Short-cuts aren’t always the fastest

Going to the bush last weekend we were told that there is a dirt road that would cut 18o km off the distance of the tar option.

Friday we took the short-cut and owing to a bit of rain in the area we did go through a muddy patch, but had no problem and we got to destination much quicker than if we had traveled on the tar.

It rained the whole weekend and Sue mentioned she wasn’t happy about the dirt road home. But what the hell we have upgraded to a 4X4 so it shouldn’t be a problem. The beginning of the road was covered in massive puddles, but the ground was firm under the water and we flew through.

About 10 km into the 90km road we started getting patches of the dreaded black mud, basically clay. We hit a long patch and we were almost through, when a very soggy section caught our wheels and we dug in.

We were in the middle of nowhere and the chances of another car coming on the road was almost nil. So we had to get ourselves out. Stepping out of the car we sank more than ankle deep in mud that was so sticky you could almost not walk. We cleared the wheels of mud and with a friend, who was traveling with us we managed to push the car out backwards. We got a bit of momentum – but then straight back into another soggy patch and we were stuck again.


We dug, placed branches under the wheel and tried moving the car, but as hard as we tried it would not budge. Two guys on foot appeared and we tried again with no luck, two more guys came and eventually we had seven helpers. These guys were part of a fencing team that had a camp, well a tent, close by.

It seemed that man-power was not going to get us out and it was getting late. We made a major effort to clear the wheels, the under surface of the car and place logs under a wheels. With a massive heave from our 7 helpers the car moved forward and I put gas – after 5 hours we were free.

We headed back to the tar road, the car was covered with mud inside and out, and so were we. The tar road was now our route home – some 350km and the sun was beginning to set. The golden rule in Botswana is you don’t drive at night because it is so dangerous with the animals on the road, but we had no option.

The first stretch of road was incredibly busy and to make matters worse is that the mud caked to our wheels was throwing out the wheel balancing – so I couldn’t drive at more than a 100 Km/h.

The final 200km was on the Francistown Orapa road that we know well. It was much quieter, but one thing a Botswana driver does not do in a hurry, is dip his brights and they go back to them before they pass you.

The rain began to fall heavily so conditions got worse. On the positive side it did remove the mud from the wheels so the car did get more stable.

Normal time for the trip on the tar road: 5 hours; time taking the short cut: 4 hours; time we took to get home: 11 hours.

Covered in mud we headed straight for the shower. Sue turned to me and said “we are home out of the rain, we have a nice hot shower to clean ourselves, I wonder if those kind guys that helped us are dry and how they will clean themselves”.

She is such a caring person and with such compassion for other people no wonder she is so liked by the staff on the mine, the community and of course loved by me.



About PeteMorrie

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One Response to Short-cuts aren’t always the fastest

  1. Rina says:

    Seems to me you guys need to invest in some DIY 4X4 training vidoes or classes ! As Ian to recommend some viewing material…..I recall him watching a few Andrew St Pierre White dvd’s….

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