6545km Namibia trip 2012 part1

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AndreEksteen
Vehicle: 2012 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 DiD GLS Exceed LWB AT
Country: South Africa
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:24 pm

6545km Namibia trip 2012 part1

Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:19 pm

Friday morning 5:15Am on 07 December 2012 and its a beautiful day as the sun peaks over the Swartberg mountains here in Oudtshoorn. We just had our first cup of coffee and we are talking about our Namibian trip that will commence on Monday morning, we can barely wait! I stand up to make another cup when Lizel asks, "Hoekom ry ons eers Maandag oggend?" Well who in his right mind would answer that question?

At 6:25 we have the water tank filled up, two crates of canned food chucked in and the trailer hooked. Zandre (our son) is still sleeping, but not in his bed, he is sleeping in the back of Paddatjie (our Pajero's pet name). At 6:55 we drive out of Oudtshoorn in the direction of the Cango Caves and the Swarberg Pass.

We are on our way to Namibia! Planning, ja-well, the lack thereof makes us excited, where will the road take us today? We never plan any of our trips, simply because we don't want schedules, bookings and so on to dictate what we do and when we do it. The sum total of our planning involves a rough look at a map, we then decide what we want to see and then we estimate the distance to see if we should be able to do it in the time we have.

This time around we have 10 days, no actually we now have 13 days because of our early departure, and we think that we will do about 5500-6000km in total. We plan to go to Walvis Baai, then all the way up the Skeleton coast, from there we will go to the Epupa falls, then Etosha, from Etosha we will drive to Windhoek on that silly thing they call tar road and from there its beautiful dirt roads all the way back to Oudtshoorn.
As we start the climb over the Swartberg Pass the fog gets thicker and thicker. The windows are rolled down and you can smell the moisture in the air. We see three troops of klip springer as we drive to the top. As we start the decent on the other side the mist clears up. Its now just before 8:30 as we reach the bottom of the pass and we decide that this is where we will stop for breakfast.

An hour later and we are on our way again. We drive through Prince Albert to Prince Albert Weg where we get onto the N1. If we could we would have avoided this road, but we have to drive the 50km towards the dirt road turnoff near Leeu Gamka.
At Williston we stop to fill up at the only pump in town. We look at the maps and decide to sleep in Verneukpan. The pump attendant tells us that the road to Verneukpan was washed away on Wednesday, but we decide to go there anyway. Just outside Willeston we find our selves on a dirt road with dongas running across. Some are so deep that the drawbar ploughs into the road surface. Its slow going, and as we get to the pan we encounter another obstacle, water! If you have ever been there you will know that the surface of the pan is a type of clay that gets very slippery when wet. Its just before sundown, about 7:30pm, and everyone wants to rest so i decide to put the chains on and we drive in with no incidents. At 8:40 we are in our tent having supper.

The following morning we pack up before sunrise and as the sun appears over the pan we are on our way again. We take some pictures and as I drive into the water I realize my mistake, no chains! Paddatjie's front wheels are turned full lock to the left but we are going straight into deeper water! I know that I can not ease off now or we will have a recovery on our hands. I straighten the steering to allow Paddatjie to find her own way. Just as we get to the other side of the mud hole a metal scraping noise coming from the right front wheel screeches into our souls, but theres no stopping now. Back on dry ground I take the wheel off to find a bent backing plate. It takes me 30 minutes to disassemble, repair and reassemble and we are on our way again.

The dirt roads are worse than yesterday. At one point I don't see a bridge that was washed away and hit it at about 80km/h, but Paddatjie's suspension takes it in its stride. Between Bossikom and Houmoed on the way to Pofadder we run out of diesel and I have to refill out of the jerry cans.

In Pofadder the first fuel station is out of Diesel and we drive to the next in great anticipation. Lucky for us they have Diesel and we refill the tank and our Jerry cans before we hit the road to Onsseepkans border post. This stretch of road shakes rattles and roles with deep corrugations. I wonder when the dash is going to work itself loos, but that never happened during this whole trip. The only thing that fell out was the centre speaker, but that was a quick fix.

