2005 – Northern Namibia
Back in 2005, prior to the World Congress of Herpetology in Cape Town, we embarked on a field trip to northern Namibia. I had Paul Moler and Randy Babb with me for most of the trip. We had a bad start – while crossing Botswana on the Trans Kalahari we stopped to check for snakes in a freshly dug trench and lost the rest of the party – Aaron Bauer and the rest of the crew in two other vehicles. And it was getting dark. We had no cell phone contact so I sped up but hit a cow at high speed. Never saw it. The damage was extensive – left front fender, lights and bull bar smashed and the left front wheel was at a 45 degree angle.
We made our way to Ghanzi at about 5 km/h with rubber flying off the left front wheel. Found a bush mechanic who stripped the wheel assembly, did a bit of bending after warming parts up with oxy acetylene and got the vehicle going.
We had more repairs done in Windhoek while Aaron and the rest of the crew drove off to Gaias. We followed a day later with vague directions, passed through Henties Bay and turned right to the Rhino Reserve and up the salt steps but gave up close to midnight and slept next to the vehicle. Little did we know that we were about one kilometer from Aaron and the rest.
We continued north, went west towards the eastern boundary of the Skeleton National Park where we found some amazing reptiles.
After about two weeks in the field and loads of amazing reptiles to photograph, we headed down to Cape Town for the conference. My brother Nico flew down to collect the Land Cruiser as I was heading for the Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda with Colin Tilbury to look for a rare chameleon.
The repairs to the Land Cruiser came to about R100,000.00. Despite the severe damage, we still managed another 8,500 kilometers without problems.