There’s no adventure quite like that of sand boarding and quad biking, especially in the sand dunes of Swakopmund. But when I signed up for it, I hardly knew what I was getting myself into.
When we arrived in Swakopmund, a coastal city in Namibia, it felt as though we were completely out of Africa. The once German colony has architecture that is strongly influenced by it’s former nation, along with beautiful beach homes and cute cafés.
While it was nice to be in a city, a smaller one at that, we were, as always, looking for adventure. Since Swakopmund is situated near sand dunes, finding this adventure was no problem at all.
After visiting the adventure center and exploring our options, we settled on the three hour package, which included sand boarding and quad biking. While sand boarding was on my bucket list, the center’s video made that activity seem terrifying, but since everyone else was doing it, they convinced me that I’d be missing out if I didn’t try it. Quad biking would also be something new for me, and although I was excited about it, I began to get nervous right after signing the indemnity.
But, we loaded on the bikes, got very brief instructions, and then headed on our way toward the dunes.
Initially, I felt fine, just a little nervous about biking on the dunes themselves. I tried to put my worries out of my mind, and instead, I focused on the beauty of my new surroundings.
After about an hours drive into the dunes, we stopped at a larger one, where we’d get our supplies to sand board. Some people were standing up, like traditional snowboarding, but I had decided that I was going to go down the dune face first; I was absolutely terrified.
We got our helmets, gloves, and elbow pads, then sat on a nearby dune to hear our instructions. All they told us was to lay on our stomach on our piece of plywood, hold and bend up the front of the board, and lift our elbows. Also, if we needed to straighten out or wanted to slow down, we’d have to put our feet in the sand. That was one tip that stuck in my head. I grabbed my plywood board, and off I was climbing up the dune.
Until, we reached the top.
Then, we waited in line, until it was our turn to lay down, body half hanging off the dune, while the men counted until only two before throwing me head first down the dune.
I screamed the entire way, but it was the greatest rush I have ever felt. The wind rushing across my face as I cruised down a hill of sand. Pretty unbelievable.
We were able to go down two more hills, but after the first one, especially in the heat, a couple of us were not willing to climb up the dune again. So, we sat in the sand, watching the others go down the dunes, and grabbed some water before heading back out on the quad bikes.
After the rush from the sand dunes, I was dreading getting back on the bike. The original thrill had passed, and after one of the girls on tour fell off her bike into the dune, I had had my fun and was ready to be done. Quad biking was obviously not for me, and even though I survived the first hour, I was not looking forward to our final hour.
We split into two groups: fast and slow. Guess which one I chose?
Exactly, and still I was the slowest one, too terrified that I was going to flip my quad. Anxiety kicked in, and the entire time, I was wishing this little adventure was over.
So again, I focused on the beauty of the landscape.
We took a few more pictures together before heading back to the center for beers. Now that was something I could get excited about.
While I may have learned that quad biking is most definitely not for me, I am glad I gave it a fair shot. Sand boarding, however, is an activity that I would try again in a heartbeat. The thrill of speeding down a hill of sand was reminiscent of sledding on the snow as a child, and a feeling I hadn’t experienced in years. So, while I will not be quad biking again, you can be sure, that if the opportunity arrives, I will most certainly again be speeding down sand dunes head first on a piece of plywood.