Stuck on you
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