© Nova Fisher 2015

Hoanib River

The 270km Hoanib is one of the 12 ephemeral seasonal rivers in the west of Namibia. With the low population density, the oasis character of the river valley and the relatively high wildlife population of Hoanib, together with the Hoarusib, the valley is one of the last true wilderness areas in Namibia and one of the last settlements of desert elephants and lions. It has strong wind and water eroded and weathered stone deposits (up to 10 m height).

The Landscape

This is a remote land of rugged scenery, inhabited by plant and animal life that has adapted superbly to the harsh environment of mountains, vast plains, dunes and dry riverbeds. The northern sector in particular contains everything from soaring sand dunes and plains, to deep canyons, towering mountains, wide saltpans, huge seal colonies and numerous shipwrecks, as well as some interesting wildlife. Freshwater springs and man-made boreholes dotted around the barren sands create life-sustaining oases for small pockets of wildlife in the middle of the desert. Hartmann’s mountain zebra, gemsbok, desert-adapted elephant, brown hyena, giraffe, black rhino and - occasionally – leopard and cheetah may all be found in this wild and rugged landscape. Due to its vast pristine nature, much of the region is only accessible by light aircraft and the views from the air are spectacular. Whilst there we learnt about the work of the researchers, Doctor Philip Stader - conservation of the desert lions and Doctors Laura and Rob - conservation of the desert elephants. We saw the unusual, ancient two leaved welwitschia plants (the oldest in the world), tracked wildlife, and savoured the endless fascinating landscapes.

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

This camp stands on the Hoanib River - on a private concession that straddles the Palmwag area and Skeleton Coast National Park, in one of the Kaokoveld's most remote areas. Due to the remoteness, stargazing was excellent. Infact, everything about this camp was excellent - the luxury accommodation, the staff, the wilderness, being so close to animals that survive in such arid conditions, the researchers and our wonderful guides (PapaG and Francois) who enthused and cared so much for the animals and environment. We went on nature drives along the Hoanib River & floodplains, to the Mudorib Spring and into the Palmwag Concession, where we encountered some of the area’s desert adapted species - lions, elephants, oryx, springbok, giraffes and hyena. We took nature walks and, of course, enjoyed the sundowners with awesome views and wonderful sunsets. We drove for 4 hours to the Skeleton Coast and were surprised with a delicious lunch on the beach. We returned by light aircraft which provided us with wonderful views of the landscape.
After our sundowners we climbed the mountain to see our Hoanib Skeleton Coast Cmp in the valley below.
The dust from the desert created an amazing, eerie atmosphere.