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In a private concession adjacent to the Skeleton Coast National Park, in the extreme north west of Namibia sits the 8 impressive suites of Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. This camp was opened in 2014 and it has one of the most impressive, modern designs of any camp in Namibia, far removed from the traditional “safari-style” design common to many camps across the continent. However, in a corner of the continent that is far from similar to any other area perhaps this is quite fitting.
This fascinating region is out of reach for most people and home to just a couple of fly-in only camps. The ephemeral riverbeds and gravel-strewn plains boast a rich diversity of wildlife, but it is the stark and isolated wilderness and the feeling of space that is most striking at Hoanib. During game drives in closed Land Cruisers with a pop-up roof you might be lucky enough to spot some of the more enigmatic animals that call this arid environment home, such as a elephants and giraffes and for those especially lucky desert lion and brown hyena.
For those staying three nights or more, which we highly recommend, an excursion to the coast is included. The logistics of this depend on the weather conditions of the day, however generally it involves a scenic drive along the dry Hoanib bed and through dune fields before visiting a shipwreck, seal colonies and a picnic lunch on the coast. The pièce de résistance is that instead of the lengthy drive back to camp it normally takes the form of a scenic flight over the stunning scenery back to camp.
The camp describes it’s eight rooms as tents, but these are about as far away from what most people consider a tent. Each of the ‘tents’ look out over a rugged, expansive valley that slopes down to the Hoanib River, which is almost always dry and only flows during exceptional rains. Inside they have a air of space and of luxury and floor to ceiling windows make the most of the stunning environment. The design is modern and understated with muted desert tones and natural wood fittings, offset with fresh, clean white fabrics. The attached en-suite bathroom has a fabulous ‘rain shower’, high quality toiletries and his and hers basins. The shaded private veranda is also a wonderful spot to enjoy a col drinks from the fridge inside the room.
The stylish and well thought out interiors continue in the main area, which has the same double canvas structure to the roof, as the rooms, to maintain a comfortable temperature. There is plenty to enjoy in the main area from the small pool, comfortable lounge and well-stocked bar.
Include a research centre, a swimming pool, lounge, luxury suites, a communal campfire and it is even solar powered. Activities include presentations from wildlife researchers, nature drives, guided nature drives, star-gazing.
Pre and post dinner drinks are often enjoyed around the communal campfire, afternoon tea normally in the bar area and main meals either in or outside depending on weather conditions.
This luxury camp is home to an essential centre for research and conservation for the fragile populations of desert adapted predators in this region, specifically the desert lion and brown hyena. This provides housing and a vital base for the scientists and conservationists who work to study and protect these fragile animal populations. Without their help it is likely that these predators might no longer be present in the area. As well as this it is part of a joint venture partnership with neighbouring communities to ensure that ecotourism benefits the people in the area.
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