EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in skeleton coast luxury safaris (1)

Wednesday
Jun262013

Discover Namibia: Skeleton Coast Luxury Safaris and Beyond

Namibia is home to the world's oldest desert, the Namib, meaning ‘vast place.' The landscape across the desert is indeed vast, and diverse—ranging from tthe spectacular pink and orange dune seas to the so-called ‘long wall’ where the ocean meets the tall sands to the mysterious and foggy Skeleton Coast.

The Namib’s Sand Sea in Naukluft National Park has recently been added to UNESCO’s list of 217 World Heritage Sites. The area is the first in ten years to meet all four of the criteria. The ever-changing dune landscape is believed to be the only one on earth shaped by fog.

Namibia is a truly singular place to experience nature. Curious global nomads will thrill in exploring the region’s endless solitude via nature drives and quad bike excursions through the towering red sand dunes. Boating on the Kunene River, bordering Angola in the north, offers a lush conduit through the desert’s green riverside oases.

At Epic Road, we have a special place in our hearts and minds for the often otherworldly and entirely unique landscapes of Namibia. One of our global nomads, Amanda Manchia, wrote to us, “I recently went on a week-long, mind-boggling journey through Namibia with Epic Road. The Namib Desert was an unexpected, endless, arid expanse of sand dunes and mountains set among the dense bush of southern Africa. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Namibia is a gorgeous country unlike any other.”

Here are a few of our favorite destinations in the country:

Sossusvlei: The startling salt and clay pan of the Sossusvlei, in northern Namibia, have been drawing curious travelers for generations. The pan is surrounded by immense red sand dunes of breathtaking beauty that stretch unbroken in rolling, crested waves until they reach the sea. They can be explored by car, quad bike, or even a hot air balloon. The area is inhospitable but not barren—you may catch sight of one of the adapted species that calls Sossuvlei home, like the jackal, the ostrich, and the oryx.

To experience Sossulvei in luxury, stay at the isolated Little Kulala, where you’ll sleep peacefully in a climate-controlled, thatched villa with a romantic skybed for rooftop stargazing. It’s hard to imagine a sky where the stars burn more brightly.

Damaraland: You might not expect large wildlife in Damaraland’s vast sandy wastes, but there it is. The desert sustains small but vibrant populations of rhino, oryx, ostrich, elephants and giraffe, who have adapted to survive the harsh demands of life in the desert. The region is also home to some astonishing scenery, including petrified forests, craggy mountains, and prehistoric rock paintings. In Damaraland, the slow passage of time is palpable.

At Desert Rhino Camp, the largest population of free-ranging black rhino is on at your doorstep. In collaboration with Save the Rhinos Trust, Desert Rhino camp offers a comfortable place to observe on of the most magnificent, and fastest dwindling, species on Earth.

Skeleton Coast

In a land of little water or resources, the Skeleton Coast is a major exception. The cold ocean water is rich in fishery resources, which support populations of brown fur seals and shorebirds that, in turn, serve as prey for the Skeleton Coast's lions.

It’s a fascinating ecosystem that makes for a great safari. Despite the inhospitable, arid weather, life finds a way.

Kunene River

The Kunene River is a rare channel of life in a very dry desert--a winding band of green surrounded by the lunar landscape of the Namib Desert stretching to the Serra Cafema mountain range in the north.  It is a precious resource to the people and animals of the region, and it draws an impressive panoply of wildlife to its shores. 

We recommend experiencing this desert oasis from Serra Cafema, the most remote camp in Namibia. The only way to reach the lodge is by a 3hr, light aircraft trip from Windhoek. Once there, you'll be rewarded by a riverfront, Meru-style tent with an en-suite bathroom and a private deck, complete with breathtaking views of endless wilderness.

The l camp shares this region with the Himba tribe, one of the last true nomadic people in Africa.  

Luci solar lights and the Himba People

We often wonder at animals’ ability to adapt to inhospitable conditions; we forget that we, too, are a species who have made homes in some of Earth’s harshest corners. The Himba, one of the last true nomadic people in Africa, have built a home and a way of life in the desert that few could imagine or endure.

Epic Road is working alongside MPOWERD to bring Luci, a solar-powered inflatable lantern, to the Himba people. Amanda Manchia told us:

“The Himba people are thriving in one of the harshest environments on the planet—their bodies muscular, their bellies full, and their livestock hearty, despite the relentless heat and minimal water, plants, and shade. While visiting with these tribes, Epic Road arranged for me to deliver solar lights to members of the Himba tribe that do not have access to electricity. The potential impact on their lives is huge: increasing productivity and safety, decreasing CO2 emissions, reducing incidents of pulmonary diseases, kerosene burns, and risk of gender based violence, as well as saving money spent on kerosene. I spent several hours herding cattle to a small underground water source with four welcoming Himba women. I was struck by how strong, independent, and resilient these women were and how indomitable the human spirit can be when pushed to the limit. This trip made me realize that the only thing that holds any of us back from achieving the extraordinary is the determination, confidence and discipline that defined these women. When I returned home, I felt a renewed sense of self, that any obstacle was surmountable, and that anything is possible.”