Reviews of Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Glam in the Middle of Nowhere
The Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is the newest property (opened in 2014) of the three in which we stayed per our itinerary and, save for its lack of internet and mobile access, it is modern in every respect. Our suite had lots of power points and a well-designed bathroom with double sinks. We're not totally sold on the architect's decision to locate the suite's lovely sitting lounge and minibar outside its sleeping space: their external locations effectively meant that we were unable to enjoy the lounge after night fall (a lion attacked a baby giraffe amongst the camp's suites a few days before our stay), and grabbing a nightcap from the minibar required leaving our suite's cozy confines.
We luckily were assigned a suite closest to the camp's public spaces and, if mobility is an issue, we suggest making that specific location request. Walking to the farthermost suites could easily take close to ten minutes.
HSCC's signature activity is the day-long excursion to the Skeleton Coast, and we loved every moment of that adventure . . . the unbelievably bumpy ride to the Coast amidst eye-popping varied terrain; our vehicle's dune descent; the spectre and smells of the Coast's wildlife; and our short but visually-stunning return flight to the camp. Other activities we enjoyed at HSCC included traditional game drives (two lionesses with three cubs; cheetah with two cubs; two elephant families; giraffes; springboks; oryxes; and ostriches), and watching the "Lion Man" video (a must!!!) with fresh popcorn.
Like the other Wilderness camps we visited, the food and service at Hoanib were outstanding in every way. Its cookies and other baked goods are divine!!!
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp review
This is the other highlight in regards to setting, people, and management of lodge. Physical location provides access to the vast tough terrain and the skeleton coast. Although it appears to be devoid of life, it is actually chock full of it. The faster you go, the less you see, so thankfully, our guide Gerhansen, was a master in all facets of our drives: expert knowledge, expert off road driving skills, and expert birder. Additionally, his incredibly keen vision and listening skills enabled him to grasp the subtleties of his clientele. When at the lodge, the staff was always one step ahead in making our experience top shelf. We actually now have a new drink, the Oryx (Amarula and Kahlua), created by Robby to serve our friends. Charming singing and dancing (shaking!) wait and kitchen staff...where else can one go and have such a musical staff who have never heard of Bob Marley? Clement oversees the camp with a remarkable unique finesse. Finally, anyone who stays there and doesn't go to the skeleton coast is insane: the dunes, the fog, the coast are so staggeringly wild...beyond cool!Read more about the whole safari
Surprises on the Skeleton Coast
Dramatic location with huge rooms that look like Bedhouin tents from the outside but with all mod cons in sleeping and living "pods". High-octane camp manager Clement is totally on everything! You really do need three nights here. We spent several hours with two lionesses and three cubs at very close quarters and tracked a small herd of desert-adapted elephants (of all ages, including very small) along the river bed. Also saw a rare brown hyena. The trip to the coast, including lunch on Garnet Beach, is full of surprises which we won't spoil for future visitors. Just make sure you go on it! Special thanks to all the staff for making a birthday celebration extra special - everyone had to get up and dance! Food again average for vegetarians (vegetable curry the first night and vegetable biriyani the second doesn't show a great deal of imagination).Read more about the whole safari
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp - Unforgettable!
In short, the place took our breath away!
The Camp is beautifully situated and maintained to a very high standard. With just 8 tents, the Camp felt not too big and not too small, in other words, it felt just right!
The staff was outstanding, our guide, Elias, in particular, and we, of course, spent the most time with him. When a place operates so well, virtually every member of staff contributes to its success, and unfortunately many of them we never meet. But those whom we did meet and were clearly in part responsible (please forgive any misspellings): Clement, Brigit, Kenny, Stanley, and Beauty. We listed others on our feedback from at the Camp.
The main tent was beautiful and fitting as was our tent. Our tent was very spacious and everything was well maintained.
Our activities will never be forgotten. We spent a lot of time driving through the river bed, and the scenery was stunning. And our drive to the Coast was unforgettable as was the flight back. We were very luck, too, it seems, in that we saw so much wildlife, including two lions and an elephant.
Once again, our guide, Elias, was outstanding. He has an easy way with people and is very knowledgeable about the place and the animals, so we learned a lot!
I would recommend Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp to anyone and without any hesitation. We've travelled a lot, and we have stayed in many of the world's "best" hotels, and the Camp ranks right up there!
Out of this world experience
Really an amazing location to stay and visit. Great rooms and communal areas, combined with friendly staff and opportunity to see animals in a very different desert setting.
