Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population.
And Beyond Sossusvlei Lodge
Cradled against ancient mountains, the ten stone and glass desert villas of andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge blend the grandeur and solitude of the Namib with sophisticated elegance and comfort. Massive windows open up onto the endless vistas, framed in the background by the ever-changing colors of the dunes. The stars shine directly on your bed through a glazed skylight. Precious water from an underground spring feeds the refreshing lodge pool, while wildlife gathers at a nearby waterhole. Dune dinners in dramatic desert locations reveal the wonders of the open spaces, and the mysteries of the star strewn skies are unlocked by a resident astronomer.
Designed to capture the splendor and solitude of the desert, just ten stone and glass suites spread out along the curve of the escarpment, allowing absolute privacy. Each air conditioned glass-fronted suite is designed to complement the expansive views of the different habitats, perfectly framed from the spacious internal areas. Featuring a private veranda, bedroom with retractable skylights for in-bed star-gazing, a living room with a fireplace, an ensuite bathroom with a glass-encased rain shower offering 180º views, and a perfectly-positioned private plunge pool for some sublime respite after a long day in the desert heat.
All suites include star-viewing skylights, discrete music systems and customized personal bars. One of the most innovative features of the accommodation design is the way in which the extremes of the natural environment are harnessed to create energy and recycle waste water. Each suite is like its own solar power plant, producing enough energy to not only power the air conditioning, and all the super-comforts of a luxury lodge, but also the water treatment and recycling systems.
Star Dune suite
Creating an ideal family environment, or an ideal option for groups of friends, the Star Dune Suite consists of two suites linked by a covered walkway, with a private lounge and dining space. The combined amenities of this extended accommodation provide the perfect space for one and all to enjoy. For those family groups, our &Beyond guides and lodge team will provide a host of fun and interactive children’s activities.
A welcome oasis situated on the dry Auab riverbed in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Little Kulala celebrates the splendor and solitude of the Namib Desert. Excursions to Sossusvlei (via a gate exclusive to Wilderness Safaris vehicles), nature drives, guided nature trails, eco-sensitive guided quad bike excursions and guided electric fat bike excursions, explore this fascinating landscape. A balloon safari (at extra cost) offers an awe-inspiring experience soaring above the desert.
Inspired by Dead Vlei, the design of the 11 climate-controlled, thatched accommodations, each with a private plunge pool, merges seamlessly into the timeless desert setting. A private rooftop area for romantic stargazing and sleep-outs on the bottom deck of each accommodation. Luxury brick and glass accommodation, under thatch.
There are eleven climate controlled accommodations (including one family unit, with a private area for stargazing), each with two three quarter beds.
Little Kulala at this time is currently doing a refurbishment of their rooms. Can’t wait to see the upgrades!
Once farmland used for subsistence goat farming, the region had very little indigenous wildlife. In 1996 Wilderness Safaris stepped in to rehabilitate the area and today the land and its wildlife have returned to their former glory.
NOTE: Ballooning closed on 25 December and 01 January, and from mid-January to mid-February.
- Closest luxury camp to the iconic Sossusvlei dunes and vleis
- Private and exclusive access to 27 000 hectares of wildlife and desert scenery
- Hot air ballooning (weather permitting) over the vast Namib Sand Sea
Serra Cafema Camp
Set under 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 eco-sensitive guided quad-bike excursions complete the experience.
The 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 and celebrates the culture of the Himba people. The Ozonganda (Herero, meaning “main area”) affords spectacular views over the Kunene River.
They have a mutually-beneficial partnership with the Marienfluss Conservancy, which is owned primarily by the Himba people; the benefits include lease fees, employment and skills transfers.
- A luxurious desert retreat that is also the most remote camp in Namibia
- Guests meet and interact with Himba people when they are in the area
- Vast Hartmann’s Valley and spectacular geology contrast with riverine vegetation and crocodiles of the Kunene River
Standard Tent(s)There are seven twin bed tents. The beds can be moved together to make a double bed. There is two twin bedded guide/pilot room which are smaller than the standard tents.
Skeleton Coast Shipwreck Lodge
Uniquely designed around the enigmatic shipwrecks that line Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, there’s nowhere on the continent quite like Shipwreck Lodge. In fact, there’s nowhere on the continent quite like the Skeleton Coast. It’s a raw, rugged and impossibly remote slice of African wilderness, where towering dunes and wind-swept plains roll as far as the eye can see, buffeted by the icy Atlantic seas.
But there’s much more to the area than simple isolation. Stay at Shipwreck Lodge and game drive in search of desert-dwelling fauna; discover the enchanting desert flora (succulents and lichens); sit atop the dunes as the sun sinks below the horizon; spend the day beach-combing for whale bones and debris from centuries of shipwrecks; and marvel at the geologically-remarkable Clay Castles. Really, there’s nowhere like it on earth.
The lodge is located in the famous Skeleton Coast Central Concession between the Hoarusib and Hoanib Rivers in the Skeleton Coast Park, only 45 km north of Möwe Bay. The lodge is situated on the southern bank of the Huarusib River Mouth.
