By definition, a caravan is typically a house on wheels, or a vehicle equipped for living in, typically towed by a car and used for holidays.It can also refer to a “group of travelers, as merchants or pilgrims, journeying together for safety in passing through deserts, hostile territory, etc”.
It seems caravans were meant for the desert.Or were they?Last week I had the opportunity to drive along as recovery vehicle,with the caravan of caravans on their first excursion into the Namib Sand Sea.A tester, so to speak. With an assortment of vehicles and attitudes pulling caravans and trailers, we wanted to see if it was possible and should it be,then would it be worthwhile?An expedition worth repeating?
Initially it was a struggle, not only uphill, but downhill too.Getting used to towing a tonne of metal through an already inhospitable environment doesnt come easy.Figuring out that a bit more speed can save your ass, yours and your caravans! Not to much, just enough. Slipfaces, no problem. Just don’t slowdown to much at the crest, so that when you negotiate all 38 degrees of sliding sand, your house on wheels comes thundering behind you,not past you.
Luckily, the caravans were fitted with tow strap loops, connected to either side of the axles to allow for the recovery vehicle to retrieve the caravan safely, without jackknifing.While hooking up the strap to my vehicle, it gave the occupants time to breathe, time to figure out a new angle of attack and in some cases , time to discuss the upcoming divorce proceedings.
The pace of the convoy was never going to involve a high speed, or a fifth gear for that matter.Its not a case of how slow is your car, but how fast is your house!We stopped, we pushed, we pulled we laughed.We arrived at camp at sunset.We tried that uphill again and again and again……and again, and we made it over.All of us. With the caravans and trailors.
Without any serious incidences,and a steep learning curve for all involved,we now know it is indeed possible to tow a caravan into, and out of the Namib Sand Sea.Worthwhile?Most definitely. We will do it again.Soon.
Have tow ball, will travel!