There’s an energy about a desert journey – one that is completely unlike that of any other expedition. Maybe it’s the crystal sharp, dry air, or the feeling of space and freedom the distant horizons and massive vistas bring. To me it is the secretive way such a diversity of life reveals itself within this apparently desolate sea of sand and rock.
On our recent expedition to the Namib Desert we travelled in late summer, just after the end of the country’s rains. I use the word “rains” loosely here – some areas had only just experienced their first precipitation since 2011 and other parts average 15 millimeters a year!
Seeing how the rains transform the desert is quite spectacular. Much of the normally non-descript plant life was in leaf and flower, the wildlife was healthy and vibrant, with some of the ephemeral rivers flowing or strung with recently created pools.
Our journey started in Sossusvlei, where we explored the giant southern dune fields on foot and by hot air balloon. Over the following 5 days we covered the length of the Skeleton Coast by aircraft, exploring this fascinating and dramatic coastline from Luderitz to the Kunene River on the Angolan border.
Finally we tracked black rhinos on foot in Damaraland, gaining insight into how Save the Rhino Trust protects the largest free-ranging population of black rhinos in Africa. Our desert adventure was complete with countless stories, sightings and teachings woven into an epic African desert expedition.