This adventure begins and ends at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek.
On arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, you will be warmly welcomed by an &Beyond Representative and transferred to Eros Airport. You will be assisted with your check-in for a light aircraft flight to &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.
One of the oldest, driest and most pristine areas on Earth, the Namib Desert is a world of vast spaces, endless horizons, dramatic desertscapes and jagged mountain heights. The largest private nature reserve in Southern Africa, the NamibRand Nature Reserve spans 180 000 hectares (445 000 acres) of this unspoiled desert wilderness. The reserve is also part of the largest conservation area in Namibia and is home of some of Africa’s most breathtaking scenery. The park is a vivid and varied fabric of all the natural beauty of the Namib. Steep, rocky mountain ranges, enormous savannahs, vegetated dunes of deep red sand, and clay pans are four of the NamibRand’s distinct natural habitats. Many antelope, including the gemsbok (or oryx), inhabit the park, as do over 100 bird species, among them Namibia’s only true endemic, the dune lark.
One of the highlights of any trip to Namibia is a visit to Sossusvlei in the heart of the enormous, almost 50 000km² Namib-Naukluft Park. Easily accessible to visitors, Sossusvlei is a clay pan that is only rarely filled by water, but is a place of awe-inspiring beauty. Visitors to the region will be left spellbound by the magnificent ochre-coloured sand dunes, which rise over 300m into the sky – the highest sand dunes in the world.
Unwind for three nights in a desert villa at &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. Your stay includes three meals daily, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees, refreshments on game drives, laundry, safari activities and an excursion to Sossusvlei.
Once you have settled in, set off on a guided walk through the desert, stopping to admire the tiny miracles of nature that make up the unique plants and wildlife of this arid yet beautiful region. If you have the energy, you can hike up the craggy slope behind the lodge to see the ancient San rock paintings that are situated in a nearby cave. With no dangerous game on the reserve, you are free to explore the lodge surroundings whenever you wish, either with a guide or on your own.
Other adventures include scenic drives with an opportunity to encounter a variety of desert-adapted animals such as gemsbok, zebra, springbok, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, caracal and jackal. Guided quad bike trails set out on clearly marked paths through the dunes, while the lodge’s observatory provides the ideal place to gaze in awe at the wonders of the clear desert sky, with the resident astronomer on hand to point out the brightest and most beautiful constellations.
Awaken to the perfect stillness of the desert dawn and enjoy a quiet coffee before heading out into the cool morning air. Marvel at the sheer sense of endless space as you take off in a hot air balloon, drifting silently above rocky outcrops, billowing sand dunes and strange yet exquisite moonscapes. Admire the many moods of the desert as you keep a watchful eye out for gemsbok, zebra and ostrich before settling gently back on the ground just in time for breakfast.
Returning to the lodge, cool off with a refreshing dip in the pool before enjoying a delicious lunch served in the shade of the lodge’s spacious veranda. Indulge in a siesta before afternoon tea and then set off on a scenic drive to the fascinating petrified dunes, a frozen landscape of endless undulating waves or choose to explore the massive boulders of Bushman’s Koppies, haphazardly strewn one on top of the other like a giant’s building blocks. Stop to admire the thousand hues of a desert sunset before returning to the lodge in the evening.
Wake up early today and set off from the lodge before the morning sun peeps over the horizon. Travel to the famous Sossusvlei, part of the Namib Sand Sea, an endlessly undulating landscape of sand dunes that heaves and tosses above the rocky desert floor, coloured a thousand different shades of orange, amber and ochre. Some of the highest dunes in the world rise on both sides as you drive deeper into the dune field. The gold rays of the rising sun set the eastern faces of the mountains of sand on fire as their western slopes remain in deep and dramatic shadow. In the cool of the morning sun, slither and slide your way to the top of Big Daddy and gasp in awe as the full extent of this majestic sea of sand is unveiled. Travel even deeper into the dune field and you will discover the hauntingly named Dead Vlei, where the dead branches of camel thorn trees, bleached a fine white by decades of sun and sand, stretch out in a strangely graceful dance.
As the temperature begins to rise, enjoy a picnic breakfast laid out in the shade. If you still have the energy, there is the option to visit Sesriem Canyon, where a rare desert spring lies encased among precarious cliff walls.
Return to the lodge with ample time to rest and relax before lunch. In the afternoon, set out on a quad bike trail through the dunes, led by an experienced guide. Enjoy the solitude and majesty of the desert as the trail winds over the dunes and rocky outcrops. As the day winds to a close, stop to enjoy a chilled sundowner as a dazzle of stars slowly comes to full, blazing life in the velvety night sky.
A mouth-watering dinner awaits back at the lodge or in a dramatic desert location. After dinner, the resident astronomer unlocks the secrets of the southern skies at the lodge’s well-equipped observatory. End your night looking sleepily up at the African stars through a skylight positioned right above your king-sized bed.
Enjoy breakfast and perhaps a morning activity before your light aircraft flight back to Windhoek.
Namibia Dunes and Desert