Skeleton Coast in the north west of Namibia might not sound like the most alluring of holiday destinations. Here the angry surf and harsh weather have brought down thousands of ships, whales and seals, the remains of which now litter its infamous beaches. But joining them is a cluster of luxury cabins inspired by the shipwrecked surroundings, offering unique and spooky stays between the desert and an otherwise untouched shoreline.
Shipwreck Lodge, as it's called, is a collection of 10 eco-minded cabins inside Skeleton Coast National Park, which was declared a nature reserve in 1971. These solar-powered chalets built into the dunes are designed to mimic fallen ships, with a bathroom found inside a bow-like section connected to a bedroom that, from the outside, resembles a boat hull that has tipped onto its side.
Inside these cabins guests find a wood burner stove, an ensuite, desk, lamp and safe, with a large horizontal window offering sweeping views towards the sea and the sunset. A lounge and restaurant are also onsite, along with facilities for full-time staff and systems for power, water and sewerage.
Unsurprisingly, constructing the cabins in this remote location presented the team with some unique challenges. Not only is it in the middle of nowhere, which simply makes logistics difficult, the coastal wind would constantly blow sand away from the footings. Even now with the cabins in place, they require ongoing maintenance to ensure the structures remain properly secured to poles embedded deep in the sand.
The wall panels are made from South African Pine and were pre-manufactured off site so they could be properly treated to endure the salty, moist coastal air. This would also allow the cabins to be more easily taken apart in the future, with the ability to be completely dismantled with no environmental impact after a 25 period part of the design brief.
Activities include shipwreck-hunting along the coast, visits to seal colonies, 4x4 river excursions and wildlife-watching, with brown hyenas, elephants and lions among the creatures that inhabit the Skeleton Coast National Park.
Prices for a double at Shipwreck Lodge start at N$8,685 (US$650) per night, while single rooms are available for N$9,960 (US$750).
Source: Shipwreck Lodge