Glamping with Wilderness Safaris at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

Desert glamping in Namibia at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

My recent trip to Namibia was the first time I traveled with Wilderness Safaris and I was truly impressed with everything about Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. It’s brand new, having opened in August 2014.

Twilight outside tent #2 at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Impressive, elevated tents at Hoanib

Namibia doesn’t allow permanent camps, instead they grant land concessions for a number of years. So everything about Hoanib will be able to disappear without a trace to help conserve Namibia’s natural environment.

Visiting the Roaring Dunes was one of the highlights of my stay at Hoanib

While the tents may be temporary, the camp is still amazingly stylish and comfortable. The guest tents have a genius design. They are built on platforms elevated over the sand, which helps keep their interiors at a comfortable temperature both day and night.

The Hoanib Staff waits to greet you with cool towels and fresh lemonade

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is run with Wilderness Safari’s ethos and commitment to the 4Cs – Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture. The staff is committed to contributing meaningfully to the wildlife and the people of Africa. The staff is great and this attitude makes you feel really good about spending money here.

Bella, the resident cat at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

General Manager Clement Lawrence and his team are all warm, personable, and take very good care of you. The service style is laid-back and unobtrusive. This is perfect for the modern luxury travelers who don’t want to feel like a Colonial with a staff fawning over you all the time.

The pool is perfect for cooling off on hot days in the Namib desert

Emms, our guide and tracker was incredible. He was friendly and warm and just plain fun to hang out with and have a chat. Fatima keeps things the ship running tight back at camp. There are only 10 tents, so the camp feels intimate.

Looking from the pool into the dining pavilion

Located in the private the Hoanib River Valley in the Private Palmwag Concession, the property is remote and way off the grid. It’s luxurious for sure, but you’re glamping.

The living room in the

There is no wifi, phone service, or television. With your days filled with game drives and wildlife walking through the camp serving as “Namibian television.” I did not miss being connected. That being said, we did pack our own satellite phone for emergencies. 

Left: The main tent looks gorgeous against the desert landscape Right: Zulu baskets

Clement let me know I could send an email from the office if it was necessary.

Table in the dining tent facing the gorgeous rocky landscape

Left: the communal living room Right: The fresh lemonade was my personal favorite beverage

You’re not exactly roughing it here. The bathrooms were spacious, chic and had plenty of hot water heated by the solar panels that surround the camp.

I loved the modern safari chic vibe of Hoanib’s communal living room

Your days are filled with Game Drives and wildlife viewing (the elephants were my personal favorite), and adventures like visiting the Roaring Dunes along the Skeleton Coast.

A club sandwich & chips for lunch

Hoanib is one of Wilderness Safaris Classic Camps, which is their second tier of luxury. It felt plenty luxurious to both me and my husband.

Left: A view of the lunch buffet Right: a pastry at lunch

This means there are fewer selections for entrees at lunch and dinner than you’d find at one of the Premier Camps,  but we felt well fed and still had plenty of options and never went hungry.

Pops of cornflower blue looked fantastic against the desert backdrop

Your days are filled with Game Drives and wildlife viewing (the elephants were my personal favorite), and adventures like visiting the Roaring Dunes and seal colony along the Skeleton Coast.

Left: Local handicrafts on display at camp Right: I loved these these cool bar stools

A rare rainy morning before a game drive

On a rare rainy morning in December, it was chilly when we left for our morning game drive. Emms, our guide, made sure we had blankets and ponchos to keep us warm and toasty.

Sundowners were my favorite daily ritual

Emms also delivered us to a great spot for sundowners every evening, and it became my favorite daily ritual.

Not a bad place for a sundowner

Namibia’s dramatic skies are as spectacular as it’s landscape

Nambia’s rugged and dramatic landscape is matched by it’s crazy beautiful skies. The clouds are ever-changing.

The moon was still visible in the morning

Clear skies mean star spotting and a visible moon

Moon framed in by the ties of a tent at Hoanib

My stay at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp was so memorable and impressive, I’m now very curious about visiting more of Wilderness Safaris properties. Perhaps I’ll go see the gorillas in the Congo next.

Safari chic bathroom selfie, Namibia

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Rates start at $484 USD – low season (11 January 2015  to 14 June 2015, 01 November 2015 to 19 December 2015)

From $720 – high season (15 June 2015  to 31 October 2015, 20 December 2015 to 10 January 2016)

Booking Inquiries:

Wilderness Safaris

Johannesburg

+27 ­11 ­807 ­1800
Mon-Fri 08:00 – 17:00 GMT+2

Cape Town

+27 ­21 ­702 ­7500
Mon-Fri 08:00 – 17:00 GMT+2

enquiry@wilderness.co.za

Photo Essay: Visiting The Skeleton Coast Museum, Namibia

Skeletons on Display

Nambia’s Skeleton Coast National Park may be geographically remote, but it’s well worth the effort to get there.

Giant whale pelvis and a boat near the Skeleton Coast Museum

There is a seal colony near by, and a small but very interesting and unique museum.

Wreakage along the rugged coastline

An old boat outside the Skeleton Coast Museum

I loved the rough hewn museum signage

The museum is not fancy, but that is part of it’s charm. There are, appropriately, a lot of skeletons of local wildlife on display.

Left: Bones lined up against a wall R: the skull of Cape Fur Seal

Articles about plane and boat crashes are on display

The Skeleton Coast has quite a history of plane and boat crashes. There are articles and pieces of wreckage from some of these accidents on display at the museum.

Left: petrified lobster right: turtle shells

Most of the bones found along the Skeleton Coast are from seals and and other local animals. But human bones can also be found.

