Our truck Imani runs with 6 tires, two at front and four at the back (two either side). The day we arrived in Sesreim we had two flat tires; we only have two spare tires. I asked Matt (the Driver) what happens if we’re to get more before we can get the tires patched or replaced the next day? He replied we can last if we lose two more at the back and if we lost one at the front then we would need to swap with one at the back. I continued, what if we lose 3 tires, he replied “we’re screwed!”.
Now this has never happened before on a Dragoman truck, but I had a feeling, the roads and the driving were not conducive with our tires lasting! Next morning the previous days events were forgotten as we rose early and we went to Dune 45 and Soussusvlei/Deadvlei (see Steph’s blog), this was an amazing albeit knackering experience.
The truck was buoyant after an amazing morning when we set off again on the road aiming for a campsite near Fish River Canyon, about an hour in we hear a “Psshhhhhhhh” a tire had blown on the back left. The crew stopped and checked nothing could be done so we were on 5 tires and continuing. About 30mins later the sound comes again “Pshhhhhhh”……. This time not one but two tires had blown, one back left and one back right……we’re screwed!
Bearing in mind we are in the middle of Namibia, one of the most desolate and uninhabited countries in Africa, and traveling on D’ roads from the Dunes south this was not a spot that was going to give us much passing traffic! Oh and no network for phones! We were done, the spirit of the truck was not defeatist but I was ready for a day or two sat here. Now all is not lost, some at this point would be panicked stressed and annoyed, not this man, I think the term is ‘pig in shit’! We were in the middle of Africa living the Adventure and facing a day, night and maybe many more in the wilderness! Happy Days!
Now we sent off our leader with a car that passed about 45 mins after the blow out (5 passed us this day in total). What did we do? Well now we settled in for lunch and then a few hours of the name game and the slowly the remaining crew realized we were here for the night! With that acknowledgement and no news or sighting of our leader or help, plans were afoot to sort ourselves for the night. A few of us checked a nearby derelict settlement for anything we could use i.e. water but no joy, so back to the truck and there on the roadside we started to set up our impromptu bush camp!
With tents up a car was seen approaching, we did not know it but it was to be Jobis, a local farmer and all round legend, our knight in shining armour! Jobis had been radioed from the town our leader had made it too letting him know our situation and if he could drive up and see if he could help. Now Jobis happens to be able to have a tire replacement and fixing service on his farm, sensible considering the terrain and lack of local villages and towns let alone garages! He took Matt and Gerry Cans off and two tires to see if he could help. Just as Matt had left Gino arrived back as only he could in a blaze of dance music in a Park Rangers car who was passing our location to drop him off!
They had passed each other up the road, discussions had been had and all being well with Jobis we would get the truck tires fixed, but that aside we were staying! Happy days with that Charles (The chef) started cooking and we got our impromptu bush camp underway! I must say it was one of the most invigorating and enjoyable camps we had pitched in our time in Africa, completely in the wilderness, by the roadside enjoying the sounds and scene’s of Namibia. In addition to which Charles had a BBQ planned for us that night so we set that up in the road and had Game Meat steaks for dinner! (See Steph’s blog)
* Jobis was able to fix the two tires that night and they were fitted onto Imani as well. Next morning we drove to Jobis’ Farm where he fix one more to get us back to six, the spares were shot but with caution and many thanks to Jobis we headed out. We eventually made it to tarmac roads and to our destination all with no problems.