fully booked for 2015
Since 1987 the Kalahari Vasbyt has made a difference in the lives of young men. The course is physically and emotionally challenging, but the scientifically formulated method of presentation assures that you will learn discipline and get fit without ever being subjected to humiliation. In fact it will probably be the greatest holiday you ever have. Nothing will be expected of you that the course leaders will not also be willing to partake in.
The Kalahari Vasbyt is without doubt one of the most difficult physical and emotional courses available to any teenager anywhere in the world. If you succeed you will have a sense of achievement and something to be proud of that will make a difference for the rest of your life.
By applying to be part of this adventure you are committing yourself to work hard and make a success of it. If you are not really interested or committed you should rather stay at home. If you join us, you will be expected to participate.
Remember this verse of the Kalahari Vasbyt song
Although we accepted younger students in the past, we would prefer you to be at least 15 years old and no older than 18. We find that participants doing the course during their grade 11 or 12th year would probably derive the most benefit. We also accept young men who have just matriculated.
The cost of the tour is R15 980-00. This includes all meals, transport, activities and relaxation. White water rafting, Bungi jumping and a visit to the Victoria falls is all included. It is an express condition that no participant may take more than R700-00 spending money.
The course if full of exciting surprises, and remember that you will return extremely fit. You will be expected to abide by the attached Vasbyt principles. Please be aware that this is more a bush craft adventure course than a holiday tour.
On this trip we do not smoke or drink. This applies to all members of the tour including the team leaders. We will all work, play and suffer together. The only concession that the over forties will have is a little time off during PT. Everybody eats and drinks the same food. If there is cool drink the adults only get what is left over and when we eat, the adults dish up last. There are no special facilities or bungalows for the adults. If there are privileges or luxuries we will all share in them equally. This is the spirit of the Kalahari Vasbyt and our promise to you.
If you are a young man with character and want to be part of an adventure, drive through the expanse of the bush, want to learn about the environment and want to be more than just average, this is the course you have been waiting for.
Persons attending this course will have to agree and adhere to the following principles and traditions:
The Kalahari Vasbyt is dependant on sponsors for the tour and bursaries for those that have completed the course.
Look what you get - 17 days transportation, air tickets R1300.00, bungi USA $110.00, white water rafting USA $120.00, 17 days of accommodation including 3 in chalets, course material R300.00, entrance fees to National Parks R880.00, 17 days of excellent meals, a certificate R450.00 and much more for less than an air ticket to Europe.
IS IT A SURVIVAL CAMP? Definitely not. You will always have enough food and water. The food is generally excellent. The young men will be taught to cook and because we expect the best of them, the food is generally of a very high standard and more than enough. There is no reason to ever go hungry or buy your own food on the Kalahari Vasbyt. You can just ask and we will ensure that there will be enough to eat.
ARE THE VEHICLES SAFE? We just ordered 4 new Land Crusier vehicles for the Vasbyt 2015. These vehicles will be more safe than the previous transport
However buses and bush vehicles have a reputation for causing serious injury to the passengers if they should roll. South African bus and motor vehicle accidents often lead to fatalities. This is because there is so little in the way of protection when an accident occurs. Even the strong roll-bars only serve a purpose if you don't land up under one. For this reason, it is essential to adjust your speed and remain alert to danger at all times.
IS IT DANGEROUS WHEN THE BOYS DRIVE? This is probably the safest activity on the tour after sleeping and bungi jumping. The boys never drive more than 40 km an hour and usually it will be slower. There is no racing through dunes and strict diciplinary action will be taken against anyone who tries to drive like a cowboy. There have been occasions in the past when boys have been tempted to take out vehicles on their own for a joy ride and you can be assured that I will be extremely strict about this in the future.
BUNGI JUMPING People have been injured during low level bungi jumping. The bridge at Victoria Falls is high. It is suppose to be the safest activity on the tour. However on New Year's Eve in 2011 a rope snapped and a girl survived miraculously. An investigation proved that this accident was avoidable. The rope was not of the prescribe standard. This problem is now corrected and as long as your weight is under 2000 kg there is nothing to fear.
WHITE WATER RAFTING Seven people have died since this sport started in the eighties. Five of these were guides who offered their lives to save clients who had not followed their instructions. The Zambezi is a mighty river and it is essential to follow the safety precautions and instructions of your guide to the letter. The guides are all friendly, fit and brave. If you should ignore their instructions be prepared for strict disciplinary action and even appropriate force where necessary.
