“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well.” And just like the young explorer of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s imagination, our discoveries in the Namib Desert are always broadening, enriching…even a tad mind-bending. The swirling, shifting sands of Southern Namibia are well approached from our exceedingly comfy base camp situated near the gate to the famous Namib Nauklauft Park. Welcoming Sossusvlei Lodge occupies pride of place among Africa’s famously haunting red sand dunes, the eerily scorched black trees of Dead Vlei, and the yawning eternal depths of Sesriem Canyon.
From this luxury lodge’s charmed position, we’ll venture forth into the desert via the comfort of all-terrain vehicles and under the careful watch of our experienced Micato Safari Director. From the early morn, perhaps the depths of Sesriem Canyon beckon us into this magnificent natural canyon carved by the Tsauchab River. Then, when dune contrasts are at their sharpest, we’ll invariably chart a wily course towards Dune 45. (If you’ve not heard of it, you’ll certainly recognize its handsome curves; this is likely the world’s most photographed dune.) For the fit and fearless, a climb to the upper ridge of Big Daddy Dune, one of the highest you’ll find, makes a memorable conquest. The delights of the desert are many – all of it thirst-making stuff – and high on the priority list on return to the luxurious comforts of the camp is Sossusvlei’s splendid Acacia beer garden where Namibia’s German and Afrikaans brewing heritage comes alive in fine, frothy form.
Life at Sossusvlei Lodge revolves around glorious ever-changing views over the ridges of the Naukluft Mountains and the unfurling desert landscapes. Private patios extend from spacious air-conditioned luxury bedrooms outfitted with modern en-suite bathrooms. Adventuring families may spread out among two connected bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, for a roomy and comfy base. Afternoon refreshments are taken both by and in the large sparkling pool; as well as by the bar, sundowner deck, beer garden, and al fresco terrace. Delicious dining here is ever a highlight; with magnificent views over the floodlit waterhole, you can never guess who might be coming to dinner. (Hint: if you’re waiting for a magnificent oryx, a fleet-footed springbok and the odd – splendiferously odd – ostrich or three, you won’t be disappointed.)
Prepare for many myriads, magical and down-right mystical excursions our Micato Safari Director has in his back pocket: perhaps an outing to the clay pan of Deadvlei with its veritable tree graveyard, then a dance across the redder-than-red dune at Elim, capped by a saucy sundowner at the perfect perch by day’s end? Always available for cooling moments, a dip in the spectacular pool: inspired by the Southern Cross constellation, it features fantastic underwater seating areas and views over the dreamy desert landscape. Whatever the mood or the energy level, the sandy playground awaits — from a laughter-charged quad buggy nature drive to a mesmeric float over the drifting dunes in a hot-air balloon, the area’s natural beauty never ceases to render us speechless. Until, of course, we share it all over spirited chat and a glass of something lovely by the flickering glow of the African campfire…