Our Guide to Namibia
Kulala Desert Lodge
At a Glance
Kulala Desert Lodge has the closest private access point to the Sossusvlei Dunes
Hot air ballooning is a spectacular way to have a birds eye view of the dunes
Explore the area by quad bike
Each cottage has a flat roof where bed rolls can be laid out for a night under the stars
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
If you're visiting Sossusvlei, the best thing to do is avoid the summer, which is extremely hot. Therefore, the best time to visit southern Namibia is in winter (May and September) but bear in mind that the desert regions can be bitterly cold at this time of year. The climate of the southern coast is hospitable from February to May, but quite cool and misty year-round, and particularly windy in August.
To start planning your vacation to Kulala Desert Lodge
Kulala Desert Lodge is situated in the 37 000 hectare Kulala Wilderness Reserve bordering the Namib Naukluft Park, there is an abundance of space and silence to be found here and the opportunity to visit the breathtaking Sossusvlei dunes at sunrise.
Built at the foot of a mountain facing west, Kulala Desert Lodge benefits from spectacular sunset views over the distant dunes of Sossusvlei. The lodge comprises 23 thatch and canvas chalets each built on a wooden platform to provide maximum airflow. In the warmer months, mattresses can be placed on a star gazing platform on top of each room so that guests can sleep under the stars and enjoy the gentle desert breezes.
The main lodge, with décor inspired by North Africa, has a fantastic wrap-around veranda that overlooks the waterhole allowing spectacular views of wildlife and the surrounding desert. There is also a refreshing swimming pool for guests to relax in during the heat of the day.
A waterhole in front of camp attracts a number of local wildlife (such as gemsbok, springbok, ostrich and jackal) and provides a perfect location to view and photograph the desert scenery.
Activities at Kulala Desert Lodge revolve around early morning guided nature drives to the spectacular dunes of Sossusvlei through the private gate on the Tsauchab River. World-famous Sossusvlei is an enormous clay pan, flanked by the famous sand dunes that stand out starkly against the blue sky and flush red in the early morning sun. These dunes have developed over millions of years, the wind continuously transforming the contours of this red sand sea. The 'vlei' itself only fills after rare, heavy rainfalls when, in a complete turn-around, it becomes a spectacular turquoise lake. Other activities include quad biking and hot air ballooning over the dune sea.
Accommodation at Kulala Desert Lodge comprises 23 thatched and canvas "kulalas" ("to sleep" in Oshiwambo) 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 myriad stars that Namibia's clear skies portray.
There are no special child care facilities available at Kulala Desert Lodge. However, children of all ages are welcome and the lodge has a family room.
Kulala Desert Lodge has a main area with décor inspired by northern Africa, as well as a lounge, bar, dining area, plunge pool, and wrap-around veranda overlooking the waterhole - a perfect location to view and photograph the desert vista.
Activities at Kulala Desert Lodge revolve around early morning guided nature drives to the spectacular dunes of Sossusvlei through the private gate on the Tsauchab River. Nature drives, walks and eco-sensitive, guided quad-biking are also offered through the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve to take in those incredible views and to catch a glimpse of the denizens of the desert.
Another option, at an extra cost, is early morning ballooning, beginning at first light. The balloon safari 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.
Meg Shepro (Staff)
My stay at Kulala Desert Lodge was full of adventure. We took advantage of the sleep out deck during a gorgeous full moon and the next morning set off early to beat the crowds into Sossusvlei. Climbing the highest dune in the area and ending up in Deavlei was an unforgettable experience. The service at the lodge is incredibly attentive and kind.
Rose Gemmell (Staff)
Wilderness Classic Camp in Swakmound is ideally positioned in its own private concession and Wilderness has gained a private entrance to the dunes meaning you can get in there before the crowds when the dunes are at there very best and bright red as the sun comes up. The tented rooms are comfortable and minimalistic with a rooftop sleepout area where you can camp out under the stars and wake up with the sunrise. The sheltered pool is a perfect suntrap in the day and the perfect place to cool off in after a morning in the park.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Kulala Desert Lodge is one of the closest lodges to the Park so you can get up a bit later for what is still quite an early start into the dunes and the Kulala private concession also has it's own private entrance to the park so you don't have queue with the masses! It was my 3rd visit to Dead Vlei and the dunes and I was as mesmerized on this visit as the first (and I hope to be back again!)
The tented rooms have thatched roofs and are comfortable with an ensuite bathroom behind. The lodge staff are good at making guests away what a precious commodity water is in this arid region and encourage you to collect the cold shower water at the start of a shower so it can be used for cleaning and to use their Eco friendly bathroom products which are more easily bio degradable.
I spent one night of my stay sleeping on the star bed on the room of my room, watching for shooting stars and into the Milky Way is a must do experience for a stay her, but remember to request a hot water bottle as it can get chilly in the middle of the night.
A DIY safari in Namibia
I drive onwards for many dusty miles, stopping for fuel in the gas station town of Solitaire. There I eat a slice of delicious apple pie and drink a coffee under an acacia tree before reaching the remote Kulala Desert Lodge, which overlooks a dry
river bed. The next morning I am taken to the Namib Naukluft National Park. After climbing a 130m (426ft) dune at dawn (spectacular), I visit a dried out lake with a shiny white surface and the skeletal remains of 600-year-old trees, all framed by a
huge red dune, nicknamed Big Daddy.
This is truly something out of Salvador Dal; Natures own version. Namibia is, I can say with certainty, one of the most unusual and stunning places I have visited. And the way to go is to take to the roads yourself.
Hot Air Ballooning - Sossusvlei
Enjoy the rocky landscape and sand dunes of Sossusvlei from above, soar over the Namib Desert as the landscape changes color as the sun rises. What better way to view them than from above, drifting gently in a hot air balloon?
Red Dunes and Dead Vlei, Sossusvlei
On the edge of the Namib-Naukluft are the iconic dunes of Sossusvlei, a dune sea slowly marching towards the Atlantic Ocean.
Location & directions
Kulala Desert Lodge boasts magnificent views of the famous sand dunes of Sossusvlei, breathtaking mountain scenery and vast open plains. Set in the 37 000-hectare Kulala Wilderness Reserve bordering the Namib Naukluft Park, there is an abundance of space and silence to be found here.
- 24/7 concierge service
- 24/7 emergency assistance
- Firsthand knowledge
- Renowned service
- Award-winning tour operator