One Saturday morning, three friends and I decided to head to Daan Viljoen Nature Reserve, which is situated in the mountainous Khomas Hochland close to Windhoek. The park offers guests two hiking trails. On arrival at the gate we shared a few jokes with the guard before moving on to pay the park fees and pick up our map showing the various routes.
We started on the shorter trail that leads to one of the smaller dams in the park. This is a 3-kilometre hike, 1.5 kilometres to the dam and back. We ventured a bit off the path to look at an old graveyard, and decided to follow the riverbed and not cross the small mountain. There were a few baboons in the rocky riverbed and they watched us closely.
We found tracks of jackal, wildebeest, aardwolf and possibly a wildcat. Birds were also very active around us. Although it was winter, we soon discarded our jackets one by one.
The dam had a bit of water in it and we walked down to reach it and enjoy the view and the birds before heading back to the car where hot coffee and a picnic basket with a variety of treats was waiting. We enjoyed our breakfast before conquering the next trail.
The second hike took us into the mountainous area. The climb was drastic and we found ourselves out of breath after just ten steps. We rested for a while, watching kudus moving about on another ridge.
We were very relieved to reach the top of the mountain where a fantastic view of the entire park and the beautiful city of Windhoek stretched before us. A long break was fitting and we checked our location on the GPS as well as on the printed map. We had actually only completed one third of the 9-kilometre hike. We carried on and made our way up the mountain again.
At one point we got lost as the only person following the markers missed one and it took us half an hour to figure out where we should have gone. We headed down until we reached the riverbed where we could walk in the shade of the trees and were very excited to flush a spotted eagle owl out of a tree.
We hiked uphill to get out at the old restaurant and the dam wall. We had to stop on several occasions, and the only male with us had to pull, push and motivate the girls to finish the hike. At the top we had a view of the Augies Dam, which was empty due to the drought Namibia has been experiencing. There were many Egyptian geese and ducks.
After taking it all in, we made our way slowly back to the car where we removed our hiking boots. Although this was a very long and difficult hike, we agreed that we definitely needed to hike here more often.
Author: Jessica Sack