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Sneak Peek: Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Jennifer Ashton Ryan

Wilderness Safaris’ new Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp accesses a remote oasis within a vast Namibian desert.

Why Go: By historical accounts, the Skeleton Coast does not sound like any place you would want to go. The vast coastal desert sees no more than about 4 inches of rain annually, and its unforgiving surf is responsible for centuries of shipwrecks (hence the coastline’s macabre name). But the ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris is expanding to the region, opening its eleventh camp in Namibia. The new fly-in-only Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp accesses a remote oasis within the otherworldly Kaokoveld Desert.

What to Expect: That any life can survive here, let alone several-ton desert elephants, is baffling. The eight-tent camp (from about $550 per adult, all inclusive) sets up overlooking the bed of the Hoanib River and a waterhole supporting desert-adapted wildlife including elephants, giraffes, zebras, brown hyenas, oryx, and springbok. Guests staying at least three nights at the camp receive a complimentary scenic flight over shifting sand dunes and rocky mountains to Mowe Bay, where a huge colony of Cape fur seals basks and shipwreck debris remains. Evening presentations about the desert-adapted lion and the local Palmwag Concession are held back at the all-solar-powered camp, where guests can relax after game drives in the lounge, bar area, dining room, or library, or outside by the fire pit or swimming pool. 

How to Get There: The only way in is by light aircraft. Wilderness Air flies guests in from the Doro Nawas airstrip, which is the transportation hub of northwest Namibia. (+27.11.807.1800, www.wilderness-safaris.com; available through Journeys By Design, +44.1273.623.790, www.journeysbydesign.com)

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