HOANIB SKELETON COAST – PALMWAG CONCESSION – KUNENE REGION – NORTH WEST NAMIBIA

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is a luxurious wilderness camp set in a remote area of the Kaokoveld with gravel-strewn plains and dry riverbeds that draw fascinating wildlife to the area. Fully solar powered, the camp is a joint venture with the neighbouring conservancies of Anabeb, Torra and Sesfontein and hosts researchers committed to conserving desert-adapted lion, brown hyaena and more.

The camp has just eight large ensuite tents (including one family tent) and the main area and pool look out over a wide, rugged valley that slopes down to the almost-always dry Hoanib River.

Game drives explore this isolated area moving along the riverbed’s narrow ribbon of vegetation where a surprising wealth of desert-adapted animals can be found. The Skeleton Coast – with its shipwreck remains and noisy colonies of Cape fur seals – is accessed either by a drive or flight depending on the weather. Other activities include guided nature walks and interaction with the wildlife researchers.

LOCATION

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is located in the private Palmwag Concession in the Kunene region of north west Namibia.

Access is by light aircraft flight to Skeleton Coast Airstrip which is around 20 minutes’ drive from camp.

CAMP

Eight large ensuite tents – including one family tent – and the main area and pool look out over rugged scenery: a wide valley that slopes down to the almost-always dry Hoanib River. The camp has a low-impact design sensitive to the fragile desert environment.

The stylish and well-insulated accommodation has free flow stretch canvas roofing and all the rooms are set on a floating cement foundation on stilts linked with sandy pathways on the ground.

The tents have ensuite facilities with separate toilet and is furnished with a writing desk and chair, easy chairs and ottoman, mosquito nets, luggage rack, electronic safe, hairdryer, Olympus equipment (includes a camera and a pair of binoculars) and tea and coffee making facilities. Outsie there is a private viewing deck with shaded outdoor lounge area with mini-bar. The tents are not airconditioned – however a pedestal fan is provided in all the tents. WIFI is available in the tents only.

Bathrobes, liquid soap, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, room spray, insect repellents, tissues dispenser, and laundry basket are supplied in each tent. Available on request: washing powder (for smalls), sewing kit, shower caps, cotton tip swabs and cotton balls.

The camp is 100% solar powered (solar panels and inverters provide electricity and hot water) with a generator for use in emergencies. Water is supplied from boreholes and is safe for consumption – purified drinking water will be provided in camp. There are 220V multi-plug adaptor charging facilities for mobile devices and additional charging facilities for the use of sleep apnoea machines

The main tent houses a lounge, dining and bar areas under canvas on a floating concrete foundation on stilts and there is a waterhole in front of the camp. Inside the main tent is a reading area with a selection of reference books, a curio cupboard and a research centre for talks and presentations and during the cooler winter months a gas heater is stationed in the main area. Outside there is a campfire and a swimming pool with sun loungers.

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ACTIVITIES AND WILDLIFE

The remote, northern reaches of the Palmwag Concession are in stark contrast to the south. Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is located in this part of the Concession, straddling the Palmwag area and Skeleton Coast National Park in one of the most remote areas of the Kaokoveld. A land of rugged scenery the area has a historic coastline, mountains, vast plains, and dry riverbeds inhabited by incredible desert-adapted plant and animal life.

Here the landscape is dominated by the form of the Hoanib River, a swathe of sand that meanders through rocky gorges and past arid sandy plains. The transient Hoanib River, more an underground aquifer than river, supports a ribbon of vegetation along its length, this presenting the only visible food source for the herds of desert-adapted species roaming free among these desert ramparts. The riverbed – an ephemeral linear oasis penetrating the depths of the desert – is lined with albida trees, the pods of which form the staple dry season diet of desert-adapted elephant, giraffe, gemsbok and springbok. Lions spend the heat of the day in salvadora and salsola thickets waiting for the cool of night. Cheetah and black-backed jackal roam the area as well.

Early morning fog generated by the icy Benguela Current in the Atlantic Ocean meeting the warm desert air of the Skeleton Coast drifts inland over the Namib Desert, providing precious water to the flora and fauna in this incredibly harsh environment. Adaptation to the desert environment is the miracle of all that survives here.

