Reviews of Sossus Dune Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Friendly and informal - our type of place
We really enjoyed it here; the staff were very friendly and welcoming and the situation inside the park is a big bonus as it allows you down to the dunes either early or late (we did an afternoon / evening trip to Dead Vlei and had the whole place to ourselves, which was just fabulous, and the light for photography is as good at sunset as at sunrise). Trip cost from the lodge to Sossussvlei is very good value given the cost of the shuttle transfer if you don't do the last 5km by your own 4WD (or on foot!)
We liked the hot water bottles - it was very windy when we were there and the rondavels certainly sounded like they were being blown about, but remained intact.
If there was anything to suggest as an improvement, it would be to provide a little bit more information in the rooms about what was available in the way of trips. Food was generally good but on occasion seemed to be trying slightly too hard.
Excellent location at Sossus Dune Lodge
Whole lodge designed for summer heat - our winter visit meant that bar and rooms were very cold and draughty. Restaurant was heated by gas burners. Outside temperature was -5. However, were given hot water bottles and extra blankets upon request. 70km/h winds meant ballooning trip was cancelled.
Although rooms were very comfortable and roomy, felt this lodge lacked personality and character. Long walk from central facilities to room. Excellent location.
Sossus Dune Lodge review
Sossus Dune Lodge is ideal for photograpers wishing to visit the dunes at sunrise and sunset. We were able to use their private entrance to the Park which allowed us to gain access long before the public gates opened. As we had a 4x4 we were able to drive ourselves beyond the end of the tarmac road to Sossusvlei, this would not have been possible in an ordinary vehicle. Guides were available at the lodge to take us in but we preferred to be independent.
The accommodation at the camp was very spacious and of a high standard, higher than many of the other lodges we stayed in. There were only a few other guests here so we enjoyed a la carte meals rather than the usual buffet, and the undivided attention of the staff. The Lodge is still relatively new and we felt that the staff were trying very hard to reach the standards set in privately run lodges.
We had an amazing balloon ride across the dunes at sunrise, well worth getting up early for. The staff were very helpful and drove us to the Park gates where we were met by the balloon operators. The Camp is however quite a distance from where the balloons normally take off and other lodges in the vicinity would be more convenient in this respect. Our primary aim however was to take early morning and late afternoon photos of the dunes so this lodge suited us perfectly.
Sossus Dune Lodge review
We were the only guest there which was strange. But this is a high quality establishment offering very good service. Built in a great location at the base of a hill, with extensive views, the units are luxurious by my standards. The welcome was warm and genuine and we had immediate help with a punctured tyre.
The manager ate with us one evening and proved a courteous and interesting host. Dining was enjoyable. They had a good swimming pool warm enough to be enjoyed - at least by my grandson. NWR are to be commended on this development.
Great views at Sossus Dune
Sossus Dune is part of NWR and does feel a bit more "National Park" rather than privately run establishment.
Upon arrival, our host talked to us about facilities and activities on offer. It would have been helpful to have had this in writing to refer to later - as at the end of a long drive, you don't always take everything in.
All the staff were friendly and helpful, but our exchanges with them felt a bit stiff and formal, as if they weren't really relaxed in the service they were providing. The notable exception was when the staff came into the restaurant on our first evening to sing a couple of songs. Then they seemed to have a great time!
The room was great, with lots of space and places to put things, plenty of power sockets and cellphone coverage. However, neither of the two doors to the room worked smoothly - both jammed on the wooden floor (although one was eased during our stay) and using the lock was a challenge and it usually took several attempts to get the front door unlocked.
We took a trip to watch the sunrise in Sossusvlei and to visit the Dunes. Clearly this trip included a trek up the Dunes, although that had not been made clear and wasn't actually what we wanted to do. This resulted in us waiting around for some time while the other group members climbed the Dunes with the Guide. Some more explanation, and discussion about what is involved and what people want to do / are able to do physically would be beneficial.
Upon returning to our car after 2 nights stay at the Lodge, we found our car had a flat tyre. The member of staff that was with us kindly helped us change the tyre before we set off to get it repaired at Sesriem.
