11-Aug-2006 -- The Land Cruiser Club of Southern Africa (LCCSA) organised a trip to the Pulai area, which is located just to the South of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. This park covers the northern area of the Northern Cape in South Africa and the south-westerly part of Botswana.
We have all joined from different parts of South Africa, mostly from Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Springbok. Everybody met up during the afternoon of Wednesday, 9 August 2006 at the Molopo Lodge, 60 km south of the entrance gate of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier park. After getting to know everybody we sat down for a marvelous meal before retiring to bed.
The next morning the convoy, which consisted of three 80 series Land Cruisers, seven 100 series Land Cruisers, a four liter Jeep Cherokee and a three liter Colt double cab, departed for our destination Pulai, a wilderness camp with only basic facilities. With the help of our guide Adoons, we travelled the whole of Thursday (amongst others right against the South African/Namibian border) northwards towards Pulai, which was to be our base for the next three days. It was a tired group that pitched camp, but with the food provided by the camp staff and some liquid refreshment, everybody was soon having a good time sitting round the camp fire, exchanging stories late into the night.
On Friday we left camp at around ten o'clock to explore the area further north. We were traveling on a dune in a north-western direction, until we ended up against the Namibian border again, which runs within a hundred meters of 20° East. As we were approaching the border fence, I suddenly realised that we must be closing in on a degree confluence. I informed the rest of the party by radio that we were approaching this point. Since I was running second in the convoy, I then opted to take the opportunity to go find the degree confluence. At first I feared that it was going to be on the other side of the border, but to my relief the GPS indicated to me that it was actually within about 100 meters to the eastern side of the border, the side we were traveling.
The area where we were is a semi-desert area known as the Kalahari, well known for its red sands, and dune after dune running in a north-west/south-east direction. The plains between the dunes are known as dune streets. In normal years, these dune streets will mostly consist of sand, but with the good rains we have had earlier in 2006, these dune streets were covered in tall grass. As we went over one dune, I told Mariana, my wife, that I suspect the degree confluence would be in the dune street lying ahead of us. I was able to leave the track and drive to within 10 meters of the degree confluence, after which I left my vehicle to get the all zero minutes and seconds on foot.
While I was finding the degree confluence, the rest of the group were already charging the next monster of a dune, and by the time I had finished finding the degree confluence, half of the group were already at the top of the dune, taking photographs of the degree confluence and those still ascending the dune. Even though everybody in the group came close to the degree confluence, (I would say within 50 meters of it), it was only Mariana, my son Pieter-Jan, and myself that actually visited the spot, unless somebody else was there as well while I was having difficulty going over the next dune.
The rest of the day was spent playing in the dunes and lazing around in camp. After yet another delightful meal (which included tripe), we had a seriously long evening around the campfire bonding with newly made friends, enjoying the stars, seeing a spectacular moonrise and just enjoying the silence of the night.
For some, due to the long distances back home, Saturday meant departing to be back at work on Monday. After a short excursion the packing-up started and only three vehicles/families were left to spend the final night at Pulai. Too soon the rest of the day and night passed and we were on our way as well. The 70 kilometers to civilisation took us about two and a half hours, where we said our goodbyes to each other to depart for our respective home towns.
All in all it was memorable trip. The Kalahari will see me return.
My new friends are:
Jean and Hannelie Visser
LJ and Petri du Toit
Riaan and Marlise Vlok
Carel and Elmarie Oberholzer
Coenie and Tess Goosen
Chris van der Merwe
Jan and Martie van Deventer
Egbert and Jua le Roux
Jan and Kim Blom
Louis and Ronel Groenewald
Johan and Francois Bosch