The foggy coastline of Namibia has long been shrouded in folklore and maritime myth. Miles of tall, pristine dunes give way to the frigid waters of the southern Atlantic Ocean. The area in between is known as the Skeleton Coast, so named for the centuries of crashed sailing vessels and literal skeletons that litter its sands. It’s a place so inhospitable to sailors that the Portuguese once called it “The Gates of Hell.” Here, amid one of Africa’s most remote, hostile, and beautiful landscapes, travelers will find Natural Selection’s Shipwreck Lodge.
Every building at this one-of-a-kind hotel is designed to mirror the jagged, decaying wrecks that line the nearby shores. Each suite features porthole-style windows and an asymmetrical, raw wood exterior that, from afar, mimic a hundred-year-old ship partially buried in the sand. The architecture is striking, dramatic, and unlike any lodge in Africa.
Guests can choose from two room types, either twin/double rooms or two larger family tents. The interior design is awash in exposed wood, linen rope fixtures, and nautical-inspired accents. In-room amenities are as you might expect in a high-end eco-lodge. All feature wood-burning stoves, ensuite bathrooms, solar-powered electric systems, and private decks. No environmentally conscious detail was overlooked, right down to the use of all-wood nails in each cabin’s construction. At the center of the property lies a gourmet restaurant and a beautiful, rustic lounge. A wraparound deck encircles the entire common building, providing panoramic views of the Skeleton Coast dunes and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
However, it’s what’s outside the suites, beyond the lodge’s perimeter, that makes this an exceptional place. Twice daily game drives afford travelers the opportunity to track desert-dwelling lions and elephants. The variety of flora here is also unlike any on the continent with various lichens and succulents found nowhere else. The dunes provide the backdrop for day hikes to search for whale bones and the debris of centuries-old shipwrecks. At dusk, four-wheeler excursions guide guests through the sands of the Namib Desert to catch breathtaking sunset views and explore the ruins of Namibia’s famed Clay Castles, the Hoanib River Delta, and the Mowe Bay seal colony.
Nightly rates at Shipwreck Lodge start north of $750 per person. If it helps lessen the sting, that price includes all activities, meals, and drinks.
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