New for 2020, Natural Selection will be launching scheduled flying safaris to Namibia. The six-night journeys will offer guests a weekly departure every Sunday to experience this extraordinary landscape from the skies. Guests will stay at Natural Selection’s award-winning, eco-conscious safari camps and discover the fauna, flora and culture of Namibia with Natural Selection’s expert guides.
Named, “the land that god made in anger” by the Bushmen who first inhabited the country, the dramatic landscape and impressive geological formations make a Namibian safari about much more than just the Big Five. The ever-changing scenery is best appreciated from the air, from where a bird’s eye view shows the scale of the country, the contrasting landscapes, the wonder of the geological formations and the power of the Atlantic Ocean as it batters the Skeleton Coast.
In order to give guests this aerial perspective, Natural Selection will launch their new Namibia flying safaris on March 1st2020. The six-night safaris will depart every Sunday from Windhoek. Taking off over the country’s compact capital city, it is a 60-minute flight south-west over the vast Namib-Naukluft National Park, home to the iconic red dunes of Sossusvlei.
The first two nights will be spent at Natural Selection’s newest property, Kwessi Dunes, an air-conditioned oasisdeep in the striking, private NamibRand Nature Reserve, a vast desert wilderness of over 200,000 hectares. With its rolling desert plains and backdrop of craggy mountains and red dunes, this is an exciting introduction to the magnitude of Namibia. Days will be spent exploring the desert eco-system with a day trip to Sossusvlei to climb the iconic “Big Daddy” dune at sunrise, quad biking across the 250,000 hectare private reserve or enjoying the landscape from above in a hot air balloon. If this all sounds like too much, enjoy an afternoon reading a book in a hammock, or a massage in the spa. Nights at Kwessi are a highlight; the NamibRand is Africa’s first designated International Dark Sky Reserve and each room hasits own star-gazing bed from which to marvel at the celestial show.
After two days at Kwessi Dunes it’s a short scenic flight over the Sossuvlei and Dead Vlei towards the coast. From the plane, you will catch glimpses of the remnants of shipwrecks such as the Edward Bohlen, which are still visible after all these years and are a reminder of nature’s power. Guests will fly over Sandwich Harbour and the flocks of flamingos before touching down in Swakopmund to explore the coastal town and enjoy a seafood lunch cooked on the beach.
After lunch, it’s time to board the plane again for one of the most dramatic and beautiful scenic flights in the world, high above the Skeleton Coast. This rugged coastline was nicknamed the “gates to hell” by the Portuguese sailors who had to navigate the powerful currents in their quest to round the Cape of Good Hope. The Atlantic Ocean’s power is visible from the air as it hits the rocky, sandy coastline. The journey continues north to the second overnight stop at Hoanib Valley Campin Kaokoland, one of the country’s most celebrated safari camps. An innovative partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation means that 1.5% of all revenue generated by the camp goes directly back to giraffe research. The six tents are cool and sophisticated and a welcome retreat from the hot desert days. It may seem impossible to believe that anything could survive let alone thrive in the semi-arid desert of north-west Namibia, but the wildlife here has adapted to its environment and Hoanib Valley Camp is one of the best places in the country to see desert-adapted elephant, giraffe, lion, rhino, mountain zebra and oryx. There is also the opportunity to visit a Himba village for a glimpse of a way of life that has hardly changed for thousands of years.
After two nights at Hoanib Valley Camp, it’s time to set off for the mythical Skeleton Coast. The drive towards the coast from Hoanib Valley is one of the most spectacular drives on the continent. The full-day journey takes guests along the ephemeral Hoanib River, home to herds of elephant. From there, the route follows the course of the Hoarusib River; dry plains give way to a clay-baked landscapes and guests will pass the extraordinary phenomenon that is the “clay castles.” As the salty sea breeze begins to pick up, so the landscape turns to white sand and the last stretch of the journey runs along the Atlantic coast ending at the award-winning Shipwreck Lodge.for the final two nights of the safari.
Shipwreck Lodge’s unique architecture quickly made it one of the most iconic properties on the continent. Designed to mimic the shipwrecks that dot the coastline, the wooden structures are not just eye catching but also eco-conscious. Days here are spent exploring this extraordinary coastline; beach-combing, visiting the seal colonies and learning the legends and myths that surround the wrecks of the ships. Inland there is adventure to be had; climb the dunes for sunrise or explore on quad bikes. The harsh landscape is not devoid of life either and brown hyena (the third rarest carnivore in Africa) make their home here, as do desert adapted lion, oryx, springbok and black backed jackal.
For those short on time, the safari ends with a flight back to Windhoek, crossing the Kaokoland. For those with more time, a last two nights can be added at Safarihoekin Etosha Private Reserve. This beautiful reserve is home to a healthy population of both black and white rhino, lion, and some of Namibia’s rarer animals such as black faced impala, oryx and the elusive Hartmann’s zebra. Days are spent exploring on game drives and tracking endangered rhino, the icons of the area.
The new flying safaris offer the highlights of Natural Selection’s Namibia at an exceptional price. The six-night itinerary starts from NS$ 89 920 per person including six-nights’ accommodation, a diverse range of safari activities and all flights from Windhoek to Windhoek. Natural Selection are able to offer unbeatable value by combining their properties in all the key locations. Co-founder and Director of Sales and Marketing, Dave van Smeerdijk says, “We are excited to be offering this unique scheduled flying safari in 2020. Our safaris showcase the highlights of the Namib Desert: Sossusvlei, desert adapted elephant, rhino, giraffe and lion, a Himba cultural experience, and Shipwreck is the only lodge inside the Skeleton Coast Park with an easy add on to game rich Etosha. Our schedule flying safaris are a cost effective way to see the country.”
Furthermore, guests can rest assured that a safari with Natural Selection is all about doing good. 1.5% of the price of the new Namibia Flying Safari goes straight to conservation projects and the company believes that conservation, when done well, is a key driver in conservation on the continent. Since their inception, Natural Selection has donated over US$ 170,000 to conservation in Namibia, from projects ranging to anti-poaching in Etosha and children’s education in Windhoek.
ABOUT NATURAL SELECTION
Natural Selection may be a new(ish) safari company, but its roots in the African safari business run deep. Devoted to the simple premise that safari tourism, when done right, can be an incredibly powerful tool for conserving and protecting Africa’s last great wild places. As such, Natural Selection partners with local communities and governments to help protect and even expand protected areas and critical wildlife habitat through the development of gold-standard ecotourism projects across Southern Africa. Natural Selection donates 1.5% of its turnover revenue annually to conservation. This deep commitment to conservation is matched only by our devotion to providing our guests with truly extraordinary safari experiences.
BOTSWANA: Meno a Kwena, Jack’s Camp, San Camp, Camp Kalahari, Mapula Lodge, Sable Alley, Hyena Pan, The Jackal & Hide, Skybeds, Tuludi
SOUTH AFRICA: Lekkerwater Beach Lodge
NAMIBIA: Hoanib Valley Camp, Shipwreck Lodge, Etosha Mountain Lodge, Safarihoek, Safari House and Kwessi Dunes (opening March 2020)