Monday, January 31, 2011

Experience Africa


The Wolwedans Private Camp is located in the Namib Rand Nature Reserve in South-western Namibia bordering to the south of the huge red surreal sand-dune seas of the renowned Sossusvlei; the clay pan of the central Namib Desert, lying within the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

The immense 172, 000 hectare Namib Rand is a private nature reserve founded in 1922 by J.A. Bruckner encompassing a diversity of desert landscapes. This photogenic variety combines manifold dune valleys, red Kalahari-esque sand and grassy plains with the mysterious appeal of the Skeleton Coast. Moreover, the beguiling expansive fields of bare ‘fairy circles’ being geologically inexplicable have unique appeal stretching along the edge of the Namib Desert into southern Angola.

The stark habitats are home to the dune lark among many varied species of fauna and flora. Access to the reserve is restricted in accordance with strict eco-tourist criteria such that lodges and camps may accommodate a maximum of twenty beds and is devoid of overland trucks and tour buses. Guests are obliged to pay a daily park fee.

Wolwedans’ collection of camps is organically woven into the dune landscape, from the rustic charms of Dune Camp, more sophisticated Dunes Lodge and Mountain View Suite to the secluded Private Camp (sleeping four) and discreet granite rock site of Boulders Camp (accommodating eight).

Private Camp situated in a scenic valley with siesta-sala day-beds especially offers contemplative silence. The distinctive pole structure design is of raised wooden decks and roll-up canvas walls. Desert Land Rover trails explore the varied wilderness scenery.

Sundowner drives are of about 1-2 hours’ duration traversing across about 10 km of dune capture the dramatic sunsets; the return is under nightfall when supper awaits.

Morning and afternoon excursions cover distances of 40-50 km taking 3-4 hours while a full day’s sortie of about 120 km conveys the full scope of the reserve and its vast emptiness. Two-day TokTokkie trekking trails of golden grass savannah landscape reward botanists while shorter 2-3 hour guided walking trails along the ancient hunting grounds of the bushmen are an alternative. The remarkable experience of hot-air ballooning to survey the extraordinary terrain as accompanied by a champagne breakfast is also available.

A further airborne option is to take an afternoon scenic flight along one of several routes taking in variously: the Diamond Coast, Sossusvlei’s camelthorn tree-studded Tsauchab River Valley and Dead Vlei, the Atlantic coast’s Spencer Bay, monumental Fish River Canyon and deserted ‘ghost town’ of Kolmanskuppe.

Keen photographers may want to undertake a specialist ‘photographic safari’ while real solitude can be experienced on a remote dune sleep-out under the stars.