Source: GO! Magazine, June 2011
We toured the Kgalagadi in February 2011. One night in Polentswa Camp my friend Conrad Bos and I heard a noise at about 7pm. He climbed on top of the chalet and saw a man in rags coming out of the bush. He was a French tourist, badly dehydrated and in a sorry state. He had a back pack a small fire extinguisher (to scare off wild animals), a sleeping bag and an empty water can.
He was in shock, so we gave him water, wrapped him in warm blankets and called Twee Rivieren and Nossob via satellite phone. Later that night he told us his story. He was travelling with his girlfriend; it was their first visit to South Africa. Two days previously they had set off on the Polentswa 4×4 wilderness trail and reached the pans about 40 km away from camp at 3pm. Both pans and the road were filled with water. Not knowing what to do, they drove straight into the water and got stuck. They tried to get the vehicle out, but didn’t have any success. The next day the pair walked about 10 km in search of clean water but didn’t find any, so the Frenchman resolved to walk back to Polentswa. After another night in the vehicle he set off the following morning at 6 am, leaving his Girlfriend at the vehicle. We gave him a place to sleep and went to pick up his companion and their luggage the next morning. We handed the shaky couple over to park staff, and that’s the last we saw or heard of them. It’s a lesson for anyone heading off into the wilderness alone: be prepared.