Hahaha, it was quite incredible. That was the first time we got stuck. One meter back the ground is absolutely solid and all of a sudden, without it looking any different, we were down on the chassis.
The “puff-adder” recovery rope was amazing and helped us recover without any drama. This was the first of ten recoveries in a space of ten km down the Purros Canyon. Alan’s “self-recovery” is not included in the statistic as he was able to get himself out without any external help.
Later we learned to carefully walk the course to see where solid ground was. Most of the time, it wasn’t where you’d think it would be
I've started typing the Trip Report and will post each day as I finish my photos. I don't have photos of everything that happened and might've forgot somethings as well. On a trip like this there are so many stories to tell and things that happen that others might've missed. Those that went with, please feel free to add to my stories and please keep the photos coming, I only took my camera out when we passed Etosha on the way to Ruacana, so please bare with me.
Chris & Corne - Professional
Pieter & Esther - Professional with BushLapa
Alan & Karien (Leonard) - 300GD
Antony & Zelda - 320GE
Pierre & Marinda - 290GD
Sed, Christine & Evangeline - Professional
Deon & Anneleen - 230GE
Riaan & Marie - Professional
NJ & Theo - White Thing
Leonard - Boeing 777
GP, Cape Town, Mpumalanga - Zeerust
Theo and I left Witbank at 1pm on Friday afternoon, heading for Zeerust. With heavy traffic in PTA we reached Zeerust later than planned, but we did have time to have a cold one at the Marico Bush Pub.
Just before we left home we got a phone call from Cornell, due to personal reasons he would not be able to make it, and had to drop out at the last minute. Leonard, who was still on his flight from CT - Lanseria was unaware that he had no way of getting to Namibia at that moment.
Now - the next step just goes to show what an amazing club we have, a huge thanks to Alan & Karien, who fetched Leonard at the airport, drove all the way home, installed a seat and made space for Leonard in their G - it's acts of kindness like this that makes this Club stand out above the others!
By 19:00 we were all in Zeerust and headed to a restaurant for some steaks and some of the best pepper sauce in the country, with Alan & Leonard diving into some of the thickest waffles I've ever seen. We headed to bed, spirits high and very excited for our journey ahead.
Zeerust - Zelda's Camp, Namibia
The night before there were rumours of border posts near Zeerust & Mahikeng closed due to protests. We opted for Ramotswa Border post. We left Zeerust at 5am and reached the border at 7am as they opened, everything went smooth and before we knew all vehicles were in Botswana.
At first we were unsure of what roads to take to Namibia but with some maps and GPS's we were sorted out and headed for Namibia.
It was a long days drive and we all reached Zelda's camp before dark. Fires were lit, and braais were had. Some camped and other opted for the comfort of chalets before we hit the sticks. Impressive was the sounds of leopards growling a few meters away, but very sad seeing them locked in their cages a few meters from camp.
Zeldas - OppiKoppi, Kamanjab
The next morning we were up early and headed North, destination Kamanjab. We travelled via Gobabis, Hochfeld, Otjiwarongo, Outjo to Kamanjab.
Thanks to Cornel for providing contact details for the Spar in Otjiwarongo, those who had meat orders were assisted quickly and the rest of us quickly went through the shelves stocking up for the next two weeks. Fridges were stocked and we headed out of town, with the convoy now split up a bit....
We reached OppiKoppi before sunset, but wait..... does anyone know where Sed is? We can't get hold of him on the radio and no-one knows where they are... not long after Sed arrives, he took a wrong turn in Otjiwarongo,but managed to find his way to Kamanjab. We all pitched camp, some relaxed in the bar and others around the fire.
