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“Magnificent Dunes”

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Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 January 2017

Sossusvlei is a magical place. Don't get the idea there's anything like a town, village,shops or amenities. It is in fact just about as far as you can drive along a dried up river bed but along the way you pass through a valley of the most enormous sand dunes and they're breathtaking. The entrance to the Namib Naukluft Park at Sesriem is some 30Km away along a mostly tarred road and only at the very last couple of Kms are you on the river bed and you cannot drive this section unless you're in a 4x4.

Kulala Desert Lodge is in. Private reserve, not in the park but it's own gate which cuts 20Km off the journey from the public gate at Sesriem. The lodge provide the vehicle and guide who will be invaluable, to drive you to the dunes. The guides are so knowledgeable about the desert environment and you'll learn that some much life inhabits what at first sight appears to be barren. Our guide Richelle (correct spelling) climbed the dune named Big Daddy with us and showed us the eerie Dead Vlei which is a photographer's paradise. A delightful surprise awaits during every drive.

The main lodge contains a reception area, restaurant, bar, reading room and pool area. The staff are kind, helpful and welcoming. The lodge provides 3 meals a day including breakfast which is served after your very early morning trip to the dunes. There are a selection of decent wines, beer and soft drinks included in the cost but you can opt for a slightly better range of wine by paying extra. I would describe the breakfasts as outstanding, lunch and dinner good. Some evenings the staff entertain with Namibian songs beautifully sung.

You stay in the Kulalas which are nice sized huts for 2 people that have toilet and showers as well as a double bed. You have a small veranda which affords views to distant mountains and dunes. A great advantage, I would say a necessity, is that you can ask for a bed to be made up on the roof and its comfortable as well as an experience sleeping under the stars. Although there is a large ceiling fan in the bedroom, this tends to just move hot air around and as Namibia is hot during the summer the Kulala never cools down even at night. I understand that part of the reason to stay in the lodge is to experience Namibian rural lifestyle. But as there are other 'creature comforts' at the lodge I think guests would be more comfortable if AirCon was installed in the Kulalas.

We were so delighted to have stayed and experienced the magnificent dunes that I can't recommend a visit highly enough.

Room Tip: Some Kulalas are a fair distance from the main lodge
  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank doc2r12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildernessSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 8 February 2017

Dear doc2r12,

Thank you for the wonderful review, we are thrilled to see how much you enjoyed your stay with us and so glad your tour of the dunes was so successful. The star bed is a great treat and there is nothing quite as beautiful as the Namibian starry sky.

Thank you again for the glowing recommendation
Wilderness Safaris

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31 - 35 of 386 reviews

Reviewed 15 January 2017

This was the first of our really lovely Lodges – run by ‘Wilderness Safaris’ they have a model and it is a very good one. Our room was close to the Lodge a tent like structure with a thatched roof. It was very hot (45 degrees)but somehow the wind and fan managed to keep one cool, though we were aware of those who did not find the heat so easy to cope with, there is no air conditioning. The bed was really comfortable. The staff, were so welcoming and the guides very knowledgeable about the dunes, which are well worth visiting on one of the organised tours by the Lodge. We had an early morning balloon ride, which can be organized by the Lodge, but best booked in advance as they get very full in the high season. The champagne breakfast organised by the ballon company, was outstanding. The food in the lodge was really good and the all the staff so helpful and kind. The only downside was that the pool – though in a lovely setting was not easy to get in and out of as it has no rails and an elderly American lady slipped and fell getting in. We found the same at all the ‘Wilderness Safari’ Lodges and it is an issue we pointed out to the staff. Dining out on the terrace of the Lodge in the sunset and dusk was a special treat with jackals wandering around.

  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Gale L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildernessSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 27 January 2017

Dear Gale L,

We are delighted to read all your happy memories of your stay with us and glad to see the balloon ride was highlight of your stay. Thank you for bring the incident at the pool to our attention, we have taken this up with the Wilderness Safaris Customer Care department as well as the Namibia Operations Team to see how and what we can do to make sure this does not happen again, we greatly appreciate your concern in this matter and are grateful for your input. We hope you were able to take a couple of photos of the jackals, even though the lighting was not in your favour.

Thank you again
Wilderness Safaris

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Reviewed 31 December 2016 via mobile

We were there for 3 windy, hot (up to 118F degrees and survived--barely) days. There is no a/c, inadequate fans just in the bungalows; no fans in the main lodge. Dust from the sand everywhere. We spent most of our time prone on our beds , totally enervated by the heat. The food was marginal. That's the bad news.

The few times we went out to see things--and that's all you need--were with our extraordinary guide, Richel. I have never been with a more knowledgable guide. She knew the geology, birds, mammals, even insects down cold. From tiny tracks in the sand, she knew what insects and reptiles were present and found them! Most were fascinating. The lion ant, Namib dune ant, several kinds of beetles, lizards, snakes (lots of tracks, no snakes), weird spiders. Loved it. Richel is with Wilderness Safaries, a fabulous company that took care of most of our travels by small planes around the country. Very reliable and professional.

