Sandboarding, dunes and Desert

Trip Start Jul 01, 2013
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Trip End Jul 01, 2014


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Flag of Namibia  ,
Monday, January 27, 2014

We are making our first non-camping stop of the tour today in Swakupmond. This very german little town is right on the edge of Atlantic ocean and fringed on the opposite side by massive sand dunes. The coast is known as the Skeleton coast, as fog is very common and has caused many ships to run a ground on the sandy coast and its surviving crew to perish in the expansive sand dunes. 
We will be here for two nights in the Amanpuri Hotel / Hostel were we decided to upgrade to a private room, as it would be nice to have a bit of privacy for a couple nights. 

 
That afternoon we all were invited to go on a Township tour. The local villages are called townships and this is where most of the Namibian people live and start their time in the cities. The area is littered with scrap material shacks, that the Namibians construct before they can afford to buy a house. The houses are all quite beautiful with lots of colours and are small and quaint. We met an elderly medicine woman who showed us a lot of holistic type medicines that are used in the community for everything from Headaches to labour pains. 
After the Medical clinic we stopped at the house of a women who was part of the Damara Tribe where we learned about their customs and tribal life. It was interesting to learn of people with such a different family dynamic, as they are based on having many wives for one husband and are looked after by the uncles or brides sister. 
The last stop for the day was at the local pub, which was basically inside a garage behind a house. We all had a few glasses of beer before, they put on the music and everyone started dancing, really cool to see some of the locals dancing with our group and everyone had a great time. 


Well, we knew Africa would be interesting and we were not disappointed. After the dancing we made our way to the back room, where they had a local delicacy laid out for us, grilled and dried Larva worms. We all tried the worms which tasted surprisingly like bacon, with a hint of Sardines. Everyone went around the room before we started pressuring a few, including Kim, that had not tried it. Kim eventually tired it, but didn't really like it to much. But, she can say now she at a worm her most hated of all living things. 
 

Later that night we had a nice group meal at a strange italian restaurant that was connected to a night club. After dinner we all went for a few drinks before calling it a night, as we all had activities booked for the next day. 


So lately, we have been craving an activity that we truly have missed on this perpetual summer vacation we are on. With winter back home in full swing, we have been missing the sting of soft white snow on our faces and slashing of snow under our boards. So, when one is in the desert you do the next best thing, sandboarding. We have been intrigued for a while by this activity and finally decided to give it a try. We were picked up along with about 10 others from the group to head out and slash some dunes only 15 mins from town. We arrived at the moon like landscape of the dunes and geared up for the morning session. 
 

We hiked the dune which was about 90 metres high. The air was cool and windy which made things much easier for the multiple climbs. At the top we waxed the boards, which had the bases converted to Arborite for those who were interested, before getting ready to head down. Our guide said "think of spring conditions, like heavy snow and you will be ok". I was first up and started out down the dune. He was pretty close on the conditions as it felt a lot like cement mixer snow back home in the spring. I put up a respectable first run and watched as the other made their way down to the base. After a couple of runs we decided it was time to hit the jump. They had installed a small kicker at the top which gave a bit of air before allowing you enough time to carve out to the base. Kim went ahead of me and did a nice jump. I was up next and also did a great jump and landed smooth, but it was missed by the camera lady in my haste to try out the ramp. 
We all did a couple more jumps including some of the never before snowboarded people from our group, which was inspiring to say the least. 


After the jumps it was time to try out the lay down sand boards, which turned out to be hardboard sheets. For this we went to the back of the dune which had a nice contour and gully where you would end up. So, we laid on our stomaches and shot down the slope at around 70 km. It was really awesome, and we ended up battling for the fastest rider over a few runs each. In the end it was the beautiful and arrow dynamic Kim that posted the fastest time of 77km beating me by 1km as well as a few others. The last run of the day was back down the front slope, I opted for a slash of a ridge beside the main run and Kim decided to land one more jump. The day was awesome, and sadly did nothing to quench the snowboarding thirst that still grows inside of us. But, with us now covered with more sand then an actual sand dune can have it was time for a beer and lunch before heading back. 
 

Once back in town, we shower and laid low until our video was ready to view at the shop around 6. We all watched the spills and thrills of the day together and had some good laughs. The boarding group decided to hit up a nice seafood restaurant that was once an old tug boat. The meals were ok and company great as we shared laughs over some food. 
Well, tomorrow we are heading back out to the nature, but with dreams of African wildlife in our heads. We will soon be in Otosha National Park and hope to see as many of the Big 5 as possible, as well as many more majestic African animals. 


Now back on the road, we head up the Skeleton coast for a while, stopping at a ship wreck from only a few years ago. The road now twists east and heads into the desert before climbing through a pass and arriving in the lush treed plains of the Otosha area. 
But first we stop at two Tribal villages along the way. The first is the Damara tribe known of the red colour of their skin, which is caused by a mixture of things applied to the skin for ceremonial and protective reasons. After the brief stop we head up the road to the same tribe as we encountered in the township tour. We look over some of the souvenirs for sale before heading down the road. 
 

Once at our camp for the night we opted for the a Bushman rock carving tour. The tour takes us through the rock carving that once taught the bushman how to hunt and find water. It was very interesting to see such old carvings and listen to our guide talk in the native language with clicks and pops. It was a really cool experience even with the heat back in full force. 


Tomorrow will be the start of our time in Etosha and our first game drive once we enter the park. We are both ecstatic and super excited to see some animals. Although the Oryx is one of our new favourite animals, we are really looking forward some of the other amazing creatures on this continent. 
Until next time 

Much Love 

K2

 
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