Feedback from some of our guests...
Greetings from Los Angeles!
John and I are back home for a few weeks and are quickly catching up
on the mountain of work that greeted us upon our return. We are also
busy preparing for our next set of tours which will take us to
Rhodes & Cyprus, Syria & Lebanon, Morocco & France, as well as
possibly India. We'll be leaving at the end of October and will be
gone until January.
Before we become too submerged in our upcoming travels, we wanted to
drop you a note to thank you for an absolutely spectacular trip to
the Skeleton Coast. We were utterly blown away by the raw beauty of
Namibia, by the surprising and unexpected experiences you provided
and by your complete professionalism as both a guide and as a pilot.
We left Namibia much more educated about one of the planet's most
spectacular corners, and for that we are thankful.
Bertus, your family offers a unique product which has impressed us
greatly. As we mentioned, we spend most of the year travelling and
road-testing properties and various travel experiences. Skeleton
Coast Safaris ranks at the top of our list as one of the most
memorable and enjoyable travel adventures available anywhere. We
will forever cherish memories of landing on isolated, shipwrecked
beaches for afternoon tea, learning the provenance of incredibly
contorted rock formations that blanket the landscape and of meeting
the Himba people, whose way of life seems so strikingly different
Again, thank you for a wonderful trip. It was a pleasure meeting
Helga, Anita, Hank and all of your friendly staff. We look forward
to working with you in the very near future.
We travelled to Namibia for the first
time in Sept 2010 and were warmly recommended to try the Skeleton
Coast Safari run by the Schoeman family. Our travel agent talked it
up, but even that doesn't do the experience justice.
We were picked up by Henk Schoeman at our dune lodge at Wolvedans in
our trusted Cessna 210, seating 5 but it was just my wife and I
(plus Henk as pilot). We crossed the desert, flew over the dunes of
Sossuvlei, joined up another plane with 3 other guests and embarked
on the 4-day journey up the coast. We covered so much ground that
could never have been seen by car or on foot. Even though Namibia is
self-drive friendly, if your budget can handle flying, this is the
way to go.
Each night was at a different private camp, each more remote and
unique than the former (Purros, Kunene and Kuidas). Some might
consider a high-end tent with camp beds (great embroidered linen) as
roughing it, but it's our definition of luxury. Each camp has the
best views, off a Cliffside, over a river valley or in total
Travelling during the day, we generally flew at no more than 100 feet
altitude, allowing for perfect picture shots of the most incredible
scenery. We flew 25 feet over breaking waves along the Skeleton
Coast, landed on the beach near the seal colonies, not far from flying over major shipwrecks. Words can't describe the beauty and
sensation. We landed in the desert, between two valleys and explored
geological formations with incredibly experienced and conversant
guides (hats off to Henk and Andrew).
Back at camp, which was bush-luxury personified, we sipped
sundowners recalling the adventures of the day, and ate fabulous
We're told there are other companies flying along the coast, but we
advise trippers to insist upon the Schoeman Skeleton Coast Flying
Safari, the Original!! Email me if you want to know more.
nachdem Dein Deutsch wesentlich besser
als unser Englisch ist, schreiben wir diese Mail in Deutsch. Das
machen wir auch deswegen, weil wir im Englischen noch weniger Wörter
kennen die das mit Dir erlebte auch nur ansatzweise beschreiben
Als erstes wollen wir Dir und Deiner Familie ein friedliches
Weihnachtsfest wünschen. Fürs Neue Jahr wünschen wir Euch viel
Gesundheit und unzählige glückliche Momente und Erlebnisse.
