Every Trip Has Its Challenges
Every Trip Has Its Challenges, Some More Than Others
We take great pride in what we do which makes working with some branded partners a pleasure. WildVision – Okavango was something different as we thought we knew the lay of the land having done it in 2019. The only difference now was we’re going to get more water crossings but had no idea to what extent.
We do these humanitarian trips to help people in areas that are challenging to access. Summer days are easier than the rainy season and using the right equipment and Riggs designed to handle the pressure we carried on like Dr Livingston heading into the unknown. Screening school children is a blessing and we take it quite seriously. There is a lot of gratefulness on the team’s side and being blessed to be given the opportunity to help the communities in need.
All the stars were aligned but don’t be fooled it was a challenge getting to Maun, for some reason there was a lot of “t’s” to cross and “i’s” to dot on this trip but nevertheless like Dr. Livingston we carried on with the project and dealt with it as we went along.
Something we very seldom think of is the amount of time we sit in our vehicles. Driving 12 to 13 hours a day for 2-3 days is nothing to laugh at. Needing recovery gear in the middle of the wild bush with the closest people to you that could quite possibly be around 200 km away means you need to rely on everything you have like Cooper tires are seldom thought of.
We get sent equipment from all over the world from people that want to be in our shoes and have the experience of a lifetime but mostly have the opportunity to support any way they can. US Action tracks and rear tire bags don’t seem like much to think of but believe me when you’re put in a situation of remote recovery you rely on every piece of equipment you can get your hands on right.
A new piece of equipment that doesn’t seem like much but takes good planning with consideration are seat covers. One doesn’t think much of these things while climbing in and out of your vehicle in terrain tailored for a military truck. Comfort and support are vital when your mind is focused on pulling out your buddy or you are being snatched out of mud. I never thought I would be one so excited to talk about comfortable seat covers, yet i find it one piece of equipment I cannot do without anymore.
As founder of the projects, humility plays a huge role when your buddy in front of you pulls your vehicle through endless muddy water crossings while you’re sitting comfy and chilled waiting for your battery to start again. My battery died because the alternator stopped working from all the muddy water. My brakes have been completely worked smooth from the same problem; we don’t normally have big issues like this but between two cyclones coming through a few weeks prior the water hadn’t cleared out quick enough as we had hoped.
Nevertheless, that weekend right in the middle of a two-week project made us to wild camp in the middle of nowhere and it was beautiful. Climbing out my vehicle on the right I had fresh hyena tracks on the path and as Erik climbed out on the lift, he had fresh hippo tracks. It was going to be a sleep in the iKamper roof top tents scenario night for everyone and not on the ground for safety reasons. A team member Ivor (nicknamed “the walking Leatherman”) work out it took 5 ½ hours to drive 32 km and that gave us a wakeup call on what we had gotten into. The eye screening projects are important to us but nothing is more important than being safe. The next morning, we headed it out sifting through two-year-old chicken lines and muddy water over our bonnets.
By 11am my defender’s alternator had completely given up and we had to leave it on the side of the road; my daughter was in tears and my heart sank. 1km down the slow road my messages for assistance by a Garmin Inreach Mini had made it through and two land cruisers with smiling faces headed straight towards us. Having a quick drink with them we made our plans and I headed back to fetch my vehicle with a new battery on hand. Right after changing the battery the two land cruisers went to turn around and it got stuck, it literally was the worst-case scenario one could think of. After finally getting them out we caught up quickly with the convoy and made our way to hyena camp.
I don’t think any of us will forget that weekend for a long time and it gave us lots to think and talk about going forward. It’s been 6428 km’s and we are home. My surprise and again something I never thought of was I didn’t even need to wash the seat covers. The smooth finish of the Black Edition made it easy to wipe down, not to mention the foam padding that made the long hours on the road exceptional. The memory of the WildVision – Okavango will stay fresh in our minds for a long time. Well, until the next one …………