KULALA DESERT LODGE – SOSSUSVLEI

Kulala Desert lodge is a family friendly lodge situated at the foot of the red Sossusvlei Dunes and is the closest location to Sossusvlei via a private gate exclusive to Wilderness Safaris vehicles. The camp is set in the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve – a tract of arid Namib Desert near the spectacular sights of Sossusvlei and bordering the expansive Namib Naukluft Park. The dramatic Sossusvlei dunes are surrounded by rugged, ancient volcanic mountains and open plains dotted with the odd quiver tree.

The lodge has 23 thatched and canvas tents including two family units built on a raised, wooden platforms with a rooftop area for sleep-outs under the stars. The main area includes a pool and wraparound veranda overlooking a waterhole.

Scenic nature drives and guided nature walks are available and guided electric powered fat bike excursions are a fun way to explore the spectacular open plains. A highlight is to float over Sossusvlei on a hot air balloon safari – an experience not to be missed!

LOCATION

The lodge is set close to the red Sossusvlei Dunes in the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve bordering the Namib Naukluft Park in southern Namibia.

Access is via a road transfer, self-drive or light aircraft flight landing at Geluk Airstrip which is around minutes’ drive from camp.

CAMP

The camp has 23 thatched and canvas tents including two family units. Each tent is built from brick and canvas under thatch and specially adapted to the unique desert conditions. The tents are built on a platform to ensure maximum airflow and have an extended thatch roof which provides a cool respite from the sun. The tents are linked to the main area by gravel pathways on the ground and have a veranda with views of the dunes.

A feature of the rooms is the private rooftop area for sleep-outs which is accessed by wooden stairs behind the tent and equipped with bedrolls.

The tents have ensuite facilities with an indoor shower, single basin vanity and flush toilet. They are furnished with a writing desk and chair, easy chairs, luggage rack, mosquito net, electronic safe, hairdryer (available on request from reception) and tea and coffee making facilities. During winter months hot water bottles and extra blankets are provided. Please note that there is no air-conditioning – however a ceiling fan is provided.

Liquid soap, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, room spray, insect repellents, washing powder (for smalls), tissues dispensers, an umbrella and laundry bag are supplied in each tent.

The two family units have two bedrooms each and all the bedrooms have their own ensuite facilities. The main bathroom in each unit has an indoor shower, outdoor shower, double basin vanity and separate toilet and the second bathroom has an indoor shower, double basin vanity and separate toilet. The tents have a separate entrance and a shared outdoor deck.

The camp uses a combination of solar and generator power and has 220V multi-plug adaptor charging facilities for mobile devices and additional charging facilities for the use of sleep apnoea machines. Purified drinking water (through reverse osmosis) is supplied.

The thatched-roofed main area is built entirely of clay bricks and has a reception area with lounge, dining and bar areas and a deck overlooking the waterhole. There is a reading area with a selection of reference books and a Safari Trading Store. During winter months a gas heater is stationed in the main area.

Outside is a swimming pool with partially shaded deck and loungers and a campfire area with safari chairs.

Kulala-Desert

ACTIVITIES AND WILDLIFE

Sossusvlei translates into ‘the gathering place of water’ in the local Nama language, and, odd as it may seem, in good years seasonal rains in the foothills of the Naukluft and Tsaris Mountains succeed in reaching the vleis. This creates temporary lakes that mirror the sand dunes surrounding them, a miraculous transformation. The vleis have evocative names such as Hidden Vlei and Dead Vlei while the dunes rise up to 300 metres above the valley floor with razor-sharp edges that stand out against the blue sky.

Sossusvlei is situated within the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, which itself is part of the Namib Naukluft National Park that stretches 400 km south of Walvis Bay and is sandwiched between the west coast and the escarpment that runs parallel more than 100 km inland. Its huge red dunes and flat valley floors make up the archetypical view for which the Namib is world famous. The dunes are also evocatively known as the Sand Sea. Those nearest the coast are most mobile and no vegetation grows on them, as they are constantly evolving. Rainfall at the coast can average dramatically less than 50 mm a year, and even further inland it measures a paltry 50-100mm annually.

In the Kulala Wilderness Reserve, guests can witness the wonders of the sparsely distributed desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok and gemsbok as they eke out an existence. Larger predators include the occasional brown hyaena, a mystical shaggy-coated scavenger. Smaller creatures such as bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal, porcupine and Cape fox can be seen at night in the cool desert air. Anchieta’s dune lizard with its peculiar thermoregulatory dance and tenebrionid beetles have all adapted to life here. Nocturnal explorations can reveal dancing white lady spiders and perhaps Grant’s golden mole, a Namib Desert endemic.

