SWAKOPMUND – In life, human beings all have dreams of achieving their set goals – some are eager to test their character by swimming in a shark tank while others want to set foot on another planet than earth.
The rest would rather play it safe and listen to that negative voice telling them that ‘it cannot be done’ or that ‘it is impossible’.
Often, the outcome of listening to that negative voice is we draw back into our shell, and miss an opportunity to experience the beauty of life when defying the odds.
Then you get people like Nikola Fahrbach, a Tsumeb-born nature lover determined to achieve their goals, never mind the obstacles and who emerge victorious at the end of the challenges they set for themselves.
The 49-year-old, Capricorn Group employee, a holding company of Bank Windhoek, set out to achieve a childhood dream in May this year.
She bravely trekked from the Midgard Country Estate in the eastern Khomas Region, the origin of the Swakop River to Swakopmund – walking the length of the river until in the Atlantic Ocean, covering a total distance of 462 kilometres whilst spending her 49th birthday on track.
The Swakop River
The Swakop River is one of Namibia’s largest rivers and has a rich history. It reaches the Atlantic Ocean on the southern edge of the coastal town of Swakopmund – aptly named Mouth of the Swakop in German.
The River is 460 kilometres long and has a 30 100 square kilometres large catchment area. The Koi-Koi named it Swakop, meaning excrement, due to the amount of brownish sludge that can be seen in the sea when the river runs into it. Dams such as Von Bach near Okahandja and Swakoppoort, are built on the banks of the Swakop River.
The river runs close to Okahandja and right through Otjimbingwe. The Swakop Bridge in Swakopmund is a notable sight where the river meets the sea. Fahrbach’s journey exposed her and introduced her to the beauty of Namibia while she followed the river’s path. “It was breath taking,” she said.
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 supply 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.
On Saturday morning, April 28, 2018, she started walking 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.
When she arrived in Otjimbingwe, Erongo Region, some 200 kilometres west of Windhoek, she shared her stories of her motivation and determination for embarking on such an extraordinary journey with the locals.
A local woman summarised her story well and said: “It is because her heart told her to and she listened to it.” The most challenging moment during her journey came when one day while she walked through the unpredictable Namib Desert, it suddenly started raining.
All the equipment she had with 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.
After 28 days of walking covering 462 kilometres, on Friday, May 25, 2018, Fahrbach made it to Swakopmund.
“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.
The financial professional, with international experience, always dreamt of exploring the Namibian landscape and said that this is just the beginning.