Review: Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (Namibia)

Wednesday newsletters at all times function a lodge or flight overview.

Final November, I loved a superb vacation in Namibia. You’ll be able to learn my journey reviews right here:


Immediately: Evaluate of Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp by Wilderness Safaris (Namibia)

Managed by Wilderness Safaris, Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp occupies an excellent spot in a distant nook of one in every of Earth’s final untouched wildernesses: the Namib Desert’s famed Kaokoveld, an otherworldly and distant panorama hewn over the ages into immense dunes and rocky mountains. The lodge’s eight luxurious tented suites peak like whitecaps on an ocean of sand, looking on a large, rugged valley that slopes right down to the often dry Hoanib River. Highlights embody a spectacular dry-and-fly tour to the Skeleton Coast and eating beneath impossibly starry skies, maybe on the firepit as a jackal cries or a lion roars, punctuating the stillness of the inky night time. The property additionally doubles as a middle for analysis and conservation of the desert-adapted predators of this harsh area: the desert-adapted lion and brown hyaena.

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp options in my prime 10 lists of the finest lodges in Namibia and the very best desert lodges on the earth.

Have you ever ever stayed at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp? In that case, what was your expertise? Depart a remark.

On this overview (extra information and photographs under my Youtube clip & slideshow):


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is positioned in a personal concession alongside the Skeleton Coast contained in the Namib, the oldest desert on earth. Stretching over 1000’s of miles, the infinite dunes of the Namib span your entire the size of Namibia, from the Uniab River within the north to the city of Luderitz within the south. The Skeleton Coast lies in between; it’s a hostile however fascinating wilderness space the place the chilly and unpredictable Benguela Present of the Atlantic Ocean clashes with a spectacular dune and desert panorama. The title Skeleton Coast derived likely from the large numbers of stranded whales that misplaced their life right here and whose skeletons might be seen in all places. The coast can also be dotted with shipwrecks, as quite a few ships have stranded right here as a result of thick fog, the tough sea, unpredictable currents and stormy winds. Giant elements of the Skeleton Coast are protected as a Nationwide Park.
  • Positioned roughly 50 km (30 mi) from the shoreline, Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp enjoys a spectacular setting within the otherworldly panorama of the Namib Desert’s famed Kaokoveld. Surrounded by rust-colored crags and huge gravel plains, the camp seems out over a small waterhole (usually visited by desert tailored elephants) and a large, rugged valley that slopes right down to the Hoanib River. This river mattress is dry more often than not (the river solely flows throughout uncommon rains which could hit the world each few years) however the area’s subterranean water in addition to some springs make sure that vegetation grows alongside the river banks, making a lush oasis that runs as a inexperienced line by the stark desert panorama. The surroundings is at its most stunning and surreal within the early morning hours when the rocks are blanketed by a layer of fog created by the chilly Benguela Present, which solely lifts because the desert warms up in the course of the day.
  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is without doubt one of the most remotely positioned lodges on earth (which is a part of its attraction). The camp is simply accessible by mild plane and the transfers are taken care of by Wilderness Safaris by its associate Wilderness Air. Wilderness Air started working in 1991, with one plane based mostly in Botswana servicing two camps within the Okavango Delta. Immediately, Wilderness Air can also be based mostly in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, working over 26 plane and using over 40 pilots. All through its time, it has maintained a status for steadfast, secure operations. For many visitors, the journey to Hoanib Skeleton Coast will begin at Wilderness’ airstrip close to its Doro Nawas lodge in Damaraland (though visitors will be flown in from different areas in Namibia as nicely). The 40 minute flight from Doro Nawas to Hoanib skeleton Coast is a sightseeing journey in itself, with beautiful views of Damarand’s majestic and cinematic panorama.
  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp’s pale olive, luxurious tented pavilions peak like whitecaps on an ocean of sand. There are 9 tents in whole: eight lodging (extra on that under) and one double canvas construction housing the general public amenities. The latter options a big lounge space with a number of linnen sofas organized round espresso tables and an open fireplace place the place visitors can calm down, unwind, and benefit from the unbelievable views. Behind the lounge space is a beautiful bar, the place afternoon tea is laid out (previous to the night actions) and pre- or post-dinner drinks are served. Subsequent to the lounge space is a light-filled, minimalist eating room, with easy wood tables and white ‘nest’ design chairs. To the facet of fundamental pavilion is a wood deck with a pretty swimming pool and some sunloungers beneath a shaded canvas, providing respite from the desert warmth in the summertime months. A camp fireplace is lit every night in entrance of the principle space, the place visitors can heat up and socialize previous to dinner.
  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp options eight suites, seven of them normal twin or double rooms and one a double bed room household unit. Unfold out in a semi-circle on either side of the principle pavilion, the lodging are constructed from a double layer of canvas, which retains the rooms cool in the summertime warmth (there’s no A/C) and offers insulation in the course of the colder winter months. All of the suites have a minimalist, modern design, with a soothing coloration palette reflecting the encompassing desert and huge floor-to-ceiling glass home windows bringing the surface in. Lined in polished concrete flooring, the bed room options a big kingsize mattress (or twin beds), a sitting space alongside the big window, a writing desk, and open-sided closet areas. The ensuite rest room is provided with twin stone basins, a big rain bathe, and a separate bathroom. Outdoors, there’s a shaded lounge space with minibar, overlooking the spectacular environment.
  • Regardless of the distant location, Hoanib Skeleton Camp’s cooks put together scrumptious meals, that are included within the day by day fee. For breakfast, a small continental buffet is ready up in the principle eating room and visitors may also order a scorching dish (e.g. eggs, pancakes). When in camp, a light-weight lunch is served, comprising a starter, a alternative of two fundamental dishes, and dessert. Throughout day excursions (such because the journey to the coast), a hearty picnic lunch is supplied. Evenings largely begin with a drink across the campfire, adopted by a wonderful three course dinner, both served inside or al fresco on the gravel plain in entrance of the principle lodge (relying on the climate).  Throughout my keep, fundamental choices included dishes like grilled beef fillet with Hasselback potato, pork loin with pineapple chutney, apple sider braised rooster, and venison served with candy potato fondant, corn, child marrow. Vegetarian choices corresponding to aubergine stew or Dahl curry are provided as nicely.
