It is almost a morning routine, deflating tyres for the deep sand to come while breakfast gets prepared.
Today the sand is really deep, and the track in a strange way corrugated. On normal dirt roads it is like corrugated iron sheets for a roof and the tyres dance and shake over it, and it’s all about finding the right speed to travel somewhat comfortable.
Here the dips are at a guess half a wheel diameter deep and 1.5 to 2 wheel diameters long, and barely visible with the sand deep and the sun already pretty high.
Low gear is not an option since it would you dig in. And floating on the surface works barely either. Instead its a constant jumping up and down.
After half the way to the next stretch of tar worrying sound from the rear.
Monique hears rubber squeaking, and I don’t comment to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The latter didn’t work, my acoustic diagnose got confirmed by visual inspection. – Who can spot the issue ?
Once more we are happy to be on tour with the LROC.
Not only we are not on our own with the calamity, but even better nobody is cross or even bugged. The men feel defiant to proof their skill and to find a solution. And a typical South African divide, the women and children easily find something else to be occupied, e.g. observing bawdy creatures.
Tell me, what do you see?
The issue with the vehicle is serious, but word is about a garage near by. And off they are, two of us to find the garage. In the interim the rest debates and works on a solution. First challenge get the suspension aligned.
Then there is nothing but waiting for the two scouts, hopefully coming back with the right bolt.
There it is freshly welded and burning hot. It has the right dimension, but we fail to get it in. 2/3 towards the head it is not not round but octagonal, no way to get it into the damaged bushes. And this is the only thing they got at the workshop. While we discuss alternative options the guy from the workshop arrives. His place is only 4 km from here, just off the road. He takes the bold to improve it with a grinder, and with joint efforts we rig a makeshift.
The workshop is really close by, and if we had known upfront we would have gone immediately there. As was to be expected elephants guard our way. The workshop itself: pretty basic, but the craftsmen with ingenuity.
Monique loves the “fire station”.
Suspension fixed and off we go for a couple of kilometers on tar thru baobab land.
Back into deep sand, then thru high gras. The GPS proofs we are still on track, thanks to Tracks4Africa. The forced stop earlier is taking its toll, my tummy’s rumbling.
Finally stop for another bonnet lunch. But not for long since we have still a way to go, now thru almost forest. And since we are in elephant territory, there are elephant graveyards too.
Chances are it is getting late until we reach today’s destination. Luckily we can change on the fly. There is Linyanti Camp on the way, belonging to the same owner, and nobody has booked there. So this is our stay for the night.
Setting up camp is quick, we are used to it and meanwhile trained. Another fun evening to come. A stunning view over the river were the sun will set. What else do you need but a sun downer – we still have some gin and tonic as well as ice cubes left – to be at one with the world.
Of course the camp is unfenced, and there are not only a large crowd of baboons making their way to the water. But unlike the Cape baboons these are not used to humans, and hence pretty shy. Geoff imitates the sound of a big male and off they go. We don’t need to fear for our diner. Very interesting the elephant proofed water taps in the camp. The river is close at the moment and even with the dry season in full swing water would be not too far, but elephants would smell the water in the pipes and would rip off the taps to get to the precious water.
The next morning Alex and Taun would tell us. Since they made dinner, they only went for a shower after dark when we already went to sleep. Leaving the ablutions with no torch they almost bumped into an elephant standing just opposite the entrance.