Endless landscapes, desert steps and the highest and most impressive sand dunes. Superlative, despite or rather because of the landscape which is reduced to the very essential. To enjoy the moments and lack of urbanism. Here it is possible to feel that less is actually more. The very special five day off-road safari trip to Namibia, with a mixed group with member from 13 different countries, starts in Germany at the airport in Frankfurt on the Main.
Off-road action, desert adventure, bizarre landscapes, wild animals - all of the contestants who won this trip with Land Rover Experience in an online lottery, from the major online tyre specialist Delticom and the tyre manufacturer Continental, are very much looking forward for this unique experience.
In order to get to know each other and also for a little chat, all the winners of lottery and the event managers meet up in the LuxxLounge of the airport in Frankfurt. There is enough time for drinks, snacks and a little chit-chat. Everyone involved feels immediately comfortable. Many are looking forward for this trip and are excited about the departure. Only one of the contestants has ever been to Namibia. Prior to the departure there is a briefing for the candidates and everyone is equipped with appropriate cloth and maps. After the night flight, there is a South-African country awaiting them with a lot of sun and filled with contrasts. The visitors quickly discover new landscapes and ethnical variety, of a country that has double the size of Germany. With only 2.2 million people, Namibia is one of the least dense populated countries in this world. Dreams of freedom and adventure can still become reality here!
The plane landed in Jo'burg (Johannesburg), the travel hub of Africa. After a short stay in OR Tambo there is a new Boeing 737-800 from SAA which brings us to the Kutako International Airport in Windhoek/Namibia. Welcome to Namibia! Shortly after the landing there are 2 local guides, Conway Volek and Marcus Maegle, awaiting to great the travelers with a warm smile. But not only the guides, but also a luminous sun is greeting the group. After a short while, the group is sitting in their first vehicle; 90 minutes in the mini bus to the point where the introduction to their new off-road vehicles will be made. Five Land Rover Discoveries are waiting for the participants, two Defenders for the guides. The first challenge does not take long to appear: to drive on the left side of the road. But everyone gets used to the change quickly. The fact that you will rarely encounter a person on the off-road roads makes it easier. The group now travels in a convoy formation; the lead is taken by the South-African Conway. The contestants stay in touch via radio and everything worth seeing is being pointed out by the guides.
Bye, bye paved roads. Windhoek, the capital of Namibia slowly disappears on the horizon. The following 2 hours are driven on stunning off-road runways which are just what the team came here for. The vehicles and tyres need to be a 100% reliable - a break down in this region of the country would consume massive amounts of time. The tour continuous and the group moves closer to its goal, the Erindi Safari-Logde, 160 kilometers from the capital Windhoek. Erindi means "Place of Water" in the Herero Language. The game reserve is located on the central plateau, totaling 70.000 hectare with as many as 10.000 animals as well as 310 species of birds - a wildlife paradise. Distances in Namibia are seemingly measured differently... another 24 kilometers till the group reaches the gate of the lodge.
The contestants check in and shortly after are able to hear the wild heart of African and experience the bush. The contestants have the possibility to see countless African animals in their natural habitat, during their safari drive - a real privilege. Everyone was looking forward to see the king of the jungle, the lions. Peacefully they are laying there, not far from the cars - such an adventure. The guides explain that lions normally sleep during the day - "they flatten most of the time". Many of us wish to be a lion... The sun starts setting, drinks and snacks are served in the middle of the bush. Everyone has a bit of Livingstone-Feeling. Before dinner there are more surprises waiting for the group at the waterhole. A huge variety of animals arrive for the water or to take a bath. A herd of elephants, hippos and crocodiles are the real attraction that can be observed from the terrace of the Erindi restaurant, one of the most amazing places in this world - stunning! The next day, breakfast is served on the terrace overlooking the waterhole; amongst the visitors are rare animals such as wild dogs and a hippo with a youngster. At this point nobody is sitting and eating anymore; everyone wants to take a look at that and take a picture. But soon there is an atmosphere of departure - the "Landies" are waiting to be put into motion.
After one night in the Erindi-Game Lodge the group continues its journey to Swakopmund, a seaside resort with German flair, 300 kilometers away. The landscape continuously changes as the journey goes on. The group leaves the altitude of 1650 meters above sea level and drives into a seemingly endless, dusty land. The group passes through endless desert, filled with rocks and sand till they reach the South Atlantic. At the coast there is another challenge waiting for the contestants: the vehicles need to be driven through the soft and deep sand. Here it is essential to give up control and let the Land Rover find his own path through - a preparatory exercise, how we will see later.
The small town of Swakopmund is located in the region of Erongo and shows signs of colonialism. Visible in architecture and city life - they also have a German bakery - as well as German street names. The great mix of German influence and an African population make this small town a perfect destination for tourists. The first thing most group members are looking forward to, upon arrival at the Hotel Swakopmund, is a shower. Afterwards a restaurant visit at the pier. The brewery located here not only offers fantastic food, but also a great atmosphere. Some of the group members make their first ever contact with "Jägermeister"...
