Indagare member Marc Lewinstein recently visited Namibia with family after competing in the South Africa Ironman in Port Elizabeth. Here are his impressions of this otherworldly destination.
“Growing up, I read about Namibia’s spectacular landscape and was always dying to see it for myself. Even the name of the Skeleton Coast has seemed romantic and forbidding to me. Once I learned what it actually was, I was even more intrigued. Doing the Ironman in South Africa last April provided the excuse and proximity to realize the trip.
“The Namibian landscape is exactly as described, though the spectacular beauty is nearly indescribable. When we flew into Windhoek this past April, I was mesmerized by the vast, sparsely populated, lunar landscape. The only punctuation in the sprawling ground was grazing springbok, oryx and the occasional rhinoceros and lion. Desert-adapted elephants, who have skinny legs and large feet (the better for walking on sand) and who dig for water, abound and are magnificent.
“We stayed in two Wilderness Safaris lodges, which were elegant, beautiful and impeccably operated. Our first two nights were spent at Little Kulala near the gargantuan dunes of Sossusvlei. We had the run of the place and the service was always extremely well intentioned and generally pretty good. Our next stop was Serra Cafema, located at the Angolan border. The rooms were exquisite. We had our own opulent bungalow and the camp never has more than twenty or so guests, so again we really felt like we had the place to ourselves. Wilderness Safaris makes a point of hiring local tribespeople and training them in the hospitality industry, so that the camps are not a one-way exploitation of their land.
“Flying low over the Skeleton Coast, I marveled at the sight of shipwrecks half a mile inland. I couldn’t help but imagine the thoughts of those who ran aground, only to encounter a beach melding with a seemingly endless desert. It must have been an over-powering shock to realize they had little hope of human contact.
“Throughout the trip, I mostly embraced the tranquility of a beautiful place that is—and will hopefully remain—unspoiled. This was truly Africa in its natural state.”