Dreaming over the skies of Namib desert
When you think about Namibia, the first thing that stuck in your mind are the huge dunes that touch the ocean with their golden sand. We had always dreamt of having a ride on a plane to see this fantastic view from the sky, so, once in Swakopmund, we go straight to Eagle Eye aviation’s office to choose our scenic flight over the Namib desert! Swakopmund is a small coastal town on the edge of the desert with long beaches overlooking the stormy Atlantic Ocean, and it is the base for the flying activities over the Namib-Naukluf National Park.
- Our Sossuvlei scenic flight with Eagle Eye Aviation
At 2 in the afternoon, we reach the small Swakopmund airport with other tourists where we meet the pilot, a young South African guy who takes advantage of this opportunity to accumulate flight hours and maybe, one day, work for an important state-owned flag carrier. After a briefing about the safety procedures, we are ready to fly towards one of Africa’s most beautiful spots. The flight we chose is called “Sossusvlei scenic flight“, which lasts about 2 hours and 15 minutes. The pilot does the “before take-off” checklist, and in a few minutes, we are ready to take the runway. Double-check that all the engine instruments are working properly and let’s go! The six-seater Cessna 210 takes off leaving the foggy coastal town behind us and, in a while, we can start sighting in the distance the desert with its high undulating dunes.
The first spot we fly over is the Kuiseb Canyon and Tsondadvlei, the only known breeding area for the Lappet Face Vulture in southern Namibia. After leaving the Canyon, we head towards Sossusvlei, one of the most famous places in Namibia. Step by step, the big dunes of the Namib desert are coming up. The pilot flies very near the ground, and it seems to touch these golden piles of sand, the highest shifting dunes in the world. The day before we had a lovely trip around Sossusvlei, climbing up the Dune 45 and visiting Deadvlei, but, looking at this endless sea of sand from the sky, it takes our breath away.
Left the Sossuvlei area, we pass by the Diamond Restricted Area, where we can still see some old diamonds camps and an old wagon. We are almost above the Atlantic coastline, and in a few minutes, we will finally be able to enjoy with our eyes this wonder of nature. The pilot quickly turns left, then right, swooping down and before realizing what he is doing, we are above the Atlantic Ocean! We are speechless, enchanted by this incredible view. After seeing the shipwreck of the Edward Bohlen, dating back to 1909, and the shipwreck of the Shawnee (1976), two of the many ships beached by the fury of the Atlantic along this inhospitable stretch of coast, we fly over the “long sand wall” that stops the run of the foamy waves of the ocean.
Here, the big golden dunes come into the sea, showing all their beauty. There are no words to describe our feelings. At times, the pilot flies right along the coastline at low altitude that almost seems to touch the ocean and grab a handful of sand from one of the huge dunes. Time flies, and it’s almost the moment to come back on the ground. After flying by Sandwich harbour and Pelican point, the pilot turns right, ready to touch down in Swakopmund. Thank you Eagle Eye Aviation for this magic moment we spent with you!
Information about Swakopmund
We booked our flight with Eagle Eye Aviation (40 Nathaniel Maxuilili Street, Swakopmund); Click here to see their website and find out the different flight options. Email: email@example.com, Tel: +264 64 463 126.
Swakopmund is a small coastal town, and there isn’t a better area where to sleep. The best location is probably close to the Swakopmund promenade as you’ll find restaurants, the Museum, the old lighthouse, the craft market, and the small beach. The town offers a good range of accommodations, from camping to expensive hotels. We slept at the Secret Garden Guesthouse. If your budget is higher, we suggest sleeping at Strand Hotel, right in front of the promenade.
Swakopmund is the basis for all the activities in this area. In addition to the scenic flight, for example, it is possible to climb the dune 7, see the flamingos and the salt flats of Walvis Bay, go quad biking or 4 × 4 along the Skeleton coast, sandboarding, visit the township of Swakopmund and even attend local cooking classes. You can book the activities directly in Swakopmund through local operators or, more simply, through the web platform Viator.com where the operators themselves advertise their tours/activities.
The best way to move around Namibia is to rent a 4×4 vehicle at Windhoek international airport or through a local tour operator.
Namibia is the scene of serious car accidents every year. Be careful and drive safe respecting the speed limit (max 90 km/h) to prevent skidding. The routes through the country are mostly long and straight gravel road, so it’s very easy to go over speed without realizing it and be involved in a car crash.