Two Hundred and Thirty

Suddenly the sharp smell of gasoline fills the cockpit.

It’s 8.30pm. Dark. Dusty. We’re in Angola, finally, and we’re still 2 hours from our destination.

I’m the Project Director and Expedition Planner for the Okavango Wilderness Project. Our expedition convoy is en route to our first logistics stop and is travelling from the Katwitwi border between Namibia and Angola to Menongue, the capitol of the Cuando-Cubango province. It is made up of the deputy director of the OKAVANGO Tourism Development Node, a 6x6 HALO De-mining Trust truck accompanied by a HALO Land Rover 110 and 2 Toyota Land Cruisers — one of which is mine, and has a petrol leak…

The road we are travelling on is 230km of badly degraded tarmac and then eventually potholes and gullies which we think can be seen from space. Diabolical. Smooth sections are bliss. We’ve been driving since 10am.

Sunset along the road between Katwitwi and Menongue, Angola.

My role is logistical support to a 33 person expedition from the source of the Cuito river in Angola, a massive tributary of the Okavango river, all the way to the sands of the Kalahari desert east of the Okavango’s Delta in Botswana.

I stop, move around the vehicle trying to ascertain where the fuel leak is — I quickly discover its a fuel transfer pump between my long range tank and my main fuel tank. I make a quick repair, which involves shoving a whittled twig into the hose which has sheared off due to the roughness of the road and we continue into the night.

Now I need a new fuel transfer pump…