  • Hoanib skeleton Coast is without doubt one of the few lodges in Namibia that gives not solely a desert expertise but additionally a coastal expertise. The lodge’s actions profit from the various landscapes, with visitors exploring the world on foot, by automobile and by air together with knowledgeable Wilderness Safaris guides. Distinctive points of interest embody true desert oases discovered within the Hoanib floodplains, in addition to distinctive game-viewing alternatives. The realm is residence to desert-adapted elephant, in addition to gemsbok, giraffe, springbok. Hoanib additionally doubles as a scientific heart for analysis and conservation of the desert-adapted predators of this harsh area: the desert-adapted lion and brown hyaena which roam the world across the camp. A lot has been written a couple of satisfaction of desert lions from this space, affectionately generally known as the ‘musketeers’ from the movie Vanishing Kings. I used to be fortunate to see an offspring from this satisfaction, a lioness named Charlie eyeing up passing prey within the dry river mattress and ultimately killing an orynx.
  • The spotlight of any keep at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is a day tour to the coast, throughout the wild Hoanib River floodplain and rolling dunes to the frigid Atlantic Ocean, the place the chilly Benguela present collides with the hotter desert and generates the area’s famed fog. The primary a part of the journey includes an thrilling drive in a 4WD automobile over the dunes to the Skeleton Coast, with a cease at an oasis en route, then a drive alongside the seaside to see seal colonies and different sights, adopted by a picnic lunch on the seaside, having fun with the ocean breeze. The journey ends with a scenic flight again to the camp, wowing visitors with views of the dunes and the topography under. For me what stands out from the journey is that one second you might be driving within the infinite desert, and the following second you might be on the rugged shoreline, the place the desert meets the ocean! The tour is also attention-grabbing traditionally: there’s a short cease at a small museum exhibiting whale skeletons – one of many causes it’s named the Skeleton Coast.
  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is managed by Wilderness Safaris, my favourite safari firm. Wilderness Safaris was based in 1983 in Botswana by two younger guides, who wished to make sure each conservation of wildlife areas and that the monetary advantages of their safaris circulation to Botswana and its individuals. Immediately, Wilderness Safaris is extensively acclaimed because the continent’s foremost ecotourism operator, devoted to conserving and restoring Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. They do that by creating life-changing journeys in a number of the most distant and pristine areas in Africa, hereby serving to to preserve Africa’s spectacular biodiversity and share ecotourism’s advantages with the native communities. Hoanib will be mixed with a keep at Wilderness Safaris’ different lodges in Namibia to create an genuine and evocative desert expertise, from Damaraland Desert Rhino Camps to Serra Cafema within the far north.
  • Hoanib skeleton Coast Camp is deeply dedicated to Wilderness Safaris’ 4Cs sustainability ethos of Commerce, Group, Tradition and Conservation. The camp is a part of a three way partnership partnership with the neighboring communities, in order that ecotourism is ready to profit the individuals of the world. This camp is ready in one of the fragile ecosystems on the earth, and subsequently has been constructed with minimal impression on the setting. It’s 100% photo voltaic powered, with every visitor tent having its personal small photo voltaic geyser for warm water. To be able to scale back the usage of bottled water, reverse osmosis filtration is finished on website to supply visitors with high-quality consuming water. This camp is managed and monitored towards very strict in-house environmental requirements, so solely accepted eco-friendly detergents and chemical substances are used. The camp additionally makes use of revolutionary eco-friendly methods to interrupt down wastewater which might then be utilized by plants.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is without doubt one of the most remotely positioned lodges on Planet Earth, and getting there requires some efforts because it includes a flight onboard a mild plane. In the event you don’t like small planes, this may be a problem nevertheless it shouldn’t deter you from staying right here. Fyi, I’m a nervous flyer myself however I felt completely comfy and secure in the course of the flight (the pilots don’t fly very excessive) and I used to be impressed by the professionalism of Wilderness Air. Additionally, the flight is an unbelievable expertise in itself: it’s laborious to understand the remoteness of the placement and real wilderness expertise till you fly in over endless dunes.
  • Not solely is Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp one of the remotely positioned on earth, it’s additionally positioned in the midst of one of many harshest environments of the planet. Count on unbelievable scorching temperatures in the course of the day, very chilly nights, and occasional sand storms hitting the world, particularly in the course of the summer time months. It’s all half although of the outstanding pure spectacle that you just’ll witness when staying right here and it makes you recognize much more that Wilderness Safaris is ready to function a luxurious camp right here and provide unbelievable wilderness experiences (a keep right here really seems like being a part of a Nationwide Geographic documentary).
  • Much like most different remotely positioned lodges in Namibia, the WiFi is intermittent (and never out there on occasion, though the workers do their finest to revive the web rapidly when it fails). Nonetheless, that shouldn’t be a lot of an issue as your entire expertise at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is about disconnecting from civilization and connecting with the luxurious desolation provided by the desert setting. If it is advisable to be on-line 24/7, then this place – and Namibia normally – isn’t for you.
  • Attributable to its extraordinarily distant location, Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is just not as lavishly luxurious as a number of the different lodges in Africa. For instance, there are no wellness and well being amenities on website (no spa and no fitness center) and the swimming pool on the principle lodge’s out of doors deck is relatively small and crammed with icy chilly water (however nice nonetheless). Additionally, there isn’t any in-room air-conditioning though the tents are uniquely designed to permit for air circulation which assist preserve issues cool in the course of the warmth of the day (and may that not assist the glowing pool in the principle space is an ideal escape with a chilly beverage). However don’t get me incorrect: Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp continues to be an opulent tented lodge, offering all of the comforts and pleasures that discerning vacationers may have in these local weather extremes.
  • Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is not fenced off, so visitors are required to be vigilant always. Lions, elephants, snakes and scorpions are current within the desert, and there’s no bodily obstacle to them getting into the world across the lodge. Visitors can’t stroll alone across the lodge at night time (lodge workers escorts visitors to/from their suite).

