The Swakopmund Thrillogy (well, two-thirds of it anyway)

Swakopmund Travel Blog

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Namib sand dunes

I had hoped the two nights in the hostel in Swakopmund would be a way to make up for some lost sleep. As good as I generally slept while camping, the late nights and early mornings did start to get to me. So I had really hoped a night in a proper bed would do me some good, like it had done in Windhoek.

Unfortunately it was not to be. The bed wasn't all that comfortable and the party going on in the room next door meant I kept getting woken up by the sound of slamming doors and shouting.
And I didn't get much of a lie-in either, as the first trip of the day started at 9:30.
Together with Paola, Sally, Ross and Laura I went sandboarding.

Sandboarding
As the name suggests, this is something similar to snowboarding, but on a different surface.

In between the Kalahari and the Namibian coast lies the Namib desert, a 1600 km long and 100 km wide stretch of sand dunes. Most of the desert is a protected area, but one of the dunes can be used for sandboarding, which is considered an eco-friendly activity.
And just how eco-friendly we would soon find out. As most people will realise, part of sandboarding (or snowboarding or skiing for that matter) involves sliding down a mountain. And as the saying goes, what comes down, must go up first! So our trip started with climbing an 85-metre high sand dune!

Once at the top of the dune we received some instructions on how to go down a sand dune with a snowboard. I had never done snowboarding before (I am a skier, I was taught to hate snowboarders) so I was not hindered by any experience.

going 72 kilometres an hour down a sand dune
I must say, it was a lot easier than expected. Might not have looked very professional, but it certainly felt like I looked like I knew what I was doing.

Did I mention yet that what comes down has to go up again? So after a one-minute descent of the dune, I had to climb all the way back up again. This made that I only did three runs in the end. It was just too tiring to walk back up every time, plus there was another activity which turned out to be as much (if not more) fun to try.

Apart from the stand-up sandboarding, which resembles snowboarding, there was also the possibility to do lie-down boarding. This basically involves no more than a greased up board of plywood, gravity and balls of steel.
The lie-down boarders went down 4 different slopes, and we joined them for their last run, the fastest slope of the four, called 'Dizzie'.

quad biking

There is something really unnatural and unsettling about lying down on a piece of plywood and sliding head first down a slope with it. It is also tremendous fun though. At the bottom of the slope stood a guy with a speed gun measuring everybody's speed and on my first run down I got up to 71 km/h!!
The second run I did I even beat that by reaching a speed of 72 km/h. Apparently the record is 80 km/h. Mental!

In the afternoon pretty much the whole group went for the quadbiking. Now or course this is not something that is typical for Namibia, but it is one of the few places in the world where you can do a 60 kilometre long trip through sand dunes. And no other traffic is allowed on the track, so it was just the group of quads, and nothing else.

The quad biking was tremendous fun. Basically it consisted of storming up a dune as fast as you could, and then down again. And that for two and a half hours!

Most had decided not to go out for dinner with the whole group, but each went their own way instead. Robbel and I joined Paola, Sally and Rudy for dinner, only to find that pretty much everyone else had opted for the same restaurant as we had :-)

edsander says:
Looks like a fun-packed day !
Posted on: Oct 17, 2009
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Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Sandboarding
Sandboarding
going 72 kilometres an hour down a…
going 72 kilometres an hour down …
quad biking
quad biking
Sandboarding
Sandboarding
getting ready for the sandboarding
getting ready for the sandboarding
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
With Sally and a doggy
With Sally and a doggy
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
Namib sand dunes
dinner
dinner
small selection of my sandboardin…
Swakopmund
photo by: Chelsea