Zudem möchten wir nochmals Danke sagen. Danke für wunderschöne und
einmalige Tage. Noch immer suchen wir all die Gründe zusammen, die
diese Safari so besonders gemacht haben. Fast täglich fällt uns
wieder etwas ein. Es war eine große Ehre für uns das erleben zu
dürfen. Spüren zu können, dass Du mit Herz und Freude dieser
grandiosen Landschaft und dieser Art des Reisens verbunden bist. Die
ganze Reise war so unglaublich angenehm und unaufdringlich. So, dass
die Natur stets im Vordergrund stehen konnte und niemals der Blick
für's Wesentliche verstellt war. Es war ein grandioses Erlebnis und
wir spürten jeder Zeit, dass wir mit dem Original unterwegs sein
durften. Es gibt nichts was wir vermisst haben und es gibt nichts
was wir als überflüssig bezeichnen würden. Wir haben schon einiges
in unseren Afrikareisen erleben und kennen lernen dürfen. Diese Tage
mit Dir André, waren absolute Weltklasse! Sie bleiben unvergleichbar
in unserem Herzen und in unseren Erinnerungen. Danke André!
Alles Liebe und Gute. Wir hoffen natürlich auf ein Wiedersehn J
Bis dahin - Andrea und Christoph
As you may have guessed, it took us rather longer to return home
than expected, due to the Icelandic convulsions - somewhat ironic
after our recent discussions about past effects of volcanic
eruptions! But as it turned out we had a wonderful week in J'burg,
all expenses paid by Virgin in 5star comfort, catching up with
several long lost South African friends.
Anyway we just wanted to thank you for your wonderful unique
adventure - without doubt the absolute highlight of our time in
Namibia. What with the breathtaking landscapes and camp sites, the
low level flying (sometimes a little too low for Jane!), fascinating
geology lessons, and seeing the still traditional ways of the Himba
people, our expectations were more than exceeded. So you can be
assured we'll be giving you and Namibia a big plug to all our
With best wishes,
Robert and Jane Farquharson
PS Did you ever ask Andre about the rock armchair I discovered above
Mr John and Mrs
Jean Noble travelling with Henk Schoeman on a tour in November 2009,
we very lucky to view whales along the coastline when travelling from
Camp Kuidas to Terrace Bay. What a sight!
tour on 06 September 2009:
Purros - saw a
Kunene - Hyena
between Cape Frio and Kunene mouth on the beach
tour on 07 September 2009:
archaeological research team working around Kuidas
Purros - saw the
same Caracal (Rooikat) that Henk saw, elephants returned to Purros
after visiting the beach down the Hoarusib canyon
Kunene - Flew
over the Kunene waterfalls west of the camp to check if the river is
actually still flowing - never seen it so low before - a trickle of
water over the falls
tour on 15 September 2009:
archaeological survey still at Kuidas
Purros - saw 5
lions, the elephant bull is still in the Hoanib and the rest of the
herd is in the Gomatum
tour on 23 September 2009:
Purros - saw
elephant and lions
Kunene - river
is very low, could walk through
tour on 07 October 2009:
Guests want to
return, spending 2 nights Kunene and 2 nights Leylandsdrift
Kuidas - dead
whale near Meob Bay (looks like a fully grown Humpback)
tour on 10 October 2009
Purros - 7
elephants, lions moved to Leylandsdrift, Philip Stander of the
Desert Lion Project was visiting Purros
Kunene - Fish
eagle at Kunene - hopefully nesting there
We've recently received some
feedback from happy guests...your comments are always appreciated!
To all who were involved in organising
our trip, but especially to Henk who was a fantastic guide and host
on our trip: a giant thank you. Our 4-day trip with you was the best
the best trip of our lives and back in grey London, we have raved
about it to friends ever since. I think we will live forever with
the vivid memories of the dunes, beaches and mountains. Our many
photos can never do justice to the enormity of the visual impact of
what we saw and the experience of Henk's interest and enthusiasm
about even the smallest detail of the trip. Thank you, and wishing
you all a terrific New Year in 2008. Viv and Matth
Now that we are back down to earth here
in Qatar, I just wanted to write you a quick note to confirm safe
receipt of the refund you organised in respect of the airport
transfer. Additionally, I’d like to take the opportunity to say a
huge thank you to Andre and the rest of the Skeleton Coast team for
what was a truly memorable trip. The whole experience was wonderful
and will stay with us for many years to come. I’m sure that
there is a huge amount of effort and planning that goes into the
logistics behind the scenes, in order to make the trip run so
smoothly and to appear seemingly effortless and straightforward. The
company was great, the scenery inspiring, the itinerary exceeded all
of my expectations (and I had high expectations); and to top it all
off, Andre’s hugely informative, considered, yet understated
stewardship of the tour really made the difference. In fact, we’ve
been enthusing about the trip with our colleagues and friends so
much since we got back that I wouldn’t be surprised if you start
getting bookings through from that previously unheard of hub of
tourism called Doha! Finally, we are mulling over whether we should
pack our parents off to you next year to experience the trip whilst
they are still active enough to make the most of it…we’ll see how
they react to the 700 picture slide show of our trip when we next
see them and maybe we’ll be in touch again. Thanks again for
everything and particularly to Andre. Please tell him that
departures from an international airport (which I have to do
frequently) will never be quite the same again after Windhoek!