The trip to the coast is particularly impressive
Hoanib camp review
Hoanib is an amazing place.The location, the camp and the staff and animals all contribute to the best experience we have ever had.
The modern camp makes for a luxurious experience and all the staff are welcoming and efficient as well as great fun. Our guide , Francois was superb and made every day special even getting stuck in the sand !! The ability to see the elephants,lion,giraffe and cheetah living in the desert was an outstanding experience, We had an amazing day at the ocean with seals , flamingos and shipwrecks and flew back to the camp.
Researchers staying at the camp gave interesting talks in the evening - a bonus.
Unique location in spectacular setting
Very stylish camp with luxury reception area and large and very comfortable tent/bedroom with a great deck with armchairs and a fridge. The food was imaginative and graciously presented. The day trip to the coast was through the most amazing scenery of huge variety, who can fail to be impressed by the roaring dune! Then the super picnic all laid out on the beach ready for us! And a spectacular flight back. Next day lions 3 of the five musketeers really close up.all a fantastic location.
The only thing that is a problem here we thought, is the vehicles they are using for the trips, the views were rather restricted when sitting anywhere but in the front seat, there was a lifting roof but this could only really be used when stationery, and though they had put a window in the front above the windscreen. To be fair they are clearly aware of the shortcomings of their vehicles, and say the need it to be closed in because of the cold, but they could provide a fleecy blanket, and use vehicles similar to other places
Amazing place, amazing experience.
If you stay at one place in Namibia, it has to be this place.Read more about the whole safari
a new camp, needs work
I think the problems with this camp is management.
No attention to details, poor maintenance of equipment. Can be simply dangerous.
Expert Africa comments
We were very pleased that these travellers enjoyed their stay at Hoanib Camp overall.
With regards to a couple of issues, these travellers explained to us that whilst on an excursion with Hoanib Camp they noted the vehicle had a slow puncture, which they mentioned to their guide. However, the following day it appeared that the tyre had not been changed and consequently went flat after a few hours. The vehicle had no spare, and the jack didn’t work. A second vehicle was able to supply a spare tyre, and after some work the tyre was changed. The guests were concerned that these issues could lead to a dangerous situation given how far from camp the excursions travel in this remote area.
These travellers also did not feel that the camp manager ran the camp well. They felt that he didn’t maintain the maintenance on vehicles well. They also felt that the service was slow getting warm meals from the kitchen and commented that the camp appeared understaffed.
Expert Africa brought this to Hoanib Camps attention. They apologised for the issue with the slow puncture and agree that the tyre with the slow puncture should have been changed once it was noticed, and also say that the vehicle should have had two spare tyres. The camp pointed out that this was the first time they’d had any issues with their vehicles, which are relatively new and well maintained. They advised us that the camp team had a meeting regarding this isolated incident, to ensure that it doesn’t occur again.
They assured us that every vehicle would have two spare tyres, and that the jack was replaced and all jacks would be regularly checked. They also advised that each vehicle is fitted with a radio to remain in touch with the camp in case of emergencies. For longer excursions the guide will take a satellite phone for when he is out of radio range.
Hoanib was sorry to receive these guests’ comments regarding the camp manager and staff. They tell us that he has been a manager with Wilderness Safaris for many years, and has always received glowing feedback. However, the camp team has been advised of the feedback in order that it may assist them in their constant aim to offer great service.
This was a stunning experience
As suggested by friends who had been previously and by Expert Africa, going to the Skeleton Coast was a brilliant experience and the camp itself is very in tune with the location, comfortable - if not luxurious and the staff very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. We particularly liked the fact that the modern design and decor, as the standard decor for most lodges tends towards what could be described as Bulawayo Safari Club, circa 1927.
The camp staff and the guides were very good, and one (Gert we think) was outstanding. Once again they appeared to work well as a team and we were again impressed by the competence and confidence of young staff members. Our guide, Gert, drove a party of us down to the coast, to the seal colonies, the Park Ranger station and so, and then we got on a plane and flew back to the Skeleton Coast camp whilst Gert drove the four hours back - he then took us out for a walk in the camp vicinity, looking at what were probably strand loper/San encampments. It would be good if the camp developed more visits to nearby archeological sites as it shows how people managed to live in the desert for centuries.
Overall our experience here was really very good, with a surprisingly high level of good game sightings, including a large pride of adult female and young male lions on the plateau near the camp.