive from Johannesburg to the destination is a mundane and dreary trip. The road is long with hardly any luscious greenery or scenes to admire as you stare out the window into the acres of dullness.
Despite this, our convoy of steady Datsun Go steeds were surprisingly agile on the almost 300km trip.
We had a fully packed cargo and were three up in thee vehicle, yet that little car just wanted to Go, go, go! We had one extra large suitcase, two large luggage bags and three backpacks, along with some more bits and bobs. The boot just swallowed all of it.
My editor had asked, "Why on earth would you want to go to this?"
I'd never been and I just wanted to see what the fuss was all about. That, and because of a bucket-list item I have always wanted to fulfill.
Besides Nampo, just 17km down the road from "Agricultural Heaven" lies an even more important place in my heart: Oom Freek De Kock's Datsun Heritage Museum.
Anyone who knows me well enough, or even knows about Oom Freek, would understand that it's every petrolhead's dream to pay this iconic place a visit. But more about that later this week.
As event and parking direction signage started popping up out of nowhere along the road, my jaw dropped to the floor when I got a glimpse of the thousands upon thousands of vehicles parked in the vast space.
According to Nampo's organisers, there were over 80 000 people in attendance in 2018, another 80 000 are expected for this week, but I am pretty sure it will be more.
Nissan SA and Datsun SA had invited several media out to the event, but the real reason we were there was to see the upgraded Nissan Navara Stealth bakkie.
And, to our surprise, we got to drive them all the way back to Johannesburg from the Free State. Look out for driving impressions later this week.
It's as if all the bakkies in the world had died and came to give their souls at Nampo Park heaven. There were various parking areas and the rows of vehicles just went on for days.
Not even the Stormers could draw such a massive crowd in a rugby match against the Lions, even if the entry tickets were free.
There are massive agricultural machinery and new technology on display, livestock competitions, old traditional machinery, and mega transformer type vehicles, and anything else you can think of.
It's a proper family affair too, and not even young kids will tire of the many things to see.
There are huge off-roading obstacles visitors can put various 4x4 vehicles through its paces and you can even buy some Persian carpets or Jaffle-makers if you fancy, along with some large tools to go with your beastly machines on the farm.
The list is endless and it's no wonder the event is a week-long affair because you need that much time just to see everything.