Hoanib Skeleton Coast - December 2013

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Three nights and four days of’ epic-ness’. I have been pretty much everywhere in Namibia, except Hoanib, and I admit, I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I went on a rough and tough recce trip in November to the area.

Hoanib is a travel writers dream, full of stories, adventures and experiences – and yet, it’s so difficult to put to words exactly why after just three nights, it has become one of my top favourite places in Namibia and why I can’t wait to get back. I could have easily spent a week here, getting lost in one of the last truly wild places in the world!

It is not at all like any of our other camps in Namibia – it’s like the old Skeleton Coast Camp, and yet, still very different. Yes, it’s in the Palmwag Concession, yet the experience is wildly different from Desert Rhino Camp and actually these two camps would be a dream holiday combination.

I experienced so many adventures, and will always remember the harsh yet beautiful landscape that is constantly changing (as Namibia is famed for); driving along the Hoanib River and encountering many elephants, including a small family with a three week old baby, and an older teen brother peering at us to protect his little baby sister; seeing the many oryx and springbok found grazing all along the Hoanib River, travelling through river canyons, along open gravel plains, then having some fun cruising down a roaring dune and come upon a crystal clear spring in the middle of the desert, with a number of flamingos giving us an aerial show circling the spring. Add to this the discovery of many lion tracks (many of them fresh, but alas, no sightings, they are much too clever for us), and the discoveries never stop. It was a photographers dream with the gracious giraffes posing against the setting sun and I really enjoyed visiting the Möwe Bay Museum with the many skeletons and skulls of whales, dolphins, porpoises, turtles, even a crocodile skull and a human skull and lots of other mementos collected along the Skeleton Coast. There is a small, and still very smelly, seal colony located just south of Möwe Bay, and we encountered a brown hyaena, limping away! It definitely isn’t an easy life and yet, it is all so very beautiful; like the Hoanib River Mouth and the wall of pebbles, with many multi-hued agates catching your eye.

Many of the experiences were very surreal – such as coming across a dead African penguin in the middle of the road near Möwe Bay, not normally found this far north along the coastline, or spotting a scruffy Cape fox hiding in one of the ruined buildings at Möwe Bay. It’s a place forgotten by the world.

Hoanib is one place you have to visit personally to understand it. The promise of a Skeleton Coast experience will persuade you to come for a visit to this far off the beaten track, but once you are there, you discover a wealth of experiences that go beyond just one attraction. There is a rich biosphere of wildlife, surprising in this very harsh environment, and best of all, I felt alive, excited, and happy!

I will return!!

Birgit

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