1. SHIPWRECK LODGE
Situated on a remote and beautiful stretch of the Skeleton Coast, the lodge looks like a flotilla of phantom vessels washed ashore. The game viewing is just as unusual, focusing on the fauna of the desert and dunes.
What will inspire you? Freedom, beauty, and solitude.
What will surprise you? So empty and so much to do: game drives in search of desert-dwelling fauna; discovering succulents and lichens; sitting atop dunes as the sun sinks; daytime beach-combing for whale bones and debris from centuries of shipwrecks; marvelling at geologically remarkable clay castles.
What will excite you? Some of the most dramatic and unique accommodation on the continent. Not many can say they have slept in a shipwreck.
What will you boast about? Watching black-backed jackal and brown hyena stroll the beach.
What can you experience only there? The history of the shipwrecks that line the foggy coastline.
What will you eat? Elegant three-course meals served in the dining cabin reminiscent of an old ship.
Where will you sleep? In one of 10 shipwreck cabins constructed with eco-friendly materials, designed by Namibian architect Nina Maritz.
What will you see on a game drive? Skeleton Coast wildlife sightings are rare — but when you do spot something, it’s magical. Look out for brown hyena, jackal, lion, baboons and elephant.
2. SERRA CAFEMA CAMP
Shaded by ancient trees on the banks of the Kunene River in Kaokoland, this lodge immerses you in a remote wilderness, unique in its combination of green riverside and dramatic desert location.
What will inspire you? Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in southern Africa.
What will excite you? All-terrain-vehicle excursions through pristine sand dunes. Also, playful baboons, treacherous crocs, and the elusive leopard whose spoor is the only evidence that it exists.
What will relax you? The sound of the rapids below the camp.
What will you boast about? How you didn’t see another vehicle or person for hours on end.
What can you experience only there? Gain insight into the ancient Himba people, and the chance to look inward to reconnect with the Earth and yourself.
What will you eat? Sumptuous cuisine and award-winning wines along a remote riverbank.
Where will you sleep? New luxury tents incorporating fresh elements. The camp is 100% solar-powered.
What will you see on a game drive? Drives in the desert showcase some of the oldest Gneiss rocks in the area. Oryx and springbok are seen in open spaces, and the desert can surprise with endemic birds such as the Rüppell’s korhaan and Benguela long-billed lark.
3. HOANIB VALLEY CAMP
A joint venture between local communities and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, this Skeleton Coast Hoanib Valley camp is an elegant, intimate affair.
What will inspire you? Enjoying a G&T on your private verandah and wondering at the magnitude of your surroundings.
What will surprise you? The contrast between the unforgiving landscape and the sophistication of the camp.
What will excite you? Being truly off the grid in a corner of Earth untouched by modern life.
What will you Instagram? The colours, textures, and patterns are inspired by the experience of the Hoanib: the rich ochre of the dunes, the geometric patterns of the Himba people, and the giraffe that inspired the project. You’ll find heavy wooden dining tables carved by Rundu wood-workers on the side of the road outside Windhoek, baskets woven by the Omba Arts Trust, and delicate cushions sewn by local women.
What can you experience only there? Learning more about giraffe conservation from guides trained by the expert, Julian Fennessy.
What will you eat? Food is home-made and hearty. You must sample local game meat.
Where will you sleep? In one of six subtle, sophisticated Bedouin-style tents at the foot of the mountains and rolling dunes of the Hoanib.
What will you see on a game drive? Desert-adapted elephant and giraffe, and, with luck, the desert-adapted lion. Also, hardy herds of oryx and steenbok.
- From the November edition of Wanted.