Even those who have been lucky enough to have travelled there find it difficult to describe why Namibia is such an extraordinary country. A few well-chosen words like “vast”, “scorching”, and “arid” are usually the first that come to mind, but it’s quickly easy to add “wildlife”, “scenery”, “Peaceful” and strangely it’s antonym “exhilarating” to the list too.
Perhaps that then is the answer. It is in this contrast that the magic lies. The cold of the sea, the heat of the desert. Vast and unforgiving, but also fragile and teeming with life. It is a country that clashes with itself, and in doing so doesn’t make sense, but it does it so beautifully. It is a place where people of all ages run outside when it rains.
In this world of infinite space, rolling sand dunes, and misty shorelines are a number of places that do justice not only to this singularly beautiful place but also to the soul. Here are three of our favourites:
Pelican Point Lodge
Tucked safely against the lighthouse on the sandy Pelican Point Peninsula, the transformed Harbour Control Building that is now Pelican Point Lodge is a must stay destination.
With the Atlantic Ocean on the one side and the Walvis Bay Lagoon on the other, the greatest drawcard other than the sense of peace that comes with being almost completely surrounded by water is the abundant bird and marine life. Besides the very friendly local seal colony and the thousands of flamingos that grace the lagoon at any one time, the species that call the island and surrounding waters home include jackal, whales, dolphins and even mola-molas.
There are nine tastefully decorated and well-appointed en suite rooms, each with a fireplace and its own private deck. There is also a tenth suite in the crow’s nest that offers uninterrupted 360˚ views of the sea and lagoon.
A three-course dinner, as well as a full breakfast, is served in the dining room. If you so prefer, however, you can arrange for your dinner to be served in your room or on your private deck. Lunch can be provided on request.
Though it does require advance notice, special dietary needs will gladly be catered for.
Things to do:
Taking a gentle stroll to the jetty or nearby shipwreck, picnic basket in hand is our preferred way of spending sunny days. Alternatively, when the cold mist comes rolling in or the autumn storms rage outside, there is nothing better than to curl up in front of a roaring fire with a good book.
Nights are undoubtedly best spent sitting quietly, listening to the pounding of the waves and the call of the jackal, watching the lights of the ships on their way in-and-out of the harbour twinkling in the distance.
Although just relaxing should be your top priority, it’s permissible to enjoy sundowners at the tip of the Peninsula or to go on one of the guided Peninsula drives offered by the lodge. Whilst the highly recommended kayaking trips amongst the seals are outsourced, they can be arranged to start at the lodge.
For those who would like to venture further, other rare adventures in the area that deserve a mention are dune-boarding, taking a guided 4×4 tour to see the Moon Landscape and Welwitschia Mirabilis, going on a dolphin cruise, windsurfing on the lagoon amongst the thousands of very pink flamingos, climbing the famous Dune 7 (early in the morning with closed shoes), and taking a day to explore the nearby old German town of Swakopmund.
Children of all ages are welcome.
Keep in mind:
Since the lodge is only reachable via a track along the beach, it is highly recommended that you travel by 4×4 and remember to deflate your tyres.
Little Ongava is the perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts who want a more exclusive experience in Namibia’s magnificent Ovamboland region. Bordering on the Etosha National Park, this 30,000-hectare private game reserve is world-renowned for its exceptional achievements in Rhino conservation and abundant fauna and flora that include a number of lion prides.
When not off exploring nature on one of the daily activities offered by the lodge, you have the option of unwinding on the comfortable deck and enjoying the uninterrupted view of the Ongava plains and the animals that come to visit the waterhole below the camp.
The three secluded bungalows were designed with privacy and luxury top-of-mind. More closely resembling a home-away-from-home, each unit boasts its own sitting room, fireplace, “sala”, and infinity pool. There is also an outside shower to enjoy in the warmer months.
Meals are usually served on the deck or in the dining room next to the shared lounge.
Things to do:
Among the number of daily activities included in the standard rate are day-and-night game drives, bird watching, nature walks, and even on-foot rhino tracking. If so desired, day trips to the Etosha National Park can be arranged.
Children between 3 and 5 years of age are welcome, provided you have booked and paid for the sole use of the camp.
Keep in mind:
The flat rates include all meals, local drinks, laundry and twice-daily scheduled camp activities.
The minimum age for walking activities is 13 years, 16 for approaching rhino on foot, and game drives with children between 6 and 12 years of age must be booked and paid for separately.
Delicately resting on top of a rocky outcrop, offering unparalleled views of the great expanse of the Namib Desert, Desert Whisper is perhaps the most unique, and certainly the most intimate, hideaway on our list.
It’s seclusion as well as the fact that your personal host will only disturb your tranquillity if called for via two-way radio ensures that your experience is not only serene but also completely indulgent.
Not least amongst the qualities that make a visit here such a once-in-a-lifetime treat, is the design of the building itself. Almost otherworldly, this copper-covered half-pod makes the most of the extraordinary view. Even the positioning of the glass shower allows you to enjoy the spectacular vista. As with the exterior of the building, the modern interior has been lovingly put together to echo the shapes, colours textures and materials of the natural environment. Of course, this does not mean that modern luxuries such as a well-stocked fridge and drinks cabinet, designer kitchen, and a deck with a braai and plunge pool are excluded.
You can either choose to have delicious meals that cater to your unique tastes and dietary needs prepared by your personal chef or embrace your solitude and prepare them yourself.
Things to do:
As little as humanly possible. However, if you must, exclusive activities on offer include desert drives, walking trails, guided or unguided e-bike trails, an excursion to Sossusvlei, and even a scorpion night walk.
Children up to 5 years may stay free of charge and for children between the ages of 6 and 13 a half-rate applies.
Keep in mind:
Even though there is a dirt road leading up to the lodge, transfers to an airstrip 14 kilometres away can be arranged.
Although children are welcome, there may be no more than two guests at the camp in total.