The sands offer refuge to reptiles like shovel-snouted lizard and web-footed gecko. One bird, the aptly named dune lark, has its entire global distribution limited to the area, so dependent is it on the area’s characteristic sands. Other unique birds include Burchell’s courser, Ludwig’s bustard and Stark’s lark.

Despite the lack of vegetation and low rainfall, a surprisingly diverse array of insects, reptiles and rodents make their home on the Reserve, surviving thanks in part to the coastal fog that creeps up off the sea each dawn and penetrates up to 50 km (30 miles) inland. At dusk the call of common barking geckoes resound through the clear air, and walks reveal the smaller creatures – the buck-spoor spider with its multi-entrance burrow or the ambush specialist ant-lion, to name but a few.

Visit Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei – world-famous Sossusvlei is both the name for the area in general as well as an enormous clay pan, flanked by the enormous sand dunes. Nearby, at the foot of some of these dunes the skeletons of trees dominate the landscape, where once water flowed. This is known as Dead Vlei.

Visit Sesriem Canyon – this fascinating geographical formation is well worth a visit. The result of millions of years where water carved its way into the earth, Sesriem Canyon is today three kilometres long. Views from the top are breathtaking while walks through the canyon reveal distinct geographical layers which were laid down over aeons.

Nature Drives – the 37 000-hectare private Kulala Wilderness Reserve offers visitors exclusive wildlife-viewing opportunities which include the likes of gemsbok (oryx), bat-eared fox, brown hyaena and birdlife. Enjoy a coffee or sundowner stop in scenic parts of the reserve as a highlight.

Guided Nature Trails – walking trails focus on becoming immersed in this remote area, as well as its scenic beauty and the fascinating, and surprisingly, diverse array of insects, reptiles and rodents which make this dry and harsh region their home. The Tsauchab River Trail takes a stroll along the dry riverbed close by the camp.

Scenic Sundowner Excursion – set out in the late afternoon for a nature drive and complete your excursion in a remote and dramatic spot on the reserve, sipping a gin and tonic while watching the sun set over the distant mountains or dunes.

Sleep-Out Experience – private rooftop area for sleep-outs accessed by wooden stairs behind the tent. Sleep-out under the starry skies of the Namib and be lulled to sleep by the sounds of Africa.

Hot Air Balloon Safari – the balloon safari on the Kulala Wilderness Reserve offers a truly unique experience to soar silently above the magnificent sand dunes and desert, with a champagne breakfast being served at your landing site. This activity is at additional cost and is closed from 15 January to 15 February.

Guided Electric Fat Bike Excursions – ideal for introducing your family to the natural wonders of Namibia, take in the sweeping scenery riding electric powered fat bikes. A fun way to explore the spectacular open plains with your guide. This activity is at extra cost.

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GIVING BACK

When Wilderness Safaris began operating here, an ambitious programme was undertaken to remove internal fences and livestock. As the ecosystem regained its health, wildlife began to come back of its own accord. Then, the fence that divided the Kulala Wilderness Reserve (KWR) and the Namib Rand Nature Reserve was dropped, and while those between KWR and the adjacent Namib-Naukluft National Park remain, they are not an impediment to the movement of wildlife.

This camp is powered by a hybrid system, combining solar energy and a diesel-powered generator. Thanks to the solar energy, the generator only needs to operate for eight hours a day as opposed to 24 hours. In addition, each guest tent has its own solar geyser that provides hot water. Every effort to conserve water has been made by using water efficient devices in the camp for both guests and staff. Reducing our need extends to power, as energy-efficient lights and appliances have been used. In order to reduce our use of bottled water, reverse osmosis filtration is done on site to provide guests with high quality drinking water. Like all Wilderness camps, Kulala Desert Lodge is managed and monitored against very strict in-house environmental standards, so only approved eco-friendly detergents and chemicals are used.

Pack for a Purpose.

KULALA DESERT LODGE IS OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND

THE LODGE WELCOMES FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN OF ALL AGES AND ARE PERMITTED TO PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES WITH ALL OTHER GUESTS

THE MINIMUM AGE FOR WALKING ACTIVITIES IS 13 YEARS AND WHILST THERE IS NO MINIMUM AGE FOR THE HOT AIR BALLOON THERE IS A HEIGHT RESTRICTION. CHILDREN NEEN TO BE A MINIMUM OF 1.2 M TO COMFORTABLY SEE OVER THE BASKET

Call +44 1386 830264 or Email [email protected]

Our expert staff are on-hand, happy to assist with any enquiry you have.

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