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: 8/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Meals: 8/10
  • Breakfast: 8/10
  • Spa: n/A
  • Service: 10/10
  • Worth for cash: 10/10
  • General expertise: distinctive 10/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Get monetary savings: learn right here my ideas for getting the very best deal at a luxurious lodge like Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (and/or obtain many free perks).
  • Journey tip: nights and mornings at Hoanib will be chilly whereas afternoons will be scorching. Deliver layers and be prepared so as to add or shed garments because the day progresses. Additionally, carry loads of water, solar cream and lip balm as it’s extremely dry and your pores and skin will thanks! Additionally, it’s dusty at occasions, so a shawl or kerchief to cowl your mouth and nostril is useful.
  • Journey tip: learn or watch movies concerning the space earlier than arriving. It’s an extremely wealthy space for historical past and nature. You’ll really recognize it when you arrive and see it in particular person.
  • Learn my ideas for making ready your journey in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The perfect time to go to Namibia is from July to October, when the temperatures are comfortably heat in the course of the day and the prospect of rain is low. That is additionally the very best time for out of doors actions and wildlife viewing, making it peak journey season. Between December and March, some days will probably be humid and rain might comply with, usually in localized, afternoon thunderstorms.


HOW TO GET THERE

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is located between the Palmwag space and Skeleton Coast Nationwide Park within the distant Kaokoveld in Namibia. It’s only accessible by mild plane from completely different airfields within the nation (together with Windhoek Airport). Wilderness Safaris takes care of the flight reservations.


PHOTOS

Under is a collection of my photographs of Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. To view extra lodge photographs (together with meals and excursions), click on right here.

HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
DORO NAWAS AIRSTRIP
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
FLIGHT TO HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP BY LIGHT AIRCRAFT
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
FLIGHT TO HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP BY LIGHT AIRCRAFT
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
ACCOMMODATIONS
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
ACCOMMODATIONS
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
ACCOMMODATIONS
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
ONE BEDROOM SUITE
ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
ONE BEDROOM SUITE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE
MAIN LODGE: BAR
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: BAR
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: OUTDOOR LOUNGE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: OUTDOOR LOUNGE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: OUTDOOR LOUNGE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: OUTDOOR LOUNGE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: DINING ROOM
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MAIN LODGE: POOL DECK
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: POOL DECK
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: POOL DECK
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MAIN LODGE: POOL DECK
MORNING GAME DRIVE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MORNING GAME DRIVE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MORNING GAME DRIVE
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
MORNING GAME DRIVE
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EXCURSION TO THE SKELETON COAST
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
EXCURSION TO THE SKELETON COAST
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
EXCURSION TO THE SKELETON COAST
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
EXCURSION TO THE SKELETON COAST
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
EXCURSION TO THE SKELETON COAST

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