The next morning we packed up camp and headed to Ruacana, we were unsure where we would sleep tonight, our accommodation at Kunene River Lodge was flooded and closed till further notice, one thing was for sure we had to go see the Ruacana Falls, and it did not disappoint! At the fuel station Riaan met some Austrians, one was ecstatic to see a G, he worked at the factory in Graz selling G's. We reached Ruacana and filled our cars to the brim, this would most likely be our last fuel for the next ±1000km. There was only one pump working in Ruacana, it took a while to fill all the vehicles but we managed. Other travellers told us that road from Ruacana - Epupa along the river was still flooded and not driveable, but we'll worry about that later, the falls were first on list now.
What a sight to behold - if I'm not mistaken it was the first time in about 4 years that the falls were in full flood. Absolutely magnificent. We spent some time at the look out point, with Chris even getting some Angola stamps in his passport for a better view. I also spotted the first Himba on the tour - on a motorbike none the less.....
Some us walked around the ruins and talked about the war - some of evidence still there in the ruins around the falls, while others took a short hike down to the bottom of the falls, returning back to the cars soaking wet!
We headed west and found a campsite next to the Kunene River and spent the afternoon at the pool.
The next morning we packed up camp and headed in the direction of Epupa Falls via Opuwo. Our initial plan was to only reach Epupa the next day, and bush camp somewhere on the road after Opuwo,seeing as we pre-booked and paid, with our booking only kicking in the next day.
Opuwo is busy little town.Beggars are everywhere, together with people wanting to sell you all kinds of curios made by the local Himbas. The saddest part is the strong number of hungry and thirsty children roaming the streets.
Riaan made contact with Koos "Kaokohimbakoos" Verwey from Epupa Falls Lodge and he confirmed we are welcome to start our two night stay with him a day early. This meant we would have an extra day on our tour, in retrospect this was a very wise decision, more of that later.
The road from Opuwo to Epupa is mostly in good condition, except for the "jakkalsies" around almost every bend, on blind rises, making you reach for your vehicles' panic handles, at one stage Antony had to stop to make sure everything is still on his roof!
We arrived safely at Epupa Falls Lodge late afternoon with the falls roaring right besides us, we headed for the pool, relaxed for the rest afternoon and enjoyed the roaring water with sundowners from the deck above the falls before spending the rest of the night around the camp fire.
Today would be a rest day, no driving. Some left early the morning to visit a nearby Himba village with a guide, seeing how the Himba people go about starting their day and seeing some of their traditions. I did not go with but did hear that the Himba people were fascinated with Leonard....
The rest of us did some washing, took a walk to the falls and relaxed around camp and at the swimming pool.
Second batteries running fridges took a beating in most cars in the near 40˚ heat, solar panels were pulled out, and we all made it out alive with cold beers.
Alan assisted our new Austrian friends in fixing the air filter on one of their rented Land Cruisers, it seems they are ready to purchase a G in SA and joining our Club, we hope to hear from them soon!
We heard about a Land Cruiser that had rolled on Van Zyls, some of us thought to skip Van Zyls while the previous night most men were strong, some even boasting that their G's can tow the broken LC back up Van Zyls.....
With little info we left Epupa for Van Zyls Pass, little did we know what adventure would await us.
We stopped at Okangwati on our way and topped up our vehicles for the last time from a lady selling Petrol & Diesel at around N$18.00 p/litre in 5l water bottles.
We left the small village and headed into the bush, the first real 4x4 experience on the trip, a 4x4 track winding through the bushveld and across dry river beds towards Van Zyls pass and the obstacle blocking our way.
We headed pass the Van Zyls Community Campsite opting to Bush Camp on the edge overlooking the Marienfluss. You hear a lot of stories about Van Zyls, in retrospect it's worse getting there than actually doing that last infamous. Pieter Yster cut his Bush Lapas tyre along the way, luckily he could mend it with plugs and it made it all the way.
We found a beautiful campsite on the edge of Van Zyls, with the Marienfluss underneath us, and an abstacle blocking the road ahead....
Once I saw the view over the Marienfluss, I was shocked at the beauty that lay before me, I was speachless, there was no worries anymore. It truly is a sight to behold. Dit ruk jou siel.
We spent the night around the campfire, mostly debating about how to get around that obstacle...