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Compiled Sanet van Zijl | Main photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk
N amibia has an abundance of sand, so what better way to utilize it than creating our own version of snowboarding? A few enterprising winter sport enthusiasts realized that it was possible to sled down the sand dunes on thin wooden boards. Sand boarding quickly became a national pastime, and a few years after this discovery someone got the idea that you could strap a snowboard to your feet and go “dune boarding.”
There are a variety of lie down boards and stand up boards available for those that want to give the sport a try. The sand-board base is much harder than that used for snowboarding. To glide over the sand the board bottom is often waxed, usually with paraffin-based sand-board wax.
Mostly sandboarding is done on the dunes of the Namib Desert. The biggest dune faces are reserved for the stand up boards, and the lie down boards have several routes to choose from. Those that choose to lie down go head-first down the dune slopes. Only at the end of the day do you go down the “big mamma slope,” where boarders have been clocked at over 80 km per hour! The only “down-side” to this popular activity is that you have to walk back up that huge dune once you reach the bottom. Whichever option you choose, you’re bound to have a great time!
Anyone can ride down on the flat boards. Even if you find yourself going too fast, you can just dig your feet into the sand for brakes. Standing up is tougher. It takes a good day on the dunes to get the hang of it. It is not easy, but it is not particularly dangerous. If you start going too fast all you have to do is fall down. If you are feeling really brave, you can even try a ramp. Even that is relatively safe.
Dune boarding and sandboarding is just one of those experiences you can’t do many places in the world, so don’t miss out the next time you visit Namibia.
Namibia also features sand-skiing, which is performed with skis, instead of a board.
Bookings can be made at the Adventure and Travel Office at Strand Hotel Swakopmund. Visit www.strandhotelswakopmund.com for more information.