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11 October 2012 / leggypeggy

Streaking through the desert with clothes on


Helen gets a send-off. Photo by Colin

Oh wow! We had the most fun zooming through the desert on dune buggies and sandboards.

Our adventure started in Huacachina, an oasis village built around a small natural lake in southwestern Peru. Our red and yellow ‘chariots’ were from Desert Knights and our drivers couldn’t wait to take to the slopes.

In my opinion, dune buggies and sandboards are the closest things to roller coasters (one of my favourite heart-stopping things). Jesus, our driver, was keen to scare the wits out of us, so we were off at top speed at about 4pm when the sand had cooled down a bit. Our airborne shots up and over the crests of steep dunes were interrupted every 20 minutes or so, so we could take turns hurtling down a slope that looked too steep to drive down! I’m guessing the slopes were 10 or 12 stories high and while they weren’t vertical, they seemed that way.


Alanna on her way. Photo by Colin

There are some strict rules about boarding. The main one is to keep your elbows tucked in—you MUST keep them on the board. This is not easy when the board is about nine inches wide and your chest is built like mine. The other rule is to spread out your legs so you can steer. Ha, you can’t steer! You just hang on and smile. Closing your eyes is optional, but not recommended.

In the end we had four sessions each of dune riding and boarding. On at least two of the boarding dunes, we couldn’t see the bottom from where we started at the top. One had a huge dip and ridge on the way down. Like a dune within a dune. We all survived. There were a few sand burns and a lifetime of sand in hair, teeth, clothes and shoes. But what an amazing experience.


Maeve and her board make it to the bottom together. Photo by Colin

I’m posting photos here, but these still photos don’t really give a good idea of the steepness of the dunes and speeds at which we were travelling. Fortunately, some of the others took videos, which they are happy for me to link to once they get them chosen and uploaded.

After the sandboards were packed away, we headed to a high dune to watch the sunset and then on to a desert camp, which was all set up by the time we got there. Our roll mats and sleeping bags had been delivered to our ‘door’ by a support vehicle.

Our drivers cooked dinner—chicken, kebabs and sausages—over a raging bonfire, and produced plenty of salads and way too many pitches of pisco sours.

Nobody is sure how late we all stayed up, but there was an early rise with the sun—and everyone covered in dew and sand.

As an aside, the whole adventure was $50 a person. Can I go again please?

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Leave a Comment
  1. mickeydownunder1 / Oct 11 2012 6:06 pm

    WOW What fun indeed, TRUE!
    But wonder HOW it would compare to “pulling a Billy” too!(Billy Connolly’s urges re streaking too lol)
    Looks adventurous as can be!
    Is now on the list to try…for me!
    Just curious , as is my middle name,
    Did anyone get sand burns all for the sake of play and game? 🙂


  2. leggypeggy / Oct 11 2012 11:54 pm

    Yep, there were a few sand burns, but only for people who fell off.


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