Unless you’re something of a road-less-travelled explorer, Namibia might not yet have made it to the top of your travel bucket list. This remote desert-flecked country on Africa’s south-eastern coastline has thus far appealed largely to intrepid types. Its isolated location and endless expanse of desert plains means water was something of a rare commodity, and therefore so were the tourists. Until now, that is. The team behind Natural Selection, an eco-conscious, luxury conservation travel company (Prince Harry took Megan Markle on holiday to their Botswana property, Meno A Kwena, for their third date) has recently set up camp on Namibia’s wild and largely untouched coastal region.
The Skeleton Coast is exactly as it sounds.
A ghostly, vast and desolate stretch of shoreline (16,000 kilometres to be exact) where, for thousands of years, wrecked ships have washed ashore, whale blubber has been scavenged by Cape griffon vultures and herds of onshore seals have unwittingly sat as potential meals for roaming hyenas. It’s easy to see then where Natural Selection derived the name and design for this exclusive retreat. Shipwreck Lodge consists of 10 cabins, each crafted in eerie honour of the splintered whale bones and the quiet ruins of ships that dot the shore. While the sustainably-made lodgings reflect the tragic history of their surrounds, the interiors and luxuries are in happy contrast. Rooms are comfortably solar powered, interiors are Scandi-style minimalist, and a modern wood-burning stove o sets the desert’s overnight chill. And water, thanks to new reverse-osmosis technologies, is now more than sufficient.
There’s a reason Natural Selection refers to their multiple African locations as “camps”, rather than hotels. Shipwreck Lodge’s windswept beauty and luxurious amenities are only part of its unparalleled experience. Guests convene in the lodge’s separate main lounge where guides offer opportunities to traverse rugged sand dunes, search for wild fauna and explore the distinctive landscape between coast and desert. Wildlife sightings are rare, given the harshness of the desert, but possible. Like all of their “camps”, Shipwreck Lodge centres on unique experiences. The design aesthetic, the high thread-counts, the warm re and the wines at sunset is simply icing on the cake.
THIS ARTICLE APPEARED ORIGINALLY IN THE OCTOBER EDITION OF ICON MAGAZINE.
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