Any driver that can get a Land Rover over the crest of a Kalahari dune, deserves a prize
As if a Land Rover owner does not have enough trouble, a group of Landie aficionados and a few other sprightly 4×4 owners, descended on Farm Elenrode and later Farm Butiaba near Leonardville for what turned out to be an action-packed offroad weekend.
The offroad club, Land Rover Owners Namibia, repeated their 2017 winter camp over the previous weekend, drawing 16 enthusiastic offroaders for a test of endurance and skill in the red dunes of the Kalahari.
This year it was the Tsumeb native, Erwin Tietz Snr, who showed the Kalahari sheep farmers why cattle rangers fare so much better in the bush. Driving a 4-litre V8 Discovery, Tietz was not concerned about fuel consumption. His only intent was to show what he can do in sand, over the obstacle course, and during time trials, without getting lost.
Surprisingly, the second best driver was a women, Olga Bisschoff, in her long-wheelbase Defender.
Starting the bivouac on Friday, the first challenge comprised dune driving, testing both driver and vehicle ability to negotiate the sharp crests of the relatively low Kalahari dunes. The group then moved to Butiaba on Saturday for a test of navigational skills along a GPS marked route.
After these “easier” curtain raisers, it was a brute test of serious offroading when the cars had to traverse an almost impassable track constructed of discarded lorry tyres.
Due to the difficulty of the track, this extreme tyre obstacle course was a test of true driving ability. Even some of the braver SUV owners attempted these obstacles but some only came unstuck with the aid of a recovery stand-by car. This was by far the most popular activity of the weekend, drawing cheers of excitement from the eager spectators.
This gruelling affair was followed by the final event, a more relaxed time trial across the Kalahari expanse.
The club’s next event is the Land Rover Trophy Namibia contest which is scheduled for later in August in the Karas region.
Caption: Best driver of the Land Rover Owners Namibia club’s outing to the Kalahari, Erwin Tietz Snr (right) with the owners of Farm Butiaba near Leonardville, Kobus and Marissa Vermeulen.