After an environmentally-sensitive rebuild, Wilderness Safaris’ has announced the opening of Serra Cafema Camp, located on the banks of the Kunene River in Hartmann’s Valley in Namibia’s north-west. The opening of the camp was scheduled for June, however was postponed due to a series of floods that affected the camp.
As part of a joint venture between Wilderness Safaris and the 300 000-hectare Marienfluss Conservancy – owned primarily by the Himba people who are amongst the last semi-nomadic people on the planet – Serra Cafema offers a number of life-changing journeys to this desert location, ensuring the ongoing biodiversity protection of the area, whilst positively impacting the local community members of the conservancy.
“It’s not just about luxurious accommodation and superlative local hospitality – that’s a given; it’s about exploring and conserving the vast, wild space of the Kunene area, gaining insight into the ancient, yet evolving culture of the Himba people, and looking inward, where guests are given the chance to reconnect with the earth and themselves. These elements define the luxury of space and the value of unique experiences”, said Alexandra Margull, Wilderness Safaris Namibia MD.
The new Serra Cafema is 100% solar powered, in line with Wilderness Safaris’ commitment to operating with as light an eco-footprint as possible. Natural materials that reflect the surrounding landscape have been used throughout the camp, with stone sourced from the adjacent valley used for the feature walls and defining structures.
Each of the eight luxuriously-spaced guest rooms overlook the Kunene River and mountains of Angola beyond. All rooms include a sunken seating area, an extra-large bed with a canopy and netting, indoor and outdoor showers, as well as a large private deck for private dining. The main area overlooks the river and has a lower-level oval seated area, ideal for night-time star gazing. Further celebrating local culture, the conceptual organisation of the main area emulates the structure of a Himba village. The buildings are arranged to connect to one another via different outdoor spaces, ensuring pockets of privacy within a larger cohesive whole. This arrangement allowed for the existing ana trees to be reserved and utilised as necessary shade.
Details within the camp are also uniquely Namibian. The servers and tables for the dining area were built by young craftsmen and women at TABLED; a social enterprise that provides orphans possibilities for the future by involving them in crafting designer furniture. In keeping with the Himba tradition of wearing and using leather, Wilderness commissioned Myeisha, a Windhoek-based company that provides training and employment for previously-unskilled local labourers, to produce ochre-coloured leather menu, wine and room folders. Another local company, Mbiri, has, in partnership with a group of Himba women, developed a range of products based on the tradition of sustainably harvesting the resin from the Omumbiri tree and using it as perfume. From their harvester-owned processing facility in north-western Namibia, Mbiri has developed its first bathroom range which will be launched and used exclusively at Serra Cafema.
On the camp’s completion, all unused building materials were donated to the Marienfluss Conservancy to build a shelter at the local school.