Namibia’s austere landscape may not form the typical backdrop for a southern African safari, but the otherworldly terrain—bone-dry deserts, towering dunes, desolate Atlantic shores—is home to everything from big-ticket mammals to virtually unknown birds and reptiles. Add to this a fascinating combination of culture and adventure, and the country is fast becoming one of Africa’s hottest destinations.
Upping Namibia’s cachet is a spate of enticing lodges, led by Wilderness Safaris’ new Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. Opened in 2014, the eight-tent camp shares the 1.1 million–acre Palmwag Concession with little more than elephants, giraffes, lions, brown hyenas, and other desert-adapted animals. Equally isolated is Wilderness’s Serra Cafema Camp, a luxurious river lodge on Namibia’s northern boundary, where crocodile safaris and visits with the seminomadic Himba people are highlights.
Namibia’s roster of first-rate resorts grew last year with the opening of Nambwa Tented Lodge, which features 10 treetop tent suites overlooking the Kwando River and floodplains in the Zambezi region. Also last year, the new lodge operator Namibia Exclusive debuted its first camp, the nine-room Sorris Sorris Lodge among the giant boulders near the Brandberg Massif.
Namibia Exclusive plans three more openings this year, in locations such as the headwaters of the Hoanib River just outside Etosha National Park and the isolated forests of Khaudum National Park. On the banks of the Zambezi River, Chobe Water Villas also promises to make a splash this year when it opens with 16 stilted suites hovering above the Chobe River.