“Take a scenic flight up to altitude and see the unique Atlantic Ocean where it meets the Namib Desert Dunes. The aircraft door opens, and you jump attached to a world-class qualified tandem instructor. You Free fall at 200km/h and experience the feeling of human flight, your instructor then opens the parachute and you get to fly over the oldest Desert in the world suspended from your parachute for approximately 7 minutes and then finally the instructor lands you safely on Mother Earth” (Ground Rush Adventures, Swakopmund)
Clothes: Comfortable with closed tight-fitting shoes i.e. sneakers or trainers
You arrive to a friendly and cheerful atmosphere at the Swakopmund Skydiving Club. Everyone is super relaxed, and it is obvious they are doing all they can to keep the novice jumpers calm. After you select your package, a bit of paperwork followed by payment. Thereafter we are given a short, but thorough safety briefing by one of the instructors. Should I be worried that he is not wearing shoes 🙂 We are assigned an instructor and I am partnered with Thys. He briefs me on the equipment, and we fit my harness. At this point it hits me, I am about to jump out of a perfectly working plane at 11 000 feet.
My name is called, it is my turn to jump. We take a walk to the departure area and I am immediately surprised by the appearance of our plane? Its slightly larger than my Volkswagen Polo, the inside is completely stripped out and it has no door… There is six of us in total and we are squashed like sardines in a tin. The engine moans as we slowly circle our way up to 11 000 feet. It is sufficient time to enjoy the spectacular scenery and remember you are allowed to take your camera with as long as its left in the plane when you jump.
We receive the green light, 11 000 feet, time to jump. They open the flimsy plastic cover that we all pretended was a door for the last 20 minutes. Thys and I scoot towards the exit and look outside. I should not have done that… I assume the position and we receive the signal. I follow the drill Thys demonstrated and within seconds we are free falling. For a full 40 seconds I empty my lungs screaming as we rush towards earth. One of the best moments of my life.
Thys gives me the signal; he deploys the chute and in an instant, we go from a rush to floating on air. I am surprised by the tranquillity and overwhelmed by the spectacular views. The white foam evidence of the cold Atlantic bashing away at the golden beaches formed by the Namib Desert. Both stuck in a perpetual battle for dominance but neither ever truly gaining an inch. The line formed by these two giants of nature can be followed all the way to Walvis Bay where after it fades away into the horizon.
As if to bring me back to reality Thys makes a sharp turn to the left followed by quick and sharp to the right. He tells me it was necessary, but the smile on his face makes me believe otherwise. Regardless, I enjoyed the hell out of it. It goes on like this for another few minutes before we prepare for landing. Surprisingly the most likely place one can get injured is the landing. We ace it as is expected from an instructor who’s completed nearly a 1000 jumps.
Even though I never had any doubts I am relieved to have my feet safely on the ground. I shake Thys’ hand thankful for a remarkable experience and we head straight to the club for one of Namibia’s finest.