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Like a carpet of multi-coloured textures, the Namib Desert is really best viewed from the air. What better than jumping out of a plane with a parachute strapped to your back and enjoying The View to top all others?
Skydiving is a popular overland adventure activity, and in Namibia, a true highlight! Swakopmund offers tandem free-fall jumps for novices wanting to feel a burst of pure adrenalin.
Jumps take place daily, normally in the late morning after the fog has lifted. After a safety chat, you’ll board a plane for a scenic flight over the coast and desert before making your jump.
Although nerve-wracking (you’ll tumble earthwards for 30 seconds of freefall before releasing your parachute), it’s an amazing experience - worth experiencing on your Namibian overland tour.
Namibia is a country that was meant to be admired from the air, and scenic sightseeing flights are probably the best way of doing this. Flights vary from 1 and a half hour flips along the coast of Namibia near Swakopmund to all-day safaris in the north.
From the air, the desert landscapes, moonscapes, rocky formations, gravel plains, mountains and riverbeds are like a tapestry of changing colours and textures. Spot flamingos and pelicans down at Walvis Bay, and thousands of seals at Cape Cross during breeding season.
The treacherous Skeleton Coast is lined with gloomy shipwrecks, while inland lies a spectacular sea of dunes reaching all the way down to Sossusvlei and beyond. In the north, a flight over Damaraland and the Kaokoveld heralds even more visual delights.
For an overland adventure activity with a difference, a scenic flight over Namibia’s dunes and desert landscapes is sure to take your breath away.
The Namib Desert is famous for its giant dunes and there’s no better way to conquer these towering beauties than to zoom down them head first on a traditional Swakopmund sandboard, or carve up the dune with style and skill on a snowboard adapted for sand.
The beauty about sandboarding is the sand is not abrasive, and as it’s obviously not cold, you can board in shorts and t-shirts. The worst that can happen is that you walk away covered in sand!
As an overland adventure activity, this is definitely one of the most popular! For the lie down option you’re supplied with a large flat piece of waxed hardboard, safety hat, elbow guards and gloves before heading off to climb a dune.
The idea is to lie on the board, push off from the top and speed head first down the sandy surface. Speeds easily reach 80 km per hour and some of the dunes are very steep though first you’ll do a few training rides on the lower dunes. No experience is necessary; it’s exhilarating and lots of fun.
Stand up boarding requires more skill. It is exactly the same as snowboarding, but on sand, using standard snowboarding equipment to surf your way down the dunes. If you’ve got snowboarding experience then this is an opportunity to try out those turns, free-style jumps and big spray curves.
As overlanding activities goes, it’s also an environmentally friendly activity. The dunes are constantly shifting and can move ten metres in a week, so sand board tracks soon disappear.
Another way to explore the dune field near Swakopmund is by quad-bike; a 4-wheel all terrain motorbike. This is one of the best overland adventure activities giving access to parts of the Swakopmund sand dunes that even 4x4s can’t reach.
For those who are a little unsure of their biking prowess there are 160cc semi-automatic bikes. Those who wish to go hell for leather and have some idea of what they are doing can ride the 200cc manual quad bikes. Helmets, goggles and gloves are provided.
Tours are multi-guiding with slow and fast groups in the same tour, catering for both the adrenaline seeker and the complete novice. This exciting excursion starts on the edge of the Swakop River bed, crosses some gravel plains and goes into the dune belt where the fun starts.
There are some awesome photography opportunities to be had out in the Swakopmund dune belt, so remember to bring along your camera! You’ll be glad to know that this overland adventure activity keeps to one area of the dunes, thereby minimising environmental impact on the fragile desert ecosystem.
Ballooning over the Namib Desert and seeing the red dune field around Sossusvlei from the air is a captivating experience - and a true highlight on an overland tour in Namibia.
It’s a fabulous way to view the immense and extraordinary panorama of the contoured dunes and stark desert plains, as the rising sun paints the sand in warm red light.
Most desert flights start at Sesreim, which is close to the monstrously sized dunes of Sossusvlei and thus gives some of the best views in Namibia. Because of the strong thermal movements over the desert, the balloon has to take off at dawn.
Balloon rides usually last for one hour and are followed by a celebratory champagne breakfast at a landing spot in the middle of nowhere - definitely something to look forward to if you’re hitting the truck for a long day’s drive!
The Namibian coast, known for its unique scenic beauty, is also regarded as one of the best fishing grounds in the world. Fishing is good from Sandwich Harbour, south of Walvis Bay up to Terrace Bay, in the Skeleton Coast Park.
If you’re overlanding in Namibia, fishing trips can be done arranged on arrival in Swakopmund or up in the Caprivi, and can be enjoyed by boat or from the shore with no previous experience is required. Remember though, certain types of fish are strictly on a ‘catch-and-release’ basis!
Deep-sea fishing boats are fully equipped with all the necessary angling equipment, bait, fish-finder equipment and experienced guides, while o n the shore, the surf angling potential of Namibia’s Atlantic coast is regarded as one of the best in Africa.
Namibia’s best time for angling is between November and March. Prized catches include kob, steenbras, galjoen and blacktail. In other parts of the country, tiger fishing is just one of the types of freshwater fishing that can be done in the Caprivi Strip.