Wolwedans Dune Camp

Wolwedans Dune Camp: Our full report

Rooms
6 tents, 1 suite
Traveller's rating
Excellent (98%) From 42 reviews
Children
Best for 14+
Open
2 March to 30 November

Wolwedans Dune Camp sits on the edge of a 250m-high dune in the 2,100km2 NamibRand Nature Reserve, within the Namib Desert. Small and intimate, it was the first camp to be built in the Wolwedans Collection, and has evolved from a very rustic, simple camp to something that is today a bit more refined.

Built around 1999, Dune Camp was the first of the camps in the Wolwedans Collection, which now encompass the more upmarket
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, Wolwedans Private Camp and the luxurious Boulders Camp.

Dune Camp has just six tents built on individual wooden decks above the dunes. Although bigger and more modern than the originals, these still largely retain the old-style camp feel. In each tent, down quilts top the twin beds, or a large double, and solar-powered lamps sit on matching bedside tables. Canvas windows roll up to reveal spectacular desert views and allow cooling air to flow through the room. The front deck is large enough to create a roomy private sitting area during the day, with space for a 'star' bed to be made up for the night. Sleeping under the desert skies is an amazing and romantic experience and we recommend you request it if visiting Wolwedans during the summer months (September to April).

The spacious en-suite bathrooms, constructed of wood and canvas, are fitted out with a shower, flush toilet and his and hers basins. The deep velvety wood and desert dune colours are matched by those of the fabrics and fluffy towels in each bathroom, and the terracotta pots planted with cactuses, whilst complimentary soaps and lotions add a touch of luxury.

The Dune Camp recently saw the addition of a private suite: two en suite double rooms, one on each side of a shared platform with a comfortable sitting room where tea is served each morning. On our most recent visit, in May 2016, we thought it would be perfect for families, or perhaps honeymooners looking for a slightly more private experience, especially when plans to add a private kitchen and to include a private chef, driver and vehicle with the suite come to fruition.

The main area at Wolwedans Dune Camp nestles into the side of the dune. There's a cosy lounge fitted with interesting antique-style furniture, a small bar and an open-plan kitchen where guests are invited to chat to the chef whilst she is preparing dinner. Meals are served around a long dining table set under candlelit chandeliers, creating a really intimate atmosphere. There is good attention to detail here – we stayed over Easter one year and were presented with chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies. Even the butter was moulded into a rabbit shape!

The extended deck is fitted with a campfire surrounded by canvas directors' chairs where you can enjoy pre- and post-dinner drinks whilst getting to know other guests.

Activities at Wolwedans Dune Camp focus on every aspect of the surrounding landscape, part of the oldest desert in the world. As well as morning and afternoon nature drives, there are full-day safaris, including a picnic lunch, which take visitors deep into the heart of the NamibRand Reserve. The guides here are very informative and will really bring the seemingly arid, if beautiful, landscape to life. For an extra cost, the camp can book scenic flights, hot-air ballooning, massages and horseriding.

Our view

Wolwedans Dune Camp has long been a favourite of the Expert Africa team. Though the tents are bigger and smarter than when we first started visiting, the camp itself remains small and intimate and the spectacular scenery seemingly unchanged. In our opinion, Dune Camp's small size, stunning location nestled in the dunes and excellent guiding, coupled with the attentive but not overbearing care given by the staff, make it a very special spot from which to explore this vast reserve.

Geographics

Location: Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: Expert Africa recommends two nights here to make the most of the activities on offer and enjoy the stunning desert scenery. The camp also requests that guests stay for a minimum of two nights.

Directions: Wolwedans sits within the NamibRand Reserve, about 400km south-west of Windhoek. Upon arrival at the reserve, follow the signs from the gate for about 20km to the Wolwedans farmhouse/reception, where you will meet your guide for your short transfer to the camp. Those arriving by air will be met at the airstrip, and driven to camp.

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Stephan Bruckner

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: On our visits over the years, the food at Wolwedans Dune Camp has been both delicious and of very high quality, a standard that was fully maintained on our last stay in May 2016. The camp is very willing to cater for special dietary requirements and, as the kitchen is open plan, guests can watch the chef preparing the meals.

A substantial breakfast is served before heading out on the day's activities. Guests are invited to choose as many items as they would like from the menu. The selection usually includes cereal, fruit salad, yoghurt, bread rolls and toast, cold meats, cheese, pancakes, oats or porridge, as well as a hot cooked breakfast. To drink, you’ll usually be offered fruit juices and hot chocolate, along with coffee and tea.

Lunch is often eaten out on activities at one of several picnic spots in the reserve. Back in camp, we enjoyed a three-course set menu of tuna spring rolls followed by an oryx salad, with apple strudel to finish.

Dinner here is prepared in full view of the guests and each evening the menu is read out by the staff, first in their native language, then in English – and they may even include a song. We tucked into fish puffs followed by butternut squash soup. Our main course was eland steak with homemade potato wedges and green beans, and this was rounded off by a delectable tiramisu.

Dining style: Mixture of group dining and individual tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: House wines, soft drinks, local beers and spirits are included at Wolwedans Dune Camp. Premium brand or imported drinks, spirits, wines and champagne are not included.

Further dining info: No

Children

Attitude towards children: Although children above the age of six years are accepted, the camp doesn't encourage stays for children under the age of about 12 years. This may change with the introduction of the suite.

Property’s age restrictions: At present, Dune Camp has a minimum age limit of six years old, a restriction that is waived if a family or group of friends with children books out the entire camp. This may change with the introduction of the suite.

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: The camp is unfenced and wildlife does occasionally wander through. Children must be supervised by their parents at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: There are no plugs in the tents but electronic devices may be charged at the charging point in the main area. Adapters may be available but it is advisable to bring your own.

Communications: There is no internet, telephone or cellphone reception at Wolwedans Dune Camp. There is a telephone and WiFi at the main reception building.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: The showers are plumbed in, and Dune Camp has flush toilets.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care: The closest doctor is in the town of Mariental. In an emergency, an aircraft will be sent to the camp, landing at the private Wolwedans airstrip, to airlift the patient to Windhoek.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: Wolwedans is largely protected by its remote location, but a team of staff members sleeps on site at night and an air horn is provided in each tent to raise the alarm in case of an emergency.

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are strategically placed around the camp.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available at an extra charge.

Money: The lodge does not offer a currency exchange facility. A safe is provided in each tent for storing valuables.

Accepted payment on location: Cash (Namibian dollars and South African rand), as well as Visa and MasterCard are accepted at Wolwedans. Any payments are taken in the main reception area, not at the camp.