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Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is probably the world’s most austerely dramatic meeting of sea and land. The cold Atlantic crashes unrelentingly on the sand dunes of Namibia’s oceanic desert, highly adapted animals roam the undulating sands, Cape fur seals gather in vast numbers, and at the new Shipwreck Lodge—named for the hulks of countless ships that have perished on the unforgiving coast—we are front and centre in this great natural theatre.
Shipwreck Lodge’s uniquely designed cabins recall the shipwrecks that line the coast, though their bright, solar-powered modernity and luxury would have tempted marooned sailors to settle in for good after their dunking. Invigorating remoteness and solitude, wildlife excursions, a view-rich main lodge, and a top-notch restaurant, all in a glorious setting, provide an amazing, indeed unique experience.
The Lodge’s 10 cabins—8 twin or doubles, and two cabins with room for extra beds—line the beach, looking out at the Atlantic. To say they’re unique is something of an understatement. Beautifully and simply decorated, they distill the true meaning of luxury, which in the end, is simple and heart-lifting enchantment.
In the camp’s centre, the main, equally innovative lounge and restaurant offers grand views of the dunes and the sea, and its wrap-around deck gives us a place to contemplate a majestic and deliciously lonely natural masterpiece.
Besides soaking up Shipwreck Lodge’s inspiring solitude and grandeur, there’s much to do at and around the Lodge. We beachcomb to our heart’s content, take wildlife excursions inland in peaceful search of rare desert elephants, giraffes, lions, and baboons, and more common natural miracles: insects and plants that have adapted to this uncompromising sand- and seascape (largely by capturing the moisture of the cool fogs that drift in from the ocean). Marine life abounds: especially the Cape fur seals that congregate all along the coast, and birders will be on the lookout for Benguela long-billed larks and Rüppells korhaans, a rara avis indeed.