Free as a Bird

“There is nothing that can describe this feeling”, says Matthias Röttcher of Ground Rush Adventures.

Free as a Bird

Discovering the coast by Air

14 December 2020 | Tourism

Always wanted to discover the Namibian coast by air? There are two options: Either fly in an airplane or jump out of one.

by Erwin Leuschner

“It’s time”, the pilot says and my heart skips a beat. My sweaty hands tremble. “Here we go”, I hear a faint voice behind me and suddenly we jump. One second ago I was happily sitting in the airplane enjoying the view down below, now I’m falling - really fast. The wind gushes past my cheeks as we race towards earth. A combination of adrenalin coupled with absolute tranquility rushing through my veins.

“There is nothing that can describe this feeling”, says Matthias Röttcher of Ground Rush Adventures. For close to 25 years he and his team of adrenalin junkies offer skydiving at Swakopmund. Besides jumping from an airplane Matthias currently holds the Namibian windsurfing speed record. He actually is theholder of a degree in mechanical engineering. “I guess it’s the freedom, the floating through nothingness that gets you hooked”, he says. Every skydiver can relate having taken the leap.

When it comes to skydiving in Namibia, Swakopmund is the place to be. Especially since the Skydiving Club was founded in the 80s. A few years later Matthias together with his business partners established Ground Rush Adventures. Matthias has clocked more than 8500 jumps. “That is only a number. I really would like to break the 10000 mark one day though”, he says.

Tourists love the Tandem-Jumps
For the one-time skydiver Ground Rush offers tandem skydive jumps. The novice is strapped to an experienced skydiver and can enjoy this experience without having to go through hours of training. “It’s like a taster for those who want to know if it’s for them”, says Matthias. Tandem jumps have been especially popular with tourists. For the more adventures types out there, Ground Rush offers training to learn skydiving either by static line (parachute deploys immediately after jump) or Advanced Free Fall (AFF), whereby two instructors assist you after you make your jump. “Safety is our main priority. Even after extensive training, we still evaluate everybody to ensure they are 100 % ready”, Matthias reiterates.

"Flying has always been my Passoin"
If jumping out of a perfect moving airplane is not for you, there is another option to discover the Namibian coast by air: A scenic flight. “Flying has always been my passion”, says Mike Böttger, Managing Director of Scenic Air. Before becoming a full-time pilot, he was a lawyer and he holds a masters in aviation. “For me it was the absolute freedom, my passion made me change careers and got me hooked on flying”, he adds. Besides flying paying customers on various excursions, Mike can be seen regularly in his stunt plane, a Van’s RV-8, performing loops and acrobatics in the skies above Swakopmund. “That’s a different type of flying though”, he chuckles.

Scenic Air offers daily scenic flights and offers four different routes. Instead of lengthy drives on bad roads, clients can for instance visit the ever popular Sossusvlei by air in just over two hours - starting in Swakopmund. Another route takes you up to the Brandberg mountain - the highest mountain in Namibia. “I have flown these routes countless times and they remain fascinating. Every single time is different, more unique”, Mike says. As COVID-19 hit, so too the business took a hit. “Giving up is out of the question though”, he adds sternly. Besides offering scenic flights, Scenic Air is also popular for offering charter flights, fly-in safaris as well as a “air taxi” service between Windhoek and Sossusvlei.

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