Swakopmund

From : Allafrica.com

1 June 2012

TEN Danish nationals with physical disabilities started a 24-day adventure in Swakopmund yesterday where they would have to brave some of the toughest conditions as they make their way to the Victoria Falls in Zambia.

The adventure, which will end on June 25, is a ‘Mastiff AB Production’ (Denmark) reality series called ‘Mod alle odds’, based on the British success series ‘Beyond Boundaries”.

Wolfgang Knoepfler of Magic Touch Films in Namibia is responsible for the logistics of the event. This is his fifth adventure related to this reality series.

The eight-episode series (of 40 minutes per episode) is about ten physically disabled people going on an extreme expedition. In this case, four of the participants had their legs amputated (one was hit by lightning, while another’s leg was blown off by a road-side bomb in Afghanistan); two participants are paraplegics and are dependent on wheelchairs; one is a dwarf, at 98cm tall believed to be the shortest man in Denmark; one is deaf and another blind; and one has ‘adult syndrome’ that affects physical development, including vision.

The 1 500km route started off at the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay yesterday morning, and the first obstacle was for them to get over the coastal dunes and make their way to the amphitheatre dune on the other side of the dune belt – about 10 kilometres.

Until June 25, they would make their way to Goanikontes; the Moon Landscape; Brandberg and Damaraland; Kamanjab; Waterberg; and then to the Caprivi; from where they will cross the border into Zambia and then raft 40km down the Zambezi River to Livingston Island at the Victoria Falls where their adventure will end.

An experienced expedition leader will guide and advise them, while there will also be an expedition doctor to look after their health and safety needs.

Asked if the participants will have to do the entire expedition ‘on foot’, Knoepfler explained that only certain areas will be done physically, but the participants will also be transported when there are major distances between key locations such as Goanikontes near Swakopmund to the Brandberg near Uis; and also from Waterberg to Caprivi. “Otherwise they will have to do this expedition on their own, using their individual skills and working together as a team. They will fend for themselves; build up their own camp, make fire, purchase wood, purify water and cook. Occasionally they will use boats, trucks or animals to get them from A to B. They will have to struggle in knee-deep mud, cross rivers, deserts and savannah,” he said.

The aim of the programme is to bring across the message that one is able to achieve much more than one ever thought possible.

“It is an inspirational journey for both able-bodied and disabled people,” said Knoepfler, adding this will also promote Namibia as an adventure destination.

Both Mastiff Production and Magic Touch Films commended the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for the assistance they have provided in “opening doors” for the safe and free movement of the participants through protective areas.