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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

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Sundowners at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

 

Enjoying the sunset with a gin & tonic in the Hoanib River Valley

Interaction with wildlife and stunning scenery are two given highlights of any safari. But the safari tradition of having a sundowner is one of my favorite moments of any given day on safari.

During my trip last month to Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia my guide, Emms, parked up on a ridge above the Hoanib River Valley and set up a table of cocktails and local snacks like nuts, chips, and biltong (dried game meat). Then he poured us a round of gin & tonics and we watched the sunset.

Check out this time lapse video I made on my iPhone:

Sunset in mirror in the Hoanib River Valley (look at those clouds!)

I don’t know why, but gin & tonic just tastes better when you’re on safari.

Gordon’s gin bottles lined up to meet their sundowner destiny

Added excuse to enjoy a sundowner– the quinine in tonic water helps keep mosquitos away (not that there were any in the Hoanib River valley). You’d also have to drink a lot of tonic water… but hey… you just go with it!

Land Cruiser at sunset in the Hoanib River Valley

Sunset as seen through the Land Cruiser seats

One day I was back at camp to watch the sunset. You can have an enjoyable sundowner experience there too.

Sunset at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

The colors at camp change and get vivid at sunset. You can enjoy the view and kick back  and enjoy your sundowner near the camp fire.

Enjoying a sundowner back at camp

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Hoanib River | Kaokoveld,

Skeleton Coast Park, Namibia

+27 ­11 ­807 ­1800

+27 ­21 ­702 ­7500

enquiry@wilderness.co.za

 

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Sunset Time Lapse in the Seychelles at Maia Luxury Resort

Obligatory feet-in-the-sand selfie

I recently spent a few days at Maia Luxury Resort. Located on a private peninsula on the west coast of Mahé island in the Seychelles, Maia Luxury Resort is surrounded by natural beauty including a private beach and the Indian Ocean.

Maia’s location is most gorgeous during the golden hour before sunset. The light is warm and the clouds take on pastel hues.

I made this time lapse using the TimeLapse app on my iPhone 6 using the sunrise & sunset preset:

Clouds at Sunset at Maia Luxury Resort, Mahé island, Seychelles Time Lapse

I still prefer using this app over the native time lapse feature on the iPhone 6 camera because it offers presets for situations like clouds, traffic, and sunrise/sunset and will shoot and speed up accordingly.

The private beach at Maia Luxury Resort

This gives me one less thing to think about so I could focus on dipping my toes in the warm waves of the Indian Ocean.

A friendly snail  I met in villa 208 at Maia Luxury resort

One tip for shooting sunset time lapse videos… don’t stop shooting as soon as the sun disappears. Let the camera run for a few minutes. Usually this is when you get the most vivid hues, and you can always trim the video if the afterglow is less than gorgeous.

Sunset stroll at Maia Luxury Resort, Seychelles

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Where to Eat in Punta Mita, Mexico: Si Señor

You say “when” on the tequila pour for your margarita at Si Señor

It’s always fun to venture off the resort grounds and eat at a great local restaurant. A few years ago I asked Carl Emberson, the General Manager of the St. Regis Punta Mita, for a restaurant recommendation in the sleepy town of Punta Mita, he insisted we try Si Señor. I’ve been recommending the restaurant to friends ever since.

Left: The signage isn’t fancy Right: the colorful entrance to Si Señor

Si Señor is funky, atmospheric and all about the fresh fish. If you go, have your camera ready because the whole restaurant has a fun, show-like atmosphere and delicious Mexican cuisine and very strong margaritas.

The atmosphere at Si Señor is colorful and fun

From the giant clam shell at the hostess desk to the Mexican serapes strung between palm trees to provide diners shade from the sun, the restaurant feels like fun from the moment you enter.

The waiters at Si Señor make you say “when” when pouring the tequila

The menu at Si Señor

While fresh seafood is the standout here, Si Señor does great with all the traditional Mexican specialties. The guacamole is made table side and the queso fundido is pure cheesy goodness.

Guacamole prepared tableside

Be sure to ask what the catch of the day is, because that is when a meal at Si Señor gets really fun.

Here’s how you get shown the catch of the day at Si Señor

Si Señor Catch of the Day GIF

Our entrees have arrived!

Tacos chilapa (hard chicken tacos soaked in chicken broth) were also super yummy

Your catch of the day can be prepared to your liking

The catch of the day can be prepared a few different ways: Arriero (with potatoes, onion, chile guajillo, garlic, wine, olive oil and paprika); Mexican Cajun style (chiles secos, curry, olive oil, garlic and mushrooms; or sauteed with lemon and capers. Your waiter will be sure to offer advice and the best preparation for whatever fish you choose.

Si Señor’s resident parrot is quite the showman
Don’t miss the exceptionally charming resident parrot at the bar. He’ll shake his tail feathers while taking a birdbath making for a memorable meal.
Address: Av El Anclote,
63734 Punta de Mita, NAY, Mexico
Phone:+52 329 291 6652

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A Stay at Le Bristol in Paris (Thanks to LHW Leaders Club Unlimited)

Cleo, the most famous resident of Le Bristol, lounging in the lobby

On my recent trip to Paris, I had the opportunity to spend a few nights at Le Bristol on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. What I knew about Le Bristol is mostly for it’s role in Midnight in Paris (it’s where Rachel McAdams’ and Owen Wilson’s characters stayed). I remembered it looked really expensive.

Curving stairs and a glamorous vintage caged elevator add to Le Bristol’s glamorous atmosphere

Left: fresh fruit and wine welcome amenity Right: the flowers on the vanity

Fortunately my husband is a Leaders Club Unlimited member of LHW hotels, and Le Bristol had award availability for a few nights. Score! So I spent a very lovely few days in room 714 of this old school luxury hotel… and it was FABULOUS.

The classic desk

Room 714 was huge by Parisian standards. The vibe at Le Bristol is old world luxury, but the property has all the requisite tech perks, including easy to use, speedy wifi (free for Leaders Club Unlimited members).

Traditional elegance in the vibe at Le Bristol

The bed was uber comfy, and the bathroom, while simple in style had the most impressive water pressure I’ve experienced in Paris. The tub was huge, well designed for soaking and filled quickly.

Left: the shower had serious power (and La Prarie amenities) Right: the separate water closet

Suddenly I had a dilemma– I did not want to leave the room to explore Paris.

Le Bristol’s bathtub worked for serious soaking

As lovely as the room is, the true star at Le Bristol is the service. It was flawless. Every request was handled exceptionally well.

The view from room 714 into the courtyard

Le Bristol Breakfast Menu

Another perk of the LHW Leaders Club Unlimited: not paying € 85 per person for breakfast (it’s an included benefit).

Poached eggs just taste better in Paris, especially when they are free

Behold: perfectly styled fruit at breakfast

Obligatory breakfast bread basket shot

The dining room at Le Bristol

While in my heart I’m a Saint-Germain girl, I’m also never going to turn down a chance to stay at Le Bristol. It’s legendary reputation is well deserved and the service is perfection.

Hôtel Le Bristol Paris

112 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré
75008 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 43 43 00
Fax: +33 (0)1 53 43 43 01
reservation@lebristolparis.com

Rates start at $1128 USD

Check the LHW site for special offers

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