Reviews of Kulala Desert Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A truly magical place to stay over .
Until now we had been very pleased with every location we had stayed at. Arriving at Kulala with its marvellous welcome and really personal attention elevated our experience to a new level.
The Staff at this location are absolutely superb. The lodge is stunning. The entertainment at dinner time by the staff was first class.
This was our first taste of what was to become one of several fantastic locations to stay over.
Kulala Desert Lodge review
Found plenty of ants on one single bed one night so we spread lots of anti-insect around the bed and two squeezed in another single bed.
There are tea bags, coffee in the room but no hot bottle of water, inconvenient!
The view is amazing a few miles away from the red dunes. Having sun set on the terrace is a romantic experience.
Diner at the terrace is also a highlight
The rooms are great and comfortable.
The food is not amazing, somehow always too salty or too sweet but maybe it's because I'm French.
We did the morning tour to see the dunes, it's nice not to have to drive this early in the morning. But the guide doesn't add much.
We also did some cart and that was great !!
An overall very good experience.
The place was wonderful but wicked hot. Given the heat, I am amazed that all that running and managing the camp gets done. Kudos to the team! I tried to sleep under the stars the last night but was not possible: too many buzzing mosquitos and it got really cold around 3AM, so I went back to my bed.
This was the only place ever in my life where I have seen such a beautiful star-covered sky. Maybe this activity does not get enough attention or is not promoted by the staff enough. It's a unique asset of the place and it could be better framed. The mattress was not comfortable at all and was too narrow, the cover was not sufficient in the end b/c it became too cold. Everything else was great.
Terrific choice for Sossusvlei
We had a wonderful stay at Kulala Desert Lodge. Had wanted to stay inside the park boundaries but due to late booking, had to make alternate arrangements so we went to Kulala with some reservations. In fact, it turned out to be a great choice (and quite likely as good or better than the onsite facility). The staff was terrific - uniformly pleasant and responsive. Despite the chill, we just loved sleeping on the roof - such a peaceful and beautiful experience.
We had a terrific guide both into the dunes and later to Sesreim. You do have to recognize and accept that, despite the "private gate", you will not get to the dunes (and certainly not the main ones) by sunrise, given the time the gates open and the distance to cover. Also, like most others, our fixation on getting to see Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei made us impatient with a gradual drive with stops along the way.
We had accepted these realities with regret but, in fact, they turned out to be non-issues as far as we were concerned. The drive, in fact, was stunningly beautiful from the beginning, with the gradual light changes taking your breath away. And the guide was very informative and clearly passionate about the geological and living environment. [We spent quite a bit of time finding and watching a "dancing white spider".] As per the Rolling Stones: "you don't always get what you want....but, if you try real hard, you get what you need"!
We also were lucky that there was only one other couple along for both tours, which definitely enhanced the experience. Again, the guide showed a great deal of sensitivity in encouraging and enabling one of the participants to do more than she thought she could do (especially in Sesriem), which kept her from being deprived of an experience she wanted to have.
So off to the desert - what a treat. Atmospheric setting - not quite at the base of the dunes but out in the desert, overlooking a river bed and water hole with shimmering red dunes behind. Sleeping on the roof was a highlight - as was the evening talk on the stars - which have to be seen to be believed.
Into the dunes in the morning - another early start - weird, wonderful, windy! The sand and dust blowing around only added to the mystery. Dead Vlei was amazing - the sand road further in was like driving through fog.
Don't miss the cakes at afternoon tea....
A wonderful lodge in a stunning location
It was 39 degrees in the shade when arrived so be prepared for heat. A superb lodge and very eco friendly.
Petronella and the staff were first class and thanks to the mechanics for changing a tyre for me.
The facilities were excellent and the accommodation stunning but too cold to sleep on the roof.
We did an evening Game Drive and Sundowner, a trip to Sossusvlei and a trip to Sesriem Canyon. Our guide Alfred was superb and extremely knowledgeable.
Kulala Desert Lodge review
We had a great time here and loved the location. We had a very nice tent off at the far end so we could pretend we were all alone with the scenery.
Our guide on the Sossusvlei trip was really good. Otherwise, though, service was friendly but slightly off. We never really understood what the activity options were. Perhaps there should be a schedule posted? Nor could we determine the cost of our drinks (we were on a half board tariff) until we checked out.
Wonderful location.... And even better staff
We had two nights at Kulala. The rooms are great, the food excellent and the pool, view etc all wonderful.
All of this was very well supported by extremely friendly and helpful staff - particularly Petronella who was very supportive over an issue we had with our hire car including taking multiple phone calls and staying up until late one night with us whilst we were waiting for a replacement to be delivered despite the fact that she needed to be up again for 6am managing guest check outs the next morning.
Our evening nature drive and morning drive to the sand dunes were also excellent, with dead vlei and 'big daddy' being everything we had hoped.
Good Lodge for the Namib Desert
The lodge has it's own gate into the Namib Desert National Park, allowing you to enter straight from there at sunrise, which is useful compared to all other lodges that are outside the park (there is only one that is inside the park at the moment).
The little chalet rooms have recently been extended and are very cute, all offering a great view of the dunes in the distance. They also have a flat roof space, where you can request a mattress to be laid out and sleep literally under the stars - of which there are so many visible, it's incredible! This aspect of the lodge is really cool!
We did the Namib Desert tour, but really disappointed at our guide: we left 25minutes and stopped at a non-spectacular point (Dune 1) to view sunrise and a talk about the wildlife, when you should actually make sure to get to the photogenic dunes as quickly as possible to view the amazing color changes there at sunrise. The guide didn't understand this - he didn't even stop at more interesting dunes on the way to Sossusvlei. Given the namib desert and deadvlei were the main reason we went to Namibia, this was quite a disappointment. We even sat down with the tour guide the night before and stated that we wanted to leave as early as possible and he confirmed departure times with us. We then ended up leaving 25 minutes later than we should have - partly because we were waiting for other guests - something I have no understanding for when it's meant to be a sunrise experience.
In addition, there was a school class of 35 staying at the lodge while we were there, which we were surprised the lodge or Expert Afria (if known) didn't tell us in advance as they knew we were celebrating our honeymoon. Knowing this we might have opted to upgrade to Little Kuala - or as a gesture the lodge could have upgraded us when they saw our disappointment.
The staff were friendly, but not that attentive. E.g.-
1) they set out a twin mattress on our honeymoon
2) the same waitresses would need reminding about our dietary requirements even after serving us every meal.
3) needing to repeatedly remind staff to put out the mattresses in the evening.
However, the Food & Beverage Manager Brodwin really made our stay! He went extremely out of his way to cater for our dietary requirements - something none of the other lodges had done to this extent and was really touching!
Having said all this - the own gate really does make a difference (with the right guide) if you don't want to stay in the government run lodge within the park. So staying at one of the two Kuala lodges is definitely recommended - we will probably opt for the more luxurious little kuala next time.