A Weekend Away
After ending our first week in the schools, we boarded the van and headed off to Swakopmund. Swakopmund is a small German influenced town by the west coast.
Before we arrived, we made a pit stop for lunch, pictures and stretching. The next stop was Dune 7. We drove down a long dirt road surrounded by dunes. When we pulled into the National Park, most of us could not believe our eyes. “We are really climbing this thing?” Everyone left their shoes and started running. Except we could only get so far before we started climbing with our hands and feet. The altitude got to our lungs by the time we reached the top. We were on top of the world! All 15 students made a trip up the second highest dune in the world, standing at 1,200 feet. We were the first group of students to climb all the way up. It was the teachers in us to encourage each other to reach the top! It was a tough workout, but we had a blast.
Soon after everyone was successful at the dune, we moved onto Walvish Bay. We stopped along the highway at a small beach right on the water. Pictures were being snapped left and right. We took pictures of the sun setting, the dunes across the way, the sand, and of course the water. The van full of sand, we headed to our A-Frame bungalows for the weekend. Everyone settled in and showered. Gustav made us a delicious Braii, what we would call a barbecue, including lamb, pork chops, sausage and kabobs. The African culture take the Braii very seriously. We all had no complaints for Gustav besides the fact we were eating at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday was when all the adventures began. We started the day off with quad biking. We loaded up 16 quad bikes and followed each other in a single file line through the dunes. We stopped a few times for the group to catch up and to take in the scenery. An hour into our tour, we stopped at a steep dune and pulled out sand boards. You could not see the bottom of the dune because there was such a big drop off. We laid on our stomachs, head first, and one of the guides gave you a push. From there, it was all up to you! I went speeding down this dune with my mouth shut and sand flying everywhere. A couple girls took a tumble, getting buried in sand. When we were all too tired to climb back up from the bottom, we got back on the bikes to finish the tour.
After we got back from the bikes, most of us hopped on camels. We took a half hour ride through the dunes on a train of camels. It was absolutely hilarious! The saddles were not very comfortable and made for an even more bumpy ride. Experiencing the camel once was good enough for all of us. From there, a few skydivers left us. There were 12 of us who agreed to sky dive so we were split into two days. The first group came back with wonderful stories, only making the second group more excited to go!
As far as free time, we walked around down and strolled the beach. Many of the girls took a boat tour, seeing seals, dolphins, and a humpback whale. The whale was the first one seen for the season. The tour was quite enjoyable and very knowledgeable. I stayed back with Sarah and Chelsea as the pictures were enough for us. Gustav took us to breakfast overlooking the beach with a very intense go-kart race afterward.
We ended the week with a stop at the markets. This was a little stop with maybe 20 some tents set up waiting for us. We tested our bargaining skills and came home with plenty of souvenirs. The weekend was packed full of fun, but we are all glad to be back at our hotel. Monday night we are providing dinner for a peace core worker. Dr. Caro is preparing tacos for all of us. It should be a neat experience!
Brittany Busscher, a junior majoring in early childhood education at UW-Stevens Point, is blogging about her study abroad experience in Namibia, Africa.