Monday, February 20, 2012

Skeleton Coast Camp - Important Update

Closure of the Wilderness Skeleton Coast Camp & opening of Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

As you may already be aware, our operation of Skeleton Coast Main and Research camps have been subject to annual concession continuity for the last few years, with the latest extension expiring at the end of May this year. An unexpected fire at the end of 2011 damaged the main area at Skeleton Coast Main Camp and prompted us to make an earlier firm decision on our continued operation in this area. As we have a very short term remaining on our lease, and it would not make economic sense to re-build the camp for this period, we have made the decision to close the camp.

That said, we have for some time been in negotiation with the Namibian government and communities to establish a new Skeleton Coast Camp south of the existing concession on Namibia’s most productive ephemeral river system, the Hoanib.  We are pleased to advise that as of last week, we have now secured tenure in an area which will be able to provide a new Skeleton Coast offering that in many ways we believe will surpass that of our former camp.

This does of course mean that a new camp has to be built and as a result, we are unable to offer a Skeleton Coast experience for the period 1 March to 31 July 2012.  Where available, we have provisionally booked all guests currently staying in Skeleton Coast Camp into Serra Cafema Camp as an alternative. While not identical to Skeleton Coast, Serra Cafema does offer a similar experience in terms of its absolute remoteness, the vastness of its scenery, a great variety of Namib desert along a river system, and interaction with authentic Himba communities. If Serra Cafema is full on the dates required, your Journey Consultant will liaise with you directly on any affected bookings in order to make suitable alternative arrangements for your clients.  

We are hopeful that the new camp will open by 1 August 2012. Confirmation of this is expected within the next week, at which time all existing Skeleton Coast bookings from that date onwards will be moved to the new camp.

Tentatively named Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, it will be located adjacent to the magnificent Hoanib River in the northern reaches of the Palmwag Concession. Activities (game drives and walking) will access the game rich riverbed (elephant, giraffe, lion, oryx), the plains, river valleys and hillsides to the south (black rhino, oryx, mountain zebra, springbok) and most importantly the downstream reaches of the Hoanib River in the Skeleton Coast National Park. This last area has a very important seep and water system that is frequented by many different game species, as it cuts through a spectacular dune field and accesses the Atlantic Ocean coastline. We expect that the new camp will be a 9-roomed Classic camp, with 8 twins and 1 family room.  Confirmation of this and additional information on the camp, the offering, access and pricing will follow shortly.

We would also like to take this opportunity to apologize for any inconvenience, frustration and possible disappointment experienced as a result of this closure. Circumstances beyond our control have made it a more difficult process than we would have intended.  We are however really excited about the new camp and believe that this will become an integral part of the northern Namibian ecotourism circuit.

News received from Wilderness Safaris

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