Karen and Stephen
Dear Denitza, Well, we are now back in
the UK with only memories and photographs to remind us of our most
fantastic experiences with Andre and SKS. But what memories and what
an experience. We had such an enjoyable time. And we are now your
unofficial un-paid sales people in the Cotswolds here. Thank you
again for giving up your Sunday evening to bring the book down to
the airfield. Our friends were delighted to have it signed by Bertus
who was their guide a couple of years ago. It was our friend's
enthusiasm that made us book with you and 'to hell with the money'.
Yvette and Don
I would also like to take this
opportunity to thank the Skeleton Coast Safaris Team and in
particular Bertus for such a fantastic safari. We loved every
minute of it and it was by far and away the highlight of our whole
honeymoon. We will be sure to recommend you to all our
May 2006, June 2006
Safari A with Clinic: From 25 to 29 May
25 May 2006: Bertus led the way in a
C210, while Henk and myself followed on with Peter Nutt as Pilot of
the C208 (caravan). Accompanying us in the C208 was Dr Estie Maritz
and her Mobile clinic.
Safari A +C: From 07 to 11 June 2006
07 June 2006: I started of early in the
morning from Windhoek for this 5 day safari with 2 guests, and was
joined by André later in Swakopmund, from where we continued
Safari A + B: From 14 to 17 June
14 June 2006: Bertus left early in the
morning to visit the Sossusvlei Dunes, and I joined him later
en-route along the coast.
Sponsors: Teresa Waters & Stuart Graham
who have been on a safari with Henk & André Schoeman.
Other anonymous benefactors also
assisted in the operation.
Doctor: Estie Maritz
Project Manager: Helga Schoeman
26 May 2006 Quidas:
From 10H00 to 13H00 was visited by four
SCS staff members, thereafter six young children, all the children
seen by Dr. Maritz were in general good health and have all had
there vaccines to date.
27 May 2006 Purros:
From 09H30 to 13H00 was visited by four
SCS staff members. The word was out and by 10H30 there were patients
from the Purros region, at least 60 – 80, waiting to be attended to.
We did our best to see to the most serious problems starting with
the children. There is a definite need for a clinic in this area, as
many of the children have not as yet had their standard vaccines,
and appear to suffer from colds and flu.
28 May 2006 Hartman Valley:
From 09H00 to 12H30 was visited by 4
SCS staff members. There were not as many people as in Purros, but
we did have our hands full, and I do believe that a more regular
visit by a clinic would benefit the local people greatly.
We are now formalizing a Foundation for
Medical Care in Remote areas of Africa (initiating in Namibia),
under the auspices of Dr E. Maritz, who is also the Executive
Director of the Medical Association of Namibia, and she specializes
in Travel and Aviation Medicine. Our plan is to eventually be able
to visit the areas mentioned above at least every 3 months, though
initially we will probably only manage every 6 months.
We have already received further
sponsorship from Safari Guests:
Ms. Kay Jones; Ms. Frances Gerson; Ms.
Karla Pendexter; Ms .Pat Gradek; Mr. Michael Hays.
Should anyone be interested in donating
funds or contributing towards this Medical Clinic Service, please
contact Tanja Dahl or Helga Schoeman at the Skeleton Coast Safaris
Address: P.O. Box 2195
Windhoek to Sossusvlei/Swakopmund:
25 May 2006: There was barely a breeze
on the way to Sossusvlei, and on the ground it was quite ideal, a
beautiful clear day.
