Camp Kipwe is built among Damaraland's boulders.
Camp Kipwe: Our full report
Camp Kipwe is set within the Twyfelfontein Conservancy in Damaraland, about 550km from Namibia's capital city Windhoek. Formerly known as 'Francolino Fly Inn', it was extended, fully refurbished and reopened under this name in 2009. It's the sister camp of the nearby Mowani Mountain Camp, and of Onguma Camp in Etosha − all run by the Visions of Africa Safari Company'.
There are nine innovative igloo-shaped bungalows at Camp Kipwe, built among the boulders. Constructed of stone, they are designed to keep temperatures level to cope with the extremes of Namibia's climate. There is also a honeymoon suite located a short distance away from the rest of the camp for extra privacy. One room also has an area at the back where a domed tent is pitched between two boulders, which can be used to sleep up to two children. Each bungalow has its own shaded veranda with deck chairs, although not all of these are completely private.
The interior of the bedrooms is simple yet comfortable with neutral tones interspersed with the occasional brightly coloured cushion or throw. The lamps and small tables are made from tree trunks, in keeping with the natural look of the camp. The rooms all have safes, fans, hairdryers, mosquito repellent, and an air horn in case of emergency.
The en-suite bathrooms are open to the stars, cleverly designed around large boulders. So, you may find your shower between two rocks, with the toilet around the back of a large boulder. Although the bathrooms are lit at night, it is easier to use the shower in the daylight.
Camp Kipwe's main area was sadly burnt down in a fire in May 2012, forcing the camp to close. However, just two months later, after extensive renovations and brand new furnishings, the camp reopened with a newly-rebuilt central area, and looking even better than before! Facilities include a large open-fronted dining room with a balcony, where breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are served at fixed times. Adjacent is a comfortable lounge area filled with sofas, some of which are on a separate balcony. There is a small indoor dining area that can be used in winter, and from which guests can see into the kitchen and watch the food being prepared in front of them. There is also a small curio shop.
Tucked away between two rocks is a sparkling plunge pool with some shaded sunloungers. This is a secluded spot, and is also frequented by various brightly coloured lizards.
Behind Camp Kipwe, a small path leads up through the rocks to a viewpoint on top of one of the boulders. Sundowner drinks are brought up here, allowing guests to admire the sunset without walking up and down the path; while it's not a difficult climb, it's uneven and could be tiring if attempted quickly.
Like its sister camp, Mowani, Camp Kipwe is well placed for exploring the attractions of Damaraland by yourself. Alternatively, the camp offers a variety of activities – though note that some of these can only be added when booking on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis. Morning elephant nature drives last 3–6 hours and you'll explore the surrounding area with a guide, in search of Namibia's remaining 600-or-so desert-dwelling elephant. Similarly, in the afternoon, there are 2.5hr excursions to the rock engravings at the World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein, costing about N$290 per person, also including drinks. The drive also takes in the Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes.
Guided nature walks around Camp Kipwe are included in the B&B rates, provided that a guide is available, with the durations of the walks depending on you.
Our viewCamp Kipwe is a relaxed, good-value and attractive lodge set among the beautiful boulders of Damaraland. It offers interesting excursions to Twyfelfontein's remarkable cultural sights, as well as adventurous trips to spot Namibia's roaming giants, the desert adapted elephant.
Ideal length of stay: 2 nights
Directions: Camp Kipwe in situated in the Twyfelfontein area along the D2612, opposite the entrance to Mowani Mountain Camp; the closest towns are Uis (130km to the south) and Khorixas (130km to the east), and Windhoek is about 550km (5.5 hours’ drive) away. The nearest airstrip is at Twyfelfontein, approximately 15km from Camp Kipwe.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Camp Kipwe is owned by the 'Visions of Africa Safari Company', Namibia.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: Camp Kipwe has fixed mealtimes, although these vary slightly according to the season. Breakfast is served at 7.00am (or at 6:30 in winter), with lunch at 1.00pm (or at 12:30 in winter: April–September). Afternoon tea is served at 4.30pm (4.00pm winter) and dinner at 8.00pm (7.00pm in winter). On our last visit in June 2014, we tucked into roasted kudu with spinach for a starter, grilled kebab with herby potatoes for a main, followed by banana baked in Amarula for dessert.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15
Drinks included: No drinks are included at Camp Kipwe.
Further dining info: Available in the honeymoon suite.
Wildlife safaris: The desert-adapted elephant, found only in the north-west of Namibia, can be spotted on game drives from Camp Kipwe, although sometimes the distances can be quite long.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Children are accepted at Camp Kipwe.
Property’s age restrictions: Camp Kipwe has no age restrictions.
Special activities & services: Special meals for children are available on request.
Equipment: A cot is available for babies.
Generally recommended for children: Yes, children should especially enjoying stay in the room with the tent outside, particularly if there are two travelling together.
Notes: Children younger than 3 may stay at Camp Kipwe free of charge, and those aged 3–12 may share a room with their parents on additional camp beds. Children older than 12 will be accommodated in a separate room, and charged at full price. Parents are advised to watch their children closely at all times.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: There is a backup generator if the mains power fails.
Communications: Cellphone reception is available, and the lodge also has a central phone that guests can use.
TV & radio: There are no TVs or radios in the camp.
Water supply: Borehole
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Khorixas and in an emergency patients will be flown to Windhoek.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: There are guards on site during the day and night.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located in all rooms.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: There is no laundry service available at Camp Kipwe.
Accepted payment on location: Camp Kipwe accept cash payments in Namibian dollars and South African rand, as well as credit payments by Visa and MasterCard. Personal cheques and travellers’ cheques will not be accepted.