This is a difficult post to make and unfortunately dont have a lot of wowww pictures. To be honest for once there will be more writing than photos.
Apologies for that.
Lets start at the beginning.
We left Ihaha quite early since I knew we had some deep sand to conquer before we reach Savuti.
As per usual we stopped lots to take photos, buy curios, stock up with cold drinks etc.
Charmain took these stunning pics of a Waterbuck that was such a poser.
Had to take some pics of Lani passing through this Baobab gate.
Took the turn-off to Savuti.
and stopped at the last shop before we hit the sand.
After traveling a few kilometres on quite deepish sand I decided to relief some weight from the towball by emptying a jerrycan or two into the tank.
For those that dont know this road or the area there is about 3 or 4 tracks running in parallel. You pick one and is stuck in that track until the tracks cross.
Going was tough but not too bad and we were traveling at a decent pace encountering quite a few people travelling in the opposite direction.
We reached a 3 way split with a ‘road sign’ indicating to take a left to reach Savuti. My first mistake.
This road is about 7 km shorter than the other two but tuned out to be a horrible piece of road. From this turn off to Gotha hills gate is about 35km. The sand track is so deep and corrugated that turning around was not an option at all so we pushed on.
After about 15km we heard an air blowout like a tyre having a blowout.
Problem was the tyre pressure monitor indicated that all tyres were fine, meaning only one thing. The air suspension had a problem.
Please keep in mind this was at about 11 am on the 1st of May(public holiday in SA and Botswana).
It was 30+ degrees centigrade when I started looking at the problem. Needless to say everything under the car was extremely hot as well.
I eventually found a hole burned into one of the air suspension pipes. At this stage i had no idea what caused this and my only concern was to get it fixed asap.
After numerous attempts trying every trick I could think of and trying every patch possible to repair this 3mm hole I eventually got the suspension to lift.
After traveling about 2km that dreaded blowout occured again and after seeing the whole pipe burned off now I realised we were in trouble.
At roughly the same time my inverter and fridge went dead in the car as well. I was not a happy chappy.
I knew I needed a 6mm pipe connector with a total price of about R20.
For the first time in all our travels I had to resort to the sat phone.
First call was made to Tuffstuff who was immediately on the case. I also had number for a guy in Maun called Mac.
After a few calls to Tuffstuff I realised I was running out of airtime on the satphone and instructed Tuffstuff to log the claim but I will organise a rescue due to the limit of airtime I had.
I phoned Mac and he immediately indicated he cant help but he will have someone contact me.
It was now about 4:30 pm and the day was coming to an end.
Clive gave me a call and said mac asked him to call me. I explained the problem and asked him to bring those connectors and we should be sorted.
Being a public holiday and already so late Clive said that he will find the connectors the following morning at 8 and come through then.
At this stage I need to make mention of Charmain. while I was lying in the shade under the Landy she was in the sun(no trees around) handing me tools/tape/cold drink and whatever I needed. Without her I would not have been able to keep on trying to fix the problem and would have lost my patience much sooner. She is an absolute star and the right person to have with you when things go wrong. Kudos babe.
That evening we were both very tired and decided to skip dinner. We did consume a vast amount of liquids. We opened the tent and made bed for the night.
Took a shower and got into bed quite early.
To say we did not sleep well is an understatement. I woke up during the night and remembered I had a manual for the Discovery 3 air suspension. I started reading that and read that each airbag at each wheel have a non return valve.
What this meant was that if I could get air into the bags to lift the car and I pulled the fuse (no 26) the car will stay at the height since no air will escape.
I have never experienced such a silent night as that night. After regaining my sense of humour I said that it was so quiet I could hear ants 3km down the road having sex.
The following morning while waiting to hear from Clive I once again got under the Landy to get a new idea of what is going on. I then discovered the cause of all the trouble.
I must have hit a ditch too hard dislodging the centre silencer box from its bracket causing it to move about 4 cm towards the air suspension pipeworks. This heated up the heatshield behind which the pipe is running. The heat caused the plate to burn a hole through the air hose as well as burned through the wire that runs to the back of the car feeding power to my inverter and fridge.
I received a sms from from Clive at 7:35 indicating he is on his way. He arrived at about 10:30 after leaving Maun at 4 am.
The repair took about 5 minutes and the Disco once again rose to the occasion. With my new found knowledge i pulled the fuse and drove it like that.
We decided to follow Clive to Maun to have everything checked out properly. At Savuti we went through some deep puddles, some even over the bonnet.
We arrived in Maun at about 5 pm totally knackered and booked in at Rileys.
I will write a bit more about this(sure Charmain will remind me of some details I left out) mishap later but we could now claim we were on an adventure and not only a roadtrip. 😉
I do have the little pipe I tried to repair as a souvenir and here is the pic. Unfortunately we did not take any pictures of our ‘One night stand’ site where nobody else ever camped.
In the next post we explore Maun, meet some lovely people and change our itinerary.