The Skeleton Coast Camp is the only lodge in the Skeleton Coast Wilderness area.
Skeleton Coast Camp: Our full report
STOP PRESS! Skeleton Coast Camp is now closed in its current location. It is due to reopen in a new location in 2013, under the new name of Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. Please call us for the latest news.
The high-quality Skeleton Coast Camp is run by Wilderness Safaris and stands on a small 'island' of sand in the dry bed of the Khumib River, on the northern coast of Namibia. There are no other camps for many miles – and none at all in this 'Wilderness area' of the Skeleton Coast National Park; this is an exceedingly remote area.
It's a very comfortable camp built to withstand the harst extremes of the environment – using large glass windows to its central lounge, bar and dining area to maximize the views. When the weather's good, there's an outside eating area under an old Leadwood tree.
The Skeleton Coast Camp has just six luxurious tents for guests, each built on its own wooden platform. Each is a large tents of traditional “Meru" style design, although with wooden doors and floors. Inside are twin or double beds – covered with down quilts which, were it not for the cold here at night – might seem quite opulent.
Each tend has an en-suite bathroom with a shower, a wash basin and toilet inside the tent. Because of the lack of fresh water in this area, and the fragility of its ecology, guests are always asked to keep water usage to a minimum. Complementary soap, shampoo and insect repellents is supplied in each tent, and each tent also has its own safe.
The Skeleton Coast Camp stands in its own private concession area, within a designated Wilderness area of the Skeleton Coast National Park; this is in one of the most extraordinary locations of any camp on the continent. It's an incrediably diverse area, with many vast, windswept plains; areas of sand dunes that 'roar' when you move on them; towering canyons made of soft clay; large silvery saltpans and of course the harsh coastline with its colonies of Cape fur seal colonies.
A few freshwater springs, and the early morning mist which rolls in off the Atlantic, sustain considerable wildlife – which is often uniquely adapted to this, one of the oldest deserts in the world. However – youhave to look for this, and visitng here entails oa lot of travel, mostly in 4WD vehicles that are closed to the elements. (All these have pop-top roofs and sliding windows to enjoy the usually-hot-and-dry days.).
Activities here include full-day nature drives or walks with a picnic lunch, and many things of the coast can only be reached on foot – like the specially-adapted Welwitschia mirabilis plants, and the lithops living rocks.
This area is not teeming with big game species, although there are good chances that during your 3- or 4-day visit here, you'll spot springbok, gemsbok, giraffe, elephants, seals and black-backed jackals – to name but a few. There are also a surprising number of birds around, including several of Namibia's desert endemics: Tractrac Chat, Rüppell's Korhaan and Gray's Lark.
Being one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world, the camp has been built in an eco-friendly manner, attempting to have a minimal impact on the environment. Its design blends in with its surroundings, and effective water, energy and waste management programmes are maintained, such as using water in calcamite tanks, biodegradable soaps and detergents, and solar energy provides light and hot water.
There are no fences around the Skeleton Coast Camp.
A permanent research camp has been set up as a base for research on lichens (a vital component of the coastal Namib Desert ecosystem), as well as desert-adapted giraffe and elephant.
Ideal length of stay: Flight come to/from the Skeleton Coast on Wednesdays and Saturdays only – unless you opt for a private charter, which would only make sense if you're booking the whole camp. Thus most visitors come for either: - 3 nights, starting on Wednesday and returning on Saturday; or for - 4 nights, starting on Saturday and leaving on Wednesday.
Directions: The flight time between Windhoek and the Skeleton Coast Camp is usually about 2 hours and 30 minutes; the airstrip is close to the camp.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Local soft drinks, beers, local spirits and house-wines are included, but premium brands, imported drinks and champagne are charged as extras.
Wildlife safaris: The Skeleton Coast lies firmly within the Namib Desert, and much of it is amazingly pristine. Three or four days here allows visitors the priviledge of exploring the varied, and often eddemic, wildlife to be found here – loking at how it has adapted to the various micro-environments to be found here.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia
Wellbeing:See more ideas for Wellbeing in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of 8 years are welcome at the Skeleton Coast Camp
Notes: Many activities here include long drives through the area, and so this camp will be fine for children who can amuse themselves – but will not suit restless children who need constant entertainment.
Power supply: Solar Power
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: In a serious medical emergency, you would normally need an emergency air transfer to a hospital in Windhoek.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: The camp is so remote that there is no formal security.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Because of the acute shortage of water in this area, there is no laundry service available here. If you're on a fly-in safari here, then your next camp will usually be able to turn around most of your laundry within 24 hours. (Ask us about this for your trip.)
Money: The Skeleton Coast Camp can't change any money for you.