Morning Cloud Lapse at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

My husband enjoying the morning clouds in the main pavillion Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

One of the things that makes Namibia’s landscape so beautiful is it’s star-filled skies and shape shifting clouds. When you’re on safari, you wake up early to grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee before you head out on your morning game drive. That’s when I set up my iPhone to capture the morning clouds just as the sun was beginning to peek beyond the horizon.

Morning clouds and sky time lapse at Hoanib

The moon was still clearly visible in the December morning sky.

The moon still visible in the morning skies of Namibia

Morning cloud reflections

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Visiting the Roaring Dunes of Skeleton Coast National Park, Namibia

Driving down the Roaring Dunes

One of the highlights of a stay at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is taking a scenic flight to the Skeleton Coast National Park and visiting the Roaring Dunes. The adventure begins by taking a 20 minute flight on prop to an airstrip on the Skeleton Coast.

I rode in the co-pilot’s seat during the short flight

The flight to the Skeleton Coast

Namibia is the second least densely populated nation on earth. The Skeleton Coast is the least densely populated area of Namibia. You get the sense of vast stretches of emptiness and “middle of nowhere.”

Hangar at the Skeleton Coast “Airport”

There Emms, my guide, loaded us up into a Land Rover for our trip to the Roaring Dunes.

My husband, Jeff, and our guide, Emms

Once you get to the Roaring Dunes, Emms started deflating the tires. This is key when your driving down the Roaring Dunes.

Emms running up the Roaring Dunes

The Roaring Dunes have a distinctive sound which comes from the air built up between the dry sands of grain. When you walk, run, or drive over it, it pops or “roars.”

Running the Roaring Dunes

The Roaring Dunes looks like it’s straight out of a National Geographic magazine… and we did not see another soul during our visit.

Emms, my guide, wandering vast and empty Roaring Dunes

It was such an incredible experience to be alone in this beautiful and isolated place. It gives you profound perspective of just how very big the world is.

Emms and my husband driving away

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so tiny and alone as when Emms and my husband left me at the bottom of a dune to loop back to drive down it again. It wasn’t a scary feeling– after all it was only for a few minutes.

Roaring Dunes Panorama

It was peaceful, but if I was there for long, I definitely would have felt helpless.

Deflating the tires before heading to the Roaring Dunes

Driving deep in the sand dunes

Behold- the Skeleton Coast “Airport”

Obligatory safari selfie on the Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

A whole lot of nothing… but still beautiful

Emptying out the sand in his shoes

One of Namibia’s giant sand dunes

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On Safari in Namibia: The Wildlife Edition

Local heard of elephants in the Hoanib River Valley, Namibia

When I got back from safari at the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Nambia, everyone asked about the wildlife. You expect to see a lot of wild animals on safari, but I find Namibia particularly fascinating because of it’s desert ecosystem. Emms, our guide and tracker, said simply, “picky eaters don’t survive in the desert.”

The Oryx, or gemsbok, is the National animal of Namibia

Desert or not, there are lots of wild animals. The Oryx, a type of gazelle, is the animal I most associate with Namibia. Oryx are well adapted to desert life in the Kaokoveld.

Sleepy lion GIF

As much as I adore Token’s song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the lyrics “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight” are a factual fail. Lions don’t live in jungles and they are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and hunt at night.

Lions sleeping with their paws up in the Hoanib River Valley

Giraffes are also extremely well adapted to life in the desert. Somehow these tall creatures can blend in and then appear, gracefully walking in parallel about 10 km per day.

A pair of giraffes

Some of the other animals we saw springbok, monkey, steenbok, and scrub hare.

Giraffe Fight Club GIF

Giraffes are incredibly graceful, even when fighting.

Papa G, the elephant

My favorite animals were the elephants.

Left: local elephants eating Right: elephants at magic hour

The elephants learn a lot from the dung of other elephants, including their location and who is ready to mate. Who knew dung is the Tinder of the wild?

Elephant trunk in action eating bushes

Elephant mock charge GIF

Elephants walking a dry river bed during magic hour

Not all the animals we saw were in the desert. One day we flew to the Skeleton Coast and visited a seal colony. Seal colonies have one of the most distinct smells I’ve ever encountered. I lack the words to describe it… but musky, fetid, and overripe give you the general idea.

A young Cape Fur Seal pup on The Skeleton Coast in Namibia

Here’s a little video of the seal colony:

 

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Up Close With the Elephants of the Hoanib River Valley, Namibia

This elephant mock charged so close I got this shot with my iPhone 6

While I enjoyed all the wildlife sightings I had on safari at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, I have a soft spot for the elephants. Other than dogs, elephants are my favorite animals. They have very distinct and often charming personalities. One male in the local herd, Papa G, is so much of ham he even wound up on the December 2014 cover of Conde Nast Traveler. He’s the Derek Zoolander of the Hoanib River Valley.

The local elephants are all named after guides and staffers at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

African elephants are HUGE– which means I could easily photograph them with my iPhones. All the images in this post are mobile photography images.

This video of a juvenile elephant mock charging was caught on my husband’s iPhone 6+

I could have watched this herd of elephants all day long, especially against the stunning desert backdrop and ever-changing Namibian clouds. Here’s some video of the action at the watering hole:

Elephants at the watering hole in the Hoanib River Valley, Namibia

Elephants at the watering hole in the Hoanib River Valley

I loved how playful the juveniles are, and how they only get serious about drinking the water (instead of playing in it) when the older ones tell them it’s time to get going. They also take dirt baths to cool off from the desert sun.

I hope you enjoy this time lapse video I shot on my iPhone 5s of the elephants at the watering hole:

Elephants at the watering hole time lapse video (shot on my iPhone 5s)

Elephants leaving the watering hole in the Hoanib River Valley

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Sundowners at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

 

Enjoying the sunset with a gin & tonic in the Hoanib River Valley

Interaction with wildlife and stunning scenery are two given highlights of any safari. But the safari tradition of having a sundowner is one of my favorite moments of any given day on safari.

During my trip last month to Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia my guide, Emms, parked up on a ridge above the Hoanib River Valley and set up a table of cocktails and local snacks like nuts, chips, and biltong (dried game meat). Then he poured us a round of gin & tonics and we watched the sunset.

Check out this time lapse video I made on my iPhone:

Sunset in mirror in the Hoanib River Valley (look at those clouds!)

I don’t know why, but gin & tonic just tastes better when you’re on safari.

Gordon’s gin bottles lined up to meet their sundowner destiny

Added excuse to enjoy a sundowner– the quinine in tonic water helps keep mosquitos away (not that there were any in the Hoanib River valley). You’d also have to drink a lot of tonic water… but hey… you just go with it!

Land Cruiser at sunset in the Hoanib River Valley

Sunset as seen through the Land Cruiser seats

One day I was back at camp to watch the sunset. You can have an enjoyable sundowner experience there too.

Sunset at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

The colors at camp change and get vivid at sunset. You can enjoy the view and kick back  and enjoy your sundowner near the camp fire.

Enjoying a sundowner back at camp

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Hoanib River | Kaokoveld,

Skeleton Coast Park, Namibia

+27 ­11 ­807 ­1800

+27 ­21 ­702 ­7500

enquiry@wilderness.co.za

 

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