Hoanib Skeleton Coast is in Namibia’s rocky Kunene region.

Hoanib Skeleton Coast | Skeleton Coast National Park Luxury Namibia Safari Lodge

Hoanib Skeleton Coast is set in the remote Kunene region of Namibia, with access to the Palmwag area and semi-mythical Skeleton Coast. The surrounding landscape seems harsh and inhospitable, but hosts a startling array of desert-adapted wildlife. All-day excursions open up little-visited coastal sights, including seal colonies.

The place

As our light aircraft approaches the airstrip, it’s hard to believe that only a few hours earlier we were in the modern African city of Windhoek – and also that concealed among these enormous sand dunes is Hoanib Skeleton Coast, a luxury Namibian safari lodge. Happily, there really is, and as the guide drives us through the private Palmwag Concession to get there, we have our first chance to see the spectacular scenery up close. We thread our way across a stony plain, between rugged rocky outcrops and the curvaceous mounds of sand. At first, isolated trees are the only apparent sign of life, but it’s not long before we spot the tracks of a small herd of desert elephant, and a little while later, their authors, ambling along in single file.We follow a dry riverbed into the broad valley where the lodge is located and see solar panels glinting in the sunlight. It’s clear to both of us that few luxury safari lodges are in places as truly wild – or strikingly beautiful – as this, and we suspect that we have only just begun to scratch the surface of the Kunene region.

As our light aircraft approaches the airstrip, it’s hard to believe that only a few hours earlier we were in the modern African city of Windhoek – and also that concealed among these enormous sand dunes is Hoanib Skeleton Coast, a luxury Namibian safari lodge.

Happily, there really is, and as the guide drives us through the private Palmwag Concession to get there, we have our first chance to see the spectacular scenery up close. We thread our way across a stony plain, between rugged rocky outcrops and the curvaceous mounds of sand. At first, isolated trees are the only apparent sign of life, but it’s not long before we spot the tracks of a small herd of desert elephant, and a little while later, their authors, ambling along in single file.

We follow a dry riverbed into the broad valley where the lodge is located and see solar panels glinting in the sunlight. It’s clear to both of us that few luxury safari lodges are in places as truly wild – or strikingly beautiful – as this, and we suspect that we have only just begun to scratch the surface of the Kunene region.

The room

The path to our luxury safari tent has been demarcated with a line of stones to minimise the impact of pedestrians on fragile desert soils. The manager smiles indulgently when I make the inevitable joke about the lodge having a light footprint. The canvas peaks of the tent resemble a miniature mountain range, and we’re delighted to see that there’s a private outdoor deck for our anniversary dinner.Its muted colour scheme continues inside our tent, with floor-to-ceiling netting panels giving unrestricted views to a range of low hills. Certain details are picked out in blue, suggesting the seasonal rivers that suddenly transform this landscape when it rains. Nothing could have prepared us for these views, and it’s just as well we’re open to surprises as the manager tells us that there are seal colonies and shipwrecks just a few hours’ drive away. It feels as though we’ve landed on the moon, only to be invited to the beach.

The path to our luxury safari tent has been demarcated with a line of stones to minimise the impact of pedestrians on fragile desert soils. The manager smiles indulgently when I make the inevitable joke about the lodge having a light footprint.

The canvas peaks of the tent resemble a miniature mountain range, and we’re delighted to see that there’s a private outdoor deck for our anniversary dinner.

Its muted colour scheme continues inside our tent, with floor-to-ceiling netting panels giving unrestricted views to a range of low hills. Certain details are picked out in blue, suggesting the seasonal rivers that suddenly transform this landscape when it rains.

Nothing could have prepared us for these views, and it’s just as well we’re open to surprises as the manager tells us that there are seal colonies and shipwrecks just a few hours’ drive away. It feels as though we’ve landed on the moon, only to be invited to the beach.

What sets it apart

Hoanib Skeleton Coast’s remote location is perhaps its most defining feature. There’s an undeniable wild beauty here, and it’s also strategically sited for visiting some of the most iconic parts of the Kunene region and the Skeleton Coast.While the lodge’s name might seem forbidding, this is a region that’s bursting with life – if you know where to look. The harsh, endless vistas of stark plains, ancient valleys, rugged peaks and desolate coastline belie the fact that many species (both large and small) have adapted to living in a place where the Atlantic Ocean fogs are the most reliable source of moisture.The Hoanib river valley lies within the territories of the increasingly rare desert lion, the so-called ‘vanishing kings’ that are still occasionally seen or heard. Other creatures such as black rhino and elephant are more commonly spotted and seem able to thrive in this unforgiving region.

Hoanib Skeleton Coast’s remote location is perhaps its most defining feature. There’s an undeniable wild beauty here, and it’s also strategically sited for visiting some of the most iconic parts of the Kunene region and the Skeleton Coast.

While the lodge’s name might seem forbidding, this is a region that’s bursting with life – if you know where to look. The harsh, endless vistas of stark plains, ancient valleys, rugged peaks and desolate coastline belie the fact that many species (both large and small) have adapted to living in a place where the Atlantic Ocean fogs are the most reliable source of moisture.

The Hoanib river valley lies within the territories of the increasingly rare desert lion, the so-called ‘vanishing kings’ that are still occasionally seen or heard. Other creatures such as black rhino and elephant are more commonly spotted and seem able to thrive in this unforgiving region.

At a glance

  • Scenic safari lodge at the confluence of two tributaries of the dry Hoanib River, with eight guest tents (including one family unit with an additional bedroom for two children). Swimming pool at the main area.
  • Private concession, remote location and individual dining available.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, stargazing, waterhole, swimming, Mudorib Springs day trip, north and eastern Hoanib day trip and coastal day trip (included for guests staying at least three nights).
  • Children welcome from age six, and one family unit available. Children aged 6–16 must share with an adult, and where a family includes children aged 6–12, private activities must be booked (additional cost).

  • Scenic safari lodge at the confluence of two tributaries of the dry Hoanib River, with eight guest tents (including one family unit with an additional bedroom for two children). Swimming pool at the main area.
  • Private concession, remote location and individual dining available.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, stargazing, waterhole, swimming, Mudorib Springs day trip, north and eastern Hoanib day trip and coastal day trip (included for guests staying at least three nights).
  • Children welcome from age six, and one family unit available. Children aged 6–16 must share with an adult, and where a family includes children aged 6–12, private activities must be booked (additional cost).

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

While Namibia’s Skeleton Coast has a unique climate, driven by cold marine currents that cause cooler and more humid conditions year round, the inland parts of Damaraland have a more typical desert climate. This makes the southern hemisphere winter the ideal season to visit, as you’ll benefit from cooler and drier conditions. The limpid light at each end of the day is a delight, while precious water becomes ever scarcer as the country waits for rain. Waterholes increase in importance now, making game-viewing potentially a very concentrated experience.

The unique sub-climate of Namibia’s Atlantic seaboard make it more of a year-round destination than Damaraland, which becomes significantly hotter during the southern hemisphere summer. It’s certainly a time of year with fewer visitors, but that has its own advantages – enjoy discounted stays and even more seclusion at some of Namibia’s best lodges. Careful planning of daily activities and regular dips in the pool will help you beat the heat, and a combined itinerary will add the coolness of the Skeleton Coast to the Damaraland heat.

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