Wolwedans Dune Camp is located in the middle of the Namibian desert...
Wolwedans Dune Camp: Our full report
Wolwedans Dune Camp sits on the edge of a 250m-high dune on the 2,100 km2 NamibRand Nature Reserve, within the Namib Desert. The first camp to be built in the Wolwedans collection, opened in around 1999, it has evolved from a very rustic, simple camp to one that is a bit more refined today. Still small and retaining its intimate atmosphere, Dune Camp remains a favourite of many who visit the reserve.
Dune Camp has just six tents built on individual wooden decks above the dunes. These have recently been enlarged and modernised while largely retaining the original old-style camp feel. Each is furnished with twin beds or a large double, with down quilts and matching bedside tables with solar-powered lamps. 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 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 he 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. The butter was even 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 the 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 and hot-air ballooning.
Our viewWolwedans 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.
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: Upon arrival at the NamibRand Reserve, follow the signs to the Wolwedans farmhouse/reception, about 20km from the main gate. After checking in 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
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, so we were disappointed not to be here over a mealtime when we popped in on our last trip in June 2014. 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. Fruit juices and hot chocolate are normally also an option, in addition to coffee and tea.
Lunch is usually a crisp salad or light cooked meal. On one of our visits we ate crumbed chicken breast with an olive salad followed by a light lemon mousse.
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. On past stays we've tucked into bruschetta followed by filo-pastry quiche, kudu steak with a red-wine sauce and then orange sorbet for dessert.
Dining style: Group Meals
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
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.
Property’s age restrictions: Dune Camp has a minimum age limit of six years old. This is waived if a family or group of friends with children books out the entire camp.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: There is no pool and there are no facilities for children. Dune Camp is most likely to suit older children with a keen interest in nature. We think that families with younger children may prefer the Mountain View Suite at Wolwedans Dunes Lodge or the Private Camp.
Notes: The camp is unfenced and wildlife does occasionally wander through. Children must be supervised by their parents at all times.
Power supply: Solar Power
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. For any emergencies, an aircraft will be sent to the camp, landing at the private Wolwedans airstrip.
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.
Disabled access: Not Possible
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 rands), as well as Visa and MasterCard are accepted at Wolwedans.