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Recommended Camps and Lodges in Namibia
You have to visit this country to appreciate the powerful spell that it casts. One of my favorite countries in Africa, huge in size, stretching across west Africa to within kilometres of Victoria Falls, larger than France and Britain combined, with only a population of 1.5 million people. A country of stark contrasts straddled between two deserts, the Namib to its west and the Kalahari on its eastern border with Botswana.

The Namib Desert
Some of the amazing attractions are the Skeleton Coast, bizarre in scenery inhabited by desert lions, tens of thousands of Cape Fur Seals, oryx and jackals trotting on pure white beaches among shards of shipwreck debris. Desert elephant that can travel for days without water, roaring dunes and the exotic Himba tribe. To the north the deserts are bisected by the fast flow of the Kunene River, home to more Himba, oryx, springbok and some of the most startling scenery on earth.

In the south are the oldest and largest dunes on our planet, Sossusvlei, whose haunting colours and shadows are a kaleidoscope of change throughout the day. Etosha National Park a treasure chest of thousands of animals surviving in harsh conditions. There are ghost towns in the south and colorful tribes like the Hereros, San or Bushmen, Ovambos and Himba, where only the strong have survived the harsh punishment metered out by an unforgiving but evocative land.

Situated on the eastern edge of the dune

Oryx and desert dunes
sea of the Namib desert are dunes which reach 275 metres in height, they are not only gigantic, but are extremely beautiful. These dunes, the oldest in the world are tinted by iron oxide and minute fragments of garnets. Ensure that you enter this startling landscape before sunrise and then watch the colour and shadow show unfold for the remainder of the day.

Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp - Sossusvlei

There are now a number of excellent camps in and around the dunes of Sossusvlei but none as well sited and remote as this camp. The camp has been built near the top of a rocky mountain with a view that I find impossible to describe. The nine guest rooms are built out of brick, rock, timber and thatch, each with its own private plunge pool. The well appointed bathrooms offer wonderful views of the desert plain below.

Wilderness Lodge Vista Room and plunge pool

Activities centre on very early morning drives in well designed land rovers, timed to get to sun rise on the red ochre dunes, an incredible sight of pastel colours and black shadows, just this is guaranteed to chew up at least one roll of film. A sandy climb up ‘Big Daddy’ the world’s highest sand dune is well worth the effort. Insert: Sumited ‘Big Daddy’ Afternoon and evening activities take place on the private reserve of 21,000 hectares exploring the desert landscape and looking for springbok, oryx, ostrich, bat eared fox, aardwolf and hyena. Balloon Safaris over the Namib Desert is a must, however this needs to be booked in advance to ensure a place.

Little Kulala Camp – Sossusvlei
Is another favourite of mine in the area. Set on the edge of a dry river bed with magnificent dune scenery are eight thatched suites on decks that are slightly elevated above the desert sands. Each unit has its own private plunge pool and an internal staircase leading to the flat rooftop above the bathroom where your beds can be placed to enjoy the brilliance of the clear night skies that Namibia is renowned for.

Little Kulala Room Ballooning over the Namib

Activates are varied and numerous and include early morning guided game drives to the dunes, nature drives and walks on the private 21,000 hectare reserve and early morning ballooning.

Etosha National Park
Calcrete Waterhole
Etosha is Namibia’s premier wildlife park. It has great concentrations of animals especially in the dry winter months. This grand park conserves over 22,000 square kilometers of savannah country including the pan, its ghostly white lake dazzling with heat waves and mirages for most of the year. It is a huge warehouse of animals, with healthy numbers of elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, oryx, zebra, springbok, wildebeest, kudu and hartebeest. All set among a moonscape of calcrete stones.

Little Ongava Lodge – Etosha National Park
Etosha’s only drawback is that the accommodation offered within the Park is in large and impersonal rest camps. Ongava Lodge offers an excellent alternative and is situated on the private 66,000 hectare Ongava Game Reserve which shares a common border with Etosha. This small and personalised lodge offers the full Etosha experience while providing superb accommodation and service, as well as night drives and walks on the reserve. Mornings are usually spent animal watching within Etosha and afternoons at Ongava. Tracking rhino on foot is a highlight. This intimate little camp is built along a crest of a hill with wonderful views onto the plain below.

What a Room Space is not an issue

Accommodation consists of three spacious suites, each with their own plunge pool, en-suite bathroom, a bath and outdoor shower they have a magnificent view down to an active waterhole.

The Skeleton Coast
Seals on the Skeleton Coast
This wild, desolate and hauntingly beautiful Park earned its name from the numerous ships that ran aground on this desolate fog bound coast over the centuries. It has everything…soaring dunes that roar, vast pastel coloured plains, towering canyons and sculptured mountains, salt pans, sand waterfalls, enormous seal colonies and shipwrecks. Freshwater springs break through the barren sands to create rare oases in the desert that sustain pockets of wildlife like desert lion and elephant. What a sight to see a herd of oryx, standing on the beach with huge breakers crashing behind them.

Skeleton Coast Camp
One of the top five destinations in my life. On my first visit to this camp nearly two decades ago, I wondered to myself what we would do for 5 days in the desert. Little did I know what was waiting for us and how much there was to see. This little six roomed camp is one of the most isolated you could find on the planet, wedged around a dry river bed, the twelve guests that spend time here share an area of over 600,000 acres with each other and no one else. The luxury tented rooms all have en-suite bathrooms. Rival only to Chikwenya Camp for one of the best open air dinning rooms tucked in beneath an ancient leadwood tree.

Inside the tent Himba woman
There is also a wonderful Himba family living just outside the concession area. It is an amazing experience to see how this colourful race has clung to their traditions and dress unlike so many of the other tribes in Southern Africa. However even if the weren’t a single mammal in this region it would still be a big draw card for visitors due to its stunning dune, mountain and canyon scenery. There is so much to see in this concession that the safari vehicles normally leave after an early breakfast carrying a packed lunch and ample drinks often returning at dusk.

Serra Cafema Camp
Situated in the north of the Skeleton Coast, inland from the sea on the banks of the Kunene River, a bizarre sight, a fast flowing river bisecting a desert. I can never make my mind up which camp I prefer between this and the Skeleton Coast Camp. Only six tents accommodate guests with a spirit of adventure and love for true wild places. Each tent is raised of the ground on a wooden platform, all with en-suite facilities. Most overlook a window of the Kunene River, with a magnificent backdrop of the Angolan mountains reaching up from the northern bank of the river.

Himba woman at Serra Cafema Serra Cafema

Quad biking
The area is shared with a small group of Himba who add to the fascination of this region. The highlight of this camp is touring around on quad bikes, free and master of your destiny as you follow your desert guide from the lush oasis of the river into the rugged mountains and dune fields. Oryx, springbok and ostrich are often seen. For those that choose not to ride the quad bikes the area can be explored from open land rovers. A cruise up the river makes a welcome change from the desert sands.

Recommended camps and lodges in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls
>Illala Lodge
>The Victoria Falls Hotel

Matusdona National Park
>Matusadona Water Wilderness

Hwange National Park
>Makololo Camp
>Linkwasha Camp

Mana Pools National Park
>Chikwenya Camp