The group is back in the desert after a relaxing breakfast. Right in front of the city of Swakopmund is a beautiful dune landscape. Prior to departure, the 4x4 tyres are being deflated to improve traction on the sand. Nonetheless, it does not take long until the first one is stuck. Whoever was not listening to the instructions when to accelerate and when to let go or changes gear in the wrong instance will get stuck. All it takes are some skilled driving maneuvers to get the vehicle back on track. Then the next one gets his "Landy" stuck. SUV vehicle are need tyres with special properties and sizes. Learn more about how to identify the right tyres for your car.
Our guides show understanding and patience. Now the team has to get to action, the car needs to be pushed by man power and even dug out. In some situations there is more aid needed in form of grid mats which are brought by helpers on quads. Some contestants are quite happy to finally see the ocean at the end of this trip.
Just before the Land Rover group gets into motion again they are witnessing an impressing highlight from Africa. A colony of flamingoes is gathering at the water. Everyone wants a picture of that. Then the whole colony takes off, over the heads of our group members, just to land a few meters on another place. After this experience everyone gets back on the road. The altitude increases and the vegetation get denser. A short lunch break - what a wonderful view on the road that already lays behind them. The road is getting tougher as the altitude increases up to 1.700 meter.
The Windhoek valley surrounded by Eros mountains in the East, Auas mountains in the South and Khomas in the West and North. It remains dusty until the outlying districts of Windhoek are reached. For driving save in this kind of countryside it needs strong tyres and rims. At mytyres.co.uk you can find a large selection of rim brands, that covers the different road conditions.
The aim for day number 5 is the Hilton Hotel in the capital, also seen as the political and economic center of the country. Windhoek is Afrikaans and means "windy corner". But to our disappointment there is no wind in the capital which counts 300.000 people. The group just meets in time on the 9th floor in the sky bar of the hotel for a last sundowner. Another highlight of the day is the dinner in "Joes Beerhouse", a rustic restaurant which serves regional meat selections. And the group meets again with the "Jägermeister" which is being promoted as the house wine. "One for the road" is the motto when they all arrive back at the hotel bar - a bit of nostalgia is in the air.
After breakfast, there is a little bit of time for sightseeing and shopping. The journey started with 14 individuals from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and ended with a united group which shared countless experiences together. A key role in this adventure was definitely taken by the guides: Marcus and Conway. The goodbye at the airport of Windhoek becomes quite emotional. Conway has his very own way of saying thank you and good bye - quote: "come together, family - nak-nak-nak". The contestants were all able to experience a completely new world and became part of the "Land Rover Experience".
After arriving at the airport OR Tambo in Johannesburg, the group needs to rush to the next gate to catch the connection flight with Sothafrican Airways to Frankfurt. This signals also the last part of their journey. There are only 11 shared hours left in the Airbus A 340-600 till the group reaches Frankfurt and everyone will go back to their home country - one last chance to say goodbye to everyone. The group will definitely meet again and who knows maybe they will even return to the endless wilderness of Africa.
All participants experienced the off-road trip as an exciting team event and each one of them had the possibility of collecting their own experiences. It all started with something very simple, they all ordered tyres online. Mytyres.co.uk offers a large product range from summer tyres, winter tyres to complete wheels and rims.
Most of the winners, at fist couldn't believe they had won. Hugo from Denmark could not believe his wife which read the mail to him. Jenni from Finland was more than surprised as the participation was a long time ago. The Spanish gentleman Ricardo was just as fascinated by his first travel abroad as all the other participants. The same for Eric, a vehicle body specialist from Belgium; it was a dream becoming reality, he was never able to afford such a Namibia trip.
Eva Maria Lang from Austria: "A great trip with a well assorted group". She tells her friends with enthusiasm about the journey "The trip by itself was in fact more amazing than the memory, I always daydream about it".
Ricardo Trigo from Spain sums his thoughts up as: "the trip was very well organized. It is a country that welcomed us and our 4X4 SUVs with its dunes and beaches. Simply a place where dust turned into charm."
Annelie Färnevik from Sweden was delighted to win as well as - glad about her pair of Continental Tyres purchased at Dackonline.se, which made her dream turn reality. "Everything, starting from the invitation for the trip, to the warm welcome at the airport in Frankfurt, to the selection of the lodge in Namibia was organized professionally. Continental and Land Rover definitely exceeded all my expectations. And my car is way more comfortable to drive since I started using Continental-Tyres."
Andrea Tongi from Italy has had great fun and was impressed by the perfect organization. "Daniel, Marcus and Conway made sure at any given moment that the group had a harmonic and outstanding experience. Especially, during the off-road drives. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved who made this trip so memorable... and who knows, we might see each other again for a "revival" or another Land Rover tour. Thank you all!"
Linda Boogaartz from the Netherlands tells us with enthusiasm: "It was a fantastic journey which I shall never forget! We were such a great group, and I already start to miss every one of them. We drove top cars and saw wild animals. Many thanks to Continental, Delticom and Land Rover!"
Hugo Lauritsen from Denmark would immediately return to Namibia and says: "it was a marvelous trip; perfectly organized and people from all over Europe. We had many unforeseeable impressions that you would not normally have as a "normal tourist". Thanks to Delticom and Continental which made this journey possible. I have been an online customer for many years and I have to say that their service was never disappointing."
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