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“Sleep under the Stars” 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
Brisbane, Australia
Top Contributor
145 reviews 145 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
“Sleep under the Stars”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2014

What I loved the most was that I could sleep ON TOP of my cottage ... accessible from a ladder - all you do is tell them at dinner you wish to sleep outside and they will set-up a mattress. Didn't want to close my eyes for the incredible sky/stars. I must admit that I gave in to the bugs around 3am and climbed down to my very comfortable bed.

The accommodation is quite nice -- not luxurious but certainly very good. The food was plentiful and I found it quite nice.

Because I was there with a special photographer's tour, all the arrangements were organized with our photography in mind. We set out to the dunes and Dead Vlei at 6am ands had as much time at Dead Vlei as we wanted -- all morning. The guides were knowledgeable and quite friendly. They were very keen to make certain we got the right angles for our photos.

There is total quiet and the stars and being able to sleep under them is a huge plus for this property. I would happily go back!

Room Tip: If you don't want to hike a long distance from the reception area/dining, ask for a Room around...
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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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 27, 2014
Thank you papillon2020 for sharing comments of your stay with us at Kulala Desert Lodge. The sleep-out under the stars, gazing at the night sky is an unforgettable experience and we are so pleased you were able to experience this. It certainly places the earth's position in the galaxy into perspective and tends to make one feel very small in our enormous universe. We are pleased you found your room comfy, the food enjoyable, the guide good and the views of the dunes amazing. Thank you again for the kind words, warm regards 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
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2014

What I Liked Most: Cheerful service, good food, decent cottages

What I Liked Least: Coffee was a bit grim, inadequate time allocated for Dead Vlei, no wifi

We spent 3 days here for visiting the dunes. Kulala has a little over 20 cottages, which are not huge but not cramped, each with verandahs. The main area is a pleasant place to hang out, with lovely views of dunes (but not THE dunes), which change colour according to the time of day. There is a computer with a slow internet connection. Coffee is on tap, but not nice.

Food is creative and varied, coming in sensibly-sized portions that do not make you full to bursting. Service was not always fast and reliable but was always cheerful and with a smile.

The main thing to do of course is to visit the dunes. Spectacular in my view. The tour lasts a few hours, with an obligatory coffee/tea at the end. The tour includes the Dead Vlei which is also a must-see. The itinerary is set up so that you only get 5 minutes there. This seemed very odd. Luckily for us, we had the 3rd day and we were able to negotiate a trip the following morning just to see Dead Vlei. Our guide was very knowledgeable but not especially engaged or interested.

Overall, a very good place to stay.

Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, August 27, 2014
Thank you for the great review all round, David A. The glowing comments regarding the good food, service, accommodation, guide and activities have been shared with everyone in camp. as It is inspiring and encouraging to everyone. The dunes are a sight to behold and the excursion to deadvlei a must - guests are certainly allowed to spend as much time as they wish there in the morning when the weather is still cool and are even permitted to walk the length of the vlei. As soon as the temperatures begin to rise, it becomes more challenging to access the dunes and deadvlei in the heat. May fond memories of your stay with us remain for many years to come. Fondest regards the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2014

The trip to get here is a long and dusty one, but the destination is well worth it. Situated very close to the big dunes this open space and nothingness is very addictive. The stars could be seen all the way to the horizon a memory never forgotten.

Room Tip: Do stop at Solitaire and Get a Apple Crumble at Moose's
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this review, August 27, 2014
ClemD2014, it is evident that your trip to Kulala Desert Lodge was well worth the road trip. Thank you for visiting our camp and taking the time to review your stay. The location is very scenic and the spectacular stars in the clear night sky does tend to make one feel small in our place on earth. It is a stunning sight to behold. We hope the fond memories will remain with you for many years to come. Warm regards the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2014

We spent two nights at the lodge as we could not get into the Sossusvlei Dune Lodge inside the park and Kulala is the closest next choice. We found the accommodation very comfortable, spacious and airy. We had opted for the all inclusive rate and I am not completely convinced that this is really good value. The food was fine, drinks included and excursions as well. We went into the park and the dunes very early one morning - unfortunately unless you stay inside the park you can only enter at sunrise despite the fact that the lodge has its own private gate into the park. It does make access easier though and allows you a slight edge on getting to the dunes.

Our guide for the two days was helpful and knowledgeable.

The lodge is also extremely conveniently situated if you want to go ballooning over the dunes. The take off spot is about 15 minutes away by car and this allows really easy access.

There is limited internet access through a rather slow single PC - but at least it does allow connectivity.

I would recommend staying in a room close to the lodge as it is quite a walk to some of the rooms and you need to leave your car in the parking lot at the lodge.

All in all a good experience with a great view of the dunes from the room and the lodge. It would seem that the dunes closest to the lodge are actually the highest in the park.

Room Tip: Closer to the lodge is better!
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 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 27, 2014
It was truly wonderful to read about your marvellous stay at Kulala Desert Lodge, Magriet11. Thank you for the lovely comments. We do agree with you that the location is pristine and the easy access to the park a plus for this little gem of a camp. We hope that the good food, great guide, comfy spacious accommodation and setting all contributed to your great experience and stay. Kind regards the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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Lisbon, Portugal
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2014

Beautiful setting with a magnificent view, excellent food, the nicest staff you can ask for, great room, well planned (and executed) activities but... literally dozens of mosquitoes inside the room and no net. If choose this hotel make sure mosquito nets are available or just go somewhere else.

Room Tip: All rooms seem to be equally great, just make sure they come with a mosquito net.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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, August 26, 2014
jclso, thank you kindly for your review. We are delighted that your stay at Kulala Desert Lodge was a very enjoyable. We are truly sorry that the mosquitoes were troublesome. Due to unusually high rains in Namibia this year, the mosquito numbers seemed to rise proportionately. We would like to advise that subsequent to your visit, in July 2014, mosquito nets were installed in the rooms to keep the insects at bay and allow guests the peace and quiet they need to enjoy a restful night. Warm regards the Kulala Desert Lodge Team.
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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
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
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
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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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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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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