THE WORLD’S OLDEST DESERT
A country of wide-open spaces, endless desert-scapes, rolling red dunes and a brutal coastline. Namibia is defined by its dramatic scenery and big open skies. As a sparsely-populated country with fewer than 3 million people, it is home to some of Southern Africa’s most unique experiences and stunning lodges.
Getting around may be a logistical challenge but it is always worth it. This is especially true when you can float over the ancient dunes of the Namib in a hot air balloon or drive in the Hoanib River following desert-adapted elephants. The Skeleton Coast is dotted with ancient shipwrecks and large colonies of fur seals, whilst inland, the Himba people still practice a traditional way of life as semi-nomadic herdsmen.
Namibia is a destination for any avid wildlife enthusiast or first-time traveller to Africa. Combine it with visits to Botswana and South Africa and you’ll have the perfect blend of safari magic.
A welcome oasis situated along the dry Auab riverbed in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Little Kulala celebrates the splendour and solitude of the Namib Desert. Excursions to Sossusvlei (via a gate exclusive to Wilderness Safaris vehicles), nature drives, walks and eco-sensitive quad biking are just some of the ways to explore this fascinating landscape. A balloon safari also offers guests an awe-inspiring experience soaring above the desert.
Inspired by Dead Vlei, the design of the 11 climate-controlled, thatched “kulalas”, each with a private plunge pool, merges seamlessly into the timeless desert setting. Each villa has a rooftop Star Bed for romantic star gazing and relaxing between activities.
HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP
In a remote area of the Kaokoveld with gravel-strewn plains and dry riverbeds that draw fascinating wildlife, lies Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. Game drives here allow guests to explore this isolated area, moving along the riverbed’s narrow ribbon of vegetation, where a surprising wealth of desert-adapted animals can be found. The camp’s research centre provides even more insights for those who want to learn more about wildlife and vegetation here. The unforgiving Skeleton Coast is characterised by its shipwreck remains and noisy colonies of Cape fur seals and can be accessed by a fascinating drive or scenic flight, depending on the weather.
The camp is run on solar power and is a joint-venture with the neighbouring conservancies of Anabeb, Torra and Sesfontein, hosting researchers committed to conserving the desert-adapted lion, brown hyena and more.
Set under verdant trees on the banks of the Kunene River, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in Southern Africa. Guests can truly disconnect, unwind and relax to the sound of rushing water and explore one of the driest deserts in the world. Respectful interaction with the semi-nomadic Himba community, fascinating nature walks, boating (water levels permitting) and low-impact guided quad-bike excursions complete the experience.
Eight chalets are set on elevated decks and crafted in wood, canvas and thatch to create a unique camp that is at one with its surroundings, celebrating the culture of the Himba people. The Ozonganda (Herero, meaning “main area”) affords spectacular views over the Kunene River.
In a wide valley sometimes flush with grass, Desert Rhino Camp lies in the enormous Palmwag Concession, where trackers patrol and protect one of Africa’s largest free-ranging populations of critically-endangered, desert-adapted black rhino. Rhino tracking on foot and by vehicle with these dedicated conservationists is a unique and exclusive wilderness experience, with other activities including the likes of exploring the area on full-day outings, nature drives or walks.
The camp has eight comfortable Meru-style tents and a main area that overlooks a sweeping plain dotted with Namibia’s national plant, the Welwitschia. The campfire inspires storytelling under Namibia’s star-studded skies, whilst guests listen to the sounds of the wild.