LITTLE KULALA – SOSSUSVLEI

Little Kulala is a luxury oasis situated on the dry Auab riverbed in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve bordering the Namib Naukluft Park in southern Namibia. Once farmland used for subsistence goat farming the Kulala Wilderness Reserve had very little indigenous wildlife – in 1996 Wilderness Safaris started to rehabilitate the area and today the land and its wildlife are thriving.

The design of the eleven luxury desert suites has been Inspired by Dead Vlei and the rooms have been refurbished and expanded to offer improved airflow. The brick and glass suites merge into the timeless desert setting – enjoy romantic stargazing from your private top deck and experience a sleep-out under a blanket of stars.

Explore Sossusvlei via a gate exclusive to Wilderness Safaris vehicles – activities include nature drives, guided nature trails, eco-sensitive guided quad bike excursions and guided electric fat bike excursions. A hot air balloon safari at extra cost offers a totally unique experience soaring high above the desert.

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 30 minutes’ drive from camp.

CAMP

Little Kulala has just 11 climate-controlled thatched suites – including one family suite – each with a private plunge pool which merge into the timeless desert setting. The suites are especially adapted to the unique desert conditions being built on a platform to ensure maximum airflow, with elevated wooden walkways linking the suites to the main area. You can enjoy a sundowner, rooftop dinner or star gaze from your private rooftop area and the rooms have a signature sleep-out experience on the bottom deck.

The ensuite facilities include both an indoor and outdoor shower, double basin vanity and separate toilet. The rooms are furnished with an indoor lounge area, writing desk and chair, luggage rack, mosquito net, air conditioning unit, electronic safe, a yoga mat and weights, a kettle ball, ab roller, skipping rope and aerobic strap, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, mini-bar. During winter months hot water bottles and extra blankets are provided.

Outside is a shaded veranda and private plunge pool with canvas pool covers. The suites have a private rooftop area with beanbags, coffee table and a shaded sala with roll out bed for siestas during the day or for sleep-outs under the stars. Sleep-outs on the wrap around bottom deck of each suite allow for easy access during the night – equipped with bedrolls and a mosquito net.

The family unit has two ensuite bedrooms – the main bathroom 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. There is a private rooftop area for stargazing for each bedroom and the family suite has a shared entrance, an outdoor deck with seating area, an outdoor sala and private a plunge pool.

Liquid soap, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, bath robes, slippers, room spray, insect repellents, washing powder (for smalls), vanity kit with sewing kit, shower cap, cotton-tip swabs, cotton balls, tissues dispensers, umbrella and laundry bag are supplied in the suites.

The camp is 100% solar powered with a generator for emergencies 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 and WIFI is available in the suites.

The thatched-roofed main area houses a reception area, with lounge, dining and bar areas on a raised wooden deck and there is a sunken wine cellar, spa, a library and Safari Trading Store. Outside there is an open decking area which overlooks the floodlit waterhole and an open firepit with safari chairs. The main area has open fireplaces and during the cooler winter months a gas heater is available with chenile blankets and hot water bottles provided during dinner.

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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 stunning 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. There are also guided night scorpion walks.

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.

In room massage treatments – at an additional cost.

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.

LITTLE KULALA IS OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND

THE LODGE WELCOMES FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN AGED 6 YEARS AND OLDER

FAMILIES TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 6 AND 12 YEARS PRIVATE ACTIVITIES NEED TO BE BOOKED

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

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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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