Hoanib Valley Camp

Where the elephant roam

In a country jam-packed with vast, spectacularly beautiful landscapes, Kaokoland may just be the most incredible of them all. Deep in north-western Namibia, the area is a melee of towering mountains, sand dunes, and huge expanses of desert, scattered with unique wildlife and nomadic Himba settlements. It’s also one of Namibia’s most remote and wild environments, and one that not many will get the chance to discover in a lifetime.

And that’s exactly why we’ve decided to build Hoanib Valley Camp. A joint venture between the local communities and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the world’s only Africa-wide giraffe conservation organisation, the camp is an elegant, intimate affair that immerses you into the wilds of the desert. The six rooms blend seamlessly with the environment, offering a simple aesthetic that matches the rugged landscape down to a tee. Days are spent tracking endangered rhino, desert-adapted elephant, and of course desert-adapted giraffe, before retiring to your private veranda to marvel at the magnitude of your surroundings (G&T in hand).

For more information about combining a stay at Hoanib Valley Camp with Shipwreck Lodge at the Skeleton Coast, please contact us. 

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From N$ 8,000 PER PERSON

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Details, Details

Why Book this Camp?

  • Discover the true magnitude and magic of this remote part of north-western Namibia – a place that not many get the chance to visit.
  • Game drive through the network of dry sand riverbeds and discover desert-adapted lion, elephant and giraffe, and track endangered black rhino.
  • Sip a G&T on your private veranda and contemplate the stark beauty of the landscape spread out all around you.
  • Visit the Giraffe Conservation Foundation field-base and learn about the cutting-edge giraffe research being conducted here.
  • Spend time with local Herero people and learn a little of their fascinating way of life in such a harsh climate.
  • Embark on a guided nature walk and uncover the smaller flora and fauna of the desert.

At-a-Glance

Accommodation & Amenities

  • 6 tents: 5 twins, 1 family
  • Ensuite bathrooms with indoor & outdoor showers
  • Wifi available: Yes
  • Hairdryers: No
  • Battery charging facilities: In the mess tent & in room
  • Complimentary laundry service
  • Child policy: We welcome children aged 6 years and older
  • Disabled access: Please enquire with reservations

What’s included?

  • All meals and local drinks; activities

What’s not included?

  • Flights; premium brand beverages; tips & gratuities; insurance

Camp dates

Hoanib Valley Camp is open all year round

Green season: 10th January to 31st March

Shoulder season: 1st April to 14th June; 1st November 9th January

High season: 15th June to 31st July; 1st September to 31st October

Peak season: 1st – 31st August

Activities

  • Game drives to track desert adapted lion, elephant and giraffe.
  • Nature walks.
  • Rhino tracking.
  • Cultural experiences with local Herero people.
  • Giraffe research interaction experience (on request; additional cost).

Location

Hoanib Valley Camp is a joint venture with the local community and with the NGO the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). GCF are the longest running giraffe conservation charity in Africa and are the leaders in cutting edge giraffe research. In Hoanib, their research not only focusses on the desert-adapted giraffe in the area, but also helps to monitor elephant and general game.

Very few people realise the giraffe are endangered and they are often over-shadowed by the larger (sexier!) species such as rhino and elephant. Through their genetic work, Dr. Fennessy and the GCF have discovered four distinct species of giraffe across Africa, instead of what was formally thought to be sub-species – crucial information concerning the future of giraffe populations across the continent. Interested in finding out more? When in camp there are opportunities to meet the researchers and learn about the critical work going on in the area.

Natural Selection donates 1.5% of their gross revenue to conservation, and the GCF is one of the partners who receives funds. We’re delighted to have partnered with them, and to be contributing to their research and project work.

When To Go

Hoanib Valley Camp is open year-round, but the two seasons (the green season and the dry season) offer two remarkably different experiences.

The summer months of December to March are the green season. When the rain comes, the rocky landscapes are transformed into a rich, emerald carpet, and, depending on the level of rainfall, the dry riverbeds flow (albeit briefly) with life-giving water. Dramatic sunsets are littered with heavy clouds, and short bursts of rain clear the dust from the air. It’s fresh, vivid, and although temperatures can be high, it’s a lovely time of year to visit.

Then the rain stops, and the land dries slowly into its iconic, desert state. Midwinter (May to July), brings chilly temperatures in the mornings and evenings (that’s where the warm jacket comes in) but as the season progresses the temperatures rise steadily. By October, the land is at its driest and the temperature at its warmest, and as the desert-elephant begin to congregate around the last drops of water in the river valleys, you’ll be rewarded with some truly incredible sights.

