Sossus Dune Lodge is the only lodge inside the Namib Naukluft NP...
Sossus Dune Lodge: Our full report
Sossus Dune Lodge was the first upmarket lodge to be owned and built by the Namibian government's parastatal company NWR (Namibia Wildlife Resorts). The lodge is unique because it is the first, and currently only, lodge inside the Namib-Naukluft National Park, allowing its guests to access the dunes at Sossusvlei before the park gates open in the morning, and after they have closed in the evening, therefore beating the crowds. It opened in 2007, amidst many questions about the propriety of building within the national park at all.
Sossus Dune Lodge stands just 4km from the Sesriem gate, at the base of a mountain, and we first visited the lodge before it opened, in 2007. Most recently one of our team stayed here in March 2010 – and to date it seems to be getting excellent reports from our travellers.
Sossus Dune Lodge has a total of 25 chalets: 13 with views of the dunes, and 12 looking towards mountains and canyons. All are linked by raised wooden walkways which at night are lit by electric lights, while lanterns illuminate the main lodge. (Read more about a chalet at Sossus Dune Lodge…)
All chalets are basically the same, although the last on either side of the main lodge is a 'honeymoon suite'. Each of these is very similar to the normal chalets, with the addition of a 'sala' – a small open-air lounge with a bed, and a couch instead of chairs. A small bottle of champagne, a snack platter, and a fruit basket will be waiting for you in the chalet, and there's also a stocked minibar that is included in the cost.
The open-plan central areas of Sossus Dune Lodge stand on raised wooden decking (which is fairly wheelchair friendly). These include a big, restaurant and separate lounge and bar – all with large sliding doors letting in plenty of light. Outside is a swimming pool with a few loungers under a shady canopy. A curio shop and bigger reception area are planned for the future. Note that the main area can be quite noisy compared with the normal silence of the desert. The lodge is located just off the road, and so during the day passing cars can be heard. That said, guests' cars are parked in a shaded parking area and guests are transferred to and from the lodge in electric golf carts.
Activities at Sossus Dune Lodge focus on trips to Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon. Guests can drive themselves to Sossusvlei as long as they return by one hour after sunset, and it is possible to walk to Sesriem Canyon from the lodge. There is an area in front of the dune-facing chalets where springbok gather, and sometimes the jackals come out when they smell the dinner cooking.
In short... Sossus Dune Lodge has a superb location, and is the only lodge inside the Namib-Naukluft Park. This makes it ideal for those who want to beat the crowds to Sossusvlei, or stay late to photograph the sunset.
Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights
Directions: Sossus Dune Lodge is about five hours' drive from Windhoek. To reach it, pass through the Sesriem Gate into the Namib-Naukluft National Park and turn left, towards Sesriem Canyon. Sossus Dune Lodge is about 4km from the gate, inside the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
Owner: Namibia Wildlife Resorts
Staff: Camp/Lodge Manager: Jonathan Uiseb
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast is a fairly simple buffet, with cereal, yoghurt, fruit, bread, muffins and cold meats, jam and cheese. A hot option is available.
Dinner is a set menu with two choices of main course. On our recent visit in March 2010 we had tomato soup, chicken with couscous and lemon cheesecake. The food was good.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No drinks are included. Wine costs about N$40 and N$145 per bottle.
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome, and on our last visit there were lots of them!
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: Children should be under parental supervision at all times.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: There are no phones in the chalets. There is mobile reception at the lodge but it varies; in the dune-side chalets the signal is much weaker than in the chalets facing the canyon.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: The closest doctor or hospital is in Mariental but there is an airstrip at the lodge for emergencies. The lodge has a good first-aid kit.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: 24-hour security
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all the chalets and main areas.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available at an extra charge.
Money: Currency exchange not possible and travellers' cheques not accepted.
Accepted payment on location: Visa and MasterCard accepted with no additional surcharge.