24 May 2018

The haunting beauty of Namibia's Hoanib

The idea of a trip through Namibia often conjures images of rusty red tinted sand dunes stretching for miles, the shipwreck strewn Skeleton Coast, the seemingly empty and desolate Damaraland or the oasis that is the Etosha. 

It’s a country of contrasts, big skies and dramatic scenery. Roughly twice the size of Germany with one of the lowest population densities in the world, many areas echo with emptiness and atmosphere, yet excellent lodges are tucked away in these remote regions and provide intrepid travelers with havens of serenity and comfort along with an extraordinary abundance of wildlife.

The remote northern Damaraland, bordering the Skeleton Coast National Park, is a place so barren and inhospitable that it can only be described as hauntingly beautiful. Here, the only source of relief is dry riverbeds fed by sporadic fresh water springs. One of these life-giving sources, the Hoanib River, runs through a private concession in the area where it meets the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp – a witness to the pockets of hardy wildlife which eke out an existence in the desolate terrain. What makes this area truly remarkable is what it lacks – people, crowds, and noise.

Exclusivity has been taken a step further – Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is only accessible by air – a scenic, light aircraft charter flight where you can watch the Damaraland and Skeleton Coast region unfold from 6,000 feet high. There is a subtle but undeniable transition from the classic desert views to a collision of desert and sea unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

It’s a fascinating destination where the highlight is seeing and understanding the special adaptations that wildlife have made to live in the harsh desert conditions, including the desert adapted black rhino and elephant. An exploration of this barren expanse by game drives winds along the narrow ribbon of vegetation that springs up along the dry riverbed, in search of these desert-adapted species, as well as gemsbok, giraffe and lion. It is one of the few places on the planet where near-total desolation manifests with such exquisite beauty.

The camp features a simple, classic design and consists of eight luxurious tents, each with en-suite bathrooms and shaded outdoor decks. Spend the hot days lounging in the cool swimming pool and chilly evenings in front of the large fireplace.

Travelers to Namibia will soon come to understand the true meaning of escapism whilst enjoying this otherworldly slice of Africa.

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