My wife and I stayed at Moon Mountain Lodge in mid-September 2012 for two nights. We wanted a base close to Sossusvlei for a full-day trip there, and booking 6 months before traveling, were disappointed to find many lodges like Sossusvlei Lodge were already full for the dates we wanted. Our travel agent (Bonita @ go2africa.com) suggested Moon Mountain Lodge, and that's where we headed. I'm glad we ended up there!
Location: The lodge is about 50 minutes drive north of Sesriem, the park gate to Sossusvlei. It's built on the side of a mountain facing west over an immense, flat desert valley, with more mountains popping up in the distance. The views from our room and public/common areas all look out over vast distances, where there are precious few signs of humans. This is Namib desert, but instead of the gravel and sand I expected here, the valley was an endless sea of blonde grass, punctuated with prickly bushes, contorted trees, and billions of sunburned rocks. I was a little concerned about the distance from Sossusvlei, but it was a non-issue; we left early in the morning and arrived just after the gates opened. In fact, it was nice to be nearly an hour's drive north of Sesriem, as we had a head start our final morning as we headed north towards Swakopmund.
The Lodge: The buildings are architecturally impressive; the rooms and large back patio of the dining room are elevated on stilts. Every room has a great sunset (facing into the sun) and sunrise (watching mountain shadows crawl over the valley floor). Common area interiors are decorated with interesting cultural artifacts, wood artwork, and desert-related scenery. We especially admired the dining room tables: each table held a shallow tray, covered with glass, with a display of colorful desert sand, rocks, and camel-thorn pods. Some tables mimicked a small patch of desert (complete with animal tracks), and others held geometric patterns, like Namibian mandalas. Our room was a giant square canvas tent with a sturdy wooden (or wooden/plastic composite) floor, some understated wooden furniture, and hammered-metal light fixtures and artwork. The doors and walls around the bathroom area are solid but hand-crafted and textured. Altogether the room and lodge felt rustic and modernist at the same time. Our room had several electric outlets, a small fridge, and a phone. In the afternoon of our first day, our water stopped running, but we called the office and it started up in 5 minutes…that was our only technical difficulty.
Staff: We never met the owners, but we were in good and capable hands. We were given a very warm welcome as we checked in. The three young women who introduced us to the lodge were very polite – maybe too polite, as the fawning felt artificial. But later, one of the women (Helen, I think) who was also our server at dinner, dropped the artificiality down a notch and teased me about not finishing my dinner. The manager, Nicci, was full of helpful advice as we asked about visiting Sossusvlei the next morning. We ended up hiring Nicci to be our personal guide to Sossusvlei for the day. You do not necessarily need a guide in Sossusvlei, but Nicci helped us spend our time more wisely, drove us through the stretches of deep sand in the park (we would've needed to use a shuttle), led us to her favorite vistas and hiking areas, located and identified animals, and was a thoroughly knowledgeable naturalist and good company.
Food: Breakfast was fine; the chef cooked eggs to our choosing. When we first arrived, an afternoon chocolate-cinnamon tea-cake didn't survive long; it was addictive. You *will* be eating dinner here, as it's a long, dark drive to the nearest town (Solitaire or Sesriem). Our two evening meals at Moon Mountain were both good; Chef gives each diner a choice from two entrees each night, and our picks were hearty and delicious. My first night I had a Kudu steak and the next I had a pork chop. Both were succulent, and our veggie sides were even better. We did think the lighting in the dining room was too dim.
Activities: Many guests go on a sundowner-trip the lodge offers. It sounded fun, but we skipped it, and enjoyed two brilliant sunsets from the lodge itself. I explored the lodge's private hiking trail, which meanders under the camp, crosses a short plain, and then hugs the contour of two hillsides, culminating in a small hilltop with nice views back at the camp. I was very glad for this chance to exercise and see many of the local trees, bushes, and birds up-close. The tents each have a small plunge-pool, but it was too chilly in September to tempt us.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.