The participants often embark on field visits for research purposes in some of the most remote areas of Namibia and Angola, therefore, it was befitting for the group to gain knowledge in 4x4 driving.
Although driving off-road is second nature to many, if one is not familiar with such an environment, this can result in negative outcomes, such as vehicle damage or in severe cases, fatalities. This was exactly what Frans Theron from the Namibia 4x4 off-road Academy trained the NUST team to avoid. Theron’s knowledge and experience in the field, stretches over a period of more than 25 years. He has worked extensively in Namibia and other SADC countries, conducting training to staff in sectors such as mining, and safety and security.
The modules covered in the training ranged from driving in sand, muddy and wet conditions to mountains, as well as vehicle recovery. The latter is vital as Namibia is home to many treacherous terrains, meaning once a driver gets stuck in sand or in a mountainous remote area, rescue missions can be extremely complicated.
Dr Meed Mbidzo, a lecturer in the Faculty of Natural resources and Spatial Sciences (FNRSS), said the training was “I never thought that I would be able to take a Land Cruiser through such conditions,” Dr Vera de Cauwer, a senior lecturer, in the same faculty, highlighted that the training took her out of her comfort zone. Dr Rolf Becker, the FNRSS Dean, suggested that such training should be compulsory for all postgraduate students and staff doing fieldwork. To conclude the training, the participants received competency certificates, valid for two years.
(Article and image contributed by Francois Lottering)