The area has fascinating desert-adapted vegetation such as welwitschia and lithops – the succulent ‘flowering stones’ – and the bizarre elephant’s foot found in rocky crevices. More than a hundred species of lichen are found on the gravel plains and hot west-facing mountain slopes, which change colour as they absorb moisture when the coastal fog presses inland.

The iconic oasis spring of Auses lies in the dune field to the west and is best seen from the air enroute to the gravel plains on the coast where Cape fur seal colonies dwell.

Birding enthusiasts are sure to enjoy the diverse avifauna of the Concession. Raptors include greater kestrel, Augur buzzard, lanner falcon and booted eagles. Out on drives, it is possible to see Namaqua sandgrouse, Burchell’s courser, the colourful bokmakierie, grey-backed sparrowlark, Monteiro’s hornbill and white-backed mousebird. Other regular endemics include Rüppell’s korhaan while Verreauxs’ eagle is sometimes sighted in flight. Towards the coast, tractrac chat and Gray’s lark can possibly be seen. The seal colonies often have jaegers and skuas in attendance with parasitic jaeger, pomarine jaeger and sub-Antarctic skua all possible in summer.

Nature drives – showcase the magnitude of the landscape and offer the best possibilities of seeing desert-adapted wildlife. Morning or afternoon drives are available as well as full-day excursions.

Guided nature walks – from camp are an exciting way to see desert-wildlife. As well as the possibility of spotting big game it is also a good opportunity to study the smaller creatures and the plant life of the concession.

Excursion to the Skeleton Coast – on a stay of three nights or more a full-day excursion to the Skeleton Coast is offered. This 4×4 trip to the coast takes you via the wilderness and wildlife of the Hoanib River and floodplain which include Klein Oases Spring and driving through a dune field – while the Skeleton Coast itself reveals a rocky coastline with its huge Cape fur seal colonies and shipwreck remains. Following a picnic lunch the return flight back to camp offers a magnificent perspective of your journey from the air.

Day excursions – operating within the concession area these trips leave camp early in the morning, include a picnic lunch, and return to camp in the mid to late afternoon. It includes Mudorib Springs, exploring remote areas in the south of our allocated exclusive concession area, with the red basalt landscapes of the Damaraland. Amongst other general game species you will have the chance of seeing Hartmann’s mountain zebra and the desert-adapted rhino. In the northern and eastern area of the Hoanib the valleys offer spectacular scenery. Subject to private vehicle availability, to guarantee this excursion a private vehicle needs to be booked and paid for.

Interaction with wildlife researchers – presentations and interaction with wildlife researchers are planned when researchers are in camp or nearby. These include all current research, in particular the good work being done by Dr Flip Stander and his team on the unique desert-adapted lion.

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GIVING BACK

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is a centre for research and conservation of the desert-adapted predators of this harsh region: the desert-adapted lion and brown hyaena. The camp is also part of a joint venture partnership with the neighbouring communities, so that ecotourism is able to benefit the people of the area.

Hoanib supports a unique population of desert-adapted lions in the surrounding harsh desert environment. The “desert” lion is a prominent feature in Namibia and is highly valued by the growing tourism industry. However, the conflict between lions and the local people is of continued concern and it is this that the project seeks to mitigate.

This camp is set in one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world, and therefore has been built with minimal impact on the environment. It is 100% solar powered, with each guest tent having its own small solar geyser for hot water. We have also ensured that the design of the tents and main area maximise natural lighting, air movement and insulation. In order to reduce our use of bottled water, reverse osmosis filtration is done on site to provide guests with high-quality drinking water. This camp is managed and monitored against very strict in-house environmental standards, so only approved eco-friendly detergents and chemicals are used. We make use of innovative eco-friendly systems to break down wastewater which can then be used by plant life.

Pack for a Purpose.

HOANIB SKELETON COAST CAMP IS OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND

THE CAMP WELCOMES FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN AGED 6 YEARS AND OLDER

FOR FAMILIES TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 6 AND 12 PRIVATE ACTIVITIES NEED TO BE BOOKED AND PAID FOR. THERE IS AN EXCEPTION FOR THE COASTAL EXCURSIONS AS THE RETURN FLIGHT CANNOT BE BOOKED ON A PRIVATE BASIS

THE MINIMUM AGE FOR WALKING ACTIVITIES IS 13 YEARS

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Call +44 1386 830264 or Email [email protected]

Our expert staff are on-hand, happy to assist with any enquiry you have.

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