The Namib100 Hike - in a bucket-list league of its own
We've asked Live the Journey owner Jurgens Schoeman and his wife, Karien, to share some of their favourite travel memories of a recent trip to the Namib Desert.
You have been to the Namib Desert countless times. What made this trip so special?
Live the Journey recently launched an exclusive new experience to our desert portfolio namely the Namib100 Hike. This was a recce trip and we invited experienced hikers, key role players in the hiking sector as well as journalists to join this first group ever to walk this concession area in the Namib Desert.
What excited us is that this is the first-of-its-kind hike in the world’s oldest desert. ‘Concession’ means that it is so exclusive, that you can only do this walk with Live the Journey. ‘Exclusive’ means that every drop of water we used, every piece of food we ate, literally everything, had to be taken in by the supporting team. And, of course, also taken out. The hike is also limited to a maximum of 18 to 24 hikers.
The hike starts south of Walvis Bay in the Naukluft National Park. Over a period of five days hikers complete a 100 km-hike along the Skeleton Coast ending at Namibia’s most famous shipwreck, the Eduard Bohlen. The fact that we experienced it for ourselves, and had expert hikers with us on the recce, assisted to resolve most issues before we launched the hike and their feedback and advice was carefully taken into consideration when the final product was packaged.
What was your most memorable moment on this trip?
It is hard to pinpoint any one moment. The entire experience surprized and delighted us daily.
Erling Kagge, the Norwegian explorer, believes in the transformative power of a walk. Having done the Camino de Santiago and numerous other walks, we wholeheartedly agree with Kagge. When we drive through the desert, animals like the oryx and brown hyena would hear approaching vehicles and run away. Being on foot was a different story altogether; the possibility of meeting eye to eye was exhilarating and scary at the same time.
When you are driving it is difficult to pay detailed attention to your surrounds. However, if you were to walk along the same route – listening, feeling the sand beneath your feet – a day becomes something else entirely. It’s like building a friendship. A landmark on the horizon that changes as you come closer feels like an intimate friend by the time you arrive. And this is precisely the secret held by all those who go on foot: Life is prolonged when you walk (Erling Kagge).
The Namib Desert is the oldest desert on earth. The sand dunes constantly change colour and shape. In the mornings we started early to cover as much distance as possible before the sun hits full force. These early morning encounters were magical and serene. During the late afternoon, the desert puts on her most beautiful gown to show off her curves. During the night, the sky was a vast canvas of the galaxy. We camped under a blanket of twinkling lights and watched shooting stars crisscross the Milky Way.
Do you have any insider tips to share?
The rating level for this hike is level 6 and 7. Although this is a fully-supported and fully-catered hike, you must be prepared – inner strength and a strong mind are just as important as physically doing the distance every day. To us, the greatest walks we have experienced, were when the walk itself was the goal.
The weather is ideal for hiking as you will be walking along the coastline much of the time. The cold sea current has a cooling effect compared to the heat of the desert. Even on the days that we walk a bit more inland, it can still be mild and sometimes cool. Be prepared for cold, wet and hot weather. It is best to wear layers.
You will experience desert cuisine at its best! The guides and support team really aim to spoil you. While the menu has a variety of foods for every one of the three meals included daily, it is a good idea to bring your preferred snacks to carry with you during the day.
While your luggage will be transported during the trip, please remember that space is limited, so be sure to pack light and use a ‘soft’ bag only. You will only have to walk with your backpack.
Live the Journey would like to thank Pierre Steyn for these pictures that he took while hiking through the Namib Desert with us.
More information on Live the Journey’s exclusive Namib100 Hike
The Namib100 is not your average run-of-the-mill hike, but rather in a bucket-list league of its own with the likes of Kilimanjaro, the Grand Canyon and the Camino de Santiago. This fully-catered, fully-supported five-day slackpacking hike in the Namib, the oldest desert on earth, will overwhelm you with a sense of total freedom and inspiration. It’s an area that answers to names like the Forbidden Land, Sperrgebiet and Skeleton Coast, where numerous shipwrecks stand witness to the power of nature over man.
This is a Live the Journey ‘Exclusive’ hike, which means that as a concession holder, we have exclusive rights to host a limited number of hikes in the Namib Desert concession. The 100 km five-day hike originates a few kilometres outside of Walvis Bay and ends at the wreck of the famous Eduard Bohlen, which was stranded in 1909.
Distance: 100 km.
Duration: 5 Nights/ 6 Days (not including pre-/ post days).
Group size: Groups are limited to only 24 hikers.
Rating: Level 6 and 7 – although it is not a difficult hike, endurance and stamina is required.
The Namib100 Hike was a finalist in the African Travel and Tourism Awards in the category Most Compelling Adventure Story.
Click here for more information on the hike. Please also visit www.namib100hike.com for more information.