Delegates and travel writers from around the world descended on Swakopmund on Monday to begin the tenth Adventure Travel World Summit and a party in the desert.
Many of the writers and delegates to the summit had been on adventures throughout the land. Some to the river paradise of Zambezi where over 400 bird species are found and tiger fish play the lines, others to the arid north-west in search of desert adapted elephants and black rhino.
All arrived, safe and sound, in orange busses in the Swakop River bed, to the popping of champagne corks and the sound of marimbas. “Look at that light,” said a Californian as the sun began to set and warm the rocky hills.
The more adventurous climbed a hill for a view of the party below and the moon landscape beyond. Before long the sound of a small plane could be heard, and then half a dozen parachutists pirouetted from the bluest of skies and swooped across the waiting crowd below.
For Namibia, it was the culmination of two years of preparation. A year beforehand the Adventure Travel Trade team had been to inspect – to see if this semi-desert country, population two million, could really host such an event. They had been treated to dinner in the sand dunes. The tables were laid, the glasses sparkling, “but where was the drink?” Seconds later parachutists floated in with champagne. It was clear that Namibia could do it.
The adventure evening continued with a mile long walk down a sandy track to the chasm below. Stars above, candles below. A banquet was served as choirs sang and images of ancient Africa were beamed onto the rocks. The continent is the home of mankind, and visitors were welcomed “home.”
Around the fire a film team gathered soundbites:
From Australia: “Awesome – very happy to be here on this land – I feel at home.”
The USA: “It’s been a whirlwind of landscapes, people and cultures – from the moment I got off the plane it has been a very good vibe – I have seen the Grand Canyon, but this was the greatest.”
Spain: “The Himbas are such a warm hearted and friendly people – people, landscapes, wildlife – I have been totally impressed.”
Ghana: “I see giraffes – kudus, it’s amazing, and Namibia is so developed - this is the first summit to have an open skies dinner – this is going to be an inspiring summit.”
Namibia – a tour operator: “I am so pleased that everybody is happy and that we are giving good service.”