5/24/12

Skiing in Swakopmund

WorldTeach volunteer Jason Usher is making the most of his time in Namibia. While Jason shares the joys of his teaching experiences, he also notes the other incredible opportunities and experiences the trip has provided. In particular, Jason notes his trip to the coastal city of Swakopmund. Here, Jason not only saw the ocean, but also went sand skiing on the desert slopes of the region! Read all about his exciting trip, and check out a couple of his great photographs below!

       

I don't typically write about the mini-vacations I take on the weekends, but this one was pretty special. On Wednesday I traveled to Swakopmund which is on the coast and met up with quite a few other WorldTeach volunteers. Damaris and Samiyah are placed in Swakopmund so most of us ended up staying there.

Swakopmund has some of the most interesting geography and architecture I have ever seen. It's situated right on the ocean and the Dunes of the Namib desert. Needless to say there were some pretty nice views.


Activities ranged from eating some of the best calamari in the world (allegedly), going to the beach, having my first Heifeweizen in months, putting my feet in the ocean, drinking das Boot, getting my haircut, and undoubtedly the most exciting part: SAND SKIING.


When I was still deciding if I wanted to come to Namibia back in November, I did a little research on the country. Among other things I found was a website about a German guy who takes tourists out into the steepest dunes to ski down them. Needless to say I was sold.


So on Saturday I donned my Fire on the Mountain t-shirt, grabbed some water and met Henrik outside. He drove me to his flat to get fitted for boots, we picked up his friend Wolfgang who was very interested to see people ski on sand and off we went.


Henrik is one of the most amazing individuals I've ever met. He grew up in Eastern Germany training to be an Olympic skier. Ten years after the wall went down he emigrated to Namibia with his family. A few years later he started dune skiing and since 2009 has been doing it exclusively. He also holds the world record for fastest sand skiing speed and was the one who taught Matt Lauer how to do it.


We ended up at a dune named Matterhorn. We set up a few chairs, fitted ourselves up and hiked up the dune. Six or seven runs later, I could barely move I was so tired. I won't try to describe the feeling that a ski fanatic experiences when he skis on sand for the first time. Insurmountable joy maybe. After a round of sausages and Amarula, we headed back to Swakopmund where the other volunteers and I had a delicious braii (bbq). It was a great day.


The following day we went to Dune 7, one of the highest dunes in...Africa? I don't know, but it's pretty high. Most of the volunteers went quad-biking on 4x4s while Bret and I ended up hiking up and down the dune and then having chilah time with some South Africans. 


The only disheartening part of the trip was coming back to the north, which took a little bit longer than expected. Hopefully I'll be seeing Swakopmund again soon though. If you have a chance, check out Henrik's homepage
http://ski-namibia.com/. Enjoy the photos!
  
Quite the thrill! If you're interested in learning more about WorldTeach's program in Namibia, you can access more information through our home page by clicking on the 'Namibia' tab located on the left side bar, or by emailing us at info@worldteach.org. Take a page out of Jason's book and go explore this beautiful African country!

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