Being Rescued from the Sand

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Where I stayed
Toro Lodge

Flag of Botswana  , North West,
Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Day : 455
Temperature : 30 degrees
Weather : Sunny and lovely

Chobe was certainly eventful. The morning after we arrived we decided to drive through along the Chobe riverfront area. This area is home to some of the largest elephant herds on the African continent. We knew that the roads weren't supposed to be great, but we had asked at our hotel and we were told "they are fine!" and then at the Entrance gate where we paid our fee and we were allowed through with our high clearance 2x4 Bakkie. BIG mistake.

At first the roads were fine. Well I say road, and I mean track. And I say fine, but I mean pot holed, riddled with boulders and in other places just firm sand. But our car could manage this without any problems. We drove on. The track started to deteriorate. The sand was getting deeper. When there were intersections we took the track which looked to be in the best condition. And then the problems arose.

We were driving along one section of sandy, but manageable road and before we knew it the track had more or less turned into a beach. Deep, fluffy sand everywhere. There was absolutely no way we could think about turning around, so we just had to try to keep up our speed and get through it, fingers crossed that it would improve in another 100m or so. And then we felt the wheels spin, and the car came to a stand still. Fabulous!

After a quick check to make sure that there were no lions, buffalo or elephant we jumped out of the car and tried to dig the tyres free and clear a track for them to move through. But this proved to be completely useless. Just as we were wondering what we would do…I mean, we couldn’t get out and walk because it was simply too dangerous with all the animals around…we noticed two 4x4s coming our way. I leaned out of the window to speak to them just as they asked if we were ok. It turned out that they were 6 South African / Zimbabwean friends who were enjoying their retirement by going on a 4x4 expedition through the Kalahari and Botswana. I could have kissed them when they said they had a tow rope. And so we all set to work, with one eye on the look out for animals. With our tyres let down to make it easier to drive through the sand, and our car attached to theirs, they skilfully managed to drag our little Bakkie out and onto firmer ground some 50 m away. Apparently, they had done this before!

Kev and I decided that we would take the next available track that we could see going out of the area…there was absolutely no way that we would be able to drive through this. Once rescued we drove on, only to become stuck again about half a mile further on. Thankfully, our new friends were just behind, and once more they set to work on pulling us free. What would we have done without them?! As it turns out, they were staying at the same campsite as us, and so upon leaving them for the second time we promised we would buy them all drinks that evening….if we made it back.

About another mile along the same track we noticed a little lane heading off to the left. Hoping that this may take us to the tarred transit road not far away we took it. But it wound it’s way through the forest and Kev and I were on tender hooks the entire time hoping that the track didn’t turn to sand again, because this time, our new friends were no-where to be seen. Thankfully, it led to the first section of road which we had managed to drive along without problems. Another 15 minutes later and we were back onto normal road. Kev and I were exhausted!

Once back at camp we booked a river cruise for the evening and spent 3 hours on the water watching the hippos, crocs, elephants and many birds which inhabit the area. It was well worth doing, not to mention a much more stress free way of seeing the Chobe riverfront.

In the evening we met up with our rescuers and discovered that they had encountered a herd of about 500 elephants….how lucky they were! As promised we bought them all a beer and sat with them for an hour or so discussing bush adventures…both theirs and ours!

The next morning we took a “safari tour” along the river front as organised by our campsite. Well, that was a complete waste of time…not a single elephant. I think the problem was that the safari departed at 6am and returned at 9am….way too early for elephants which come down to the water at the top of the day when it’s hot and they are thirsty. Furthermore, we had a bunch of people in our vehicle who I think had never seen a sparrow before! This meant that we were stopping all the time, for ages, just to take pictures of hornbills or impala. Oh well, you learn from experience I guess. Next time, we will have our own 4x4.
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Eileen on

Next time some pics of you stuck please ... a lose up of kevs face would be good :o) xx

nomadic-brands on

no plans on being stuck now that we have a 4x4 hired for the Okavango Delta.....we're goin' offroad!! Yippeee!

tonychef on

You guys must be totally mad coming back to UK!! Country has gone to the dogs and I cant wait to get out!! see you next week. Feel a curry coming on and a cheeky red or white!!

Antony on

Where are the pics of you guys stuck in the sand with the lions circling ready to pounce !! Anyway, gald you got unstuck and all is well.


bosele magare on

wish i could take a free trip to Moremi Game Reserve

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