Rising out of the rugged sand dunes off of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, these jagged wooden structures have been designed to echo the haunting beauty of its surroundings—and its perilous history. Opened earlier this summer, the 10-room property is perched above the sweeping sandy planes of Skeleton Coast National Park—a stretch of Atlantic coastline that, as the name suggests, is dotted with the bleached skeletons of whales, lions, and seals. There are also manmade skeletons here, as the foggy conditions and rocky shoreline have proven the downfall of dozens of ships. And while this doesn’t automatically make it the next must-hit safari destination, these inhospitable conditions are exactly what make this region so enchanting: There are no snap-happy tourists—just rough, untamed nature.
As the only luxury accommodation in the entire 6,300-square-mile concession, Shipwreck Lodge is in a prime position to let you explore what feels like the end of the earth. Though its exteriors, designed using sustainable materials and construction methods by Namibian architect Nina Maritz, are meant to resemble the skeletons of those ruined ships, inside is a plush reprieve from its raw environment. The freestanding solar-powered rooms are all outfitted in warming purples, blues, and grays and are stocked with faux-fur blankets to cuddle up in by the wood-burning stove. The main lodge and restaurant are similarly decorated, with original pieces by local artists lining the walls. Meanwhile, the floors feature plenty of cozy seats that beg guests to sit down and settle in for a night of story-swapping with a cocktail in hand.