Stuck on you

Go! Camp & Drive - - LETTERS -

We de­cided to visit Botswana and Namibia in June with my brother Frans du Preez and his wife An­sie, and my son and daugh­ter-in­law Fran­cois and Ni­co­lene de Klerk.

The Puros camp­site close to the Skele­ton Coast was one of the places on our itin­er­ary. The last 80 km is a 4x4 trail that runs up and next to the Hoarusib riverbed. At the start of the riverbed we see it’s not com­pletely dry and in places the wa­ter has welled up. Af­ter the first 10 km we pitch camp for the night. As we pro­gressed we no­ticed the edges of the bed had a wet­ness and in some ar­eas there was so much wa­ter that there were tur­tles swim­ming around.

The next morn­ing we leave early enough to get to Puros by late af­ter­noon. Ev­ery now and again we have to drive out of the riverbed so we don’t get stuck. It’s also clear that no one has driven here af­ter the re­cent rainy sea­son. Mean­while we en­joy the im­pres­sive rock for­ma­tions that tower over us. At 15 km/h it’s slow go­ing be­cause there’s no real road to speak of. At 3:30 pm the GPS in­di­cates it’s an­other 35 km to Puros and it feels as if the road is more vis­i­ble. If we main­tain 30 km/h we’ll eas­ily get there be­fore dark.

Frans is driv­ing in front of us with Fran­cois fol­low­ing them, and the next mo­ment the Amarok gets stuck. We take out the re­cov­ery gear and try to pull the Volk­swa­gen out, but it’s as if the wet sand has grabbed hold of the car – so much so that the un­der­side of the Amarok is now on the sand.

Af­ter more than an hour of strug­gling and bro­ken ki­netic ropes, we de­cide to pitch camp. We’ll start dig­ging to­mor­row.

Just past six the fol­low­ing morn­ing we start dig­ging trenches to drain some of the wa­ter, but the walls keep on slip­ping away. We de­cide to dig a big­ger hole a short dis­tance away so we can di­vert the wa­ter. We carry rocks that we want to put un­der­neath the Amarok as we lift the car with sev­eral jacks. Some of the rocks also serve as props un­der­neath the jacks, and some of the jacks sink into the sand as they try to lift the car. Then we just put an­other rock on top un­til the jack doesn’t sink in.

Even­tu­ally we lift the Amarok high enough so we can get rocks un­der­neath the wheels. Af­ter al­most six hours, the Amarok gets enough grip to drive out of the riverbed and we aim for a dry spot so the guys can clean up.

The next 30 km to Puros goes with­out a hitch. Here the owner tells us he ac­tu­ally went to help two ve­hi­cles the week be­fore at ex­actly the same spot. One of them was stuck for two whole days. We were very lucky to spend only one ex­tra night in the river. EL­IZE AND SAREL DE KLERK Del­mas

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