Small creatures preserved in formaldehyde

The museum’s simple layout and lack of formal displays make it both intimate and really effing cool.

A ship wreck on the Skeleton Coast

Within walking distance of the seal colony is the rusting shell of a shipwreck.

Left: the rusty hull of a boat right: wreckage and rocks

Perhaps the most famous shipwreck story is that of the Dunedin Star, with a crew of 85 and 21 passengers.

Rusting hull of a boat

It’s amazing to see the skeletons of boats along Namibia’s Coast

Cape Fur Seal pups

A fur seal colony along the Skeleton Coast

A whale pelvis outside the Skeleton Coast Museum

Skeleton Coast Panorama

Up close with a shipwreck on Nambia’s Skeleton Coast

My trip to the Skeleton Coast Museum was arranged by Wilderness Safaris during my stay at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp.

Wilderness Safaris

Johannesburg

+27 ­11 ­807 ­1800
Mon-Fri 08:00 – 17:00 GMT+2

Cape Town

+27 ­21 ­702 ­7500
Mon-Fri 08:00 – 17:00 GMT+2

enquiry@wilderness.co.za

My trip to the Skeleton Coast Museum was arranged by Wilderness Safaris at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp.

Morning Cloud Lapse at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

My husband enjoying the morning clouds in the main pavillion Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

One of the things that makes Namibia’s landscape so beautiful is it’s star-filled skies and shape shifting clouds. When you’re on safari, you wake up early to grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee before you head out on your morning game drive. That’s when I set up my iPhone to capture the morning clouds just as the sun was beginning to peek beyond the horizon.

Morning clouds and sky time lapse at Hoanib

The moon was still clearly visible in the December morning sky.

The moon still visible in the morning skies of Namibia

Morning cloud reflections

Visiting the Roaring Dunes of Skeleton Coast National Park, Namibia

Driving down the Roaring Dunes

One of the highlights of a stay at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is taking a scenic flight to the Skeleton Coast National Park and visiting the Roaring Dunes. The adventure begins by taking a 20 minute flight on prop to an airstrip on the Skeleton Coast.

I rode in the co-pilot’s seat during the short flight

The flight to the Skeleton Coast

Namibia is the second least densely populated nation on earth. The Skeleton Coast is the least densely populated area of Namibia. You get the sense of vast stretches of emptiness and “middle of nowhere.”

Hangar at the Skeleton Coast “Airport”

There Emms, my guide, loaded us up into a Land Rover for our trip to the Roaring Dunes.

My husband, Jeff, and our guide, Emms

Once you get to the Roaring Dunes, Emms started deflating the tires. This is key when your driving down the Roaring Dunes.

Emms running up the Roaring Dunes

The Roaring Dunes have a distinctive sound which comes from the air built up between the dry sands of grain. When you walk, run, or drive over it, it pops or “roars.”

Running the Roaring Dunes

The Roaring Dunes looks like it’s straight out of a National Geographic magazine… and we did not see another soul during our visit.

Emms, my guide, wandering vast and empty Roaring Dunes

It was such an incredible experience to be alone in this beautiful and isolated place. It gives you profound perspective of just how very big the world is.

Emms and my husband driving away

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so tiny and alone as when Emms and my husband left me at the bottom of a dune to loop back to drive down it again. It wasn’t a scary feeling– after all it was only for a few minutes.

Roaring Dunes Panorama

It was peaceful, but if I was there for long, I definitely would have felt helpless.

Deflating the tires before heading to the Roaring Dunes

Driving deep in the sand dunes

Behold- the Skeleton Coast “Airport”

Obligatory safari selfie on the Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

A whole lot of nothing… but still beautiful

Emptying out the sand in his shoes

One of Namibia’s giant sand dunes

On Safari in Namibia: The Wildlife Edition

Local heard of elephants in the Hoanib River Valley, Namibia

When I got back from safari at the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Nambia, everyone asked about the wildlife. You expect to see a lot of wild animals on safari, but I find Namibia particularly fascinating because of it’s desert ecosystem. Emms, our guide and tracker, said simply, “picky eaters don’t survive in the desert.”

The Oryx, or gemsbok, is the National animal of Namibia

Desert or not, there are lots of wild animals. The Oryx, a type of gazelle, is the animal I most associate with Namibia. Oryx are well adapted to desert life in the Kaokoveld.

Sleepy lion GIF

As much as I adore Token’s song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the lyrics “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight” are a factual fail. Lions don’t live in jungles and they are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and hunt at night.

Lions sleeping with their paws up in the Hoanib River Valley

Giraffes are also extremely well adapted to life in the desert. Somehow these tall creatures can blend in and then appear, gracefully walking in parallel about 10 km per day.

A pair of giraffes

Some of the other animals we saw springbok, monkey, steenbok, and scrub hare.

Giraffe Fight Club GIF

Giraffes are incredibly graceful, even when fighting.

Papa G, the elephant

My favorite animals were the elephants.

Left: local elephants eating Right: elephants at magic hour

The elephants learn a lot from the dung of other elephants, including their location and who is ready to mate. Who knew dung is the Tinder of the wild?

Elephant trunk in action eating bushes

Elephant mock charge GIF

Elephants walking a dry river bed during magic hour

Not all the animals we saw were in the desert. One day we flew to the Skeleton Coast and visited a seal colony. Seal colonies have one of the most distinct smells I’ve ever encountered. I lack the words to describe it… but musky, fetid, and overripe give you the general idea.

A young Cape Fur Seal pup on The Skeleton Coast in Namibia

Here’s a little video of the seal colony:

 

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