News and Feedback
Feedback from some of our guests...
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.
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
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!
Henks tour on 06 September 2009:
Purros - saw a Rooikat
Kunene - Hyena between Cape Frio and Kunene mouth on the beach
Bertus' tour on 07 September 2009:
Kuidas - 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
Henks tour on 15 September 2009:
Kuidas - 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
Henks tour on 23 September 2009:
Purros - saw elephant and lions
Kunene - river is very low, could walk through
Bertus' 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)
Henks 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 friends! Sophie
May 2006, June 2006
Safari A with Clinic: From 25 to 29 May 2006
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 together.
Safari A + B: From 14 to 17 June 2006
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 Office.
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 opportunities.
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 2006:
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 landscape.
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 rains.
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 Omega Centauri.
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 their beauty.
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 the Clinic.
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 effects.
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 days adventures.
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 glorious sun.
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 - wildlife conflict.
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 pictures.
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 Helga
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 life.
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 definitely.
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 comments to:
Tanja Dahl at the Skeleton Coast Safaris Office
Address: P.O. Box 2195
01 January 2006: Henk and I started off in different directions this morning, Henk flew over to Windhoek international to meet up with 2 of his guests, from there he headed via the coast to Swakopmund where the remaining two guests awaited his arrival. I flew over to Witwater on my own to pick up my 4 guests, as it was still early the flight was quite smooth.
03 January 2006: André started off in Windhoek for his 4 day safari with 4 guests.
Windhoek to Swakopmund:
03 January 2006: It was cloudy and cool, but at the sea patches of open sky teased the eye and sparkled on the still waters below.
03 January 2006:
Oryx: At the Kuiseb Canyon André and his guests saw a herd of 30 – 40 oryx grazing on the plains.
Hyena: Just south of the Eduard Bohlen ship wreck a Brown Hyena was spotted scouting between the seal colonies, scavenging for some carrion.
Fish: The ever increasing size of fish schools were clearly seen from the air.
Wolwedans/Sossusvlei to Swakopmund:
01 January 2006: It had heated up quite some by the time I had arrived at Witwater, by the time we were airborne the temperature had already reached 38°C. It turned out to be a bumpy and warm flight, but we opened the window for some fresh air. Once at the coast a more pleasant temperature of 24°C was awaiting us with no fog.
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