FKT: Julie Mbaisa, Jacques Van Der Smit, Maritjie De Plesiss - Khomas Hochland Hiking Trail (Namibia) - 2020-10-02

Route variation
Gender category
Mixed-gender team
Start date
Finish date
Total time
13h 37m 57s
GPS track(s)

In the early hours of Friday 2 October 2020, after seeing off our group of 4 runners doing the KHHT 90km, we set off on the KHHT 55km route starting from the Dusternbrook Campsite. About 4km in we realized that Marietjie had left her prescription sunglasses at the Dusternbrook main gate requiring her to take a brisk run back to get them. Turning of the jeep track we soon encountered a group of giraffes, but only after nearly running into one – they are rather hard to spot in the dark with only a headlamp. At about 09h00 we reached Otjiseva thus completing Day 1. Feeling good we continued and at around 11h00 we reached Onduno, Day 2’s camp.

Onduno is also the camp for Day 4 of the KHHT as the route splits here with Day 3 continuing on 21km NW to Godeis before circling back to Onduno and Day 5 leading SE to the Tree House at Monte Christo.

We filled our water from the borehole and had a quick chat with the farmer who had come to check on us before leaving for a soon to be hot and tough 16km stretch to the Tree House. It was still 4km of climbing before we reached the highest point of the trail, which did not disappoint with awesome 360° views of the Khomas Hochland Mountains and Windhoek far in the distance. Although we started the descent in high spirits with a skip in our step, the terrain had other plans and with the temperature rising above 30°C during the heat of the day morale slowly started crumbling. Around 14h00 we reached the dry waterfall and commenced climbing down with the rickety ladders – we still had 8km to go with the temperature now well above 30°C. This 8km stretch to the Tree House proved to be the toughest part of the whole route and truly tested our resolve to the limit.

After what seemed like an eternity of running, the Tree House camp of Day 5 rose like an oasis and we eagerly climbed the stairs to seek a bit of shade and the borehole water to refill our now empty containers.

The last stretch, Day 6, is a 12km segment mostly following the river back to Dusternbrook where we started. Here we were confronted with river crossings, which tested our balance on the round stones sticking out above the flowing water. A nearby committee of vultures created an ominous feel and spurred us on to look alive. The temperature was cooling but navigation got harder with the faded trail markings being on trees instead of rocks as was during most of the previous kilometres. With the Dusternbrook farmhouse finally in sight down the river and the sun setting behind the Khomas Hochland Mountains, we were greeted once again by a group of giraffes which seemed to lead us in as they scattered at our approach and sped down the dry river bed.

With sunburnt arms, unstable legs, thorn-scratched shins and aching feet we ran up the hill and to an emotional and humbling finish of the KHHT 55km Route.