The Skeleton Coast is one of the earth’s most amazing places, sandwiched between a tumultuous ocean and the world’s oldest desert. It gets its name from the hopes and dreams which lie dashed upon these shores in the form of the broken shapes of 1000’s of seafaring vessels which met their end here.
You’ll find Skeleton Coast Shipwreck Lodge in the heart of this awe-inspiring desolation, about 45km from Mowe and 2km from the shore, close to the mouth of the Hoarusib River. The lodge is perfectly placed to explore the rugged splendour of this wild space, showing off views that highlight the immensity of this sand and ocean environment. To stay here is to immerse yourself in the raw power of Africa while enjoying the intricate beauty of tiny desert species.
The 10 rooms blend dramatically yet somehow seamlessly with their surroundings, appearing to lie lopsided in the sand like so many of the shipwrecks dotted around these parts.
Venture inside Shipwreck Lodge and you’ll discover nautical touches against elegant wood-panelled interiors looking out through huge picture windows. Furnishings are modern and minimalist featuring double or twin beds with plush linens. Thick, soft blankets and a wood burning stove add warmth to the chilly winter nights. Electricity and hot water are courtesy of the desert’s greatest asset – the blazing sun. A tea and coffee station and an outdoor deck with chairs complete the picture. An extra bed or two can be added to accommodate children if you opt for a family stay rather than coupled isolation!
At meal times, you’ll wander down lamplit paths marked with driftwood to the ‘mother ship’ communal area with its restaurant, lounge and wide, wraparound deck.
Make the most of this opportunity to discover Africa at its rugged best. The dry river beds beg exploration. Start your journey with a delicious al fresco breakfast as the rising sun lights up the sands, followed by a trek to the top of the highest dunes, where you’ll witness mind-boggling sights of the Namib dune sea extending out to the waves of the Atlantic.
Go in search of the stories behind the wrecks, now half-buried far inland on guided tours. Along the way there’s a chance to see toktokkies scurrying across the sand at top speed, admire interesting lichens and marvel at the ability of these living things to survive in this tough environment. Finish off your day with a walk along the beach and sundowners as you watch the sun sizzle into the sea. Off road 4×4 excursions provide a chance to see the Clay Castles, the Hoanib River Delta and the seals at Mowe Bay.
You may get to see where desert elephants have gouged up the sand in search of water, or spot a giraffe, lion, gemsbok, jackal or hyena in the distance. Rüppell’s korhaans and Benguela long-billed larks could come into view as you peer through your binoculars, perhaps a whale will raise its head as you gaze spellbound over the waters. There’s no telling what’s in store when you visit this unpredictable, vast and magical destination.