“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 tandem skydive 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”
Clothes: Comfortable with closed tight-fitting shoes i.e. sneakers or trainers
Before the jump
You arrive to a friendly and cheerful atmosphere at the Swakopmund Skydiving Club. Everyone is quite relaxed. 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. A short, but thorough safety briefing. Should I be concerned that he is not wearing shoes. They assign instructors. Mine is 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.
They call my name. It is my turn to jump. We walk to the plane. I am surprised by the size of it. Its slightly larger than my Volkswagen Polo. The inside of the aeroplaneis completely stripped out and it has no door. The six of us are squashed like sardines in a tin.
Getting up there to jump
The engine moans as we slowly circle our way up to 11 000 feet. There is enough time to enjoy the scenery on your way up. You are allowed to take your camera with as long as it’s 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. That was a mistake… I assume the position and we receive the signal. 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.
Skydiving over the oldest desert in the world
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 the view is spectacular. 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. The landing is where most people get injured. Perfect, as is expected from an instructor who’s completed nearly a 1000 jumps.
I never had any doubts, but at the same time 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.