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Three Airborne Adventures Over Swakopmund, Namibia

  
  

Swakopmund has long been known as an adventure holiday hotspot around the world. There is a range of activities that thrill seekers can indulge themselves in and today we will be focussing on three activities that put you high in the sky over the historic coastal town.  

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There’s a lot of adventure in the skies above Swakopmund.
(Image via Swakopmund Diving Club)

 

Hot Air Ballooning

We start with the most sedate option for would-be sky explorers: The hot air balloon. Hot air balloons have traditionally been one of the best and most relaxing ways to take in a country’s beauty and there are few better ways to appreciate the vast beauty of Swakopmund and its surrounds than from the basket of one of these balloons.

 

Paragliding, hot air ballooning, namibia, swakopmund, adventure, extreme namibia

Don’t forget to pack your camera… There will be photo opportunities galore!
(Image via Wanderlustress)

African Adventure Balloons have been operating balloon rides in Swakopmund for many years now. Your flight will begin early in the morning behind the dunes, and as the sun comes up and touches the vast landscape the uniqueness of the Spitzkoppe Mountains, the mystery of the famous Moon Landscape and the beauty of the Naukluft Range will be revealed.

 

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A balloon being prepped for flight.
(Image via Cardboard Box)

There are three different kinds of balloons that are used and all flights have an experienced and knowledgeable staff member that will train and guide all guests on what to expect during their flight over the coastline.

After your flight is complete your pilot will take you for a champagne breakfast where you can relax and let all the sights and sounds of your recent adventure sink in.

Paragliding, hot air ballooning, namibia, swakopmund, adventure, extreme namibia

Floating above the dunesyou can get a new perspective on the oldest desert in the world.
(Image via Cardboard Box)

If you want to book a flight with African Adventure Balloons, or if you want to know anything more about their operation, then simply click here for their booking form and contact details.

 

Paragliding

If you want to get your heart pumping a little faster on your airborne adventure over Swakopmund then maybe you should consider trying your hand at paragliding. Currently there are two companies that are running paragliding operations in Swakopmund and they are Element Riders, and Namib Gliding.

Element Riders

Element Riders currently offer a basic introductory course and training flights to guests. The company is in the process of registering with the civil aviation authority and until this process is complete they cannot offer a full paragliding course to visitors looking to become fully accredited pilots.

 

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Paragliding is both serene and exhilarating.
(Picture courtesy of Element Riders)

For those adventurers who want to learn how to paraglide Element Riders is a good choice. Their course on offer will teach you about the equipment you will use, the weather and terrain of the region and basic safety procedures. The course also includes initial introductory flights on the dunes where you can put into practice all that you have learned.

A video showcasing the Element Riders team in action.
(Video via Element Riders)

If you need more information on their paragliding courses, click here for their contact details.

Namib Gliding

Namib Gliding is the most established gliding company in Swakopmund and their chief instructor, Mario Oprandi has over 18 years paragliding experience. They offer half and full day flights around Swakopmund and also provide training courses; no previous experience in paragliding is required and all are welcome to sign up for a course.

Paragliding, hot air ballooning, namibia, swakopmund, adventure, extreme namibia

A paraglider coming in hot over the dunes.
(Image via Namib Gliders)

One of the great things about this company is that they offer gliders the opportunity to go on paragliding safaris to destinations such as Sandwich Harbour, Sossusvlei, Dune 7, Henties Bay and Damaraland.

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Paragliding may be the best way to get you where no cars go.
(Image via Namib Gliders)

So if you want to have a scenic flight over Swakopmund, or some of the other amazing parts of Namibia, be sure to contact Namib Gliders here.

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A paraglider circles above Swakopmund.
(Image via Namib Gliders)

 

Sky Diving

Few activities can match the adrenaline filled rush that skydiving brings, and the skydiving near Swakopmund is no exception. The area is considered by some to be one of the best ‘drop zones’ in the world and thousands of seasoned and beginner divers flock to the small town every year to get the chance to free fall toward the ancient Namib desert.

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There really is no rush quite like skydiving.
(Image via Namibia Tour Guide)

One of the most popular companies taking people up into the skies over Swakopmund is Ground Rush Adventures. It is an extremely well run and professional skydiving organisation with an experienced team of master divers. No chances are taken with your safety and their safety record in there nearly 20 years of existence is impeccable.

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Trusting your partner is important when jumping out of a plane.
(Image via Cardboard Box)

Ground Rush Adventures offer tandem dives, accelerated free-falls and static line jumps. Check out this link for a full description of the various options they offer. The company operates every single day of the year and will be happy to take you up as long as the weather permits. There are also several courses, and these are perfect for the novice or beginner skydiver.

If you have any other questions or queries about skydiving in Swakopmund then feel free to contact the team here.

