Swakopmund is famous for its variety of outdoor activities, ranging from the benign to the extreme. Starting off fairly tame, I decided to ride a camel.
Camels have a well-deserved reputation for being somewhat cantankerous. My camel, Timba, did not fail to disappoint, as it was clear from the get-go that he was not happy to be carting around a camera-toting tourist. As I climbed aboard, he let loose a long, loud, gutteral grawwwwwooowww of disapproval. And he continued to bark his discontentment throughout the 30-minute journey. My guide, Morgan, was very helpful in keeping Timba in check.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a camel ride, though compared to a horse, one is placed higher and sways a bit more, the height of the saddle perched atop his single hump adding to the vertigo.
We followed a well-trodden path 15 minutes away from his “stable”, which was a converted shipping container, took some pictures and headed back.
In the end, I’m glad I did it, even though it was pretty kitschy.
Later in the day, I went sandboarding. Basically snowboarding on sand.
The boards look exactly like snowboards, but according to our guide, the bottom is coated with a type of linoleum. In order to create the right amount of slide, we had to take a couple fingerfuls of floor wax and smear the bottom of the boards to create a slick enough surface to slide on the sand.
After waxing, we strapped the boards on and headed downhill. The dunes we surfed were just south of Swakopmund and were about 300 feet high. Beautiful dunes of the type I would experience later in the week in Sossusvlai, just smaller.
Sandboarding is cool and uniquely noteable, though it turned out we would have to rewax after every run as well as hike the long slog back up the dune after each run (obviously, we didn’t have the benefit of ski lifts). I ended the day covered in sand and thoroughly sore.
Swakopmund is also famous for its proximity to a beautiful ocean and beach, so what better way to view the natural beauty than from 10,000 feet?
The next day, I strapped on a harness, climbed into a plane, flew to the appointed altitude and then rolled out of it (the plane, not the harness). I’ve skydived before, so I didn’t have to deal with the attendant nerves of a first jump, but it was still a lot of fun.
The woman I rode up with was jumping for the first time, and afterwards, she mentioned how odd it was that my jump instructor (to whom I was harnessed) and I scooted over the the door and were very quickly gone. No hesitation.
The jump was, as always, phenomenal. The view of Swakomund was incredible and after 35 seconds, we deployed the chute. Another seven minutes and we were then on the ground again.
Watch the full video here: