Review: The Pelican Point Lodge, Skeleton Coast, Walvis Bay, Namibia
In probably among the most unique hotel stays in the world, The Pelican Point Lighthouse is situated 32 kilometers out on a sand bar from Walvis Bay Namibia. A stay at this property offers a glimpse at Lighthouse Keeper life, in the midst of five star half board luxury, all while surrounded by wildlife and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates via Emirates First Class, South African Airways Business Class and Qatar Airlines Business Class
- American Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Los Angeles
- American Airlines AAdmirals Club: Los Angeles
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Los Angeles
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Los Angeles – Doha
- The Westin Hotel and Spa, Doha, Qatar
- Souq Wahif, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Doha – Johannesburg
- The Slow Lounge, O.R. Tambo Domestic, Johannesburg, South Africa
- British Airways Club Class: Johannesburg – Cape Town
- The Westin Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
- Winelands of Paarl, South Africa
- Shark Diving at Gaansbai, South Africa
- The Hermanus Coastal Walk, Hermanus, South Africa
- Returning to Stellenbosch & Franschoek, South Africa
- A Repeat Visit to the Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
- Air Namibia: Cape Town – Windhoek
- Overland Travel: Driving to the Desert; Windhoek – Sesriem
- The Sossus Dune Lodge, Sesriem, Namibia
- The Majestic Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Sesriem – Walvis Bay, Namibia
- The Pelican Point Lodge, Walvis Bay, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Walvis Bay – Spittskope – Windhoek, Namibia
- The Hilton Windhoek, Namibia
- Air Namibia Windhoek – Maun – Victoria Falls
- The Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Stopping Hippopotamus on a Zambezi River Cruise, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Feeling the Smoke that Thunders, a day at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- British Airways Club Business Class: Victoria Falls – Johannesburg
- The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class: Johannesburg – Mauritius
- The St Regis Mauritius, Le Morne, Mauritius
- Emirates First Class: Mauritius – Dubai
- The Grosvenor House, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- The Heat of the Desert at Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class Lounge Terminal “B” Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class: Dubai – Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines Board Room Lounge, Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Seattle
- Delta Sky Club Lounge Seattle South Terminal
- Delta Airlines First Class: Seattle – Vancouver
Review: The Pelican Point Lodge, Skeleton Coast, Walvis Bay, Namibia
“The Pelican Point Lighthouse has to rank in one of the most unique and special hotel stays of my life; surrounding by seal colonies, nature and an exceptionally isolated experience”
Booking The Pelican Point Lodge:
As I was looking for places to stay in Walvis Bay Namibia, I found the usual Protea (now under the Marriott group) branded hotels. Some of the properties looked to be inviting but didn’t look to be too out of the ordinary. During the research part, I happened to find the Pelican Point Lodge. The Pelican Point Lodge is situated next to an old lighthouse on the sand bar outside of Walvis Bay, Namibia. You actually get to sleep adjacent to the lighthouse in the middle of nowhere. OMG Wow – it looked like a unique experience and one look at these photographs and I was sold. The top photo is courtesy of their website. You need a 4 x 4 truck to get there as the property does not have any paved access roads as it is situated in the middle of a sandbar with the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the Walvis Bay Ocean on the other.
Getting to The Pelican Point Lighthouse:
As I had mentioned earlier, the Lighthouse is situated on the middle of a sandbar just outside of Namibia. It’s approximately 32 km from town so it is a fair distance to travel to get to the Lighthouse. We had printed off map instructions from the hotel website. The instructions at the time were okay but not super specific. If you’re following along this story, you may recall that we were self driving through Namibia in a rented Toyota Hilux Truck.
Once we had driven onto the sandbar, the instructions included such specifics such as “all roads lead to Pelican Point”. In practice, this was accurate. It was just a little tough to execute. We just took a right turn after the paved roads and started driving out to the end of the sandbar. As you can see from the photos, there is absolutely no reference point or markings to drive toward and we just aimed to stay on the tracked compacted sand routes.
The hotel recommended deflating air pressure in the tires to 2/3 of the recommended maximum, and using 4X4 (H4) to get to the property. I didn’t deflate the tires at the time as I was worried about sidewall tire damage as there wasn’t a gas station anywhere to be found near the access route. Of course, I also happened to forget to pack the tyre gauge from home that I had intended to bring along. I did switch into H4 as we moved forward onto the sand at the trail head.
It was a bit of a challenging drive to say the least. Using some past 4 X 4 driving experience around Fraser Island, Australia and many logging roads in the Pacific Northwest back home, I was following in the previous sand tracks of other trucks that had already compacted the dirt. It was different than Fraser Island as most of the driving that I had done on Fraser Island was on hard sand a low tide. It so happened on the day of our arrival that the tides were exceptionally high and, as a result, the recommended route was covered in sandy shallow tidal water. Thanks to some surfers who were out enjoying the sunset, we happened to spot a sandy bar that we could get out to the property. As a descriptor, the lighthouse is approximately 7 kilometers out on the sandbar so there is no easy visual reference to drive towards (you can’t see the lighthouse from the access point). We kept driving northwards and squinting toward the horizon in hopes of finding our destination. Eventually, we were able to spot in on the skyline.
As we tore into the area of the property (I was driving at 40-50 km/h not to get us stuck) we ran out of previously tracked road. It was then that we promptly got stuck in the sand immediately in front of the Pelican Point Lighthouse. It happened to be right at sunset, and the proprietor came out and helped me deflate the tires (about 60-90 seconds worth if you don’t have a gauge). Based on that simple trick, we were unstuck and were able to safely get into the property. We arrived to a very spectacular and special location in complete and total isolation. Hey – I’m stuck, just like that. At least there is a view of off shore drilling platforms.
