Driving through the murky haze of an approaching sandstorm, the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the ultra modern, caterpillar-like tents of Namibia’s Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, was somebody needs to call JJ Abrams.
Strangely beautiful, Hoanib, complete with its own space age looking settlement, would make a perfect location for one of Abrams’ signature Sci-Fi dramas. I took a moment to fantasize. Perhaps it could be an alien outpost in a new Star Trek flick or a training facility for chivalrous Jedi knights. My grade -A nerd imagination ran wild with the possibilities.
(My home away from home in the Honeymoon Suite)
Nothing about Hoanib resembled anything I’d seen on safari to date, and as Wilderness Safaris’ newest addition (it opened in August, 2014) to its over 60 camps in 8 African countries, very few other people had seen it either. I loved being a first year pioneer.
Taking a cue from the desert’s stark, dramatic backdrop, Hoanib’s tent design echoes the neutral tones and sharp peaks of the surrounding coastal desert known as the Kaokoveld. Because of its remote location—the only access to the camp is by chartered plane—great thought was put into its construction. Structures were built with cutting edge materials for easy transport and to make sure that the harsh but fragile environment would not suffer from its footprint.
Suspended concrete floors enable airflow, naturally cooling the interiors, while the flexible canvas covering provides shade above each tent’s secondary roof. On opposite walls of every guest room, large panels swivel open to provide vital cross ventilation. I can’t say my tent was ever “cool” during the day—outside temperatures exceeded 95F—but it was comfortable when the panels were open.
Inside, the camp’s austere exterior is softened by marshmallow-soft modular furniture, smooth stones surfaces and rich textures combined with decorative accents in cream and various shades of blue. The result was a spa-like feel that took the edge off.
(Images from the camp’s main tent)
My personal home away from home was the in the Honeymoon Suite, farthest from the camp’s open-air main tent and hidden from view behind a large rock formation—an ideal spot for amorous newlyweds looking to “enjoy” the front deck without causing a stir. Even though I was traveling alone I couldn’t help but appreciate its potential.
At night I would sit outside enjoying the countless stars that shone brightly overhead and inevitably return to my first thoughts about Abrams: Hoanib belongs in a movie.
If only I knew the famed director, I’m sure he’d agree.
I was a guest of Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp during my visit. While discussion of my journey is expected, how and what I choose to write is completely at my discretion.