Logistics

There are direct flights to Windhoek from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Addis Ababa and Doha. We suggest that you fly to Windhoek, and then switch to a light aircraft to fly to the airstrip at Hoanib Valley Camp, Fort Sesfontein.

Alternatively, we can offer road transfers in our air-conditioned vehicles from Windhoek (8 hours) or Swakopmund (7 hours). If you are self-driving to camp, you may leave your vehicle at Fort Sesfontein and continue to camp on our game drive transfer. These transfers depart Sesfontein for camp at roughly 15h00, and leave camp to return at roughly 09h00.

It is also possibly to fly from Hoanib Valley Camp to Shipwreck Lodge on the Skeleton Coast – please contact us for details. We also offer road transfers between the two camps, but please note that self-drivers are not allowed to drive through the Skeleton Coast National Park. In order to move between Shipwreck Lodge and Hoanib Valley Camp, you must park at either Mowe Bay (for Shipwreck) or Sesfontein (for Hoanib Valley) and take the Natural Selection road transfer (or flight) back to your original starting point to collect your vehicle.

Camp Story

You’ll find Hoanib Valley Camp in the Kaokoveld region of north-west Namibia – an area that has long held an allure for our partner, Dr Julian Fennessy, Africa’s foremost giraffe expert and the go-to guy for information on the hardy population of desert-adapted giraffe who live here.

Our other partner in this venture is the Sesfontein Community who live some way inland of camp. When we first started to build Hoanib Valley Camp, we employed 20 labourers from Sesfontein to help us and now, 80% of our staff hail from there. We also pay 8% of our turnover as rental to the community, which they in turn use to finance salaries for rhino rangers and game guards.

Why Book this Camp?

  • Discover the true magnitude and magic of this remote part of north-western Namibia – a place that not many get the chance to visit.
  • Game drive through the network of dry sand riverbeds and discover desert-adapted lion, elephant and giraffe, and track endangered black rhino.
  • Sip a G&T on your private veranda and contemplate the stark beauty of the landscape spread out all around you.
  • Visit the Giraffe Conservation Foundation field-base and learn about the cutting-edge giraffe research being conducted here.
  • Spend time with local Herero people and learn a little of their fascinating way of life in such a harsh climate.
  • Embark on a guided nature walk and uncover the smaller flora and fauna of the desert.

At-a-Glance

Accommodation & Amenities

  • 6 tents: 5 twins, 1 family
  • Ensuite bathrooms with indoor & outdoor showers
  • Wifi available: Yes
  • Hairdryers: No
  • Battery charging facilities: In the mess tent & in room
  • Complimentary laundry service
  • Child policy: We welcome children aged 6 years and older
  • Disabled access: Please enquire with reservations

What’s included?

  • All meals and local drinks; activities

What’s not included?

  • Flights; premium brand beverages; tips & gratuities; insurance

Camp dates

Hoanib Valley Camp is open all year round

Green season: 10th January to 31st March

Shoulder season: 1st April to 14th June; 1st November 9th January

High season: 15th June to 31st July; 1st September to 31st October

Peak season: 1st – 31st August

Activities

  • Game drives to track desert adapted lion, elephant and giraffe.
  • Nature walks.
  • Rhino tracking.
  • Cultural experiences with local Herero people.
  • Giraffe research interaction experience (on request; additional cost).

Conservation

Hoanib Valley Camp is a joint venture with the local community and with the NGO the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). GCF are the longest running giraffe conservation charity in Africa and are the leaders in cutting edge giraffe research. In Hoanib, their research not only focusses on the desert-adapted giraffe in the area, but also helps to monitor elephant and general game.

Very few people realise the giraffe are endangered and they are often over-shadowed by the larger (sexier!) species such as rhino and elephant. Through their genetic work, Dr. Fennessy and the GCF have discovered four distinct species of giraffe across Africa, instead of what was formally thought to be sub-species – crucial information concerning the future of giraffe populations across the continent. Interested in finding out more? When in camp there are opportunities to meet the researchers and learn about the critical work going on in the area.

Natural Selection donates 1.5% of their gross revenue to conservation, and the GCF is one of the partners who receives funds. We’re delighted to have partnered with them, and to be contributing to their research and project work.

When To Go

Hoanib Valley Camp is open year-round, but the two seasons (the green season and the dry season) offer two remarkably different experiences.