Paragliding, hot air ballooning, namibia, swakopmund, adventure, extreme namibia

Take the plunge over the dunes of the Namib!
(Image via Swakopmund Diving Club)

 

Five Must-visit Spas and Wellness Centres in Namibia

  
  

After a hard few days of trekking through the Namibian wilderness, or after climbing some mountainous dunes, you may find yourself longing for a bit of rest and relaxation. Well the good news is that there are several spas and wellness centres dotted around the whole of Namibia that exist to help you unwind your mind and rejuvenate your body. Below are five of Namibia's finest spots for relaxation.

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View from the GocheGanas chalets.
(Image via GocheGanas on Flickr)

 

1. GocheGanas

GocheGanas is a 6000ha nature reserve aimed at providing visitors with a variety of activities to help them unwind. It is situated less than 30 minutes from Windhoek and offers walks, safari drives and access to international quality wellness facilities.

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Two guests on a walk through the reserve.
(Image via GocheGanas)

The wellness facility is fully equipped to ensure that the lodge’s guests can fully unwind and rest up for the next leg of their Namibian adventure. There are eleven treatment rooms with state of the art crystal baths, hydrotherapy baths, and Vichy showers so there is little that you will want for when visiting this mecca of relaxation.

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A guest reclines in one of the specialised baths.
(Image via GocheGanas)

In addition to the treatment rooms there is a heated indoor pool, a cave sauna in a cathedral-like masonry vault, and a well-equipped fitness gym if you want to work up a healthy glow. All this makes the Wellness Village at GocheGanas a must-visit for any weary traveller looking to recharge their mind, body and spirit.

CATHEDRAL

The cathedral is truly a sight to behold.
(Image via GocheGanas)

Click here for booking information.

 

2. /Ai /Ais Hot Springs

The /Ai /Ais Hot Springs Resort can be found in the southern most region of the Fish River Canyon nature reserve, and it is perfectly situated for adventurers who have just finished exploring the beautiful canyon.

The water from the springs is naturally hot and issues from a warm water spring called/Ai /Ais. The unique spring was discovered in 1850 by a young Nama sheepherder and the spring was named /Ai /Ais which means “burning water” in the local language.

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This is the actual site of the natural hot spring.
(Image via The Cardboard Box)

A soak in the warm water is ideal for anyone suffering from joint or muscle pains of any kind and it is also good for relieving any other kinds of stresses or aches that you may be suffering from.

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One of the warm water pools at the resort.
(Image via The Cardboard Box)

The resort offers a host of other activities for active guests including hikes, walks and even tennis. As a result of its proximity to the South African border the resort is very popular with travellers from both countries so booking ahead is a must.

Click here for booking information.

 

3. Diplomat Hydro Spa

In the heart of Windhoek lies a hidden gem of wellness, the Diplomat Hydro Spa. The spa is situated in the foothills of Windhoek and as such seems completely cut off form the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Spending time in the resort it is easy to forget that you are just kilometres away from a major city.

The spa is open six days a week and offers a variety of different wellness treatments for its guests. All the treatments are water-based and the spa sticks strictly to the mantra that “water is nature’s greatest healer”. You can read more about their ethos here.

Click here for more booking information.

 

4. Seaside Hotel and Spa

Situated right on Swakopmund’s iconic beachfront the Seaside Hotel and Spa offers guests a wonderful place to kick back and enjoy some wonderful sea views while being pampered in the hotel’s world-class spa.

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The hotel is literally on the beach.
(Image via Stay Today)

Facials, pedicure and manicures are just some of the specific treatments that the spa offers its guests. There is also a sauna, steam room, jacuzzis and the unique Spa Oceana. Here is a list of all the treatments on offer at the spa.

 

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Two pools within the spa, overlooking the ocean.
(Image via Stay Today)

The spa of the hotel is available to both day visitors and hotel guests alike so whether you are just passing through Swakopmund or staying there for a prolonged period of time it is definitely worth your while to check out the Seaside Hotel. The spa also specialises in couple packages- perfect for honeymooners!

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Another happy couple.
(Image via Stay Today)

Click here for booking information.

 

5. The Kalahari Sands Hotel

Sun International’s Kalahari Sands hotel is another location in Windhoek that offers guests the opportunity to relax and unwind. The hotel’s wellness facility is located on the panoramic rooftop of the international hotel and casino.

The wellness centre offers a full range of treatments and therapeutic products as well as a gym. Whether you are staying at the hotel or not the Kalahari Wellness Centre can provide you with a few hours (or days!) of much needed time off from the bustling modern world.

 

Namibia wedding, Accommodation, Windhoek, Wedding, Namibia spa, Namibia, Namibia Wellness, Gocheganas

Nothing relaxes a tired body like a few hours of shuteye.
(Image via Kalahari Sands)

Click here for more booking information.

