Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, along the southwest shores of the African continent, gets it names from the skeletal hulks of both animal and machine that wash up on its sun-blasted sands. First, it was called that because of the bones from whales and seals that lined the beach. In recent centuries, it’s been the rotting carcasses of ships, wrecked in the fierce storms of the southern Atlantic.

Those shipwrecks are the inspiration behind these dwellings called, appropriately, the Shipwreck Lodge. They’re at the mouth of the Hoarusib River, where hyenas, elephants, and giraffe wander the sands. Each cabin is meant to resemble a ship, with broken sections of hull pointing to the sky like busted ribcages. There is a lounge, a small restaurant, and miles around of nothing but golden hills of shining dunes. Well, and the giraffes.

If you were to book a stay there, you’d have the chance to take an offroad excursion deep into the Hoarusib’s dry beds, or visit nearby seal colonies, inspect wrecked ships, poke around an abandoned diamond mine. There are terrific waves in the area, though most are for experienced surfers only, and the seal bones on the beach mean there are predators in the surf. No matter. The views from the cabins appear heavenly, there is plenty of tea, and the star viewing is another kind of diamond mining.


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