Eco Lodge: Desert Rhino Camp in Namibia

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The 450,000-hectare Palmwag Concession region lies along the coast of Namibia and is characterized by undulating hills made up of nothing more than stone, rock and sand. These peaceful, minimalist landscapes are home to a surprisingly large number of wildlife adapted to the unforgiving arid conditions.

This area is home to the world’s largest free-roaming population of black rhinos, but also supports healthy populations of Hartman’s mountain zebra, kudu, rare desert elephant, springbok and gemsbok, as well as iconic carnivores such as brown and spotted hyena, lion, leopard and cheetah. Birdlife is overwhelmingly abundant as well, ranging from the Ruppell’s korhaan to the well-known ostrich.

To ensure the future survival of all this wildlife, Desert Rhino Camp works with the Save the Rhino Trust, an NGO that is responsible for protecting, managing and researching the unique desert-adapted black rhinos that live in the area. The camp also collaborates with the three local communities that manage the Palmwag Concession—the Torra, Sesfontein and Anabeb Conservancies—to which donates some of its revenue and pays a yearly fee.

In terms of sustainable practices, the camp aims to keep its impact on the fragile ecosystem to an absolute minimum. It does that by generating solar power to heat the water and for lighting, and by using modern eco-friendly systems to recycle wastewater.

Unsurprisingly, wildlife safaris are a hugely popular activity at Desert Rhino Camp. They are, in fact, the very reason why many people choose to stay there. The most popular safaris of them all are the rhino tracking safaris, which take place in a 4WD and on foot. A rhino safari typically starts in the morning and involves following experienced trackers in a vehicle. Once they have spotted an animal, the safari continues on foot. Other game drives are, of course, popular as well—they are basically the only way guests can spot large numbers of wildlife in this vast, empty region. Additionally, closer to the camp, visitors can join guided nature walks to learn more about the smaller, often overlooked plants and animals that manage to survive in these arid lands.

Desert Rhino Camp consists of eight elevated Meru-style tents, which all have terraces from whence guests can enjoy spectacular views of the valley backed by the rugged Etendeka Mountains. After a well-filled day of exploring and wildlife watching, guests can relax and enjoy a meal at the communal tented dining area. A swimming pool offers a refreshing refuge during hot afternoons. At night, the almost permanently clear skies put up a spectacularly starry show—star gazing in Namibia is among the best in the entire world.

Bram Reusen

Author: Bram Reusen


Bram Reusen is fluent in both English & Dutch, and his writings include news articles, equipment manuals, and more.

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