Twelve Days with a Norseman

Climbing the Brandberg mountain in Damaraland Namibia

 

His name is Joakim Jonsson, a Swedish native now living in London, England. Joakim completed the 120 Kilometre Namibia Ultra Marathon in 22 hours 40 minutes during his first visit to Namibia.

 

Brandberg - Namibias highest peak

Brandberg - Namibias highest peak

 

So, the safari started at Sossusvlei, renowned for its very high sand dunes (as if we did not know that – but more on this later). Joakim is a professional photographer, meaning first light and last light is his favourite time, and the rest of the day can be used for other activities. After photographing the haunting beauty of Deadvlei, it was so decided that we would see what Witberg looks like. Though this track is only 5 km in a straight line, it took nearly seven hours until we reached our vehicle – tired, but totally satisfied. The experience was magical: entirely alone in the dunes, sitting on the high crest and looking over the “sand sea” , just dunes and more dunes as far as the eye can see. Witberg was the only rocky outcrop in this “sea of sand”…. That evening, sleep came easy.

The next leg of the journey was Damaraland, a wilderness with landscapes that take one’s breath away. First, of course, the highest mountain in Namibia, Brandberg had to be conquered. Konigstein, at 2573 meters, with a view of all the plains below, was in our sight. With our backpacks weighing about 20 Kg, mainly water, we began the journey. Stopping at several Bushmen paintings on the way, the mountain began its to cast its spell. Extremely rugged, but so utterly beautiful, we continued walking. We pitched camp at 1990 meters, and had our compulsory meal of dried food before going to bed. The blanket of stars above us is just too difficult to describe. As the last wood burned away, we fell asleep safe under southern skies.


The next day, we reached Konigstein at 09:00. After phoning family and friends, we headed down again. Stopping at “Snake Rock” to witness and marvel how the San people used the rock canvas, we took a rest. Walking down is easier on the lungs, but so much harder on the legs, and this was felt when we stopped for lunch. (We met another group of hikers going up, and what joy it was to know we are going the opposite way!) At 16:48, we reached the vehicle again. Muscles slowly becoming cold, we just sat and talked about the hike around our campfire.

The elusive desert elephant was next on our safari. The afternoon drive failed in the sense that we did not find elephant, but we began to realize one thing that is so easy to come by in Namibia: space and silence. Again, another day not wasted.

Early the next morning, with the sun displaying Brandberg in a new light, we took off.   We found our beloved desert elephants- a breeding herd of twelve animals, two of which were very small calves. We took great care not disturb them, so we simply sat and watched as they went about their business of feeding, playing and rolling around in the soft sand of the Ugab River.   The ancient Doros crater was our next stop. Climbing 240 Meters to the top, this is one of my favourite places in Namibia. This is a place where the wind is strong, the sun is in your face, and one can let the greyhounds of the soul run free. This is, was and will always be Doros, with a view of the Huab Mountains, and then the endless plains that seems to stretch forever.

Etosha, ‘the great white place’, was to be our home for the last couple of days of the safari. Once again, ‘first light and last light’ were of extreme importance. To see the sun rise in all its glory in Namibia is a sight to behold. The red ball slowly rising with a majestic camel thorn tree in the foreground will forever stay with me.   Another big hit was the waterhole at Okaukuejo; giraffes, Elephants, lions and mating Black Rhino to name but a few of its visitors. Joakim spent a large part of the night just observing, and watching him from a distance I could see one thing: the Norseman was at peace with life and Namibia.

Inevitably the end had to come. Our last campsite was called Aloe Ridge, and what a site it was. For one last time we could watch the sun set in all its glory. The next day it was time for goodbyes, and so it was.

One last thing to be said: I know Joakim will be back. Namibia – the space, the beauty, just about everything here – gets into your blood. See you again, Swede.

Author: Kobus Alberts   | Find out more about Wild at Heart Safaris in Namibia. Wild at Heart Safaris is a young Namibian-owned and based Safari Company, that specialises in Adventure and Luxury Safaris for small groups and families.


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