Wolwedans Boulders Camp...
Wolwedans Boulders Camp: Our full report
The latest addition to the collection of well-appointed camps in the private NamibRand Nature Reserve is Wolwedans Boulders Camp. This small, exclusive camp, situated 45km south of Wolwedans Dune Lodge, is reached by 4WD, a scenic transfer during which, on our last visit, we saw ostrich and several species of antelope. The lodge's isolated location makes it a very peaceful and tranquil place to stay.
Boulders shares the reserve with its three sister camps, which lie about 45km further south: Wolwedans Dune Camp, Wolwedans Private Camp and Wolwedans Dunes Lodge.
The four tented chalets at Wolwedans Boulders Camp are built on raised wooden decks with boulders rising up behind them, and seemingly impossible views across open grass plains to the mountains in the distance. Constructed of canvas stretched across simple wooden frames, they are simply but beautifully decorated, each with a large four-poster bed in the centre, elegantly draped with white mosquito netting, and flanked by a dressing table and smaller coffee table and chairs. Roll-up canvas blinds allow air to circulate freely, and open onto a veranda with a couple of loungers and benches – a perfect spot, as we found, to soak up the views. The tents, however, can get quite cold at night during the winter months, so the hot water bottles placed in the beds are a thoughtful added touch.
Each tent has a private bathroom which, although not en suite, is less than three metres away from the bedroom. These are fairly big with a shower, flush toilet, double basins and Moroccan lanterns. You can even roll up the bathroom window to admire the views while brushing your teeth or having a shower. Bathrobes, body lotion, shampoo and small guest soaps are provided too.
The main area at Wolwedans Boulders Camp consists of a dining tent and a lounge tent built on a vast wooden deck, with the kitchen set between them. The lounge interior is furnished with plush leather couches and a small library and is tastefully decorated in earthy colours with old German furniture, books and lanterns. In the dining tent, a communal table is set under a rustic lantern chandelier, although weather permitting, dinner may be served on the deck under the stars.
To one side of the main area, set in a semi-circle of boulders, is an open fireplace. On a cool evening in late June, this was a lovely spot to gather before dinner and exchange stories. Another section, designed as the sundowner spot, makes the most of the views over the NamibRand Reserve as each day wanes – well worth a visit on your first night if you're not out on a drive in the reserve.
During their stay at Wolwedans Boulders Camp, guests explore various aspects of the 2,100km2 reserve. Activities comprise two- to three-hour guided walks, usually in the morning, and 4WD scenic drives in the afternoon. The camp itself is also a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the surrounding vistas.
Although the NamibRand is not primarily a wildlife destination, the vast reserve is home to gemsbok, springbok, kudu, Hartmann's and Burchell's zebra, giraffe, klipspringer, steenbok and hartebeest. Visitors may also be lucky enough to catch sight of leopard, spotted and brown hyena, black-backed jackal, bat-eared and Cape fox, caracal or one of the cheetah that have been introduced here as part of a conservation programme. For the ornithologist, there are over a hundred species of birds to be spotted. On our most recent visit in June 2014, we were stunned when on a cool, very overcast afternoon we spotted no fewer than ten aardwolves and eight black-backed jackals on our afternoon nature drive. Even our guide was excited about these sightings, though he was quick to point out that we were perhaps luckier than most. Even without this, it was a very memorable drive and sunset, as the sun made a late appearance for spectacular sundowner drinks.
Visitors to Boulders Camp should note that it is not practical or possible to visit Sossusvlei, which is accessed from the Sesriem area, from this particularly remote camp deep in the south of the NamibRand Reserve. For those who want to make the most of Namibia's desert we recommend two nights at one of the lodges in the Sesriem area followed by two special nights at Wolwedans.
Our viewIn a remote and beautiful corner of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, the high-quality Wolwedans Boulders Camp feels quite open and in touch with the landscape – making it an exceedingly peaceful place to relax, whilst doing a little gentle exploring on foot and by 4WD. Let any game be a bonus; come here for the magical ambience and the luxury of privacy and space.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend at least two nights at Boulders Camp.
