Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Namibia: Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Other Posts: Trip Overview, Little Kulala Lodge, Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, Sesriem Canyon And Scenic Flight, Swakopmund Sandboarding, Walvis Bay Dune & Sea Tour, Doro Nawas Camp, Damarland Sites, Damaraland Living Village Song

We were coming up to the portion of the trip we were most looking forward to: our stay at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. This Wilderness Safaris camp is one of the newest in Namibia and has created a lot of buzz because of the camp's style and location. It's been written up in Robb's Report, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications. While we were at camp a CNN crew was filming segments for Inside Africa. We'd be seeing the crew the rest of our trip.

There are a lot of positives to staying at this camp. First, if you stay for three nights, you get an excursion to the Skeleton Coast. This is a harsh area of Atlantic Ocean shoreline filled with shipwrecks and Cape Fur Seals. The journey to the coast takes along time and visitors pass through varied landscapes and ecosystems. If the weather cooperates the trip includes a scenic flight back to camp. The camp is the place to learn about desert lion conservation. It's estimated only 70-80 lions of the sub-species remain and at Hoanib you may have a chance to see a few of them. The camp is near a dry river where you do most of your game viewings and offers great vantage points for unique photos. About a month after we left the river actually flowed due to heavy rains in Angola.

The eight guest tents weren't the traditional army-fatigue green. They were beige rectangles covered with multi-peaked canvas roofs. Our tent had a comfortable bed, picture window pointed to a man-made watering hole, comfy chairs, private toilet area, dual vanity, and indoor shower (no outdoor shower). We had a patio with a couch, a basket chair, and a fridge that was filled with sodas, waters, and beers.

The camp staff was wonderful. Everyone was friendly and made sure we were well taken care of. Meals consisted of a choice of entrees. At lunch we had things wraps and pizzas. Dinner was the traditional offerings of chicken, fish, lamb, or game meats. The main camp area consisted of a dining room, bar, and large seating area with two separate sections, pool, and "movie theater" for watching the documentary The Vanishing Kings. The film was shot in the area and the camp helped to play a role in the film. Little did we know the night we saw the film that we'd be seeing the movie's stars the next day.

Desert lion research vehicle

Our first game drive was uneventful. Our guide, Papa G, took us and our jeepmates (a newlywed couple from NY) along the riverbed in search of elephant, giraffe, lion, and other fun animals. Unfortunately they were shy that night and the most exciting animal we saw (from afar) was a jackal. We did get some pretty pictures of a springbok.

One night we enjoyed a campfire and played a game of "find the scorpions" with a black light.

More fun can by had by watching the watering hole. One afternoon we watched an elephant spend some time at the pool and another morning we watched a giraffe. Both were fascinating to watch with the elephant splashing himself and the giraffe cautiously shuffling down for a drink.

On our final morning in camp PapaG took us on a short nature walk. It felt good to walk more than 5 minutes at a time. We got a great perspective of the area from the top of the hill/mountain near the riverbank.

In upcoming posts we will have photos from our day-trip to Skeleton Coast and many other images from our SUCCESSFUL game drives at Hoanib.

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