The Extraordinary Lions of the Skeleton Coast in the Namib Desert


Ilana Stein


There is a small, unusual population of lions that has adapted to survive in the arid conditions of the northern Namib Desert. Known as “desert lions”, it is our privilege and challenge to help them survive.





Thanks to our presence in the Skeleton Coast area for over 20 years, and our partnership with the communities that live here, both lion numbers and people have benefited from tourism. But with increasing lion numbers comes the challenge of increased human-lion conflict.





Our model of ecotourism has helped to find solutions to this: by partnering with the Desert Lion Project through our Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, we enable our guests to understand and appreciate the challenges faced by these unique cats, in the knowledge that their stay with us is helping to ensure their survival.







The camp lies in a broad valley looking down on the Hoanib River, its flowing rooftops and award-winning eco-friendly design seemingly part of the ancient landscape. Along with charismatic desert-adapted wildlife, from elephant, lion and giraffe to oryx and brown hyaena, there is the legendary Skeleton Coast, with its stark shores and seal colonies, to explore.



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Founded in 1998, this is a long-term study that aims to reduce conflicts, so as to protect the farmers and to preserve the unique population of desert-adapted lions of the Namib, thus striking a balance between conservation priorities and the needs of the people who share their land with wildlife.


Through Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and the Wilderness Trust we provide both financial and logistical support to this cause, supporting the inspirational work done by its founder, Dr Philip Stander.


Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp also supported the making of the Vanishing Kings documentaries, which brought the plight of this population to the world’s attention.

Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.