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“In the middle of nowhere - bliss!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge

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Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Sossusvlei - Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Sossusvlei, Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia   |  
Hotel amenities
Cape Town
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“In the middle of nowhere - bliss!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2014

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!

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 21 which was far for the lounge and dining area. We liked that! It was an easy wal...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
Traveller123CT, many thanks for your fantastic feedback and for sharing this with us. Kulala Desert Lodge forms part of the Wilderness Safaris adventure portfolio, which is more geared towards family orientated travel, where a friendly relaxed main area is created for everyone to enjoy themselves and where they can mingle at leisure. This may not be to all guests liking and may we take this opportunity to recommend you stay at Little Kulala for your next adventure out to Sossusvlei. It is a pleasure to note that the accommodation, food and magnificent dunes captured your hearts and made the stay a blissful one. Your insightful comment regarding the guide has been taken under advisement and the Guide Training Manager has provided further training to enhance this side of the experience. Thank you again, the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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159 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
quijano, spain
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
103 helpful votes 103 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2014

The rooms are lovely and very comfortable and clean. However, after spending time in other Wilderness Lodges, we were slightly disappointed with the quality/quantity of the food. All was served at private tables, rather than communal ones; at lunch, no dessert offered, and the early morning breakfast was quite miserable.

Guided tours were good, but it seems that the poor guides have been told to stop for guests every time an animal is spotted. We (and, I assume the majority of the guests) were there to see the dunes at Soussvlei, so weren't very interested in the animals (or lack of). Trip to dunes at sunrise was amazing, but Dead Vrai even better.

This lodge is very good, but after doing the "classic camps", there really is a major difference in quality. There is a computer in the reception area, but internet doesn't work very well. However, the staff are wonderful and will help with any forward bookings/information that you need.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
Kulala Desert Lodge is very well situated with easy access to the magnificent Sossusvlei Dunes, quijano, and we are overjoyed to hear you found them every inch as spectacular as they are. Your praise of the accommodation, activities and people - certainly does justice to our staff compliment based at the camp. We have noted your disappointment with the food offering at the camp and rest assured our Food Experience Manager is continually visiting the camp to provide additional training on levels, which will ensure a consistently high standard of dining. Thank you again for taking the time to review your stay and share your thoughts with us. Warm regards the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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London
Top Contributor
376 reviews 376 reviews
127 hotel reviews
Reviews in 163 cities Reviews in 163 cities
279 helpful votes 279 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2014 via mobile

We stayed one night at Kulala Desert Lodge and this lodge is stunning. The location is amazing and the rooms are very nice. You even have the choice to sleep outside on the roof (we did and it was a very nice experience). The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. Great place overall.

Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
new_world_travell, your exceptionally high praise of Kulala Desert Lodge, is greatly appreciated and it provides us with a sense of great pleasure and pride that your memorable stay exceeded all expectations. Thank you again for the inspiring feedback. Kind regards the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
73 hotel reviews
Reviews in 73 cities Reviews in 73 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2014

Great place in a fantastic location! Within a short ride you are in the National Park.

Some people (previous comments) complain about the staff. No problems on our side.

This camp is not a traditional safari camp as not much game is around, however you can experience the Namib Desert, which is out of this world.

The only thing which could improve slightly is the food, but that is my personal opinion.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
Your appreciation for our camp and staff, is highly appreciated, endaxi0815. It is a joy to read your compliments, thank you so much. Kind regards the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2014

What a place. Have been there on our honeymoon trip and what an experience. The lodge is amazing and the bungalows have every luxury you need. try and sleep on the roof under the african sky, the sight of all those stars will never leave you. The balloon flight over the desert is a must. There is magic in Africa and this is one of the places you will feel it.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, March 13, 2014
Dear David P,

Thank you for your great review of Kulala Desert Lodge and congratulations again to you and your wife.

We are so glad you got to experience the magic of sleeping on the rooftop under the stars. We pride ourselves in the variety of activities on offer at our camp; namely the Hot Air Ballooning as you mentioned as well as: private tours to Sossusvlei, horse riding, hot air ballooning and eco-sensitive guided quad-biking (at an extra cost), scenic nature walks, and drives to view the desert’s fascinating flora and fauna.

Thank you again, and thank you for choosing Namibia and Kulala Desert Lodge to celebrate your special celebration.
The Kulala Desert Team
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Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

In the Namib Desert and close to the Sossusvlei sand dunes. Colors in the morning and at sunset are fantastic. Lodge staff attentive and helpful, good food, good service and bar. Entertainment in the evening. Went on trips every day; very different trips that encompassed sand dunes and the desert animals; hard to believe the animals can survive in this fairly barren area. Hiking the sand dunes should not be missed--do not try and navigate the sand with a vehicle not equipped with heavy duty 4-wheel drive and wide tires. The huts had all of the conveniences, and an added bonus of a roof top sleeping area that was a great experience sleeping under the stars. Stars extremely visible due to the darkenss of the desert.

Room Tip: Try to get a room near the main building.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
Diogenese 1, its with great pleasure that we read your glowing review of Kulala Desert Lodge and that you enjoyed the various aspects of the offering that made it a memorable visit for you. The staff, service, good food, activities and accommodation are located in a prime spot with vistas of the majestic Sossusvlei dunes and the setting is a delight for the senses. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting you and are happy you found your stay enchanting. Fondest regards the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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Blandford Forum, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2014

Spent two nights at the end of a two week trip around Namibia. This is the third Wilderness lodge we stayed in (Desert Rhino was AMAZING and Doro Nawas good) and compared to the others it just doesn't cut the mustard. Felt it was all a bit tired and jaded. That said, our guide Jonas was excellent and some of the waitresses were very good. Amazing location with lots to do. Maybe if we had stayed here at the beginning of our trip we would have felt a bit more enthusiastic but Kulala Desert Lodge just didn't do it for us. Food was OK, nothing special (very over seasoned, sauces put all over food etc.). Dining room needs a revamp with far better lighting and ventilation. Big problem with mossies at present - weird for a desert! Dunes and canyon etc. were fascinating.

Room Tip: Pretty much of a muchness
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, August 26, 2014
kategc, thank you for taking the time to review your stay at Kulala Desert Lodge. Our Namibia Operations Team have taken heed of your perception that the camp requires additional love and care. Mosquito nets have now been installed to keep the insects at bay so guests may enjoy a good nights sleep. Our Food Experience Manager visits the camp on a regular basis to ensure that the Wilderness Safaris standards are being met and exceeded. Please be assured that there is a continual drive to improve every aspect of the food offering to provide consistently enjoyable dining moments. We do concur that Jonas is an excellent guide and he is the pride and joy of the lodge. The location of the camp with magnificent vistas of the dunes, surrounding mountains and vast open plains, does tend to offer the traveller with a very moving experience. Thanks you again, the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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Additional Information about Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge

Address: Sossusvlei - Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Sossusvlei, Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia
Location: Namibia > Khomas Region > Namib-Naukluft Park > Sossusvlei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Sossusvlei
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 23
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

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