At the border post we are the only people crossing. Both SA and Namibia border officials are very helpful and efficient and 30 minutes later we are in Namibia on our way to Keetmanshoop where we plan to spend the night. At about 6:00PM we arrive in Keetmanshoop. We decide to spoil ourselves with a chalet and we find this 5km out of town and it has a lovely Quivertree rock garden that looks amazing against the setting sun.

The next morning we have a great breakfast before we leave. Today we go to Mariental, from there its some more tar to Maltahohe where we turn right on the C14 to Solitaire. The C14 to Solitaire is a lovely dirt road allowing us to cruise at an average speed of 102km/h. At Solitaire we stop to bask in the memories of our last visit to this little town when we drove 98km to buy fuel here for a stranded couple from Holland, but thats another story...

After lunch we leave Solitaire on our way to Walvis Baai. Walvis Baai is a quick drive from here and we should be there in about 2 hours, well so we thought. About 10km from Solitaire we are slowed right down to 50km/h with corrugations like you cant imagine. Halve way to Walvis Baai we come across another Pajero, stranded with the roof rack and rooftop tent shaken to pieces. It was two ladies from, believe it or not, Mosselbay who drove to Walvis Baai and was busy making their way back to SA along the desert. Well, the roof rack needed some welding and after strapping the stuff down with tie down straps they hat to turn back to Walvis Bay to have the repairs done. Eventually we made it to Walvis Bay at 9:20pm and we decided to rent a chalet once again and we stayed there for two nights so that we can have enough time to explore the town and dunes.

Tuesday morning we left Walvis Baai to an unknown destination on the Skeleton Coast. On our way we came across the shipwreck of a Angolan trawler and stupidly I drove right up to it with my tires still at 2bar. When we tried to leave the trailer sank to its axle in the sand. The sand was soft so I decided to unhook, drive Padatjie out and then jerk the trailer out with the kinetic rope. This soon attracted two spectators that came out of nowhere who ended up trying to sell sone crystals to Lizel.

On our way again and then out of nowhere we came to a roadblock in the form of the access gates to the Skeleton Coast Park. No planning, no bookings and now we had to beg to get into the park where you apparently have to book a year in advance. Well a packet of sweets and some begging later and the gates opened for us, we were in the park!

Next time I will continue form here.
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Pajero 3.2 DiD GLS Exceed LWB AT: suspension lift, 265/70-17 Cooper SST, custom built aluminum roof rack, duel battery system, Safari snorkel, 12000lb hidden front winch, modified passenger seat, raised diff and gearbox breathers, long range fuel tank.
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Gemaskerde Tuinvurk
Vehicle: 2007 Pajero 3.2 DiD LWB
Country: South Africa
Location: Northern Johannesburg
Posts: 645
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:51 pm

Re: 6545km Namibia trip 2012 part1

Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:14 pm

Great reading and pics! Keep it coming!
Karl

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jkak
Vehicle: Pajero 3.2 DID GLX
Country: South Africa
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: 6545km Namibia trip 2012 part1

Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:52 am

:D Thanks so much for sharing!

I can see your modifications are for your kind of trips!

Got flooded in the river Kwai in Botswana during April and now know all about why one should have breather pipes and raised suspension and snorkel!

Have still to fit those extras but not sure when next I will do such a trip again and I will probably opt for going around somehow where I can

Took two days and lots of luck to sort out water in the engine and alter replaced dif and gearbox oils

All well with the Paj now.

Had to have my new waterlogged fridge repaired.

First time I hear of someone using chains in the mud. Know about using them in the snow.

Thanks again for your trip report. I must say I dont like to much of corrugated dirt roads driving. I found going at at least 60 kms per hour helps with the rattles

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