The Shipwreck Lodge situated within Namibia’s famed Skeleton Coast is one of the most exclusive in the country. Ten Shipwreck shaped luxury chalets house a restricted number of guests annually which are chauffeured from a pick-up point 45km south of the lodge. It is a destination where one can truly go off the grid without sacrificing on luxury.
It therefore made sense for me to book and get up there when Journeys Namibia offered a 75% discount reopening special after the Corona lockdown. The rate was still steep, but more affordable, and in my opinion worth the spend. This is my short recollection of the events that transpired there.
You’ll need to drive or fly (by private charter) to Mowe bay where the pick-up point is situated
Pick-ups are done at 11:00 & 15:00
You depart the lodge at 09:00 which includes a beach tour on the way back
It’s mostly all inclusive, with activities
Its priced to cater for the international market
The last fuel is available in Terrace Bay with credit card facilities.
As mentioned the pick-up point is Mowe bay. This little “coastal village” is situated within the Skeleton Coast National Park about 440km North of Swakopmund. The drive from there is straightforward, simply take the C34 and head North until you reach Mowe Bay. Before then you’ll have to stop at the Ugab gate to register for park entry, park fees are included in the lodge fees so no payments required. See my post on driving from Swakopmund to Mowe Bay.
The alternative route is entering through the Springbokwasser gate. From the gate it is a 40km drive to the C34. Turn right and head North up the C34.
The Shipwreck Lodge
The lodge was the last stop on my trek up the Skeleton Coast National Park. It was meant as a stopover on my way to the Kunene river mouth, but driving by yourself into the Skeleton Coast concession which starts at Mowe Bay is not permitted.
After the pickup I simply loved the drive there. Forty five kilometers of the best scenery Namibia has to offer. It’s simply surreal, the desert meets the ocean, the ever changing landscapes, the mixed skeletons of old mining operations, fallen planes, wild animals, whales and made even more so knowing that you are sharing the space with so few other people. For once I was not doing the driving so I actually had the opportunity to take some of it in.
The lodge manager has good knowledge of the area ranging back to the original family, the Schoeman’s, that settled there and the diamond mining that followed them. Today the family is still there operating private excursions into the concession, but only the skeletons of once noisy mining operations remain.
The lodge itself is gorgeous with extravagant nautical themed décor inspired by the ship wrecks that made this coastline their eternal resting place. The cabins are roomy, but cozy with my favorite parts the deck that provides uninterrupted views to the West, the long lazy couch stretched out in front of the large front window and the wood burning fireplace.
Even though the lodge is 100% ecofriendly they are still able to provide Wi-Fi, warm showers and a few more luxuries in the rooms. The restaurant offers a set menu which blends local and international cuisine and snacks are always available in the foyer. The cheesecake on arrival was divine. However, and please beware of this, the shipwreck lodge is exclusive, but not a 5 star luxury hotel. And in their defense they don’t pretend to be one. Just important to note that and lower your expectations a tad.
Yes, you’ll be enjoying a truly unique experience, an amazing off the grid location and scenery that’s out of this world, but many services associated with establishments of this price range are lacking i.e. you might be without hot water in the morning and there’s no doorman to take your bags to the room. The worst for me was the cheap instant coffee sachets in the coffee station.
There is a multitude of activities on offer, but please note that at discounted rates some of these are not included. Just double check, it is free to ask.
4×4 tour of the Hoarusib River
Lunch on the beach
But mostly, reading a book, taking in the chill and watching sunsets
The price tag is misleading. You are paying a rate that other 5 star establishments are charging in Namibia, but not getting a similar service. But and in defense of the Shipwreck lodge, nowhere do they claim to be a 5 star lodge. Their charm is their off the grid location, their exclusive list of clientele that visit there every year and the incredible unrivalled surroundings. This is what takes 3.5-4 stars and makes it extraordinary. The lodge is good, but everything about the Shipwreck lodge is extraordinary.