Featured Favorite: Hoanib Valley Camp

Hoanib Valley Camp

Kaokoland, Namibia

Who it’s best for

Seasoned travelers, landscape photographers, conservationists, adventurous travelers, culture lovers and those seeking an escape


Game drives, walking safaris, rhino tracking, cultural experiences with the Herero-Himba people and giraffe conservation experiences

Why we love it

A dot amid an almost inconceivably vast desert wilderness, Hoanib Valley Camp is a revitalizing escape from the hustle and bustle of our world. Far from anything resembling your modern life with no other camps around for miles and miles, you will feel like an early explorer, stepping into an uncharted land.

The Ultimate Escape
Though most people think of sand dunes when they hear Namibia, Kaokoland is a breathtaking landscape of rugged mountains rising from vast open spaces, groves of determined trees and ephemeral river valleys. Despite the harsh environment, an unexpected ecosystem of desert-adapted wildlife has learned to thrive. Elephants dig wells into the dry riverbeds to find the water deep below, creating mini oases for all the other creatures. Giraffes survive on the prickly treetops and springbok and ostriches wander freely. Rare mountain zebras can be spotted and even lions have learned to live alongside desert-dwellers like the oryx.

One of the most special wildlife experiences that is unique to this region of Africa is tracking endangered black rhinos on foot. With the largest free-roaming population left in Africa, Hoanib Valley is one of the few camps that offers such a special experience. Venture out with your guide in search of these desert giants – there is truly no thrill like sighting one in the distance, then carefully approaching until whisper close. These are truly ancient beasts ruling an ancient land, and spending time with them is such a privilege.

Out here, ruggedness blooms into an unexpected beauty. The tale of human existence in the desert is woven with the lives of several tribes, including the beautiful Himba people. Living largely nomadic herding lifestyles, they are fluid with the land, moving with the precious water and grazing for their goats. They are the original light-touch explorers with generations of insight for coexisting in harmony with a fragile ecosystem. Experience life as a Himba with a village visit lead by a camp staff member who belongs to the tribe. Since you’re hosted by one of their own, the experience is respectful and relaxed, a positive encounter for all that gives you an intimate glimpse into their lives.

Even accessing the camp is an experience in and of itself. Whether you fly in and drive to camp or drive the whole way on a road trip, you’ll have the chance to witness some of the most extraordinarily beautiful and remote scenery on Earth. It feels like you’ve landed on Mars – otherworldly and desolate in the best way possible. Few people will ever get the chance to lay eyes on these places – a rare experience in our well-trodden world.

Home Amid the Stars and Mountains
Hidden amid all this blissful emptiness lies your new home away from home – Hoanib Valley Camp. Located in the former site of famed giraffe researchers Julian and Steph Fennessy’s field camp, the spot was chosen for its immense beauty and proximity to the wildlife. The setting is so breath-taking that you won’t even want to leave camp.

The spirit of the region moves throughout the design. The canvas peaks of the tents mirror the mountains encircling camp and neutral colors let them melt into the setting. Local Rundu carpenters and Himba carvers created the furniture and baskets handwoven by the people of the Omba Project adorn the décor.

The light-touch design of the camp does everything possible to preserve and protect the fragile ecosystem. The entire camp could be packed up and moved out without leaving a trace, and that’s part of its magic. When you’re in camp, you feel the respect for nature and understand how lucky you are to experience such a remote and untouched destination.

Sit around the campfire with a local beer in hand, gazing at the impossibly brilliant stars overhead as the cool night air creeps in. Make yourself at home in the lounge – help yourself to the jars of fresh baked goodies or mix yourself a cocktail, complete with a wedge of the juicy lime left out on the cutting board for you. Read a book in the pool while hiding from the midday heat - from its lofty perch you can spot any wildlife that might wander past. This is desert life at its best.

Another unexpected element that makes the camp come to life in an authentically Namibian way is the staff and their uniforms. Natural Selections, who operate the camp, have moved away from the typical idea of a uniform where everyone dresses the exact same. Instead, they have curated a collection of different style pants, shirts, skirts, belts, hats and scarves so they can mix and match to create a look that is all their own, while still professional. This seemingly small move makes the camp feel even homier. Every personality shines through and the staff feel like your family, welcoming you into their home. It allows local traditions and culture to shine in their tourism setting in an effortless and relaxed way.

Though there is wifi, the beauty of this place is the ability to completely disconnect. Sip on its tonic for modern life - let the remoteness revitalize you and inspire introspection. Let the heat of the day and the chill of the nights make you feel more alive than ever before. This is one of the least inhabited corners on the planet, and it’s amazing what that feels like on your body and mind. It’s simultaneously invigorating and calming – it gives you perspective and the space and time to think.

The Hoanib Valley is a special place to say the least. For those with wanderlust in their hearts, who yearn for distant lands, it doesn’t get better than this.

Visit Hoanib Valley Camp Yourself!

There’s something inherently romantic about the austere tranquility of a desert. We love pairing Hoanib Valley Camp with another property in the Natural Selection family: Shipwreck Lodge. This incredibly unique lodge is dotted along the isolated, blustery coastline of Skeleton Coast National Park. With a cozy, sexy atmosphere (think wood burning fires places, faux fur blankets and red wine waiting in your room) and wraparound decks to take in the foggy ocean scenery, this spot is the perfect complement to Hoanib Valley. As a bonus, the flight between the two offers some of the most breath-taking aerial vistas of anywhere in Africa.

We love Hoanib Valley Camp so much that it features in several of our Namibia-centric sample itineraries. Check out Namibia: Land of Contrasts and Great Escapes Namibia for all the inspiration you’ll need to start planning your own journey.

If high density wildlife viewing is your thing, we also love pairing the camp with a stay in neighboring Botswana’s Okavango Delta region. With huge populations of wildlife and water galore, you’ll be amazed by the contrast between countries just next door to each other.

Begin planning my journey today!



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