- This is a chance to explore a raw, rugged and impossibly remote slice of African wilderness.
- Stay in some of the most unique and dramatic accommodation on the continent- not many can say they’ve slept in a shipwreck after all!
- Spend a day exploring the dry riverbeds, starting with a sunrise breakfast overlooking the incredible landscape and ending with a climb to the top of the great roaring dunes.
- Learn about the history behind the dramatic shipwrecks that line the mist-enshrouded coastline.
- Look for tok-tokkie beetles and the unusual plants and lichens that survive in the cold fog that rolls off the ocean.
Each room has a shower, toilet and washbasin complimented with the necessary guest amenities.Each room also has a writing desk, bedside lamp and a wood burning stove.
They felt it only fair to build a camp to match the remarkable scenery of the Skeleton Coast, and each of the 10 rooms have been constructed to resemble the shipwrecks that line the beach. There are eight twin or double rooms, and two cabins can take extra beds if you’re bringing the kids, all ensuite and solar-powered. Well, apart from the wood burning stove but on the chilly evenings and mornings, it’s most definitely a welcome addition! In the centre of camp, you’ll find an equally as innovatively designed lounge and restaurant with a wide, wraparound deck and uninterrupted views across the sand all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Accommodation & Amenities
- 10 rooms: 8 twin/double, 2 family (triples on request).
- Ensuite bathrooms with indoor showers.
- Wifi available: Yes.
- Hairdryers: Available on request.
- Battery charging facilities: In the main area & in room.
- Complimentary laundry service.
The Skeleton Coast is an excellent year-round destination, and it stays relatively cool throughout the year – that’ll be that eerie Atlantic fog. But the desert temperatures can change at the drop of a hat, going from freezing to boiling in a matter of minutes, and you should always travel with a warm jumper (or two).
November to April are the summer months at the Skeleton Coast. In the desert, rainfall patterns are never guaranteed, but you can expect some showers at this time. The rain does, however, keep the air clear and crisp. The mornings are also less foggy, and this is an excellent time of year for birders to visit as the migrants are out in force.
May to October are the winter months. During the day, temperatures hover around a very pleasant 21 to 25 degrees Celsius, but be warned – the mornings and evenings can be chilly, especially on an open game drive. There’s virtually no rain at this time of year and the desert is at its iconic, splendid best.
- Day excursions to the Mowe Bay seal colony, with stops at the Suiderkus and Karimona shipwrecks, Westies Diamond Mine and the remains of the Ventura Bomber.
- Sundowners drives to the roaring dunes.
- Quad biking (mornings only; aged 16 and over) and sand boarding across the dunes. We recommend pre-booking the quad biking activity in advance.
- 4×4 drives along the Hoarusib River, including the Clay Castles and the chance to spot some of the unique, desert-adapted wildlife.
- Beach lunch (weather permitting).
The words “eerie” and “mysterious” are often bandied around when it comes to describing Africa’s most interesting locations, but the Skeleton Coast has to be one place that truly deserves the metaphors. Shrouded in mist, the jaw-droppingly beautiful National Park begins at the Uqab River and runs roughly 500 kilometers up the Atlantic Coast to the Kunene River. Described by the San Bushmen as ‘the Land God Made in Anger’, the beaches are strewn with bleached whale bones and the wrecks of over a thousand ships, and the interior is an uninhabited desert of rolling, endless sand. But it’s magical and hauntingly picturesque, and, in our books, that makes it an absolute must-see.
Shipwreck Lodge itself is located in an unrivaled spot in the Skeleton Coast Central Concession Area, a piece of land between the Hoarusib and Hoanib rivers. The lodge is within the Skeleton Coast National Park and roughly 45 kilometers from Mowe Bay. The area contains irreplaceable and vulnerable wildlife habitat for species of the highest conservation importance, including elephant and the elusive brown hyena. Importantly, it also hosts the only other viable lion population in Namibia outside of Etosha National Park.
The Skeleton Coast is an area known for its extraordinary landscapes and wildlife sightings are rare – but when do you spot something, it’s a magical experience. First up are the desert-adapted elephant, digging deep beneath the sand for the last vestiges of water. Then, making use of the wells left behind by the pachyderms are giraffe, lion and baboon, and perhaps even a brown hyaena or two, but sightings are rare. There are also thousands of plants and insects that flourish in the sand, surviving from the moisture of the cold fog that drifts inland from the ocean. Incredible stuff – but that’s not all. Marine life positively thrives, feeding off the nutrients in the Atlantic, and the most iconic species are the Cape fur seals that line the rocky shoreline in large colonies. Birdlife is also prolific and you should most certainly pack your binos for Rüppell’s korhaans and Benguela long-billed larks. Further toward the coast, you should also be able to spot tractrac chats, as well as jaegers and skuas around the seal colonies.
Landi Burns started selling travel in 2019, after managing exclusive luxury lodges and resorts across the globe. She specializes in East and Southern Africa beach & safari destinations.