The idea to create NamibRand Nature Reserve was born from a dream to extend the frontiers of the Namib Desert. A number of adjoining former sheep farms situated on the edge of the Namib were rendered fenceless and allowed to rehabilitate to establish what is today one of Southern Africa’s largest private conservation areas. Game can once again roam freely through a large section of its original habitat. Comprising almost 180 000 hectares, the reserve shares a common border of some 100 kilometres with the Namib-Naukluft Park in the west and is protected by the Nubib Mountains in the east.
The visitor to NamibRand will agree that the reserve, which is located just south of Sossusvlei, is synonymous with some of Africa’s most breathtaking locations. The particular attraction of NamibRand is the diversity of desert landscapes. Expansive sand and gravel plains interspersed by vast stretches of golden grass savannah alternate with majestic mountain ranges. Encroaching from the west are tongues of dunes with colours ranging from yellow-gold and ochre to rose, russet and deep brick-red, paling and deepening as the day wanes.
Well-known travel writer Amy Schoeman describes it as follows: “Imagine the flamboyant magnificence of Sossusvlei, the mystique and subtle beauty of the Skeleton Coast and the legendary red sands of the Kalahari synthesised into one multi-facetted desert reserve, and you have NamibRand. Add to it inselbergs that look like beehives dripping with chocolate sauce, vast fields of the enigmatic fairy circles, an intriguing history and a species-rich flora and fauna – the latter including Namibia’s only true endemic, the dune lark – and you might have an inkling of the special qualities that make this reserve so unusual.” (Extract from an article published in Travel Africa Magazine, London, issue 23, 2003)
Game species found in the reserve include gemsbok, mountain and plains zebra, springbok, red hartebeest, giraffe, bat-eared fox, spotted hyaena, Cape fox and African wild cat. The rocky areas are inhabited by kudu, klipspringer, baboon and leopard, while the dunes harbour a rich and diverse micro-fauna. Over a hundred species of birds have been recorded at NamibRand.
Wolwedans, situated in the heart of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, comprises a selection of unique desert camps. Located amidst red dunes in a vast and eternal landscape, Wolwedans provides the base from which you will embark on your discovery of the magical surroundings. Depending on your preferred level of comfort, you have a choice between Dune Camp, the more elaborate Dunes Lodge, the exclusive and spacious Mountain View Suite and Wolwedans Private Camp, designed specifically for one exclusive party of guests. The newest addition to this portfolio is Wolwedans Boulders, an eight-bedded satellite camp.
No matter which camp you visit, the excellent cuisine created by our renowned desert chefs and the warmth and personal attention provided by the Wolwedans team are the same. Wolwedans embraces the philosophy of caring for both guests and nature in the same loving spirit. Your knowledgeable personal guide will introduce you to the many wonders of the desert habitat, either on foot, in an open safari vehicle or by hot-air balloon.
Whether you experience the unparalleled beauty of Wolwedans on a scenic drive or during a walk with one of our resident field guides, or are dazzled by the ever-changing colours of the landscape while enjoying your sundowner, you will find that the desert holds many surprises for you.
It is highly recommended that you stay at Wolwedans for at least three days, so that you can enjoy the activities to their full advantage, and still be able to relax. It is a commonly shared feeling that the desert lends itself to an expansion of the soul, thus you should afford yourself time to absorb the breathtaking views from the solitude of your tent or chalet.
Wolwedans can be integrated into any Namibian tour, regardless of whether you are a self-drive traveller or join a fly-in safari. Whatever the case, ending your holiday at NamibRand is highly recommended. Here you can spend three memorable nights in paradise before returning to your possibly hectic day-to-day existence back home.
Wolwedans can be reached with a normal saloon car (for instance, a Golf or Microbus). Driving time from either Windhoek, Lüderitz, the Fish-River Canyon or Swakopmund is about five to six hours. Flying the same routes takes about one hour. Come and visit Wolwedans to share a magnificent way of life with us, and our dream of conserving the nature we live in.
Activities at Wolwedans are many and varied. Accompanied by experienced guides, visitors are introduced to the many facets of NamibRand Nature Reserve’s desert habitat with its diverse fauna and flora – on foot, by car, or from a hot-air balloon. Our interpretive scenic drives in open Land Rovers or the walks with resident field guides, reveal the wonders of the desert – as do picnics in the wild, sundowners on the dunes and dinners by candlelight.
The traditional programme, providing you stay for two nights – which is earnestly recommended (if possible you should stay for three) – would entail an afternoon drive on the day of arrival, followed by a full-day safari. A highlight at NamibRand is early hot-air balloon excursions, starting at Kwessiegat, situated about 30 km north of Wolwedans.
This text was originally published in the June / July 2007 Travel News Namibia publication