Desert Rhino Camp / Palmwag Lodge
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DESERT RHINO CAMP RATES: Desert Rhino Camp
PALMWAG LODGE RATES: Palmwag Lodge
DESERT RHINO CAMP / PALMWAG LODGE - DAMARALAND, NAMIBIA
Desert Rhino Camp and it's sister camp, Palmwag Lodge, lie amongst rolling, rocky hills with scattered euphorbia, ancient welwitschia plants, scrubby vegetation and isolated clumps of trees. Yet there is a tranquil, minimalist beauty and a surprising amount of life in this concession.
The camps are run in conjunction with Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), an organisation that has been has been singly responsible for helping to ensure that these rare, desert adapted black rhino survived the slaughter that went on throughout other parts of Africa in the '80s and '90s. Today this population of black rhino is growing in numbers and the area boasts the largest concentration of rhino anywhere on the planet outside of a national park. Community game scouts who were employed by the Trust to help with the patrolling and monitoring all these years are now seconded to the camp and are its trackers and guides. Guests gain an amazing insight into the ecology and conservation of this area, while at the same time a portion of guest revenue contributes to the Trust and its rhino conservation projects.
The area you will
traverse whilst tracking Black Rhino and other wildlife
is massive, over 450,000 hectares.
There are two separate camps available in this concession: Desert Rhino Camp (the more upscale) and Palmwag Lodge (part of Wilderness Safaris' Safari & Adventure Co. brand of classic camps).
Desert Rhino Camp For images of Desert Rhino Camp, click Desert Rhino
Desert Rhino Camp, set in a wide valley sometimes flush with grass, has eight large Meru-style tents with an en-suite bathroom comprising hand basin, flush toilet and a classic bucket shower that is filled with hot water whenever needed. A tented dining and living area offers uninterrupted views of the desert and mountains, while the extraordinary welwitschia plants dot the plain in front of camp.
Desert Rhino Camp has 8 tents comprising of:
• 6 x twin tents.
• 2 x honeymoon tents.
• 1 x twin guides tent (not the same standard as a guest tent).
• This camp can accommodate 16 guests.
Desert Rhino Tent details:
• En-suite bathrooms with classic bucket shower (heated water).
• Meru tents.
• Comfortably appointed tents.
• Safe in each tent.
Palmwag Lodge For images of Palmwag Lodge, click Palmwag Lodge
Palmwag Lodge, one of Namibia's oldest and most popular tourist destinations, is situated on the banks of the dry Uniab River and offers multiple accommodation options, from chalets to canvas-style tents, all decorated in an individual, tasteful style. A swimming pool, restaurant and cosy pool bar make this an ideal base for exploring the vast 450 000-hectare Palmwag Concession and its surprising array of wildlife in Namibia's dramatic north-west region.
Palmwag Lodge accommodation options:
• 13 x 2-bed thatched bungalows.
• 2 x 4-bed family units.
• 4 x 2-bed luxury en-suite tents.
• 1 x double honeymoon tent.
• 9 campsites.
Bungalow details: Thatched; each tastefully furnished tent has its own en-suite bathroom facilities. Soap, shampoo and insect repellent are supplied.
Family Unit details: Two cottages/family units which can accommodate four guests in each unit. One unit with an en-suite room with a double bed and two single beds. Another unit comprises one double-bedded en-suite room, with an extra bedroom containing two single beds.
Tent details: Canvas-style tents on wooden platforms which allow for uninterrupted scenic view. Each tastefully furnished tent has its own en-suite bathroom facilities. Soap, shampoo and insect repellent are supplied in each tent.
Pool Bar & Campsites: A la carte restaurant, Bar, Thatched lapa, Pool, Pool bar which is open daily from 07h00 until 22h00. 9 x campsites with fire place and washing-up facilities, some with own toilet and shower.
Lodge: Thatched restaurant, open for breakfast and dinner. Three-course dinners, lunches on own account at pool bar.
Tents: Set further away, the tents overlook the scenic Uniab River.
As a result of severe water shortage in the area, there is regrettably no laundry service at either Palmwag Lodge nor Desert Rhino Camp.
Some of the camp activities on offer
are Rhino tracking on foot or by vehicle, night drives and full day
outings (with a picnic
lunch) on the concession.
In the Palmwag Concession, Wilderness Safaris works closely with Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), a highly respected NGO almost single-handedly responsible for the preservation of desert-adapted black rhino in the area. SRT focuses on the protection, monitoring and understanding of the local black rhino population and is funded by donations and partnerships. About 30 trackers, employed for the local community, monitor over 100 desert-adapted black rhino.
As the rhino numbers in the area shrank to near extinction, SRT was formed to stop the indiscriminate hunting that was taking place here. Today this programme is a major success and is responsible for the wellbeing of a very unique sub-species of black rhino, differing from other populations found in the sub-region. Since the founding of the Save the Rhino Trust, poaching has drastically declined and the rhino population has more than doubled. Ironically, previously convicted poachers were employed by the Save the Rhino Trust as guards - since they had extensive knowledge of the habits of rhino!
Guests at Desert Rhino Camp and Palmwag Lodge have the opportunity (included at Desert Rhino, but extra cost at Palmwag Lodge) to join SRT members on daily rhino patrols and monitoring thus gaining an deeper insight into the ecology and conservation of this area and its precious black rhino population. The revenues generated by this contribute to the Trust and its ongoing rhino monitoring and conservation projects. It is exciting that SRT is enthusiastically supported by the local community and neighbouring farms to the concession.
This partnership with SRT, as well as with Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), has meant that the black rhino population in this area is now able to sustain relocations of founder individuals to surrounding areas on communal land of Kaokoveld, thereby enhancing the population growth of the species
more on tracking Black Rhinos with 'Save the Rhino Trust', click Save
the Rhino Trust
The 450 000-hectare Palmwag Conservancy supports the largest free-roaming population of desert-adapted black rhino in Africa as well as a healthy number of desert-adapted elephants.
The concession's freshwater springs support healthy populations of other arid-adapted wildlife including good numbers of Hartman's mountain zebra, southern giraffe, gemsbok (oryx), springbok, greater kudu, dwarf antelope such as steenbok and klipspringer, scrub hare, comical meerkats (suricates), inquisitive ground squirrels, black-backed jackal and small spotted genet. Palmwag holds the core of the rarely seen desert-adapted lion population of north-west Namibia. Cheetah and leopard also sometimes seen in this area.
The Etendeka Mountains dominate the scenery - impressive flat-topped outcrops coloured ochre-brown. The terrain is rocky but often covered with fine golden grasses and interspersed with large Euphorbia damarana bushes, which are endemic to the area. Other fascinating plants include the odd-shaped bottle tree, shepherd's trees, ancient leadwoods, salvadora bushes and unique welwitschias. Dry river-courses cut through the landscape and occasionally fill with water.
Birding enthusiasts are sure to welcome the diverse avifauna in this area. Raptors include Greater Kestrel, Lanner Falcon and Booted Eagles, spotted in the sky or perching on a shepherd's tree. Tawny Eagles move into the area after rain. In the camp area and on drives, there are Namaqua Sandgrouse, Burchell's Courser, the colourful Bokmakierie, Rock Martin, Cape Sparrow, several lark species such as Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Dusky Sunbird, Tractrac Chat, Pale-winged Starling, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Red-eyed Bulbul, Scaly-feathered Finch, Monteiro's Hornbill and White-backed Mousebird. Other regular endemics include Rüppell's Korhaan and Benguela Long-billed Lark. The rare Orange River Francolin is also a wonderful sighting.
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