The Skeleton Coast fly-in safari with the Schoeman family in Namibia rates as one of our most memorable wild experiences ever!
John and I chose to do the three-night/four-day safari leaving from Windhoek.
Our pilot and guide was Bertus Schoeman, a quiet and gentle man in his early 40's, who, it soon became apparent, knew more than most about two things - flying his single-engined Cessna 210 and Namibian geology! In fact, with regard to the former, John quickly made the point that our soaring mode of transport was really a Landrover with wings!
Before refuelling in Swakopmund, Bertus put us down in what appeared to be the middle of the desert, right on the edge of the Kuiseb Canyon. What a remarkable start that would be to the other landings we made and the places we saw over the four days that followed! We landed on beaches and also on a number of isolated strips that extend into normally inaccessible areas of the Skeleton Coast's harsh but staggeringly beautiful interior.
We flew low, sometimes skimming a hundred feet above the ground, over seal colonies, shipwrecks, flocks of flamingos and imposing dunes. All the time the beauty of this otherworldly desert environment, the oldest on the planet, overwhelmed our senses. Whether we were flying or driving (good sturdy Landrovers, of course!), this majestic landscape, with its endless feeling of space, inspired rock colours and sand formations that defy words, has to be seen to be believed and fully appreciated.
Expect to be hot, expect to be cold, all in the space of a day; expect gritty dust and fine sand in your shoes and in your hair; expect bumpy rides both in the air and on the ground.
Don't expect to have time to read a book; don't expect to see the influence of a Johannesburg interior designer in the camps (they are wonderfully authentic and beautifully rustic); don't expect a hairdryer in your tent!
Expect to have fun; expect astonishing colours and mind-blowing landscapes, scenery like you've never seen before. Expect to have your curiosity awakened to the fascinating geology, history and origins of this land; expect captivating stories about intrepid explorers and shipwrecks. Expect to be active and always ready for an early night; expect a comfortable bed and good, wholesome food. Expect to see places and sights only a handful of people (about 300 a year with SKS) are privileged to see. Expect surprises every day. Expect a wonderful adventure in a truly breathtaking wilderness.
In the end, pictures speak louder than words, so take a look at these following. You needn't do this safari with John, as you will be in excellent hands with any of the Schoeman family, but we do urge you to add it to any expedition we organise for you in Southern Africa, either at the front or back of your trip. We'll be happy to tell you more about what you can expect!
John, Nicci and Sarah
© Copyright 2007 - John Stevens Guided Safaris Africa - All rights reserved.
Images: © Copyright 2007 - Skeleton Coast Safaris - All rights reserved.