Namib Desert, Skeleton Coast, Zambia
It’s quite an extraordinary experience to arrive so easily into the arid desert of Namibia, having come from what we thought was a rather dry Victoria Falls by way of very special private jet. Our two hour Cessna Safari flight started to reveal some really rugged landscapes which we kept being told is ‘living desert’. Landing on the sands of the Namib (northern Kalahari) Desert, with iconic granite mountains around us,
Our ‘oasis in the desert’ here is the Hoanib Desert Camp, a luxury camp of Wilderness Safaris, where large tented structures show that we can be very comfortable amid such a seemingly harsh environment. We’re greeted with ‘afternoon high tea’, sandwiches, cakes, cookies, and home made fudge. Life is looking good. Meals proved to be wholesome and delicious with excellent variety for such a remote wild place.
With our local Namibian safari guides, Michael and Max, our safari drives are in enclosed desert 4×4 Landcruisers and these include game drives along the dry Hoanib River sands with its tall acacia trees and evergreen bushes whose leaves contain plenty of water for the browsing animals. Here we quickly find the desert lions of Namib, as well as their ‘dinner’ which are plentiful Oryx with magnificent straight horns, and “towers” of giraffe. Small herds of Springbok which even we know are delicious. It’s not long before we are also enjoying being among a local family herd of desert elephants that feeds along the dry-river bed mostly feeding on the ‘Ana pods’ from the acacia trees. Being a breeding herd it’s fun to have ‘up close’ Elephant encounters and interactions and enjoy the joys of the playful young. Our ‘under the tree in the dry river’ picnic lunch is almost ruined by a young inquisitive and boisterous male elephant, Oliver, who wants to join us.
A long drive day trip, toward the Atlantic ocean, takes us out of the sand river desert and into the sand dunes. We marvel at driving over the vast sand dunes and visiting a real oasis in the desert. Across the flat salt sandy plains and we find the Atlantic Ocean coastline – at the renowned Skeleton Coast of Southern Africa. It is along this rocky foggy cold craggy coastline (jutting out west into the Atlantic Ocean) that over 200 years many many ships have run aground, including within the last few years … and hence the hulking skeletal hulls of these shipwrecks give this coastline its eerie name.
Here we find another ‘migration’ … that of thousand and thousands of fur seals. We smell them before we see them and hear them. The frigid cold waters of the Antarctica come north up along this southwest coast of Africa, making ideal conditions and home for the thousands seals. Amid the seals we see black-back jackals running along scavenging for seal pups and we hear stories of the elusive brown hyena doing the same for food. We enjoy an unexpected white table cloth delicious lunch picnic on a sandy beach of the Atlantic. And, after lunch, we take a scenic private flight from the beach back into the desert, retracing our tire tracks in the comfort of a speedy Cessna and back to our tented home at Hoanib. The Namib Desert is indeed an active living desert … plenty going on in this wondrous scenically splendid place.
However, all too soon it’s time to move on again. We’re headed back south, down to South Africa and down to the southern end of the Kalahari Desert … land of the red sands … and to another ‘diamond’ destination of our trip, the beautiful remote Tswalu Game Reserve … largest private wildlife reserve in Southern Africa. Coming up … a land of meerkats and pangolins … as well as some banner Big 5 too …
Click here to continue with us to Tswalu!