Author: Oscar Dahl (Guest)
The orange sun was setting on the vast savannahs of northern Namibia, as I was getting ready for a little game drive. There was nothing particularly special about the day up until that point. It was just another “normal” part of an already “normal” holiday on my uncle’s ranch. Although strangely enough my father decided to come along this time, which is weird considering he was not really into the whole outdoor thing. I’m getting off track; we were getting ready to board my uncle’s pickup (we being me, my mum, dad and some extended family).
We started driving north towards the large plain encircling the farmhouse. Along the way we saw just about every staple of African wilderness you could imagine: kudus, oryx, warthogs and even a giraffe, or at least its head, which was sticking out over the tree line. The weather that day was, unbelievably, not hot enough to melt your brains, which was quite out of the ordinary for Namibia in the middle of summer. However, as the sun reached its zenith that noon, we saw a few scattered clouds rolling in from the east. By the time we’d left it was already overcast, strange, but nothing we haven’t ever seen before. My mother always the worried type said,
“I don’t know maybe we should just stay home”.
“Oh, don’t be so anxious. We’ll be fine”, my father said, oh boy was he wrong, but I’m getting ahead of myself. “If you ever get married make sure she’s OK driving around in some cloudy weather” ,he told me sarcastically, while my mother had one of those looks in her face. As he said that it began to drizzle over us,
“No worry we’ll just check up on the dam and then we’ll head home”.
So, we headed towards the dam which was actually quite a distance away.
At this point my mother wasn’t the only one who would’ve rather been at home, and after much complaining from most people my uncle promptly hurried up. By the time everyone was back on top the pickup the rain had intensified to the point where it was “properly” raining, much to the detriment of myself, who for some reason thought it would be a good idea to go out in shorts and a t-shirt. An actual issue we were facing was that we were sitting on a metal box with wheels on a vast grassy plain with thunder all around us, which if you’ve ever attended a basic physics course you should know usually ends quite badly.
My mum had resorted to gripping to the edge of the vehicle while silently saying “Oh god, oh god, oh god…”, while my dad was attempting to comfort her. My brothers and younger cousins shouting like a bunch of buffoons wasn’t really helping either, “but hey that’s kids under 10 years of age for you” I was thinking. But that noise would soon enough pale in comparison to the lightning and thunder around us. Throughout all of this my uncle was driving as though he had gone completely haywire. I mean we were going smooth fifty or sixty kilometres per hour on uneven terrain, which had most of us gripping for our lives on the railing. Except for me because I was still in that phase of teenage rebelliousness where I thought
“Phh, safety, who needs it”
That was also the day that phase ended, as approximately twenty seconds after I said that we hit a bump which caused me to fall on the back gate of the pickup, almost falling off in the process into a small river that busy flooding. We continued as we entered a slightly more forested area where the threat was no longer getting struck by lightning but instead getting hit in the face with a thorn-covered branch. “Yee-haw!” my father exclaimed while having the most fun he’s had in ages, while we were cowering on the floor of the truck.
“About 5 more minutes!” my uncle shouted from inside the pick-up’s cabin. We could even see the house through the bushes. To get there we had to drive straight along a path parallel to the bush line at the end of which there was a rather sharp turn. So, as we raced towards the end going almost as fast as that decade old car could go. Once we had reached it, we performed what I to this day consider the sharpest turn ever made. It threw every single one of us onto the floor which had been continuously filling up with rainwater this whole time. But that didn’t matter as we were just metres away from the gate when, naturally at the apex of the storm, our engine stalled.