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 Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR). Opened in 2007, amidst many questions about the propriety of building within the national park, it was the first, and remains the only lodge inside the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Unlike other visitors to the park, guests at Sossus Dune Lodge may access the dunes at Sossusvlei before the park gates open in the morning, and after they have closed in the evening.
Sossus Dune Lodge stands at the base of a mountain, just 4km from the Sesriem gate into the national park. Of its 25 chalets, built in two wings, 13 have views of the dunes, and 12 look towards mountains and canyons. While this isn't a wildlife destination, there is a waterhole in front of the dune-facing chalets where you might see springbok, oryx and ostrich, and sometimes jackals are drawn to the lodge by the smell of dinner cooking.
Each spacious chalet has orange/yellow canvas walls around a wooden frame, topped by a thatched roof. These are very loosely modelled on the style of traditional Ovambo homes, as found in the northern parts of Namibia. A large veranda comes with two chairs and a table - although it's often too hot to sit outside! Making up for it with wonderful views of the surrounding desert is floor-to-ceiling glass, supported by wooden frames, at the front of each chalet.
Inside, leather and dark-wood furniture dominate, with a sofa and some artistically designed suede loungers that can be taken outside. It's all quite fun and modern with suede also being utilised to cover the bed heads and hardened eland skin forming interesting lampshades. There is a minibar with complimentary water and a tea/coffee station, including ground coffee and a small cafetière. The large en-suite bathrooms have open showers, separate toilets, beautiful twin basins, nice big towels, dressing gowns and great views.
The chalets are cooled in summer by free-standing fans, aided by upper windows that open from the bottom outwards, but on our last visit in October 2016 we were told that air conditioning is planned for the future.
The chalets on the end of each wing are designated as honeymoon suites. These are very similar to the normal chalets, but each also boasts a 'sala' - a small open-air lounge with a swinging bed, as well as a sofa outside instead of chairs. A small bottle of champagne, a snack platter, and a fruit basket will be waiting for you, and a stocked minibar is included.
At the time of our most recent visit, Sossus Dune Lodge was having some problems with a local troop of baboons, particularly around the chalets furthest from the main hub. It was obvious where the baboons had been getting through the canvas walls and apparently they had been raiding the minibars. To counter this, we were told that there are plans to clad the canvas walls to stop the baboons getting through and to cover the thatched roofs in wire. While guests should always make sure to lock their chalets and to keep their luggage closed, it is obviously most important not to leave any food or drink around.
Guests should also note that sewage facilities at the lodge are being updated in 2017, and this involves digging in front of the tents. In order to minimise disturbance to guests, the work is taking place between 7.00am and 2.00pm, but it is anticipated that it will continue until April 2017.
All the chalets are linked to the main hub of the lodge by raised wooden walkways, which are lit at night by electric lights. The open-plan main area, however, is illuminated by lanterns. Raised on wooden decking, this incorporates a big restaurant and a separate lounge and bar - all with large sliding doors letting in plenty of light. Outside is an impressive swimming pool built into the rocky hillside, complete with a few loungers under a shady canopy.
In contrast with the natural silence of the desert, the main area at Sossus Dune Lodge can be quite noisy as it is set just off the road, within earshot of passing cars. 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 guided trips to Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon. Alternatively, guests may drive themselves to Sossusvlei one hour before sunrise, and return up to one hour after sunset. It is also possible to walk to Sesriem Canyon from the lodge.
Our viewAs the only lodge inside the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossus Dune Lodge has a superb location. This makes it ideal for those who want to beat the crowds to Sossusvlei, or stay late to photograph the sunset. As a result, it is very popular, so be sure to plan you trip well in advance if you want to stay here.
Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights
Directions: Sossus Dune Lodge is about five hours' drive from Windhoek.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Namibia Wildlife Resorts
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
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. If or those on a guided morning trip to Sossusvlei, tea, coffee and muffins are served before departing and then a small buffet is provided at the dunes. A breakfast box is also available for those exploring the dunes on their own.
Dinner is a set three-course menu with two choices of main course. While we didn't stay overnight on our last visit, on a previous occasion we were served tomato soup, chicken with couscous, and a lemon cheesecake. The food on that occasion was good.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £15-20
Drinks included: No drinks are included.
Further dining info: None
Photography holidays: The dunes at Sossusvlei are perhaps Namibia's most iconic and most photographed attraction. Sossus Dune Lodge is the only lodge within the Namib-Naukluft National Park and the only one whose guests are allowed access outside the usual opening times, making it an ideal stop for keen photographers in Namibia.See more ideas for Photography holidays in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: None
Equipment: The sofas in the chalets convert to small single beds for younger children, and an additional single bed can be added for a family of four. For babies and infants, cots are available on request.
Generally recommended for children: Yes, for older children, but see 'Notes' below.
Notes: The pool is unfenced and unguarded and the walkways are raised, so children should be supervised at all times.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: There are powerpoints in the chalets, but guests should bring their own adaptors.
Communications: There are no phones in the chalets. There is cellphone reception at the lodge but it varies; in the dune-side chalets the signal is much weaker than in the chalets facing the canyon. There is currently no WiFi.
TV & radio: There is a TV in the bar.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: All the bathrooms have flushing toilets and plumbed-in showers.
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 evacuation to Windhoek in case of emergency. The lodge has a good first-aid kit.
Dangerous animals: Moderate 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 is not possible.
Accepted payment on location: Cash in Namibian dollars and South African rand are accepted, along with Visa and Mastercard at no additional charge. Travellers' cheques are not accepted.