Directions: Wolwedans Boulders Camp is situated within the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Drive past the entrance to the Wolwedans farmhouse/reception on the C27 until you reach the D827. Keep right and continue for a further 13km. Turn right at the gate ‘Aandster’, and drive a further 9km to the Aandster farm. After checking in you will meet your guide then take a 4WD scenic transfer of about 15km to the camp.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Stephan Bruckner
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: As at all the camps in the Wolwedans Collection, food is a very big part of a stay at Boulders Camp. When we stayed here in June 2014, we found the meals to be generally very good with beautiful presentation.
The day starts with a gentle ‘Knock, knock, good morning!’ as one of the team delivers a flask of hot water so you can make a cup of tea or coffee at the coffee station in your tent.
A substantial breakfast is available before heading out on the day's activities. Guests are invited to select as many items as they would like from the menu. On our stay the choices included cereal, fruit salad, yoghurt, bread rolls and toast, cold meats, cheese, pancakes and oats or porridge, as well as a hot cooked breakfast. In addition to coffee and tea, there were fruit juices, hot chocolate and cappuccino.
Lunch is usually three courses, but despite that we found it was quite a refreshing, light meal. We started with a very tasty tomato and avocado salsa, followed by a Greek salad and rounded off with fresh fruit salad and berry compote.
Dinner is served at around 8.00pm, although this could be as late at 9.00pm in summer. We sat down to a four-course meal, which started off with a description of the menu in both English and the local Nama language, after which the team broke into some enthusiastic singing. We thought it was really fun! Our first course was a very simple appetizer of fried mushrooms on a slice of fresh tomato, followed by a delicious feta and smoked salmon spring roll. The main course was an exceedingly tender fillet of springbok served with a rich red wine sauce alongside basmati rice and carrots. A poached pear with a hint of cinnamon made for a simple, sweet ending to the meal. Sometimes the chef will do a barbecue.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are included at Wolwedans Boulders Camp with the exception of imported and premium-brand spirits, wines and champagnes. These can be ordered and paid for locally.
Further dining info: No
Photography holidays: The NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of Africa's largest private sanctuaries. The diverse landscapes, from huge red sand dunes to vegetated inter-dune valleys, gravel plains and imposing mountains makes for spectacular photographs.See more ideas for Photography holidays in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Wolwedans welcomes children over the age of six years old.
Property’s age restrictions: The minimum age limit is six years, but younger children can stay here provided the whole camp is booked exclusively for the family.
Special activities & services: None
Equipment: None, although the camp will put one extra bed in a tent for a child aged 6–12 years to share with his/her parents.
Generally recommended for children: Boulders has a particularly adult atmosphere and part of its appeal is the remoteness, peace and tranquillity. It would work best for families with older children who have an appreciation of these qualities and a love of the natural world. If you plan to travel with younger children, either the Mountain View Suite at Wolwedans Dunes Lodge or Wolwedans Private Camp might be better options.
Notes: There are no railings around the raised decks in camp. Children must always be under the supervision of their parents.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: There are no plug points in the tents. There is a small charging station in the main area, next to the kitchen. Adaptors were not available on our visit and we recommend that travellers bring their own.
Communications: Boulders Camp has radio communications with the operations office at the main reception, about 45km away. There is no cellphone reception here and there are no phones in the tents. In theory there is complimentary WiFi in the main area, although this cannot be relied upon and was not working when we visited in June 2014.
TV & radio: None
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: The showers in each tent are plumbed in and the camp has flushing toilets.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: The guides are first-aid trained, but the closest doctor is in the town of Mariental. In a medical emergency, guests would be evacuated by air to Windhoek.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: None
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main area and also by each tent.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: There are no laundry facilities at Boulders Camp.
Money: There is a safe in each tent. Boulders Camp does not offer any currency- exchange facilities.
Accepted payment on location: Wolwedans accepts cash (Namibian dollars or South African rands), and Visa and MasterCard. They do no accept American Express or travellers’ cheques.