Starting out with a leopard crawl at the bottom and its a very very long way to crawl the top of this particular sand dune. Any “bokkop” (Infantry) who trained at 2 South African Infantry Battalion (2 SAI) will immediately recognise this infamous feature … Dune 7 … Walvis Bay … men where forged by this sand dune.
This giant 383m high dune was used by the South African Defence Force (SADF) time and again to train troops on and test their stamina, especially young conscripted National Servicemen.
2 SAI was established on January 1, 1962, at Walvis Bay, at the time an enclave of South African territory, surrounded by South West Africa (Namibia). It was about the most furthest and remote training base to get a call-up from, a conscript here was truly a ‘long way from home’.
After Namibia’s first democratic elections and as part of the peace process, South Africa formally transferred sovereignty of Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands to Namibia on 1 March 1994. Prior to official transfer of the Walvis Bay territory to Namibia, 2 SAI re-deployed back to the Republic of South Africa in 1993 and since 1998 has been based at Zeerust.
2 SAI leaving its South African enclave in Namibia meant leaving three decades of training legacy and leaving this mighty Dune to adventure tour companies in Namibia. Its memory as a training instrument now only emblazoned in all who spent time in the military at 2 SAI running up and down it.
Written by Peter Dickens