A Himba girl
Namibia

Skeleton Coast

Namibia is truly exceptional. We spent four days with Skeleton Coast Safaris, traveling North from Windhoek towards the Angolan border in two Cessna 210s. Our expert pilot-guides were Helga and Henke Schoerman. We explored sand dunes, deserts, mountains, and river valleys by foot and by Land Rover. Along the coast, we flew over thousands of fur seals and dozens of shipwrecks, some of which were over a hundred years old. We flew fast and low to stay under the morning fog. At times, it felt as if we could reach out and touch the waves and dunes. It was the very definition of adventure tourism. Here, the word “epic” doesn’t quite capture the thrill of running up a 100 meter sand dune only to gaze upon an endless stretch of 300 meter dunes extending into the horizon. The harshness of the arid landscape and the silence of the desert was all-encompassing. There is life in the desert, a surprising amount in fact, but it is not an easy life. The animals and people who live here are as tough as they come.

Cesna 210 above the desert in Namibia
Cesna 210 above the desert in Namibia
YiOu Wang
Time to get to work on the Sossusvlei sand dunes, which are among the largest in the world.
Time to get to work on the Sossusvlei sand dunes, which are among the largest in the world.
Sean Pont
Running on the Sossusvlei sand dunes. They were intensely red due to high levels of iron.
Running on the Sossusvlei sand dunes. They were intensely red due to high levels of iron.
Sean Pont
Oryx, here referred to as Gemsbok, are strikingly colored. They survive in the desert by extracting all of their required water from plants.
Oryx, here referred to as Gemsbok, are strikingly colored. They survive in the desert by extracting all of their required water from plants.
Sean Pont
We sped North along the coast at 140 knots roughly 100 feet above the water. All of those black dots along the shoreline are fur seals.
We sped North along the coast at 140 knots roughly 100 feet above the water. All of those black dots along the shoreline are fur seals.
We landed on the beach here to put our toe in the water and explore shipwrecks.
We landed on the beach here to put our toe in the water and explore shipwrecks.
YiOu Wang
The Ugab formations are enormous, lifeless monuments to the forces of erosion and time.
The Ugab formations are enormous, lifeless monuments to the forces of erosion and time.
YiOu Wang
Two Land Rovers met us in the Huab River Valley and brought us to camp.
Two Land Rovers met us in the Huab River Valley and brought us to camp.
A strange landscape beckons.
A strange landscape beckons.
Sean Pont
YiOu looks out over the Huab River Valley. This very spot was one of the last homes to the San people in Namibia. Cave paintings nearby document the arrival of white people.
YiOu looks out over the Huab River Valley. This very spot was one of the last homes to the San people in Namibia. Cave paintings nearby document the arrival of white people.
We explored a river bed which contained every conceivable rock morphology.
We explored a river bed which contained every conceivable rock morphology.
Endless dunes at Terrace Bay.
Endless dunes at Terrace Bay.
Sean Pont
Sometimes it is the small things that are the most astonishing. How do these lines of bright pink sand develop?
Sometimes it is the small things that are the most astonishing. How do these lines of bright pink sand develop?
Sean Pont
A Land Rover meets us in the Hoarusib Valley in the Kunene Region. A river here provides a home to animals and plants in an otherwise desolate landscape.
A Land Rover meets us in the Hoarusib Valley in the Kunene Region. A river here provides a home to animals and plants in an otherwise desolate landscape.
YiOu Wang
Sean flying low over the water. Indicated air speed: 160 knots. Altitude: 120 feet.
Sean flying low over the water. Indicated air speed: 160 knots. Altitude: 120 feet.
YiOu Wang
Sunset from the Land Rover on our way towards camp at the Kunene River
Sunset from the Land Rover on our way towards camp at the Kunene River
The Himba live in the desert near along the border with Angola. Water is precious. They never bathe, but instead cleanse themselves with smoke and color their skin with powdered rock mixed with animal fat, which also acts as a sun screen.
The Himba live in the desert near along the border with Angola. Water is precious. They never bathe, but instead cleanse themselves with smoke and color their skin with powdered rock mixed with animal fat, which also acts as a sun screen.
The Himba village has a spectacular view, but little else.
The Himba village has a spectacular view, but little else.
A Himba girl herds her cattle down to the river several kilometers away.
A Himba girl herds her cattle down to the river several kilometers away.
Sean Pont
YiOu explores the hills just north of the Kunene river in Angola. The river below is as beautiful as it is full of crocodiles.
YiOu explores the hills just north of the Kunene river in Angola. The river below is as beautiful as it is full of crocodiles.
Sean Pont