Woman walks 460 km along Swakop River

20 July 2018 | People

After 28 days of walking along the Swakop River, covering 462 kilometres, the 49-year-old Nikola Fahrbach finally arrived at the river mouth at the end of May.

She started her journey at Midgard Country Estate in the eastern Khomas Region, the origin of the Swakop River, and walked the length of the river until it ended at the Atlantic Ocean. She even spent her 49th birthday while on track.

In preparing for the journey, paying attention to detail was vital and it took Fahrbach a year of planning to be able to make the journey. The first thing she needed to make sure of was having enough security and water on route in order to successfully complete the journey. She planned to walk only 15 to 20 kilometres per day for four weeks. Fahrbach approached farm owners along her route and informed them of her plan and permission was granted without any difficulties.

She started walking on 28 April and it became the beginning of an adventure that she will always treasure.

“We walked through areas of thick grass and bushes that made me suffer from hay fever. The thick sand was another challenge, but I made sure to concentrate on the ultimate goal ahead. I kept on walking,” she said.

As for wild animals, Fahrbach said that she only came across two harmless snakes and the peculiar thing is that other animals such as giraffes, baboons and kudus completely ignored her. She eventually mastered the art of climbing farm fences which all came with difficult and different challenges.

“Every day there was a highlight. The personal encounters from people I came across along the way were special, encouraging and very enriching,” she said.

The most challenging moment during her journey came when one day while she walked through the unpredictable Namib Desert and it suddenly started raining. All the equipment she had with her was drenched and her clothes felt like ice stitched to her skin.

Throughout her trip, she always carried three litres of water, some nuts for protein, Provita biscuits, canned mussels, corned beef and a satellite phone in case of emergencies.

“The rest of my camping equipment came every evening with various adventurers who supported me throughout the journey. They took this trip very seriously and it motivated me to keep going. I felt secure, humbled and protected. I am very thankful for their support and will never forget these individuals who believed in and supported my dream,” she said.

At the end of her journey she was exhausted but the joy of seeing a crowd of family and friends welcoming her at the beach with champagne filled her heart with joy, she recalls.

“It was a very emotional and joyful moment. I will always remember my wonderful ‘Groot Stap’ for the rest of my life. Thank you to everyone that helped me achieve this,” said Fahrbach.

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