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Kanaan Desert Retreat
Kanaan Desert Retreat
Kanaan Desert Retreat
Kanaan Desert Retreat
Kanaan Desert Retreat
Kanaan Desert Retreat
Kanaan Desert Retreat

Kanaan Desert Retreat

25°50’41.2"S 16°9’27.4"E

Kanaan Desert Retreat: Our full report

Deep in the Namib Desert, and bordering the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Kanaan Desert Retreat sits on a ...

... 300km² private reserve. From the guest perspective, the emphasis is on luxury in the desert – but that is firmly linked to the lodge’s conservation and research work into the mitigation of human–wildlife conflict.

The drive to Kanaan is an experience in itself. Variously dubbed the “Dream Road” and “the most scenic road in Namibia”, the D707 access road does without doubt offer exceptionally beautiful scenery, and it’s well worth lingering over the 45km stretch that leads to the lodge.

Kanaan Desert Retreat itself is no less impressive and – befitting the organisation behind the lodge, which aims to conserve the “land, wildlife and cultures of Namibia” – it blends well into the surrounding landscape.

Built on the slopes of one of the low rocky hills that are a feature of this stark environment, its eight traditional safari tents are spread out in a shallow semicircle, following a contour of the hill and facing roughly west towards the setting sun. Stilts at the front level the tents against the gradient, thus allowing a good view of the surrounding desert from the table and chairs on each of the small decks. Our only slight criticism is that the canvas walls allow sound to carry quite easily between the tents.

Inside, the décor and furnishing are quite simple: double or twin beds surrounded by mosquito nets; a couple of wooden benches; a desk and chair; and a wardrobe with a nice tree outline that adds some character to the room. There is no air conditioning, but a fan helps to cool the tents, and you’ll also find tea- and coffee-making facilities. In the en-suite bathroom are a flushing toilet, shower and washbasin.

At the top of the hill, above the tents, the main area is also stilted, giving a high vantage point from the deck that runs around the front of the building. For days when it is too cold or too windy to eat on the deck, tables are set up indoors. We really liked the décor and the thought that had gone into this compact but functional area when we stayed in April 2018. Black-and-white photos adorn the walls, a telescope faces the seemingly endless desert scenery and a large light-feature in the centre of the room reminded us of the round nests of the southern masked weaver. We found the service to be relaxed but always helpful and on hand when needed. Grab a drink from the bar and take a seat on one of the comfortable sofas to peruse a book or the fact file on the ongoing research taking place on the reserve.

On the other side of the hill to the tents, there is a small office and curio shop – the only place at Kanaan where WiFi is available. The lodge is active in the conservation and research of the surrounding landscape and its inhabitants, and this is also the coordinating point for volunteers based elsewhere on the reserve.

Activities include sunset or sunrise drives, a longer scenic dune drive, walking trails and horseriding. (Note that the number of horses is limited, so it’s worth asking about this in advance.) The lodge is also home to two rescued cheetah which cannot be released back into the wild; they are housed in a large enclosure and are fed every afternoon, allowing for great photo opportunities. Experiencing the magical morning light glinting off the pristine dunes on our sunrise drive was very special, and when we’d tired of trying to capture the spectacle through a camera lens we enjoyed coffee and rusks in the splendour of the reserve before heading back to the lodge.

Our view

Kanaan Desert Retreat is a lovely choice for anyone doing a trip around southern Namibia. Spend a night here to break up the journey between Lüderitz and the Sossusvlei region or – better – spend a couple of nights and soak up the beauty of this simple but memorable lodge and its little visited reserve.

Tom Morris

Tom Morris

Country manager: Namibia


Southern Namibia, Namibia
Ideal length of stay
2 nights
Kanaan Desert Retreat borders the Namib-Naukluft National Park, around 70km due west of Helmeringhausen.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
When we last stayed in April 2018 we thoroughly enjoyed the hearty meals that we had at Kanaan.

For breakfast there was a delicious buffet selection of meats, cheeses, muffins, fruits and cereals, with cooked dishes available to order.

We did not get a chance to try the lunch menu but understand that it includes a light dishes such as sandwiches, salads and pasta.

For dinner we tucked into a chilled ginger and butternut soup, followed by a succulent oryx fillet with crispy parmesan potatoes, roasted carrots and feta cheese. Dessert was the Namibian favourite of Malva pudding, this one served with a delicious Amarula custard.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Room service is not possible.
Drinks included
The cost of drinks is not included and should be paid locally. Water in the room is not suitable for drinking but bottled water is available.

Special interests

Riding holidays
To explore Namibia’s pristine deserts on horseback, look no further than Kanaan Desert Retreat. Bordering the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Kanaan has the same distinctive red sand as at Sossusvlei but with far fewer people, accentuating this wilderness location.
See ideas for Riding holidays in Namibia


Attitude towards children
Kanaan welcomes children
Property’s age restrictions
Special activities & services
Camp beds can be added to rooms for children under 12 and cots are also available.
Generally recommended for children
Given Kanaan’s remote and rocky location and the fact there is very little to keep children occupied we wouldn’t recommend this for children under the age of 12.
Strict supervision of children would be required because of the layout of the camp and the raised structure of the rooms.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Kanaan Desert Retreat

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Kanaan Desert Retreat have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.


80% success

Brown Hyena

20% success


20% success


0% success


0% success


0% success


0% success


0% success


0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success


0% success


WiFi is available in the small reception.
TV & radio
Water supply
Water supply notes
Each chalet has flush toilets, hot and cold running water.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
The nearest hospitals are in Lüderitz and Mariental, but for anything serious you would need to be transferred to Windhoek or even Johannesburg.
Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Security measures
The lodge is remote, with no fences, and there are no guards.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in the tents and in the main areas.


  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Self-guided walking

    Self-guided walking


Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
Laundry is possible at an additional cost.
No currency exchange facilities are available. There are safes in all the tents.
Accepted payment on location
Visa and Mastercard are accepted for card payments, with South African rand and Namibian dollars in cash.

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