In search of the Tropic of Capricorn

27 April 2018 | People

Otis Finck - Johnny Bredenkamp is on a sightseeing tour with a difference in his Chevrolet Lumina SS bakkie.

He modified the Holden Commodore UTE bakkie manufactured in Australia and sold in SA as a Chevrolet Lumina SS, with a 6,2 litre LS3 Corvette motor and says the engine fits perfectly under the hood.

He also equipped the vehicle with a boot lid, a tent, fridge, gas stove and other essential camping equipment before he set out on his Tropic of Capricorn tour from Somerset West in the Western Cape, South Africa at the beginning of December last year.

Bredenkamp has since crossed the Tropic of Capricorn on five occasions and will do so for a sixth time when he passes Rehoboth on his way back to South Africa.

The Tropic of Capricorn is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of Earth and passes through 10 countries. It is the circle of latitude that contains the sub solar point on the December (or southern) solstice and the southernmost latitude where the sun can be directly overhead.

The position of the Tropic of Capricorn is not fixed, but rather varies in a complex manner over time. As of 10 April 2018, its latitude is 23°26'12.9? (or 23.43692°) south of the Equator, but it is very gradually moving northward, currently at the rate of 0.47 arcseconds, or 15 metres, per year.

Bredenkamp also visited 9 of the 15 SADC member states in the past five months and covered a road distance of more than 12 000 km on his Capricorn tour. Numerous bumper stickers carrying the names of countries on the rear flap of the vehicle attest to this.

“Travelling alone by road and visiting exotic places is an indescribable life experience. You cannot attach value to it. Potholes and border posts are the only negatives I encountered on this journey.”

According to Bredenkamp Namibian national roads are in mint condition and some of the best he has travelled on during his journey.

“I can testify to this after I’ve visited nine countries. I am visiting family in Swakopmund and must mention that the main roads are well maintained and in a very good condition overall. Swakopmund is an example of cleanliness and I must commend the management for a job well done. Travelling alone by road and visiting exotic places is an indescribable life experience. You cannot attach value to it. Caprivi and northern Mozambique contain some of the most beautiful and spectacular unspoiled natural sites. ”

Bredenkamp says he only had to replace two tires, the battery, a set of brake disc pads and explains that the fuel consumption of the vehicle differs and depends on the driving conditions.

“I could maintain a speed of 120 km with a fuel consumption of 9 km per litre while driving in Namibia. I drove through game reserves at an average speed of 30 km with a fuel consumption of 4 km per litre. Due to speed limits in Mozambique I travelled at an average speed of 60 km per hour and a consumption of 6 km per litre. Potholes curtailed my journey through Angola where I did an average speed of 80 km per hour with a fuel consumption of 8 km per litre.”

He set out from Somerset West to the Gariep dam and then departed to Maseru in Lesotho. He drove via the Golden Gate to Durban and proceeded to the Jozini dam.

“I crossed the border into Swaziland at Golela, drove via Big Bend and exited the country at Nomahasha to Mozambique. I camped at Maputo, Xai Xai and Inhambane (Barra Reef), drove all the way back to South Africa and entered at Komatipoort.”

He visited the Kruger National Park, proceeded along the main camps to Pafuri and exited the park at Tsipise Forever holiday resort.

“I passed Musina en route to the Mapunghubwe National Park and also visited Baltimore in the Bushveld before crossing into Botswana at Martinsdrif. While in Botswana I visited Palapye, Francistown and Nata, as well as the Makgadikgadi pans and the Elephant Sands park.”

He proceeded via Pandamatenga unto Kasane on the Chobe river and crossed the Zambezi river at Kazungula with a ferry to Zambia where he visited Livingstone and the Victoria falls.

“I also crossed the Vic falls bridge into Zimbabwe and visited the falls from that side. I headed to Kasane in Botswana where I visited the Chobe reserve before crossing into Namibia at Ngoma border post.



He drove up to Katima Mulilo through the Caprivi region and crossed the Kwando and Okavango rivers.

“Before I departed for Mobolo Lodge on the Okavango river I stayed in Rundu. I then crossed the river to Calais in Angola and retuned. I also visited Oshikango, crossed the border at Santa Clara and drove up to Ondjiva the capitol of the Kunen district in Angola.”

Brendekamp proceeded north to Lubango and travelled with the scenic and extremely dangerous Serra de Leba pass to the port city Namibe.

“I turned back to Santa Clara, crossed the border into Namibia and proceeded west to the Ruacana falls. The river was running and the falls were active. I departed to Outjo and entered the Etosha National Park at the Anderson gate, returned to Outjo and journeyed to Swakopmund.”

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