Words Can’t Describe The Beauty
It has been a few days since I have had a useable internet connection, although it felt good to be disconnected, I haven’t updated my adventure and I don’t know where to start. My last blog ended with us arriving in Windhoek Namibia and staying at Naankuse. For me the best thing about Naankuse is that I got to land on a dirt road, it was the best flight, actually the best landing, of my life. How this all came about was that it was a 1 hour drive from the international airport to the lodge and Luca was trying to find a better way to get all of the guests airborne as early as possible in the morning while still allowing people to sleep a little. So without high expectations, Luca asked the lodge if there was an airstrip closer that we could use to reposition the airplanes closer. To our surprise they stated that the owner of the lodge used to fly his airplane in and that there was a particular part of the road he used. We went and scouted the road and found it to be rough and rocky but useable. We measured it out to be approximately 2700 feet long with small trees at both ends. We decided it was going to work. We went to the international airport to ask if they would allow us to land on this road in their airspace and to our surprise again they said YES. We were very excited when we departed for our 3 min flight to camp and after making a low pass to judge the best landing direction, Luca let me take the airplane in for a landing on a washboard dirt road, it was incredible.
From Naankuse we flew North, all the way to the Angola border where we landed in the Hartmann Valley. We stayed at Serra Cafema which is an incredible lodge. The lodge sites on Kunene river which runs through a pristine desert. It’s quite a contrast to be sitting on the bank of the river, looking at sand dunes and granite mountains. The lodge is 1000km from the nearest city which is where all of their food and supplies are flown and trucked in from. The supply truck arrives once a month and takes 3 days to make the journey one way. It’s incredible to think of the logistics necessary to run a camp this far from civilization. From Serra Cafema we took an excursion ever further into the wilderness to meet a village of Himba people. Driving into this village was like entering into a movie about tribal people from hundreds of years ago, only it was real. It was difficult for me to grasp that this was reality, these people didn’t dawn the traditional outfits foru our entertainment or education. These people didn’t go home to their contemporary homes and ikea furniture at the end of the day, this was real. The Himba people have lived the same way for countless generations. It was a very special gift to have the opportunity to meet these very gracious people and spend a couple hours learning about them and their culture. I wish we could have spent more time with them.
From Hartmann Valley we flew South along the Skeleton Coast, named for the many shipwrecks and skeletal remains of both ships and whales. The whale bones are the remains of a once prolific whaling industry. Along the Skeleton coast we flew towards our next stop of at Geluk. The Skeleton Coast is Namibia is virtually impossible to describe. Try to imagine a coastline that runs the distance from Portland Oregon to Los Angeles California, that is almost entirely sand dunes. Now imagine that these sand dunes run as far as one hundred miles inland from the coast. This is what we flew over, for hours, in awe of what was under us as far as the eye could see. Some of these sand dunes where what I would expect, sand piled high by the wind, extending 100-200 feet into the sky, flowing over the surface of the earth at the will of the winds. Some of these sand dunes exceeded my wildest expectations, soaring well over 1000 feet into the sky, constructed completely of sand, as fine as the sand in an hourglass. Also along the coast we were able to see Pink Flamingos in Sandwich Harbor, several famous shipwrecks including the Shaunee and Bohlen. In addition the beautiful cold green waters of the atlantic ocean with large waves pounding the coastline.
After flying over the sand dunes for hours we flew over the Sossusvlei salt and clay pan, next to the famous red dunes of the Namib Desert. We landed at Geluk which was very close to our lodge. Little Kulala, the lodge we stayed at, is a great oasis in this vast desert. Little Kulala translates to “little sleep” and it’s called this because the bright sun wakes you early in the morning. Little Kulala is a great lodge with expansive views of the surrounding red dunes and is home to the most amazing sunset I have ever seen. I took countless photos during the epic sunset but my camera refused to capture what my eyes and heart were seeing. I don’t have the words to describe the beauty, it is something you would have to see to understand.
Next our journey takes us back through Windoek, on our way to Jacks Camp in Botswana.