07 June 2006: We experienced east wind
conditions on the way to Sossusvlei, but surprisingly the conditions
on the ground were quite favourable, with only a gentle breeze
tickling the surface.
14 June 2006: The east wind had stopped
blowing 24 hours ago and the visibility was so magnificent, we could
see the Gamsberg as soon as we were over the mountains west of
Windhoek, just after departure.
Wolwedans/Sossusvlei to Swakopmund:
25 May 2006: The coast was clear of fog
to the south of Swakopmund.
07 June 2006: The coastal weather
proved to be lovely with not much wind.
14 June 2006: The clear sky of this
morning followed us to the coast, giving wonderful photo
07 June 2006: The sea was clear and as
we flew over Sandwich Harbour we spotted plenty of shark swimming
around in the lagoon, there were also dolphins cavorting in the bay.
14 June 2006: Clear skies experienced
up to just north of Sandwich Harbour, where we flew over the dunes
along the fog bank, taking advantage of the mystic aura.
25 May 2006:
Seals: We saw plenty of seals scattered
along the coastline south of Conception Bay, basking on the sand and
leisurely floating in the water.
25 May 2006 / 07 June 2006 / 14 June
Flamingos: There was no flamingo to be
seen – they have all migrated to the interior, probably the Etosha
for breeding. With such a good season of rain behind us, we expect
to see a wondrous increase of flamingo on their return.
Swakopmund to Quidas Camp:
25 May 2006: The coast was shrouded
with a cloud cover, sending us to the interior, where we crossed
over the Messum Crater, which is a layered intrusion from an ancient
volcano probably about 60 million years old.
07 June 2006: André and I flew up the
coast and landed for a lunch break, the water was cold but the sun
shone in all its glory, with the wind – not too strong – cooling the
effects of the sun.
14 June 2006: The fog persisted, so
once again we routed over the Messum Crater in the sun, the lighting
was absolutely amazing. The sun in this late afternoon accentuated
all the curves and mounds reflecting an orange glow over the vast
07 June 2006:
Seals: The breeding colony at Cape
Cross boasted its large numbers as we quietly glided over them. A
large number paddling around in the ocean.
25 May 2006:
Spring: Bertus took all the guests for
a walk to the spring which was quite full now after the exceptional
Weather / Stars:
25 May 2006: We arrived at camp in time
for a sundowner, and to enjoy the quiet tranquillity as the dying
wind left only the gentle rustle of the reeds to dance in our ears.
Later in the evening with a clear sky,
Bertus chose the best of the “jewels of the sky” to entertain our
guests. The Jewel Box is always a hit as is the Globular Cluster and
Old stars migrate towards a globular
cluster where they eventually die.
When looking through a telescope, the
jewel box appears to be a group of stars of different colours and
brightness and size, this is caused by stars of various ages in line
of sight, though not grouped together. The younger stars will be
white, while the older stars are red, and the ones in between a
yellowish colour, depending on their distance and size, the sizes
and brightness will vary.
07 June 2006: We arrived at the camp
just before sunset, and while the guests prepared for dinner, André
set up the telescope for stargazing. Before dinner everyone sat
round the telescope and enjoyed André’s animation as he explained
various sightings through the scope.
14 June 2006: The weather was at its
best, with a visibility reaching all the way to the Brandberg – the
highest mountain in Namibia. We all enjoyed a drink as we watched
the changing colours while the sun disappeared behind us. The
stars were as magnificent as ever, the clear sky only enhancing
26 May 2006: While Bertus went for a
walk to visit the engravings and the paintings, I assisted Dr Maritz
with the Clinic.
08 June 2006: André took all of us for
a long walk to the paintings and then over the ridge to the
engraving. He gave us an informed account of the history he believed
to be the cause of the dwelling sights.
15 June 2006: In the morning we woke up
to a spectacular view of the fog sneaking into the valley below us.