We eventually got squared away and all parked. The stars were out twinkling, making for the location in the middle of nowhere being a very special experience.
As an aside note, the hotel also offers a transfer service. I didn’t explore this further due to my challenges getting in touch with the property through direct booking. However, I’d probably recommend using it next time since it’s a bit of a trek to get to the property and an adventure none the less.
The owners welcomed us and gave us a basic explanation of the features. They offered dinner available to us at any time between 6-10 PM. It was noteworthy that aside from us, there was only one other couple staying at the property, meaning that we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves aside from the staff.
The Room: The Lighthouse Suite
The staff unloaded our bags and escorted us to our room. There are only 10 rooms at the Pelican Point Lighthouse, making for an exclusive and intimate stay experience.
Our assigned room, “The Lighthouse Suite” was nicely and furnished in traditional contemporary furniture. It was unique to have these type of luxury in the middle of nowhere.
There was a small sitting space with two loungers where you could look out the window eastward towards the Coast.
I found the photography art in the room to be quite cool with images taken from the local area.
The Ensuite Bathroom offered a half open concept with the bedroom, with a double vanity sink.
In other comments about the service, the staff to guess ratio was high – I would have guessed there were about 7 of them to cater to the 4 of us guests. We were really well looked after during our stay.
There is a rock star penthouse suite that is available. It would be pretty awesome for a multi night stay. Here is a photo courtesy of the hotel website.
Food and Beverage on the Property:
After the drive and the un-sticking of the truck, I took a bit of a much needed decompression drink in the room, and then we headed upstairs to for dinner. The staff were ready to accommodate us at any time. I gave them a time frame, but they didn’t seem to need or ask for it.
The common space was very comfortable and nicely decorated. It had many spaces to relax and had a very inviting feel to it.
The restaurant and lounge area had gas fireplace accents, which made again for a comfortable environment given the isolated area outside.
We settled into the dining room to enjoy dinner. As there were only one other set of guests staying on our visit, it was a quiet and intimate dining experience.
The dinner offered a set menu of a three course meal. It started with Mussels in a Puff Pastry.
The main course was a tasty Beef Fillet, with mushroom sauce, blanched green beans, beet root and carrots.
We enjoyed this with a bottle of Fairview Pinotage, which was very enjoyable.
We closed out dinner with a Lemon Cheesecake with a kiwi fruit accent
Dinner was included in the half board rate, with drinks that were separate and chargeable. This is great as there are really no other options on the property and it’s not like you can zip into town for dinner.
Around the Property:
The Pelican Point Lighthouse by Moonlight:
After dinner, we went for a look outside to appreciate the sheer isolation that we were in. We could see the lights of Walvis Bay in the distance, along with some over water oil drilling tankers nearby. The sounds of crashing surf were all around. There was also a full moon out which illuminated the whole place.
It really was quite a surreal and unique experience staying out in this location miles from anywhere under the dark moonlight with waves crashing all around you.
We eventually tucked into bed at night to the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore only a few meters from the west side of the lighthouse. They were similar in size to the waves that you’d get on the wild coast of the ocean – large magnificent and intense.
The Next Morning: Breakfast
The next morning, we were awoken by the day light and the sounds of the crashing waves. Looking out the window, it was super foggy in the morning as it appeared to have obscured the whole peninsula.
We headed upstairs to the Great Room, which had a different feel to it by day time. The windows made the space very open and airy. It was a bright start to the day.
We took in some breakfast upstairs, where there were cold offerings, in addition to hot cooked to order dishes. I went with the simple eggs and bacon offering, with some Nespresso.
The Pelican Point Lighthouse by Daylight:
After breakfast, the fog lifted quite a bit and we were able to get a closer look at this unique property. We bundled up in jackets and took a walk on the sand point beaches that surround the lighthouse. We were instantly able to see the lighthouse which is immediately next to the hotel.
We checked out the front door of the lighthouse, which has been in place since 1915.
One of the attractions of Pelican Point isn’t pelicans or penguin’s but rather a seal colony that is near the Pelican Point lighthouse. Shortly after breakfast, we went for a walk to the nearby seal colony. The sea colonies have taken up home on the Pelican Point for a few years now. The fisherman reportedly aren’t too keen on it as they get caught in the nets / lines and destroy the local fish populations. It was pretty amazing to see as there were literally thousands of them.
The seals didn’t like us getting too close to them, or getting in between them and the water. Our hotel proprietor indicated that several tourists or visitors had picked up baby seals for photographs, causing the adult seals to stampede and smother other baby seals due to their fright of humans. She had to tell these unfortunate stories when guests asked her why there were dead baby seals found on the beach. We didn’t happen to see any, thankfully.
Eventually, our presence got to be too much for them to take… even with a 300 mm camera lens. They started to make their way into the ocean for safety. Once one started the movement, they all followed.
We also found a strange fox. It was strange in the fact that he, or she, was in the middle of nowhere in this desolate environment.
The Bottom Line on the Pelican Point Lodge:
Wow – it’s tough to describe or summarize such a unique hotel stay that is unlike any others. The Pelican Point was such a different and unusual stay experience, it’s hard to know where to begin.
The sheer isolate nature of the place made for a very private experience. Having almost an entire building to yourselves without any others made every moment a private one. When you walk out the front door and happen to be on the beach, in every direction, surrounding by seals yowling was certainly an unusual stay experience indeed. It took a little extra effort to get to, and a few extra wrinkles on the way in (use the car transfer if you have any hesitation), but was most certainly a stay I will remember for the rest of my life. The hotel was very accommodating and the service levels were excellent.
The only way I would have made the stay better was by staying an additional night (making it a two night stay) so that I could have enjoyed more time out on the sand spit. I probably would have also elected to take the hotel transfer next time as it was a bit of a white knuckle experience with the self guided transfer.