She took us to the skeleton forest and red dunes--breathtaking! We traveled on a dry river bed with the most unusually beautiful trees scattered about. Then, back in our bungalows for the afternoon trying not to die of the heat. Next day we went to a fabulous little canyon: deep, steep with wild geologic features. I love the rocks in Namibia.

The staff at the Kulala Lodge was superb! Every single one of them! They said the lodge was going to be totally renovated. If so, the area, Sossusflei Desert, is well worth a day's visit but not if the lodge stays as is. And don't go during their summer! Big mistake on our part. And ask for Richel! Guides don't come any better!

Stayed: December 2016, travelled with friends
1  Thank SaraRNic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildernessSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 11 January 2017

Dear SaraRNic,

We are thrilled to see how much you enjoyed your time spent with Richel and look forward to pass along your fabulous praises. The Temperatures in Sossuvlei can get to some extremes during the summer months, we are sorry to hear this was an unpleasant factor of your trip but hope you were able to enjoy a cooling break in the pool. As with almost all Wilderness Safaris camps (and in tune with our eco-friendly practices) there is no air con in our camp which is solar powered. We are glad however, that this was only a small discomfort to your stay and you enjoyed the rest of your time with us.

Kind regards
Wilderness Safaris

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Reviewed 9 December 2016 via mobile

After having booked at Kulala for its location, we found the view from room 10 somewhat dissapppointing, as it overlooked mainly a dry, rocky river bed.

Also, we were recommended this lodge as the best place to experience the sunrise in the dunes, due to having its own private entrance to the dunes reserve. Guess what, that entrance only opens AFTER sunrise.

Staff was helpful with fixing a flat tyre, and the evening songs and dance on the terrace were very energetic and enthusiastic.

Stayed: November 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank EvdWRotterdam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildernessSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 13 December 2016

Dear EvdWRotterdam,

We are sorry to hear you were misinformed about the Kulala gate to the Dunes and National park. Yes we do have a private gate, however, as is the rule for all National parks throughout Namibia this gate only opens at sunrise. We are unable to get to the dunes in time for the sunrise but being the nearest access point you are able to avoid the crowds and get to the magnificent sights earlier than most. We are glad to hear though that the staff were able to help with your tyre and will pass along your thanks.

Kind regards
Wilderness Safaris

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Reviewed 3 December 2016

Kulala Desert

Summary: Exactly what you expect from Wilderness Safaris' camps. Well thought out lodging. Service beyond the norm. Food expertly prepared and unparalleled sights and experiences.

Detail: Part of a small group tour, Dune to Desert our first night was spent here. If you have stayed with Wilderness in the past you know the drill. You are met by the staff on arrival with cool towels and refreshing drinks. You are ushered into the main community room and given your tent assignments and the camp overview.

The tents are based on Wilderness' tried and true design. Wooden floor, queen sized bed. En Suite sink, shower and toilet. Low wattage electrical outlets, coffee bar. The only concession to it being a tent is that the sides are canvas and the windows are screens and not glass.

The large community seating area and adjoining dining area is comfortably laid out over looking the waterhole. The food is great. A starter and two or three main options with a vegetarian option always on the menu. Dessert and red and white wine rounded out the menu. Breakfast was buffet style, with an offering of the traditional English breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast.

The staff Wilderness camps are always great. On occasion the staff stands out with that personal touch, whether it is a conversation on the deck in the evening or in a morning greeting. This camp seemed to be staffed with the latter.

Of course the main reason for coming to this particular camp is to see the dunes. You will not be disappointed. Remember to carry your water with you. The distances are deceiving.

  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank DorothyMacaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WildernessSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 9 December 2016

Thank you DorothyMacaw for your beautiful review, we enjoyed having you stay with us and glad to see the feelings were mutual. We look forward to sharing your kind words with all our staff in camp especially our hard working chefs and kitchen staff. We are thrilled to see how much you enjoyed the wonders of the main attraction in our area - the amazing sand dunes.

Hope you will visit us again.
Wilderness Safaris

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Additional Information about Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge

Address: Sossusvlei - Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Sossusvlei, Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia
Region: Namibia > Khomas Region > Namib-Naukluft Park > Sossusvlei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Sossusvlei
Price Range: R2 396 - R20 628 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Wilderness Safaris Kulala Desert Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With vistas directly onto majestic red dunes, Kulala Desert Lodge is the closest location to Sossusvlei, and perhaps the lodge with the most spectacular views. The lodge's accessibility, and its large, friendly lounge and dining area with wrap-around veranda make this oasis in the desert perfect for families and friends. Visits to the dunes and vleis of Sossusvlei are highlights, along with fascinating desert wildlife and the overwhelming magnitude, and sense of adventure on the Kulala Wilderness Reserve. • 23 kulalas (3 family) • nature drives and walks • Sossusvlei excursion (via private gate) • Sesriem visit • sleep out deck • horse riding • hot air balloon ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kulala Desert Hotel Namib-Naukluft Park

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