We stayed two nights at the Kulala Desert Lodge. We arrived in a sedan car and the drive in on their private road was long and bumpy! We also missed their turn off because the sign is missing - we were coming from the south. Luckily we realised very quickly that we'd passed a turn off and looked back to see the sign from the other direction. We let them know about the missing sign - hopefully it will be fixed soon!
We were welcomed with a tasty ginger drink. The welcome was lovely and we were impressed with the orientation given by the person who checked us in.
The immediate feel is one of vistas from a comfortable lodge. Plenty of seating areas inside and out. All shared public areas are in a central area. The library has some old books about the country but no novels. There is no TV, no music, it is all about quiet and tranquility. So it is a pity that children are allowed at the lodge. Children generally speak at one volume - loud. It's not their fault; they're kids. But I'm surprised that a desert lodge where no other sounds are to be heard allows kids. That was the only pity, and so it meant that in the early evening when we wanted to relax with a book in the lounge area, we felt driven back to our room to escape the incessant exclamations of a child playing a game with her dad for almost an hour in the lounge.
Our room was wonderful. A "tent" set on a wooden deck with canvas walls and windows that were covered in mesh and exposed when we rolled up the canvas flaps. You could lie in bed with the magnificent views all around. The tents are set far enough apart that it feels private, but you can hear each other talk, but it was not disturbing.
The bed was a foam mattress on a wooden board. It was hot! Foam is hot. And not particularly comfortable. On the first night we discovered that one side of the mattress was completely sunken in as if an elephant had been lying there! It was changed the next night. It didn't affect our sleep and we slept soundly because there is not a sound to hear at night. The generator appears to be switched off at night and all is blissfully still. No animal sounds either, odd for the bush, but I suppose the desert is different.
We requested the rooftop bed for one night, but only managed a short while up there as it was chilly. But definitely worth the experience for gazing up at the Milky Way in comfort.
We are vegetarian and found the food to be fine. The evening meal was delicious on both nights, but the starters were not great. There was very little by way of fresh salad. The pastry chef is excellent - the best croissants I have ever eaten. Bread was excellent, too. Service in the restaurant could be much improved if staff were trained to understand different dietary requirements - getting answers to our questions about the food was rather difficult! Also, attention at breakfast could be improved - trying to alert a waiter just to ask for some Worcestershire sauce took a long time. (Why not set the table with all the condiments?) And it was disappointing that margarine was served instead of butter. The waiter said it was butter, but then all I can imagine is that it was a spreadable butter with margarine added, the taste was not butter.
We paid for one morning drive to Sossusvlei. Definitely worth it because the lodge has its own gate into the park. If we had driven ourselves it would've been a bumpy ride in our car back out to the road and to the park gate and then a drive to Sossusvlei - probably adding an extra hour or two in each direction. The cost was NAD 740 person, leaving the lodge at 6am and getting back at 11.30 am-ish. Our guide was friendly and accommodating but didn't offer much by way of explanations about the sites. This was disappointing. We learned far more when reading our guide book!
It was hot when we got back from our drive and the pool was very welcome. There is no aircon at this lodge and our bedroom was very hot in the heat of the day. There is a ceiling fan but it wasn't very effective at cooling so it wasn't comfortable for a lie down in the middle of day unless you covered yourself in a wet sarong! At night the room was very cool and comfortable.
I have not stayed elsewhere in the area, but from our experience I would come back here, although I would check first if kids were staying!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hidden at the foot of the majestic Sossusvlei dunes, a private entrance to Namib Naukluft Park makes Kulala Desert Lodge the closest location to Sossusvlei, while magnificent views of its famous red dunes, mountainous scenery and vast open plains makes it the most spectacular. The camp comprises 23 thatched and canvas "kulalas" with en-suite bathrooms and verandas. Each unit is built on a wooden platform to catch the cooling breezes and has a deck on the flat rooftop where bedrolls are placed for guests to sleep under the stars. The main area, with northern African-inspired décor, has a lounge, dining area, plunge pool, and wraparound veranda overlooking a waterhole. Activities impress guests with the overwhelming magnitude, solitude and tranquility of the desert and include private tours to Sossusvlei, scenic nature walks amd drives to view the desert's fascinating flora and fauna. At extra cost, it is also possible to experience the area on horseback, hot air balloon and eco-sensitive guided quad-biking excursions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kulala Desert Hotel Namib-Naukluft Park
- Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge Sossusvlei, Namibia - Namib-Naukluft Park