Speed: Part 3 – Speed To Fly
Low speed flight kills wingsuit pilots in the BASE environment. Knowledge is power...
I just returned home from a Skydiving Safari in Namibia organized by Even Rokne (the same guy that's been doing the Norwegian inhopps for years) and Eddie Techman (from Swakopmund Skydiving Club in Namibia) and even though we were one of the “test” groups, it was fantastic! A great way to see Namibia. My husband joined me as a non-skydiver (he sold his gear and hasn't bought new stuff yet) and he was also very happy with the way it was run. It's a big country, mostly desert, but with lots of differing landscapes where we had special permission to jump into or near some of the most amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Ours was the second of two “test” groups, the first one was a group of 20 people who went for 9 days. Our group went for 6 days and the itinerary was made up to be the “Best Of” the locations from the first group.
We returned home totally exhausted but very happy. We saw so much in 6 days in Namibia it would be hard to describe it all. We started off at the Windhoek International Airport where we were transported over to Swakopmund to the DZ for the first 2 days. There we met the organizers and got to know all the other participants who were just as excited as we were for this new adventure. Eddie is a super guy, old time skydiver with lots of stories, (as is Even) and they took great care of us. Our accommodation was outstanding as was our skydiving airplane, a nine place “Atlas Angel”, made in Africa and a thing of beauty. Our pilot, Frank Stein, was very experienced and a great host while in the plane and on the ground.
Our first jump was into the Moon Landscape near Swakopmund. You need a permit to drive in, never mind fly, but it was so vast that you really felt like you were on the moon. I can see why they used this site to shoot many movies. Our next location was the Namib Sand Sea, thought to be the world’s oldest desert and an absolutely amazing place to jump into. The red sand dunes are incredibly high and you really get a feel for that by flying next to them. After that we jumped into a place where the landscape is just too strange to describe, but it looks somewhat like melting mountains covered in black, white and brown wavy lines that create a 3D painting when you see it from the air. All that in one day!
Over the next few days we journeyed to The Brandburg Area, Waterberg Mountains, and Etosha Park doing 3 jumps into different parts of each area which included Spitzkoppe, Rhino Camp, Finger Mountain and Twyfelfontein. We spent 4 nights in 2 different Safari Lodges where we saw hundreds of animals since we were very close to a watering hole at both places. We saw many Springbok, Oryx, Rhinos, Eland, Ostrich, Giraffes (including a brand new baby), Zebra and an Elephant. We passed on the additional Safari drives to sit back, have a few drinks and enjoy the scenery and great company. On one night we camped outdoors in regular tents (big ones) that were set up for us before we arrived by our amazing crew. There were cots in them so we didn't have to sleep on the ground and an outdoor kitchen, showers and a bathroom. We had a huge campfire out in the African bush and the crew cooked up a bunch of Oryx and Springbok along with plenty of salads and other things for the vegetarians among us. The local crew even passed on some of their most important Braai tips.
The non-jumpers were ferried by air to each place we jumped and sometimes helped the ground crew put out the windsocks and T at the landing area. Believe me, driving across Namibia is not for pussies!! The roads can be incredibly rough and what looks like a short distance can take many hours. We're really glad we were flying and not driving. Our ground crew had 5 flat tires in the first few days and were dirty and exhausted every time they arrived at our location.
The price of our trip was extremely reasonable for both the jumpers and non-jumpers considering you wouldn’t be able to see all this from the sky with anyone else. It’s truly a unique experience. The price included pickup/drop-off from the airport in Windhoek, all jumps (18 for the 6 day trip), accommodation, meals and transportation by air between jump sites. Our luggage was transported by road thanks to our amazing ground crew. My recommendation for anyone that wants to experience Namibia by air is to join in on one of Even's next excursions if possible. He's planning to have 2 trips in 2017 to Namibia. The first one will be around Feb/Mar and the second around Oct/Nov, the best times of year to visit this amazing country.
From my perspective this was truly an amazing trip that I'd highly recommend for those that are adventurous, easily adaptable and experienced skydivers. The landing areas could be very challenging and we only saw them for the first time from the air. Our pre-jump briefings were top notch and after the first few jumps we all felt very comfortable. The ground crew was fully prepared for any emergencies and safety was always the first priority. The itinerary could change on a dime based on the weather, ground crew location and vehicle availability, but we didn’t let that hamper our trip, we were in Namibia after all!
Even reinforces that the whole concept of the jumps is to experience your surroundings, rather than the jumps themselves, so we opened high, found our landing area and then just sat back and enjoyed the scenery, things that many experienced skydivers haven’t done for years. It reminded me of the reasons I first entered this sport and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to re-experience them again in such spectacular surroundings.
If you're at all interested contact Even Rokne, at Inhopp.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, and watch the video below for a taste of the full experience!