It felt like we were on top of the world as the white fog randomly
disclosed selected hilltops. We took to the vehicles today and
ventured to the red mountain, the weather being as ideal as it was,
made for a kaleidoscope of colours. There are so many reds and
yellows, and now that we have had rain there are greens as well,
with the blue sky as a perfect background.
Quidas to Terrace Bay:
26 May 2006: Today I flew the guests to
Terrace Bay, the weather clear and pleasant, while Bertus flew with
15 June 2006: Today the fog played with
us, though, we were able to stay under it to get into Terrace Bay,
where there was not much wind.
Terrace Bay Dunes:
26 May 2006: The roaring dunes provided
for entertainment under our warm African sun, with a blue sky
as a backdrop. The children infecting all with their contagious
merriment and unsuppressed laughter.
08 June 2006: The sunny skies provided
a beautiful lighting for ideal photography, while the fit were put
to a challenge to climb the dunes to re-experience the roaring
15 June 2006: We chased the sun to the
edge of the dune belt, where we felt the warmth in the sand
collected over the day. After successfully experiencing the roaring
dunes with the sun as an ever-patient spectator, the fog came
creeping in to provide a feeling of awe and mystery. We drove back
to the aircraft over the hidden dune tops through the fog.
Terrace Bay to Puros Camp:
26 May 2006: I led the way back to
Purros in the late afternoon enjoying the quietness and appreciating
the rare sight of the green slopes.
15 June 2006: We flew to the edge of
the fog bank then along it over the dunes still glowing in the
sunshine. What a peaceful time of day.
26 May 2006 / 08 June 2006 / 15 June
2006: Arriving at sunset, we all gathered around the campfire to
enjoy a drink accompanied with excited chatter as we discussed the
27 May 2006: Once again I assisted with
the Clinic while Bertus took the guests for a game drive and to
visit the local Himba Village.
Elephant: The elephant made their
appearance at the water hole near the canyon (South of the Camp),
and Bertus and his guests witnessed the two young bulls in a playful
fight with the cows looking on with disapproval.
09 June 2006: André had a great drive
but unfortunately the elephant were somewhat elusive.
16 June 2006: The warm sun at dawn was
welcome after a pretty cold night. After breakfast I tended the
aircraft and Bertus took to the wild riverbed in search of the
elephant, but once again they chose to remain hidden.
Purros to Hartman Valley (Kunene Camp):
27 May 2006: Bertus left Purros ahead
of us (The Clinic), as we had quite a large number of patients to
see. We caught up with Bertus at Hartmann Valley, where there was
quite a wind blowing. Bertus reported a lovely day along the coast
with a shining sun and a strong wind.
09 June 2006: A beautiful day along the
coast with the seals scattered along the beach basking in the
16 June 2006: It was not really foggy
but rather hazy today, the sun just a silhouette disc in the
distance, the warmth of which we were denied, giving a nearly eerie
experience as we flew along the coast. As we left the coast to the
interior the sun peeped through the scattered clouds, throwing
intense rays onto the Hartman dunes – what a sight to behold.
27 May 2006: The air had a chill in it
as we drove to the camp in the late afternoon.
16 June 2006: The clouds persisted, and
grew thicker leaving little room for the sun to break through, but
the effect painted the landscape with contrast and intrigue.
28 May 2006: We started the Clinic
earlier this morning, but still had to rush towards noon as we had
to race the sun to Windhoek. Bertus took the guests on a boat ride
on the river to view the bird life and find a crocodile or two.
10 June 2006: I walked the guests to a
rock outcrop, watching the bird life en-route. André came to collect
the guests from this rock and took them on the morning ride while I
17 June 2006: The clouds did not want
to give way and the sun was only allowed to let a few warming rays
reach the earth. However, the skies cleared a little later, giving
us all an opportunity to bask in the sun. The crocodile made the
most of the “Giant Heater” and took to the banks affording Bertus a
chance to view it from a distance.
Hartmann Valley to Windhoek:
27 May 2006: Henk flew the guests back
to Windhoek today, while Bertus & I flew with the Clinic. The day
was clear and free of bumps.
