Another legend gone


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The off-road community has suffered a blow with the passing of one of the great 4×4 legends in South Africa, Izak Barnard.

Izak, founder and owner of Penduka Safaris, suffered a fatal heart attack on his farm early Monday morning. Deep in his seventies, Izak left the management of his safari company in the capable hands of his son, Willem.

Born in 1933, Izak Barnard was a well-known South African safari guide, photographer, writer, automotive lover and son of the notorious outlaw hunter Bvekenya. He was also related to the famous heart transplant surgeon Christiaan Barnard.

Izak Barnard

Izak walks with a group of tourists over Botswana’s pans. He had the ability to spot every small thing and explain exactly what it is. (Photo taken between 1984 and 1987, Loretta Steyn).

Finding other vehicles unsuitable for his safaris, Izak designed his first double-cab bakkie in the mid 1970′s, long before double cabs became fashionable. But after using a Jeep bakkie and a nine seater Jeep station wagon on his first safaris back in the Sixties, Izak decided the Jeeps were not strong enough for his needs.

Izak’s true automotive love was with the Internationals. Bought from scrap yards and local auctions, Izak rebuilt all his Internationals from the 1310 series. “There is nothing on the market that can replace these trucks,” Izak said firmly.

Izak's Internationals

Izak first ventured into the heart of the Central Kalahari in the late 1950s with the help of the local Bakgalagadi tribesmen. They traversed the Kalahari on foot with donkeys carrying their water and supplies.

Izak used his knowledge of the area to establish Penduka Safaris, possibly the oldest safari company in Southern Africa. Even today, Penduka is the only tour operator offering adventure trips into the very core of the Kalahari.

Izak Barnard langs die kampvuur

When you read Rita van Dyk’s Boskos recipes again, imagine her standing next to Izak while he teaches her – that’s how it was (Photo: Loretta Steyn)