On Safari in Namibia
Bush planes are a fast and easy way to travel from camp to camp. Although skipping the long drive between lodges might result in fewer animal sightings and fewer opportunities to cross paths with locals, flying between lodges offers a magical way to experience the sheer vastness of Namibia. Our flights took us across diverse terrain, from canyon-pocked deserts and near-endless sand dunes to sea lion-covered coastline, century-old abandoned mining towns, and vast acacia-studded grasslands.
On the game drives you can get lucky and see lions in action. In both the Ongava Game Reserve and Etosha National Park there have been sightings of lions. The photograph above shows a lioness guarding her zebra kill in the shade. You can also expect to see other wildlife including cheetahs, elephants, wildbeasts, and more.
The dramatic orange dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert take their color from iron-heavy sand that has oxidized over time. Part of one of the oldest deserts on Earth, the dunes have effectively rusted over many millennia.
Guests at the Ongava Lodge can enjoy stunning views of a bustling watering hole a stone's throw from the breakfast table. There are three spacious accommodation options available at the lodge, all of which have unique style. The lodge is located on the property of the reseve which is home to a state of the art research center where research is done every day on some of the rarest animals in the world.
A typically wonderful lunch awaits guests at the newly renovated Damaraland Camp. Lodge guests are treated to well-prepared meals throughout the day, the highlight of which is an elegant dinner accompanied by the spirited singing of the staff that is eager to share their culture with lodge guests. Salads, grilled chicken, and a fantastically prepared cut of kudu, or African venison, regularly appear on the menu.
Rain comes but rarely to the Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp, but in its wake leaves a burst of life as desert plants and grasses unfurl over the landscape. Cocktails in hand, guests can soak in the sweeping vista from the main lodge's generous balcony. In the weeks before our visit, the area received more rain than it had in years, so instead of the normal near-barren rock scape, the valley below undulated with the dance of gauzy silver grasses blowing in the wind.
Visitors can witness the sunrise over Sossusvlei in dramatic style-one of the highlights of a visit to the Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp. These are among the highest dunes on Earth and are certainly the most dramatic, especially early in the morning as the rising sun casts dramatic shadows across the vivid orange dunes. Adventurous travelers can climb one of the massive picturesque dunes next to Dead Vlei, the clay pan where Namibia's iconic carbonized thorn trees stretch their gnarled trunks toward the dry sapphire sky.
Both white and black rhino call the privately-owned Ongava Game Reserve home. At night, they routinely visit the lodge's watering hole, noisily squabbling over who gets to drink first.
Carbonized camel thorn trees dot the former lake pan in Dead Vlei. Thought to be around 900 years old, the trees give ominous testament to the Namib's harsh conditions.
The Damaraland Camp's terrain is home to the fabled Desert Elephant who is capable of surviving the area's harsh weather with little water, it cuts a stunning figure on the arid landscape. On the reserves there are many different species. A group of desert elephants make their own traffic rules while walking through the reserve. The Ongava Lodge provides a detailed list on their website of all of the animals who live on the property.
Otherworldly plants capable of withstanding summer's baking heat and winter's chill colonize this exotic land, such as this aloe.
Etosha National Park affords visitors many a quintessential safari scene. A typical day can result in sightings of a plethora of antelope, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, rhino, and a variety of birds including ostriches and hornbills.