Words Pieter Oosthuizen, Images Dimitri Sharomov & Pieter Oosthuizen
“We’re a little late,” said Mike, unperturbed, as we approach the remote, dusty town. When he spots the tails of three small planes, he turns off the road, finds a gap in the fence and bounces through the veld to stop in a cloud of dust on the airfield.
This kind of make-do approach to getting things done, I realise, is exactly what he’d been talking about around the campfire a couple of nights before, when he’d said, “If you cannot adapt, you will never have an advantage”.
In fact, our whole journey in the remote northwest of Namibia was one of adaptation. And I am pretty sure that this is the reason that Mike Horn, a man who likes to go solo, was saying just what he felt when he said, “I really enjoyed the trip, because every morning I woke up and thought: Where are we going today?”
By “we”, he meant a dozen international journalists, accompanied by a crew and support team, who’d planned to drive seven Mercedes-Benz Geländewagens from Swakopmund, through the Kaokoveld to Epupa on the banks of the Kunene River, and back down to Opuwa’s airfield, all in the space of three-and-a-half days.
Making a plan – always
Mike said, “I was supposed to come here and enjoy the drive with journalists, talk and show them some stuff in the veld, but Martin (Mike’s brother, right-hand-man and organiser) could not be here, so there was work to do.”
Just the kind of situation that called for more adaptation from the man who kept us going deep into the night, day after day; always experiencing the thrill of deciding whether we should drive in someone else’s dust to keep up in the dark, with the possibility of getting stuck in deep riverbed sand, or risk dropping back and taking the wrong tweespoor to nowhere.