Sossusvlei: Unique experiences in special lodges in red-hot dune desert country, Namibia

Of all the nights in all four corners of the world, the nights in Namibia are the loveliest. And not only because of the fabulously beautiful lodges. The star-spangled sky plays its part too: a blue-black background strewn with a galaxy of innumerable, glittering stars and − unique for the Southern Hemisphere − the scintillating Southern Cross. Spending hours star-gazing is an incentive in itself. But be sure that you’re fresh and lively the next morning to discover Sossusvlei.

The area around Sossusvlei has several special lodges. One of the most striking is ‘Le Mirage Desert Lodge & Spa’. Guests can arrive on the landing strip nearby, where a DC-6 (60 persons), DC-4 (50 persons) or DC-3 (30 persons) can easily touch down (this is also the case at many other lodges in Namibia, by the way). This 4-star lodge with its intimate spa, covered in the back by the rock formations of the Namib, has 30 guest rooms (26 doubles and 4 singles) and is actually in the shape of a desert castle.

So, this is an especially mysterious venue in the middle of the desert, and the setting for evening quad trips as well.

Sandcastle nights and canyon dinners

Those who would like to enjoy a dinner outside the lodge can travel to Sesriem Canyon, a deep gorge carved out by the Tsauchab River, about 25 km from Le Mirage. Sesriem Canyon, a natural phenomenon set in the shadow of the red desert dunes of Sossusvlei, has often been featured in films and is a dream venue for candlelight suppers. The canyon is some 30 meters deep and 1.5 kilometres long. In some places, the canyon is so narrow that you can jump over it!

A couple of kilometres from this canyon is yet another desert lodge − Sossus Dune Lodge − which belongs to Namibia Wildlife Resorts and comprises a swimming pool and 25 luxury chalets, each for two persons.

All of the chalets look out onto the gorgeous views of the savannah.

Sossus Dune Lodge, also exclusively for hire to incentive groups, is the only lodge situated within the borders of the Namib Naukluft National Park around Sossusvlei.

The important advantage of this location is that, in the morning before the other park visitors arrive, the lodge guests can already set off trekking with a 4x4 or overland trucks to Sossusvlei.

View from the air

On board a private airplane, you have an ideal view of Nature’s masterpieces, painted by millions of years of wind and weather in palettes ranging from red to golden yellow. You can fly from the Sossusvlei region to Swakopmund on the Namibian coast.

This panoramic flight, with one pilot and four passengers per plane, flies over stunning, ever-changing landscapes.

Only then do you really realise that a mere 2% of Namibia’s over 820,000 square kilometres contains paved or gravel roads and habitation.

Balloon ride over a sea of dunes

An ideal way to admire the area around Sossusvlei is a balloon trip at sunrise, where the ‘sky boys’ let you skim over the tops of the dunes and you can see the ‘toktokkie’ (black beetles with long, quick legs) spurt away on the sand ridges. The breathtaking experience is concluded with a magical deluxe breakfast in the middle of the desert.