09 June 2006: André flew on to Otavi
where he would spend the night and visit the Etosha the following
day, while I flew back to Windhoek, to end a wonderful safari.
16 June 2006: We flew back to Windhoek
in a hazy sky, brought on by the east wind.
Marthin has returned from KwaZulu Natal
University (RSA) on the 30th of June after completing his course
work for his Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies, he is now on
his way to the Caprivi to complete the field assignment on human -
The goal of the assignment is to
determine the problems the local inhabitants encounter arising from
conservation of wild life, and the problems the Wild Life
Conservation encounters from settlements in and around the
conservation areas. The assignment is also to supply possible
solutions to the challenges we are to envisage.
Should anyone be interested in
sponsorship, could you please contact Tanja Dahl at the Skeleton
Coast Safaris Office.
P.O. Box 2195
Upgrading of tents:
Henk and Léon are working on our new
tent upgrades, which will be build onto wooden platforms. We do not
wish to move away from the camping adventure, but we are planning an
en-suite bathroom for each tent.
Our prototype is proving to be quite a
challenge, and as soon as we have it up we will furnish some
We have decided to insert E-Mails
received from Guests that have visited our safari. We are planning
to open a FORUM page, which will allow all kinds of feed-back from
guests – both positive and constructive.
----- Original Message -----
To: 'Skeleton Coast Safaris (iway)'
Sent: 21 June, 2006 12:21 PM
Subject: THANK YOU
Morning Tanja, Zonja, Andre and
I have finally settled down at
the office after my time away in Namibia and Cape Town and would
like to say "thank you" for the most incredible experience of my
Despite never having been to
Namibia, it has always been a country that has spoken directly to my
soul, more specifically the Skeleton Coast has been on the top of my
list of places to see before I die. I was first exposed to the
"Schoeman Family" Skeleton Coast Safari in my early days as a
consultant and the product was something that so appealed to my
sense of wonder that I always recommended it to those clients
wanting something different, an experience never to be repeated or
forgotten. Client feedback has always been incredibly positive -
"the highlight of our trip", "highly recommend the Skeleton Coast
Safari, it added a completely new dimension to our holiday", "so
glad you suggested the Skeleton Coast Safari, thank you". While I
did not have first hand experience of this safari I knew I could
sell it with absolute confidence (and envy!) as it was obvious that
it was a winner.
Receiving your invitation to
join Safari A was like winning the lottery, needless to say I got no
work done the rest of the day, instead I kept pinching myself to
make sure it wasn't all a dream. Incredibly this feeling is still
with me days after the trip - wonderful flashes of memory while
braving peak hour traffic, standing in line at the grocers, enjoying
dinner with friends - memories of staring down a plus 700m long 34
degree mountain slope from the top of a landrover with Helga
screaming "Heee Ha" as we slowly make our way to the bottom, waking
every morning to the most beautiful view from my open tent flap, the
healing vibration of the Roaring Dunes, the wonderment of Natures'
artistic flair and her passion for colour and contrast. A
life-changing experience - yes, a soul-changing experience - most
Each day and each camp provided
something new, no two days were the same, in fact no two hours were
the same. As one of the guests, Maria, commented "you can't possibly
close your eyes or you are bound to miss something", everywhere you
looked offered something to be amazed about, something to catch your
breath, something new to learn. And Andre and Helga were absolutely
fantastic as they explained the history, geology, ecology and
culture of the different areas. My brain became a sponge as they
filled it with facts, myths, anecdotes and tales and this is what,
for me, sets this safari apart from all the others - the absolute
passion and dedication this family has for a part of the world that
has fed their souls since the day they were born. Their commitment
and love for the Skeleton Coast was tangible and their honest desire
to share this with guests was inspiring.
After a two hour presentation to
staff in which I went through the stunning photos, the itinerary,
the camps, my impressions, my experience from beginning to end, I
was asked "what would you like to see changed or improved?" - easy
answer, nothing!! This was a perfectly unique and honest experience
which I would not wish to change as it has changed me.
Please forward any other suggestions or
Tanja Dahl at the Skeleton Coast
Address: P.O. Box 2195