At a time when the problem of overtourism is becoming alarmingly inescapable, it is a great pleasure to travel to a country like Namibia, with its vast empty landscapes and small scale lodges and camps. Nearly twice the size of California and with fewer than 3 million people, Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries on the planet. Here, well-managed tourism helps sustain its unique desert-adapted wildlife, including elephant, giraffe, lion and rhino.
On this return visit we were eager to try out two new upscale properties that have received numerous plaudits in the travel press. We were not disappointed. Hoanib Valley Camp is located in the remote region of Kaokoland, and its six striking and comfortable tents are surrounded by scenery of scarcely believable grandeur, ranging from shattered mountains of micaceous schist to sculptural sand-dune seas. In contrast, Shipwreck Lodge is set on a low dune overlooking the Atlantic breakers of the Skeleton Coast. The 10 remarkable villas are an architectural tour de force, with outward-leaning walls punctured by porthole-like windows and cradled by dramatic wooden ribs. At both camps, friendly and well-trained staff provided utterly memorable excursions.
Our trip to Africa also included a spell on the Zimbabwean bank of the Zambezi River, close to majestic Victoria Falls. Here, we were thrilled to discover a wonderful private island resort, located at the edge of the Zambezi National Park. Victoria Falls River Lodge Island Treehouses comprises just five villas, set on stilts, each with a riverfront terrace and plunge pool. Throughout our stay the food was exceptional, and the experience of dining on a deck beside the Zambezi was unforgettable. We also found time to take a delightful two-night cruise aboard the Zambezi Queen, a 14-cabin vessel that makes excursions along the Chobe River, which borders Botswana’s Chobe National Park.
In addition, this month we report on the elegant and historic cities of Charleston and Savannah, both of which have thriving economies, unique and dynamic restaurant scenes and an ever-growing constellation of museums and attractions. And in Charleston we found a fine hotel, The Spectator Hotel, which is an excellent choice for those who prefer an address with a distinctive contemporary style, rather than the carefully staged antebellum charm that provides the customary benchmark for the city’s hotel scene.