As Tamzyn plunges deeper into her 21 day Cape Town to Vic Falls overland trip, her capacity for adventure broadens...
Day 7: The Namib Desert, Dune 45 and Swakopmund
Woohoo!! We race up the 148 meter monster of Dune 45, some of our arses having to be dragged up the dune, to see Sossusvlei stretching out in a sea of caramel-rippled ice-cream.
We were even overtaken by a fit granny on a serious mission who hiked past us at one heck of a speed putting most of us to shame. The view quickly pushes our tired muscles to the back of our minds, as we take time to absorb the sights from the top of the world. The sand towers burn in every shade of rich red, bright orange and deep gold from the streaks of light peering through the clouds. The Namib Desert, which translates from Nama to 'vast area', is the oldest desert in the world and spans 80, 900 km² of desert vlei and dunes with some dunes towering at over 300 meters.
The Namibian Survival Guide
After a mouthwatering and energizing breakfast of French toast and eggs and a quick 4x4 Namibian offroad trip we are at the heart of Sossusvlei. A guided tour through the gorgeous Deadvlei and Hiddenvlei, complete with hilarious anecdotes, expressions, and a shortened version of the Namibian Desert survival book rounds up our morning perfectly.
Our proud Namibian ambassador and tour guide extraordinaire even manages to convince a few of us that the best food source, if stranded in the Namibian Desert, is to kill an Oryx by breaking off its own horn and stabbing it in the heart.
Overlanding’s Cardinal Sin
The early morning starts seem to be getting the better of a few travelers who are caught sleeping through the truck ride, missing half of the Namibian experience and natural beauty as it passes by outside their window. Heavenly Apple Strudel Solitaire is our final stop before arriving at Swakopmund. It is also the perfect chance to enjoy a yummy piece of Namibia’s best Apple strudel from Moose's place.
Swakopmund - Extreme Adventure Paradise
Swakopmund is our home for the next three days and it's every adrenalin junkies dream with plenty of opportunity to enjoy some crazy adventures. We are so spoilt for choice that it’s difficult to decide what to do. Sandboarding, quadbiking, skydiving, para-gliding, cruising through the waves or kayaking past the breakers, if its extreme it’s in Swakopmund. Originally the main harbour for South-West Africa, Swakopmund is now better known for being Namibia’s top beach holiday resort and the unique experiences are the perfect chance to explore the dunes and waves of the Namibia Desert from a different perspective.
Tonight’s Mexican Fiesta themed party at our Hotel Gruner Kranz club is our first chance to experience Namibia’s nightlife. We pack the dance floor and dance till the early morning, once again slightly overhydrating ourselves and enjoying each others hilarious ‘dance’ moves .
Day 8: Swakopmund - Calm Before the Storm
Our first beds in a week are soft heavenly clouds of cushion! Swakopmund’s characteristic morning mist is refusing to lift, so some of our activities have been moved to tomorrow which is great news for those of us who need IV coffee drips after dancing until closing time this morning. Some of the group spends the day taking full advantage of Swakopmund’s internet and coffee café’s in the charming German-styled town. I choose to walk Swakopmunds palm-tree lined promenade and gorgeous coastline of caramel colored sand dunes enjoying some personal thinking time and solitude in the desert. The fishermen are hauling in today’s catch as kids play in the breakers at the bathing beach and the old shipwreck bobs in the waves. The Swakopmund pier and local cafés are buzzing with tourists as the sun sets on another perfect day on this Namibia safari.
Day 9: Swakopmund Adrenaline Day
After a quick breakfast of eggs, cereal and French toast we dash upstairs of a quick shower before heading out to explore the desert and get our adrenalin kicks for the trip.
The Greatest Day of my Life
The day starts with some epic action. We race up and down a monster 100m dune trying to learn how to sand board on full size snowboards. I can’t seem to stop smiling which is problematic when I spend more time on my face with a mouthful of sand than standing up on my board. We finish up with Dizzy, the fastest lie-down boarding run in which you whizz down the dune face on waxed up wooden chipboard at speeds over 70 km/ h. One person clocked 78 km/h whilst a few others came clean off their boards and ended up with crusty sand filled eyes and mouths but even then they couldn’t stop laughing.
Go Jump Out of a Plane!
This is the most fun that you can have with your clothes on!! We are all loving life as we bundle in the kombi and head back to Gruner Kranz, for a quick change before psyching ourselves up to jump out of a plane.
My excitement is building as I watch the others go up and then come down in a mushroom coloured cloud looking chuffed as hell. Champion sleeper, Kim, even manages to sneak in a nap 15 minutes after jumping. Surprisingly my jump partner and I are not nervous.The afternoon seems to whizz by at the skydiving hangar and soon they are calling our names for the final jump of the day- the sunset jump. DID I MENTION I LOVE MY LIFE! Mias, my instructor, is so friendly and excited that he immediately puts any fears I should have had out of my mind. The climb to 10 00 ft takes only 25 minutes as we fly over and take in the insanely gorgeous views of Swakopmund and the desert. 5 minutes left and I am being strapped in by Mias for final checks. Then we are shuffling towards the door, sitting on the edge! Then freefall - 5 000 ft in 35 sec! Absolutely amazing! No one can describe the sensation of cruising through the air at 250 km/ h. I scream the whole way down and when Mias hands me the parachute toggle I pull it hard to make me spin faster towards the ground.
I am wearing a permanent smile for the next two days and we all can’t stop replaying the jump in our minds both in our minds and on video.
- Better than sex - Swakopmund Top 5 Adventure Activities (overlandingafrica.com)