This imaginatively designed lodge offers a unique opportunity to stay in convivial maritime luxury on the far-flung fringes of one of Earth’s last great wildernesses – the barren yet beautiful Skeleton Coast.
A cluster of honey-coloured cabins cast adrift on the remote shores of the Skeleton Coast National Park, 28 miles (45km) north of Mowe Bay. Vehicle access is restricted north of Mowe Bay so all guests are collected by a member of lodge staff for the journey to Shipwreck Lodge. The 11 cabins are dotted among the dunes, high above the ephemeral Hourasib river, with mesmerising views of South Atlantic rollers barrelling to shore. Adventure travellers in search of nature at its most elemental will be captivated by a world of sand, sea and silence.
Style & character
The Skeleton Coast takes its name from the eponymous book by John H. Marsh, which recounts the final days of the MV Dunedin Star, a British cargo ship that ran aground on these shores in 1944. Marsh described the attempts to reach the survivors by air, land and sea as: “The greatest rescue of all time”. Nina Maritz, the award-winning architect responsible for Shipwreck Lodge's design, was “gripped by the tale” and used it as the inspiration to create cabins that “could have been put together by castaways".
Whimsical touches abound, from chipboard walls to whale bone detailing and windows pitched as though tossed onto the sand by the sea. Staying on these wind-lashed shores is an incredible privilege and Maritz’s design succeeds in anchoring guests within this fragile environment without feeling themed.
Service & facilities
There’s no risk of cabin fever at the hands of the friendly and close-knit team, who share a warmth and passion for the lodge and its surroundings. Castaway life centres around the simple pleasures of dining, reading, wildlife spotting, and being immersed in nature on these far-flung shores.
Shipwreck Lodge is expected to adhere to strict environmental controls and these include following carefully chosen routes to local points of note: the seal colony at Mowe Bay, epic coastal views at Rocky Point and a journey along the Hourasib where chacma baboons and honey badgers roam.
- Room service
The 10 guest cabins are spoiling havens of understated luxury. Each features a velvet day bed for drinking in the soul-stirring views, vast king-sized bed, bar area that doubles as a cosy writing space and stylish bathroom complete with porthole window. The bedroom’s wood-burning stove is the perfect spot for a nightcap by the crackling fire. Late at night, the wooden cabins creak in the howling winds that blow across this coastline and there is a comforting sense of being lost to the world.
Food & drink
The cosy main lodge, where drinks and meals are served, is artfully designed to bring guests together amid a flotsam and jetsam of mis-matched furniture. The daily-changing menu, likely to include game and fish, is limited but the standard is excellent. Breakfast is a moreish spread and snacks or a light-lunch are provided on excursions. Given the logistics of operating in this environment, those with special dietary requirements should contact the hotel in advance of their stay. Sundowners on the terrace are likely to be a wind-blown affair but all the more exhilarating for it.
Value for money
Cabins from N$ 10,200 (£545) per person, including meals, excursions and Wi-Fi. A stay at Shipwreck Lodge is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and rates are certain to increase in the coming years – book now.
Access for guests with disabilities?
A good degree of mobility is required to navigate sandy footpaths between cabins – contact the hotel direct to discuss specific requirements.
Two of the lodges can accommodate families.