Authors: Dave van Graan and Ista van Zyl
Dave van Graan, a 60-year-old resident from Louis Trichardt in South Africa, is walking the length of Namibia to raise awareness on rhino poaching.
His journey by foot, with only his trolley – which he named Bart Mobile – as company, started on 30 November 2016 at Sendelingdrift. Dave’s friend, Koos Moorcroft, founder of AAPS (Africa anti-poaching services) is in constant contact with him to ensure that he is well and doesn’t need anything.
The last time I spoke to him before writing the article was on 17 January 2017. At that time he was in the Uis/Khorixas area where it was extremely hot and dry.
He still had 450 kilometers to go to reach is destination – the Kunene River at the Angola border – if everything goes according to plan we will be back in South Africa by mid-February 2017…
Dave had a message to our readers and all his supporters: Get up, get out and live your dream. Do not limit your challenges, challenge your limits!
Here are some of the highlights from his trip to date, and some of the people he met along the way.
2 December 2016
I am on my way at last. Left yesterday morning at 1:30 from Rosh Pinah. My first town will be Aus which is 163kms away. During the day the temperature is in the high 30’s and at night it is 11 degrees. Yesterday the whole area was covered in mist.
3 December 2016
My first hot meal in three days! Bully beef is king. Bitter black tea to wash it down. Eish, I forgot to pack the coffee and condensed milk.
6 December 2016
Seymore Jonker and his party met up with me! Luckily Zelda spotted my afternoon rest camp where I was hiding from the sun.
11 December 201
Between Aus and Helmeringhausen. It was a really tough section. Thick sand, heat, cold and a 30 km uphill are some of the handicaps I had to endure. It is one of the most panoramic areas I have seen in years, but photographs don’t justice to the scenery. Pack your car or book a tour and come and visit the Southern parts of Namibia.
The guys far left and far right are South Africans who traveled from the UKand are on their way to Cape Town. We had a chat and they cannot believe what I am doing. Just look at the size of those boertjies!
17 December 2016
The section between Helmeringhausen via Betta to Wereldend.
Disaster struck at four in the morning. Both axels broke simultaneously! It took me a few hours to devise a plan but I eventually got on the road again.
Grossberg en route to Betta.
Koos Moorkroft and his lovely wife, Issie, visited me for two nights. Across the road, one can see Koos’s Land Cruiser house. Braai, stew, and plenty of beer. Thanks, guys it was an absolute pleasure having you here.
21 December 2016
The section between Wereldend and Sossusvlei.
My camp at a place called Toekoms, which means “future”. Although I cannot see a future as a farmer here, they are farming with sheep and game.
23 December 2016
I encounter Chelsey White and Nico Knight, who are currently walking from the Orange River near Rosh Pina to the Kunene to raise awareness and money for Africa Anti-Poaching Services to help protect what is left of our rhino population. The are covering 1 870kms in temperatures of 40 degrees plus! They are by far the bravest of them all here in Nam.
24 December 2016
Graeme Mouton says – thanks for creating awareness in Namibia. Some like to walk…
25 December 2016
The section between Sossusvlei and Solitaire.
I am proud to say that I have completed the first 600km. Next will be the formidable tough section of 230km from Solitaire to Walvisbay. I will cross the Gaub and Kuiseb canyons which have steep descends and ascends. I think this part of the route will take around 12 days to finish. I have arranged with Solitaire guest farm to send me some water with tourist who will travel my way
Christmas eve braai in the desert with the owners and friends from the Solitaire guest farm. The following photos were taken with a drone camera. What an amazing part of the world!
29 December 2016
The section between Solitaire and Kuiseb Canyon.
Still, a long way to go. Desert and more desert…
1 January 2017
Hanlie Ackerman and Ludwig Geyser: As promised – another visit to Dave van Graan on our bikes! (28th Dec 2016 and promised beer ) We met up about 10km north of Tropic of Capricorn between Walvisbay and Solitaire. Man, this is not an easy ride – the road is terrible! Dave really has perseverance – always a smile and a quick joke to tell – if you happen to spot him on his journey to the Kunene River, stop and support this cause – AAPS
2 January 2017
The section from the Kuiseb to Walvisbay.
Had to tie my tent to the water cans because of the strong wind.
Arranged all the way from Australia and hand-delivered to me in the desert. Thanks, guys. It was a nice touch.
6 January 2017
From Walvisbaai to Mondesa – Windpomp 14
Dune 7 Adventures where one can do quad bike trips.
My desert camp between Walvisbay and Swakopmund.
13 January 2017
Dave’s visit to Windpomp 14 made the local newspaper
14 January 2017
The area between Windpomp 14 and Uis
Apparently the smallest municipality in the southern hemisphere. Only five permanent households living here. But come holiday time and the place is packed.
I thought I was tough doing this walk until I met a girl from Germany. She came through West Africa, toured through countries such as Mali, Nigeria, Congo and now Namibia, all by herself. Now that is tough. You humbled me. Enjoy your trip and remember I have a place for you to stay and a big steak waiting for you at Camp Africa in Louis Trichardt on your way back up East Africa.
17 January 2017
Dave has been suffering from severe blisters since day 3 of his journey, he says pain is now his new best friend.
I intentionally chose the road passing Anixab near the Ugab River in the hope of seeing some elephants but I didn’t bargain on getting this close – a bit scary when you are on foot…
This is what Dave looks like after a long day of walking is extreme conditions. He says he is still positive, but this walk is getting long now…
Hopefully, in the next edition, Dave will tell us his whole story!
Dave van Graan, we salute you!