Upon landing in Namibia, I was more than ready for adventure to begin. I had just taken three long flights to get there, where my itinerary included a tour of three Wilderness camps: Little Kulala, Hoanib Skeleton Coast, and Damaraland, each sounding more romantic than the last. But there was one final leg of my journey, a bush flight connection out to the first camp, and luckily, my pilot was a breath of fresh air—rugged and sunkissed, swinging my luggage over his shoulders.
I smiled, hoping to break the ice: “Am I in for a good ride?”
“There’s really not much to see on the flight out,” he said.
Well then. It wasn’t exactly what I expected to hear, having just made the 30-hour journey to southern Africa all the way from Boston. I went to Namibia for the exact reason I went to any destination: there were things I wanted to see. The flight over on Qatar Airways had been fine enough—I’ve lived in New York City apartments smaller than my “Qsuite”—but 30 hours are 30 hours. So to be told there were two more hours in a horrifyingly small Cessna and there wouldn’t even be much to see aside from the occasional side-eye at my handsome bush pilot? Color me deflated.
Minutes later, we were airborne—two large men hunch over, clammy knees and elbows knocking, me trying not to yelp every time the plane lurched with turbulence. Turns out, he was right about the landscape: arid hills quickly gave way to arid flats, desert stretching out in every direction, an unimaginably vast land.