So go on and treat yourself to something a little out of the ordinary in Namibia. Both your body and your mind will thank you for the precious hours you dedicate to relaxation and wellness on while you are travelling through Namibia.

Exploring Namibia's Starry Skies

  
  

Namibia is one of the top destinations in the world for stargazing. Its dark and clear night skies are amongst some of the most pristine in the world and below are four reasons why we think you have to go stargazing while visiting Namibia.

 Namibia photography, sossusvlei, stargazing namibia, photography, astrology

The moon rises in the clear winter sky.
(Image via I Dream of Africa)

1. Dark Sky, Bright Stars

In 2012 the NamibRand Nature Reserve was selected by the International Dark Sky Association as an official dark sky reserve on account of its low light pollution and cloudless night skies. And indeed the whole of Namibia has some of the darkest skies measured on earth allowing stargazers to gaze deep into the night sky on just about every night of the year. 

Many lodges around Namibia take advantage of the unusually dark skies in the country and have their own telescopes. All you need to do is enquire at the reception of wherever you are staying to find out if your lodge has such facilities.

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Starry sky over the desert.
(Image via I Dream Africa)

2. Photographing the night sky

The night sky over the Land of the Brave lends itself incredibly well to photography. Countless photographers, amateur and professional, travel from all over the world to capture astonishing images of our universe. 

Below is a particularly stirring video made from a collection of over 16,000 still images of the Namibian night sky.

The award winning Namibian Nights by Marsel van Oosten.
(Video ©Marsel van Oosten Squiver Photo Tours)

 

3. Guided tours

The great thing about visiting Namibia is that you can always find someone willing to take you on a guided tour of its attractions. The night sky is no different. There are several tour operators around the country that offer guided tours of the night sky.

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Taking a guided tour of the night sky is perfect for the whole family.
(Image via I Dream Africa)

The local guides are knowledgeable and passionate about the stars that shine down on Namibia and they are always more than willing to share their stories with visitors from near and far. Below are a few tour operators who offer stargazing tours.

Solna’s stargazing experience.

Rob Johnstone has been an astrology enthusiast since 1986 and his company SOLNA (Space Observation Learning in Namibia) offers two guided tour options for visitors.

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Guests at the SOLNA viewing site.
(Image via SOLNA)

The first is just 29km south of Windhoek at the Gocheganas Nature Reserve. If you wish to book a tour at the reserve then email reservations@gocheganas.com or telephone Gocheganas at +264 (0)61 224 909.

SOLNA also works in partnership with Wilderness Safaris with whom they organise stargazing tours throughout the whole of Namibia. It is best to get in contact with Wilderness Safaris if you want to organise a stargazing trip and you can email them on constancet@wilderness.com.na.

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A picture of Saturn taken from the SOLNA viewing site.
(Image via SOLNA)

Stargazing tours near Swakopmund

Stargazing Adventure Namibia is a company run by Dr Ansgar Gaedke and Lynette Gaedke that is based in Swakopmund. Dr Gaedke is a professional astronomer who graduated from the University of Hamburg in astrophysics and astronomy and now gives tours to visitors interested in astronomy.

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Photographs of one the company's many star tours.
(Image via Stargazing Adventure Namibia)

They have several activities for would-be stargazers and you should check them out here to see which tour suits you. They also have a great gallery of photographs to whet your appetite ahead of your stargazing adventure.

Hakos guest farm

Just west of Windhoek on top of the Gamsberg is the Hakos guest farm. On this farm the German-based International Amateur Observatory maintains an impressive collection of telescopes and other equipment for stargazing enthusiasts. There are several tour options on the farm and you can view them here.

The guest farm is specifically geared towards giving guests a memorable astrological experience in an environment that is largely untouched and unspoiled by man.

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One of the farm's many pieces of advanced equipment (L).
The isolated location of the farm (R).
(Images via Hakos guest farm)

4. Sossusvlei by night

If anyone needed another reason to visit Namibia’s iconic Sossusvlei, here it is: The stargazing opportunities at Sossusvlei are simply incredible. The sky is clear almost always and there is almost no light pollution out in the desert near the vlei.

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A tree on the vlei against a slowly rotating starry sky.
(Image via Rhino Africa Safaris)

The Sossusvlei Lodge was in fact recently ranked amongst the top 12 stargazing hotels in the world by CNN Travel. But this is not the only lodge in the area and there are also several other lodges that offer stargazing opportunities.

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The Sossusvlei Lodge by night.
(Image via Sossusvlei Lodge)

Below are three of the top-rated lodges that offer stargazing activities at or near Sossusvlei.

Sossusvlei Lodge

Little Kulala

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

No matter where you are in Namibia the night sky is simply beautiful, and if you are visiting Africa from the Northern hemisphere then you should not miss out on this opportunity to see a totally different set of stars on the other end of the world.

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Quiver Trees by Night - Florian Breuer
(via Florian's Photographs)

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