CRASHING AT SHIPWRECK LODGE, NAMIBIA
Journey to Namibia to explore Shipwreck Lodge – a solitary accommodation in the Skeleton Coast National Park that pays tribute to the history of thousands of shipwrecks along this foggy, haunting coastline.
The Insider SA journeys to the northern stretches of Namibia where the Skeleton Coast National Park spans an impressive 500km from the mouth of the Ugab River all the way to the border of Angola. Here we find one of the most unique and remote getaways in the world, The Shipwreck Lodge, nestled in the ever-shifting dunes and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
This haunting, foggy coastline is famous for its shipwrecks that are estimated to be in the thousands. The rocky coast, forceful winds, and strong Benguela current have led many sailors to their death along its shores. Today, the Skeleton Coast is a nature reserve covering 16,845km2 and protects nearly a third of Namibia’s coastline.
To honour its history and landscape, Shipwreck Lodge comprises of shipwreck-shaped chalets where guests can experience a taste of life onboard on of these doomed vessels. Field Guide, Bravo Kasupi explains, “The moment you go in your room, it’s like you’re in the ship. In each chalet, you’ll find the name and history of the ship you’re in and what caused that ship to run aground.”
Managed by locals from the region, the lodge is run in partnership with local conservancies that work to preserve the natural landscape and vulnerable wildlife in the area. With a percentage of the profits shared with these organisations, the lodge not only sustains multiple households, but also provides much-needed funds towards the conservation efforts.
The appeal of Skeleton Coast lies in its isolation. Bravo explains, “We are in the middle of nowhere and far from the cities like Swakopmund, Windhoek, and Opuwo. Most people from the city want to come down here to relax and listen to nature. I love being here because I get to be alone and enjoy the stillness.”
To explore the vast, natural beauty around Shipwreck Lodge, guests can embark on an epic journey along the coastline and up into the Hoarusib River Bed. This full-day excursion uses specialised 4×4 vehicles that are adapted to driving through the soft, sandy landscape. Along for the ride are highly-experienced field guides who ensure the expedition is entertaining, educational and rich with dramatic visuals of this ancient landscape.
Field Guide, Rocky explains more about the unique desert climate, saying, “Thanks to the cold Benguela current, we have a good substance of rain on the coast so everything in this area will survive because of the fog. We have 100 days of fog per year at Skeleton Coast.” He adds, “The fog keeps this place very cool during the day, compared to inland where it’s very hot. Here, it’s nice and fresh.”
Because of the fog, the stark Namib desert surprisingly hosts a range of mammals, insects, and reptiles – all of which have adapted to the low rainfall each year and have become resilient and resourceful to survive. If you’re lucky on the nature drive, you can spot desert-adapted elephants, Brown hyenas, onyx, and Black-backed jackals.
The Skeleton Coast is also a place to admire some of the oldest geological wonders in the world. Rocky explains how the Hoarusib River Bed contains all three rock formations: granite, basalt and metamorphic rock. Here, you can also marvel at the towering clay castles – a unique natural phenomenon along the river bed.
Whether it’s the history, the peace, or the activities in the dunes, Shipwreck Lodge offers guests a unique stay in heart the of the Namib desert.