Statistically the percentage of accidents is nominal. No cost is spared to ensure that the results of accidents are kept to a minimum. A complete rescue team will accompany the Vasbyters. Safety equipment includes rescue kayaks and a helicopter with divers.
WILD ANIMALS Don't harbour any illusions. Wild animals can be dangerous. I accept full responsibility on this point. Thankfully we have never had any incidents. My safety precautions have been put to the test by lion and elephant in the past and have always kept us safe. The young men are strongly advised to wear closed shoes when walking through the veld as this protects them from scorpions and spiders.
ROUTE MARCH The route march is long and difficult. Precautions are taken against encounters with wild animals. Nobody will ever walk during the night and I am constantly in contact with the group. Snakebite is one of the possible dangers and can be potentially fatal. There is always the best possible medical assistance available. Scorpions and spiders are even more common, but luckily less dangerous. I have treated these sort of problems with success in the past and am confident of handling any accidents in the future.
WHO IS THE TOUR GUIDE? Andries Erwee (a 1958 model) and father of two adult daughters will be the leader. I believe that through my tours I am fulfilling my calling to the youth.
Over the years I have accumulated a lot of experience as a veld and nature guide and I am registered with the S.A. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (WC 2853). I am a respected member of the Field Guide Association of South Africa (nr. 7486) and have attained six national field guide qualifications. (TG01,TG08/TG11/TG12/TG14/TG18) I also have the highest national grading as a culture guide. I have a post graduate teaching diploma and a Masters in Leadership Development. In addition I hope to complete a masters in Wildlife Management before the end of 2014. Various positive articles on my educational methods have been placed in a number of magazines and newspapers. I will have at least two young adults to assist me. See accompanied article. Read article
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE COURSE? The Kalahari Vasbyt movement believes strongly in empowering young men rather than handing them free gifts. On this tour you will be taught to find ways to help yourself rather than demand favours. Vasbyters look after one another and the hope is that more bursaries for ex-vasbyters will become available in the future.
IS IT PHYSICALLY EXHAUSTING? You will definitely find yourself challenging your own physical abilities during the Vasbyt. You can do more than you think physically and we are going to push those limits. You are probably only utilizing a small part of your brain and these borders will be tested too. It is likely that you are utilizing the people around you far less than you could. This will be another border to test. You could probably be supporting your friends and family to a far greater extent and could be doing far more in your community. We will shift your mental borders here too. The Kalahari Vasbyt is for young men who are tired of the boredom of an average life and want to do something special. For young men who want to stand out. Rising above average is possible and feels great, but it is always difficult and exhausting. This course will teach you to dream big and to achieve your dreams.
JUST TOO MUCH TO PAY FOR A LOCAL TOUR? Just look at what is included: 16 days of transportation - Fishing permit R20 - Quad Bike experience R250 - Air tickets R1200 - Bungi USA $110 - White water rafting USA $120 - 17 days accommodation including 3 in chalets - Course material R300 - National Park fees R880 - 16 days of excellent meals and much more for less than the cost of an air ticket to Europe.
ISN'T JANUARY AN EXCEPTIONALLY HOT MONTH? It is normally fairly comfortable and pleasant along the Namibian coastline. The northern parts of Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls are also not too hot. However, I have experienced extremely hot weather in the Central Kalahari during January. Due to cloud cover in January, the average temperature is 4,3 degrees cooler than in November and 2,8 degrees cooler than in October. But still be prepared for very hot weather.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T MAKE IT FOR SOME REASON? As long as you are actively taking part in the activities and believe in the aims, you will remain a part of the tour. You will even receive a certificate indicating that you have attended the course. If however, you manage certain physical achievements during the course, you will obtain a certificate to say you have passed the course.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO PASS? Very difficult. The physical and emotional demands are high. No academic tests will be given. Anyone with enough motivation can pass this course. For example, you will be expected to do 3000 m in less than 16 minutes and the group as a whole will be expected to do this distance in an average of less than 14 minutes. And this is one of the easier challenges.
WHY NO GIRLS? We are planning a similar tour for girls in September. Have a look at the Girls Adventure on our web site. It would be inadvisable to have both young men and young ladies on one course as there are certain activities that are impossible for girls and others that boys would not be able to do. Additionally, the young men tend to lose their focus when girls are around just as a male dog loses his focus when confronted by a female dog on heat.
HOW ARE THE YOUNG MEN CHOSEN? There is no screening of applicants, but it is important to realise that you will have to comply with certain physical requirements. If you are more than 15% overweight or have a physical disability, you will probably not pass the course. If you are in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist to assess you. You should be able to run 3000 m in less than 16 minutes if you want to complete the course.