Liz loves small planes, so it was off to see the dunes and the coast from the air. We shared the plane with a charming frenchman and his two children. The kids alternated between sleeping and throwing up
(Liz here – I would just like to comment at this point in the blog that moneybelts around your waist do terrible things for pictures)
The amazing feature is the scale of the dune field – they go on to the horizon
They are sculptural when seen from the air
We fly over the badlands we drove through on the previous day – some of the roughest land imaginable. Somewhere down there is the road we survived.
In this strange land many of the rivers flow underground. You can trace them by the lines of trees, but there is no open water
The desert is littered with old mining camps (generally diamonds) from the last century
Even in the most remote parts of the desert there are tire marks from prospectors and adventurers
Our flight takes us over Deadvlei – where we had walked just days before
Then out to the coast – it’s called the Skeleton Coast because the frequent fog and the shifting sand bars made it a mariners’ grave yard. Wrecks are covered and then exposed by the marching sand. The Edward Bohlen sank in 1909
The coast is dotted with seal colonies, until you reach “the wall” where the dunes meet the South Atlantic
One fun part (and possibly why the children were throwing up) is our pilot likes to fly low, really low. We are at 250 feet above the beach or the right altitude for flying inside the nearby 300 foot high sand dune!
The large salt evaporating ponds look like a water colour paint box
Approaching Swakopmund we pass over the street grids for more vacation homes. The owners will primarily be Germans or Namibians from Windhoek. The place is changing very fast
And closing in stark contrast to the luxury vacation homes, a less well planned street grid – the shanty towns that blight most African cities.