EHRA's 10th Anniversay Fundraising Trek
7th - 13th September 2013
2013 is EHRA's 10th Anniversary and to celebrate we are holding a fundraising trek, taking people through some of our favourite areas of the desert! The trek is a sponsored 141km walk through Damaraland over 7 days to raise funds for our conflict prevention programmes, including the water point protection programme, the elephant patrols and our elephant educational project, The PEACE Project. The walk is great for anyone looking for a trekking or walking holiday, whilst completing a personal challenge and raising money for the conservation of the desert elephants in Namibia.
Through committing to this challenge, you can help make a real difference to these communities by helping EHRA promote a future where these very special elephants can live in harmony with local farmers. In return we promise you a week you will remember for the rest of your life. Key EHRA staff will also be walking with the group and will impart to you their intricate knowledge and understanding of our desert elephants, learned over the last 10 years.
How it works
The cost to participate in the trek is ₤1500 pounds sterling (our your currency equivalent) this includes all transfers, accommodation, food and equipment whilst on the trek. Excluded are flights, insurance and then food and accomodation when back in Swakopmund. Advice will be given on getting the best deals. For those who would like to fundraise, support is available through sponsor forms and fundraising ideas, once you sign up you will be mailed a pack full of ideas, kit list and training advice to help prepare you for the challenge.
The route starts near Ugab Wilderness Camp at the foothills of the Brandberg and leads in a north-westerly direction into the sand dunes, and further towards Doros Crater. From there it swings west to Klein Gai-Ais, from where it turns south to end at the Ugab River. Total distance is a measured 141 kilometers. There is the opportunity to join an EHRA patrol at the end of the trek or we can help you plan an adventure to explore the rest of Namibia.
DAY 1: total distance 8km
Transfer from the meeting point of Swakopmund to the start of the trek at the foot of the majestic Brandberg Mountain. At 2573m this massive volcanic feature is the highest in Namibia and will dominate the route as you make your way towards the Skeleton Coast. From where the coach leaves us we will walk 8km to the area adjacent to the Ugab River and our first camp under the stars. Tonight the group will be briefed by EHRA staff about the challenge, the route, the area and in particular the desert elephants.
DAY 2: total distance 20km
After an early rise and breakfast head through the ephemeral Ugab Riverbed up onto the calcrete escarpment north of the river, where lunch will be after 10km.
DAY 3: total distance 30,2km
We rise early to face a long and tough day. We make our way north-west from the river across the vegetated dune fields where we could catch a glimpse of the elusive kudu found in this area. Climbing out of the dune field we head for the only Mopane tree on these unforgiving sandy plains where we stop for lunch.After lunch we continue towards the Guantagab River through rugged sedimentary hills, scattered with Commifora trees looking like miniature Baobabs. This area is frequented by the desert adapted Black Rhino, (Diceros Bicornis Bicornis). Nearly hunted to extinction in the 80’s their numbers are up to around 130 individuals walking free in the northern part of the Namib Desert, but with home ranges of up to 750 square km’s and their secretive nature, we would be lucky to even see their tracks. Tonight we camp amongst granite outcrops in the wilderness area south of Doros Crater, an afternoons walk of 15,4km.
DAY 4: total distance 20,9km
After breakfast we head north over the plains towards Doros Crater. We have lunch at the foot of this 140 million year old volcanic crater a walk of 11,3km. After lunch we follow Mountain Zebra footpaths up the rim of the crater, walk through the caldera and over the opposite rim for some amazing views towards the Skeleton Coast. Following an ancient Elephant path we are lead to our camp, which is 9,6km away, through beautiful granite features and an area frequented by oryx, ostrich and springbok. After dinner there will be an optional talk and practical session on astronomy, as the nights sky in this area is renowned for the plentitude of stars and incredible visibility.
DAY 5: total distance 20,5km
This morning’s walk takes us towards the Mikberg, following game trails through typical Damaraland landscapes. Here we find the ancient Welwitchia Mirabilis plants eking out an existence on the plains. After lunch we walk through fascinating geology and onto the Doros Plains where we are likely to see herds of giraffe, zebra and oryx. Our camp is a sand stone outcrop once inhabited by bushman and is EHRA’s most favourite camping spot in the desert! For sunset, we walk up a ridge to a breathtaking viewpoint watching the mist roll in from the Atlantic Ocean.
DAY 6: total distance 27,9km
Our last day! Today’s walking takes us down to the Ugab River again, through valleys of folded sediments covering over 200 million years of geological history. Lunch is in one such valley after 15,4km, from where we continue to our camp close to the linear oasis of the Ugab. In this area the famed Desert Elephant roam, and we will tread carefully! The afternoon’s walking is stunning as we weave our way through canyons, with water springs and beautiful scenery. Tonight there is a slide show about the elephants and the work EHRA does.
DAY 7: total distance 13km
A final walk out of the river valley brings us to the Brandberg West Mine where our vehicles await us for the journey to Swakopmund, transfer time is 2.5 hours.
Tonight is the celebratory party, where we can let our hair down and celebrate our achivements!
Today everyone is free to explore the quaint, small town of Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast, or sadly make their journey home! Swakopmund is a interesting little town with lovely cafes, restaurants, and great shopping. It is also a very safe place and perfect for relaxing after the hard week. For those who are heading out on an EHRA patrol, today is also a free day, with transfer back to the Ugab on Sunday morning.
Cailin Human - EHRA Trek 2009
"I didn’t know which was going to be harder: Raising money for some elephants in a desert in another country (amidst an economic recession), or hiking 141km in the Damara desert . . . Both turned out just fine, and I will most definitely be doing the same next year!
People who wanted to contribute R100 or more were entered into another lucky draw, and could win a weekend for two, B&B, at the Noordhoek Hotel in Noordhoek Village, Cape Town.