Words and pics: Jacqui Middlewick a.k.a Tiki, Airspace Lead
Riding out to Tankwa in middle of January to visit the new land again is such an awesome feeling. Unsure of what the year holds, I hope you all get a chance to visit it.
As you drive up the R355, I see Skoorsteenberg and start feeling excited. We are are very close. Arriving at the farm gate, the blue flowers of the sleeping lady welcome you to a seemingly barren land. The road is easy too: head past a groot gat made by a natural spring that had a puddle of water in it, and going over a ridge we see the bus (what a familiar shelter from the wind!) and then continue to Quaggakop and stop to admire the view.
Quick work meeting – we are here to map the land, collect GPS points and drone footage and ultimately find a place to put an airstrip. I give a brief overview of the key landmarks: Skoorsteenberg, Jenny Hill, the DPW storage, the kloof where the cottage is hidden behind and the rest is all desert. Lotsa space. Very challenging to orientate and estimate distances with no physical objects to confirm the size. From there, a 10 minute drive on a road that gets very sandy and there are a lot more scrubby bushes and eventually arrive at the cottage, not before surprising a lone springbok that skitters off to the north. Quick unpack at the cottage, and prep the equipment for the morrow and a quick sunset drone flight.
Next day the team (Warren Witte and Graham Styles, burners that have volunteered their professional service to survey the land for us) head out. Weather is decent, only 29C not the 40 C, and a light breeze. Perfect weather for AfrikaBurn day out. Spend the day wandering across a certain area, placing maps, walking over 15km to examine for obstacles or others factors. Then home for a big bonfire and stars. Both so bright. Sunday, hotter, much hotter, and we see 6 gemsbok wondering over the proposed airspace area, they even investigated the GPS co-ordinates that we had laid out. Maybe they thought it was a salt lick?
Rebar test to see soil depth was interesting, as this land is not hard rock as our old site at Stoneghenge Private Reserve, but covered in softer river sand and broken shale. Fortunately, the bedrock ain’t that far: between 3-31cm was the deepest we could find. However we did manage to get the car stuck in a riverbed and had to dig and let down tires to get ourselves out. Now we have the info, fond memories and super motivated and excited about the next time we will visit the land in what ever from it takes. Once we have processed all the data and photos, our Airspace team is going to need help from the community:
– Bush pilots and pilots that have flown to the event to discuss airport options
– Grader/bulldozer heavy equipment drivers to level the earth
– Anyone interested in building an art work with the beautiful scrubs and bushes that will be
– Ideas for an airport name and possible name change for the Airspace theme camp.
This new space is so awesome!
Lotsa dusty love flying high,
Chief Lemon Squeezer and the team