ON LOCATION – SKELETON COAST FLY IN SAFARI
Namibia has been called “the land God made in anger”, a name and an idea that have been enhanced by many books and literature. Not so. This is a land of extraordinary variety and hauntingly desolate beauty where man and beast have over the millennia learned to coexist in a surprisingly supportive environment.
The entire country is a geologist's dream with its ancient history of middle-earth upheavals, tectonic shifts and lava flows that have created rock formations, patterns and colours that no camera or artist can quite capture. Visitors get a bird's-eye view of all of this as you fly low over the various mountain ranges in the capable hands of one of the Schoemann brothers of Skeleton Coast Fly In Safaris. I found it best to put my camera away, relax and enjoy the trip!
Namibia is full of surprises and travelling with people who know the country and its secrets and are aviators-extraordinaire, you learn a few of them and appreciate that there is much more to this country than miles and miles of nothing.
Try lying on your tummy peering at a sand dune through a magnifying glass only to realise that this is not sand at all, but one of a whole sea of dunes made up entirely of minute semi-precious stones that sparkle in shades of yellow, red and blue! Or make a dune roar and howl as you slide down it on your bottom. Astonishing, but a whisper in comparison with the roar a 1972 Landrover can create!
The Skeleton Coast is dotted with the wrecks of ships that ran ashore over the years due to storms, currents and human error, the most recent victim having been washed ashore just days before we flew along that part of the coastline. I will confess to feeling quite pleased that the coastline had not lost its predatory touch to modern navigation tools!
The Schoemann brothers land their planes on remote beaches and dry river beds, fly low along a coast inhabited only by colonies of seals and a few scavenging jackal and brown hyena. You will fly over barren rock mountains that give way to open grasslands with springbok, zebra and oryx; explore areas dotted with delta-like wetlands; search for desert elephant along perennial waterways and travel by boat along the cliff- fortified Kunene River where, in my opinion, anyone who is able to "run border” is entitled to get to Namibia!
This is a wonderful trip of exploration and astonishment and I only regret was that I did not have more time in those wild, desolate places. Ask the experts for the best personalized advice...