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Ski Namibia Where Giant Sand Dunes Are

Updated on May 25, 2014

It is an idea that has become reality for one German skiing athlete, Henrik May, who was part of the Karlsruhe ski club. The problem was finding where the large mountain-like dunes are to make an enjoyable ski run. Through trial and error, the best dunes for this new sport seem to found in Nambia, which borders South Africa to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Dune skiing occurs in Sossusvlei, a top destination in Namibia with monumental dunes up to 325 meters (1000 ft) when measured from the base. Like skiing in the mountains, there are spectacular vistas from the top with the sand ranging from apricot to orange, red and maroon, contrast vividly with the dazzling white surfaces at their bases. While there are no trees or snow, the alien landscape is breathtaking in its own way! This area is about 40 miles from the town of Sesriem, which also has adequate lodges to stay at.

Dune skiing does not require much alteration from snow skiing. Techniques and equipment is similar with a few a modifications. The main difference is the weather. Instead of cold, you have hot wind rushing your face and you can ski in summer clothes. The downhill speeds are equal to those of snow skiing. Because it IS sand, Henrik developed a special wax for the skis that allows for comparable speeds.

Ski Nambia offers tours of this desolate yet beautiful Gondwana Nambi Park, where the largest dunes are. Most ski runs are early AM before 9 a.m. or in the afternoon when the sun is less intense and the sand has cooled. For around $130.00 (100 euros) per person, you will be picked up at your accommodation in a 4x4 and taken to the ski area. You are provided with the ski equipment and food and drink. The drive to the ski site is about 20-30 minutes and along the way you will encounter wild African animals. Unlike the ski resorts in snow, there are no ski lifts or lines or many people. The tour can only take up to five skiers. The number or ski runs is entirely up to you because you have to ascend the dune using foot power. If you have ever walked in sand, this will give you the added benefit of a great workout in the climb, then, a refreshing cool off on the descent. The ski run ends when everyone is burned out and tired. Ski Nambia also offers night or moonlight skiing upon request.

Winter in Nambia is from July through October when the temps are milder, it is the the most busiest for tourists. So, the best times to ski would be in May or June or November to avoid all of the tourist issues in booking flights to Nambia and in finding accommodations. Most tourists fly into Nambia at the International Airport in Windhoek and then take a small Cessna flight to Sossusvlei from Eros airport nearby. British Airways and Lufthansa are the main international carriers.

Need speed? The dune skiing provides up to 60 mph.


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