The summer months of December to March are the green season. When the rain comes, the rocky landscapes are transformed into a rich, emerald carpet, and, depending on the level of rainfall, the dry riverbeds flow (albeit briefly) with life-giving water. Dramatic sunsets are littered with heavy clouds, and short bursts of rain clear the dust from the air. It’s fresh, vivid, and although temperatures can be high, it’s a lovely time of year to visit.

Then the rain stops, and the land dries slowly into its iconic, desert state. Midwinter (May to July), brings chilly temperatures in the mornings and evenings (that’s where the warm jacket comes in) but as the season progresses the temperatures rise steadily. By October, the land is at its driest and the temperature at its warmest, and as the desert-elephant begin to congregate around the last drops of water in the river valleys, you’ll be rewarded with some truly incredible sights.

Logistics

There are direct flights to Windhoek from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Addis Ababa and Doha. We suggest that you fly to Windhoek, and then switch to a light aircraft to fly to the airstrip at Hoanib Valley Camp, Fort Sesfontein.

Alternatively, we can offer road transfers in our air-conditioned vehicles from Windhoek (8 hours) or Swakopmund (7 hours). If you are self-driving to camp, you may leave your vehicle at Fort Sesfontein and continue to camp on our game drive transfer. These transfers depart Sesfontein for camp at roughly 15h00, and leave camp to return at roughly 09h00.

It is also possibly to fly from Hoanib Valley Camp to Shipwreck Lodge on the Skeleton Coast – please contact us for details. We also offer road transfers between the two camps, but please note that self-drivers are not allowed to drive through the Skeleton Coast National Park. In order to move between Shipwreck Lodge and Hoanib Valley Camp, you must park at either Mowe Bay (for Shipwreck) or Sesfontein (for Hoanib Valley) and take the Natural Selection road transfer (or flight) back to your original starting point to collect your vehicle.

Camp Story

You’ll find Hoanib Valley Camp in the Kaokoveld region of north-west Namibia – an area that has long held an allure for our partner, Dr Julian Fennessy, Africa’s foremost giraffe expert and the go-to guy for information on the hardy population of desert-adapted giraffe who live here.

Our other partner in this venture is the Sesfontein Community who live some way inland of camp. When we first started to build Hoanib Valley Camp, we employed 20 labourers from Sesfontein to help us and now, 80% of our staff hail from there. We also pay 8% of our turnover as rental to the community, which they in turn use to finance salaries for rhino rangers and game guards.

Accommodations

Hoanib Valley’s six guest tents blend almost perfectly into the rugged environment. The colours, textures and patterns are inspired by the experience of the Hoanib; the rich ochre of the dunes, the geometric patterns of the Himba people and, of course, the giraffe that inspired the project. True to the ethos of Natural Selection, we’ve sourced materials locally, and you’ll find furniture shaped by the local Rundu carpenters and Himba carvers, and baskets weaved by the people of the Omba Project in Windhoek. The whole camp is a clean and green sort of place, leaving virtually no footprint on this fragile eco-system. It’s entirely solar powered to ensure carbon emissions are kept to a minimum, and the tents sit on decks made of a wood, bamboo and 70% recycled-material composite.

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Wildlife

The wildlife of the Hoanib Valley is perfectly at home in the arid environment, and learning about their survival techniques is fascinating. Game drives will reveal desert-adapted elephant, as well as stately desert-adapted giraffe, and, if you’re very lucky, desert lion. Zebra, klipspringer and kudu move freely through the mountains, and you’ll find hardy herds of springbok and oryx, as well as steenbok picking their way across the dust-blown landscapes. The region is home to the largest population of free-ranging black rhino, and a day (or even a morning or an afternoon) tracking the magnificent beasts is an absolute must. Bird watchers, keep your eyes peeled for Monteiro’s hornbills or Ruppell’s korhaans in the valleys, and the imperious Verreaux’s eagle in the mountains.

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The Landscape

Deep in the north-western corner of Namibia, Kaokoland is one of the most remote, wild and marvellously unique areas of the country. It’s a land characterised by rolling dunes, rocky mountains and desert plains all criss-crossed by ancient, dry riverbeds, the roads of the area. Temporary Himba settlements dot the landscape, and scattered herds of desert-adapted elephant and giraffe are a common sight.

Hoanib Valley Camp itself is located in the Sesfontein Community Conservancy, our joint partners in the area. The camp sits on the banks of the Obias River, just outside the private 500 square kilometre Palmwag Concession, and overlooks the ephemeral Hoanib River that teems with resident elephant, giraffe, oryx and springbok. Although parts of the land have been designated ‘concession areas’ tourism is still limited, making a visit to this unspoiled corner even more memorable.

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