Kunene Camp is perched on the rocky hillside above the Kunene River, looking down onto the water and across to the huge rocky mountains of Angola.
On the misty Atlantic coast of Namibia, you’ll find a graveyard of ships’ hulks and bleached whalebones strewn in the shallow waters and golden sand dunes where the desert meets the ocean. Skeleton Coast National Park protects and preserves this unique stretch of wilderness and Shipwreck Lodge is the only property in the park. The innovative design of the lodge echoes the ghostly remains of the derelict ships — pale wooden frames jut from the sands at striking angles.
Inside, however, the rooms are spacious and modern, with generous windows to allow you to drink in the views of this pristine swathe of wilderness. The rooms are solar powered, though there are wood burning stoves to stave off the Atlantic morning chill. The central area of the lodge also mimics the remains of a long-wrecked boat, but the interior boasts a wealth of comfortable seating and images illustrating the coast’s deadly history. Wide windows and a wrap-around deck allow guests to admire uninterrupted views of the rippled dunes and crashing waves beyond.
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There are ten rooms at Shipwreck Lodge, two of which are family rooms. Each room is designed to mimic the remnants of the broken ships that give the coast its name. Constructed out of wood and glass, the solar-powered rooms are well spaced along the beach and appear striking, even harsh, from the outside. But once you're inside, they are modern and spacious with en suite bathrooms and a wood-burning stove.
The Skeleton Coast National Park stretches along the Atlantic coast of Namibia and is so-named for the numerous shipwrecks and whale skeletons that scatter the beach. The park occupies 16,845 sq km (6,504 sq miles) and Shipwreck Lodge is the only property built within the park. The lodge is slightly set back from the ocean in a remote position within the sand dunes. Access is a 4x4 vehicle transfer from nearby Mowe Bay which you can reach either by light aircraft or self-drive.
Food and drink
Despite its remote location, food at Shipwreck is fresh and hearty. You will be served wholesome meals of international cuisine and can enjoy an al-fresco lunch on the terrace after a morning of exploring the sand dunes.
Children over the age of six are welcome here, though those under 12 might be restricted to certain activities. The two family rooms can sleep up to four people.
Facilities and activities
The Skeleton Coast is known for being the site of more than 1,000 shipwrecks and there are a few notable ones near the lodge, namely the Karimona and Suiderkus wrecks. However, while you are here you can also enjoy game drives within the park to spot the desert wildlife such as elephant and lion and baboon, learn about the desert flora and admire the geology of the Hoanib River Delta and clay castles. Of course a day here wouldn't be complete without evening drinks to enjoy the sunset from atop a sand dune.
Environmental and social responsibility
The lodge is dedicated to helping to preserve this unique ecosystem — what may be the oldest desert in the world and the second driest. As the first part of a multi-phase process, the lodge is supporting the rehabilitation of places where trucks have scarred the landscape leading into the park.
Shipwreck Lodge is a fairly new property, so we haven't had the chance to visit ourselves yet. However, we're impressed with its sleek design and remote coastal location in this little-explored part of Namibia.
Places & hotels on the map
Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
Kunene River Lodge is situated on the banks of the Kunene River. Activities include white-water rafting and river boarding, bird watching, sundowner cruises, canoeing, hiking, fishing and mountain biking.
Serra Cafema has an incredible location from which you can explore Namibia's remotest corners. We highly recommend it.