Real bonus being inside the Park gates
We actually had a bit if trouble finding it because we knew it was inside the park gate and we believed there was only one road in the park BUT you don't go through the gate to get to it!
We loved Sossus Dune Lodge, the layout ,the location, the rooms ,the people , everything. The only comment we would make is that, despite everyone trying really hard to provide 5 star treatment there is just a slight feeling of it all not being quite co-ordinated at the top somehow. However it is still early days for them and we wish them every success.
Sossus Dune Lodge review
As a camp I have to say this is wonderful, the location within the dunes is brilliant, the rooms are first class. We did however arrive with no staff in sight, no suggestion where to go and it took nearly 20 minutes before anyone appeared. Whilst very apologetic about this, the fact that the dreaded golf cart is supposed to meet you and didn't meant we were wondering around like lost souls.
Also activity information was poor and trying to get from staff instructions on how to self drive into the dunes before sunrise proved near on impossible, we had 4 different versions of what was required and all turned out to be wrong.
You don't need a permit and just turn right before you get to canyon, along track on front of camp. Simple, but no one can explain it.
Sossus Dune Lodge review
Excellent in all categories.
Would have liked to have been told (though I guess I should have known) that we could drive ourselves to Sossusvlei; I gained (perhaps mistakenly) the impression from our introduction that a 4 by 4 was needed.
Particularly impressed by Namibian staff, here abnd at all the other lodges we stayed at.
Crickets abound at Sossus Dune Lodge
Fits incredibly well into its surroundings and evey staff member was helpful, cheerful and happy to have you as their guest.
The snack provided with the sundowner was a meal in itself and easily the best provided by anywhere that we stayed in Namibia!
Our guide on our trip to the dunes - George - was incredibly knowledgable and considerate of two out of shape people trying to climb the dunes at sunset (see snacks above).
Would love to come back in another season to see how the landscape changes (we were here in May). Also would be nice to go at a time when there weren't so many crickets on the walkways (they have to be seen to be believed and are only around whilst there's vegetation).
Signposting for the lodge at the Sesriem gate is not as clear as it could be. Need to add the lodge to the sign for the canyon.
Wow - what a great place
Hard to know where to begin here but this place is truly spectacular. It's new and has been extremely well integrated into the landscape. From a distance you can hardly see it. It has been built and designed firmly on eco principles. The impact on the local environment is minimal, so much so that a golf cart-style buggy service is provided to shuttle guests between the car park and the lodge.
Wooden walkways run above the desert floor so desert animals are unimpeded. Lighting at night-time is minimal, again to reduce the impact on the desert environment. The accommodation here is of a very, very high standard, as is the service. The rooms are in independent chalets and are generously proportioned. Our bathroom was huge! We had a lovely big balcony looking out onto the desert.
The dining room is fantastic, all wooden/straw/canvas construction. Food is first rate and the service very attentive. We visited Sesriem Canyon, which is only a short drive from the lodge. The canyon is amazing and full of birdlife. The only thing we weren't keen on here were the bus-loads of tourists, who spoil the atmosphere in the canyon somewhat.
We made the obligatory pre-dawn trip to Sossusvlei, and it was certainly worth it. With a 2-wheel drive vehicle you get most of the way but have to stop at the end of the road. You then pay for a 4x4 shuttle service to bring you on from there - if you're bothered. We weren't! For a start we couldn't have even if we wanted to as there was no service at that hour (half five or so). But even if there had been, there was simply no need - the 2x4 car park area is spectacular enough as it is. Nor did we stop at Dune 45. Instead we avoided the tourist traps and went to Dead Vlei, doing our own little self-guided walk. We were the only ones around.
The sunrise was spectacular. If you have a camera (and frankly you shouldn't go there without one!) you will find yourself taking pictures non-stop, that's how beautiful it is. And it's easy to take lovely pictures. Just beware that it can be a little chilly at those very early hours. We saw some wildlife on the way back, including jackals. Note that the petrol station in Sesriem is liable to run out of fuel, we were caught out but thankfully still had half a tank. We were able to fill the tank when we went back the following morning. The lodge offer trips to Sossusvlei but it's very expensive and there's no real need, you're better off going under your own steam.