Scenic flights and balloon rides, Namibia
This has to be the best way to appreciate the scale and beauty of the Namib Desert! After an early morning start you find yourself floating above the dunes as the sun rises over them. This is the best time of day for photos - not only is the red hue at its deepest but the low sun gives each dune a defined edge.
After an hour or so you'll land in a peaceful hollow between the dunes and breakfast is served - with champagne and some exotic Namibian specialities such as smoked kudu (but plenty of choice for vegetarians too).
Check out my travelogue for more photos of this amazing experience!
A little pricy, but worth the money.
From Swakopmund there are several flight-trips available either down south over Soussouvlei or up north over the skeleton coast.
We took the flight from Swakopmund over the desert.
They take you from the hotel to the airport (you have to pay short before the start, because it depends on the weather whether you are flying).
Starting from Swakopmund airport (well "airport" is a little too highspun) in a Cesna, it goes south over the desert. You can see Kuiseb river, Goabeb, Sesriem canyon, Soussouvlei, the Diamond mines, some Ship wrecks on the coast and Seal-colonies. And of course sand and dunes and more sand and more dunes (big desert).
If you get air-sick easily reconsider this flight, because of the thermic and the sometimes low high it can get a little rough. Take some pills if you have to, but do it before you start.
But the views of 2 hours 15 minutes flight are great. You really get a feeling for how big (and dry) this land really is here.
After staying overnight in Camp Mwisho, a tent-camp with the most wonderful view on the Namib rand desert:
Camp Mwisho has 4 Tent-houses and the main building, where you eat. The tents are built on a wooden platform and stay all year. In it you have a real double-bed with all comfort and out on the back-side a real toilet and shower.
Starting in the early morning with a Hot Air Balloon. 1 hour drive right over the wonderful desert with the red sand dunes.
It is hard to describe. words fail me, it was so great.
And after landing (in the desert) : Champagner breakfast.
(Sounds good, right?: It is!)
Just one word of warning: Namibia is Desert and although it is hot in the day, it can get real cold at night. We had over 35 degrees Celsius in the day and on this particular morning 0 (zero!) degrees celsius. So be prepared and take warm enough clothes with you - but some you can take off when it starts to get warm - and it will!
Worth getting up early for, a spectacular glide over the dunes of the desert, culminating in a champagne breakfast. Seeing it from above gives you a completely different perspective of the desert, giving you a greater appriciation of its sheer scale. Not cheap though and availability is limited!
About 2 hour flight from Swakopmund, either south to Sossusvlei, then west to skeleton coast and back to Swak; or north-east to Spitzkopje, west along Ugab river, and then south along Skeleton Coast (with possibility of stop at Cape Cross Seal Colony).
Both give stunning views and perspective of Namibia, that you can't get from the ground.
THis you really have to do. Various companies in Swakopmund offer light aircraft flights down the Skeleton Coast to the Sossuvelei sand dunes.
You'll see shipwrecks, diamond ghost towns, colonies of cape fur seals and of course the magnificent sand dunes.
It's not that expensive either - US$100 for a two hour flight
Best way to see how impressive Namibia is, renting a plane. You wil see paterns in the dessert that go on for miles and miles and you can cover a big area in a period of time.