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alan s

Unbelievable accomodations in an extremely remote location

Review of Wolwedans
5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 27 Sept 2019
What a jewel! The surrounding landscape is absolutely magical!!! Wake up to gorgeous sunrises with antelope strolling by your balcony. Enjoy gorgeous sundowners and starlit skies. Don't miss the nature hike with a bushman. The food, friendly service and accomodations are exceptional considering the setting.
Date of stay: September 2019
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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Reviewed 7 September 2019 via mobile

We stayed at the Dunes Lodge for 3 nights where we enjoyed all the facilities including horse riding - all inclusive.
First class guides attending just us was very much appreciated.
Scenery and wildlife were just outstanding and the whole experience flawless.

Date of stay: September 2019
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
2  Thank NubianLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
NamibRand-Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wolwedans, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2019

Wow! Your review is received with appreciation and thanks! Indeed our flagship property, Dunes Lodge is many peoples favorite. It appears you have also stayed for the perfect time (3 days) which allows so much time for activities, relaxation and a good digital detox. Thank you so very much for taking the time to review your stay with us and we will surely forward your comments of appreciation onto our guides.

2020 will be an exciting year for Wolwedans as we complete our renovations and upgrades and for this, we hope to welcome you back to Wolwedans soon again. This time, please try our awesome 3-day itinerary at Boulders Safari Camp in the south of the reserve where magical moments, distinctly different landscapes and a world of pampering awaits.

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Reviewed 2 September 2019 via mobile

We stayed at Wolwedans Dunes Lodge for 3 nights. We are a family of 4 (parents plus two late teens), very experienced safari-goers. We came here from Serra Cafema in the North and following two spectacular camps in Botswana. We understood that we were NOT coming to Soussouvlei and that this was a dry desert environment with modest game (lots of gemsbok, other buck, zebra, black backed Jackal, cape fox, selected birds including ostrich and a (photo) hunt for a leopard)

We had two units - the Mountain View Suite (MVS) and the double room nearest to that. We took most of our meals (except the first night) in the dining room of the MVS, which comes with its own butler and chef, both of whom were excellent. We did try the main restaurant but we vastly preferred the private dining option - the restaurant was charming and atmospheric but the service was a little haphazard (eg lots of beautiful wine glasses etc on the table, but when I asked for a tonic water, I was just given an unopened can!). It was also quite loud and noisy as there was a large family group with young children.

I struggled greatly with how to rate this lodge. Aspects of it were a low 3. Other aspects were a high 4. The quality of the experience in the MVS was very different to just having a room ... it all makes for quite a challenge to review. We would NOT have been happy just to have rooms. The fact that we had the MVS “made” the experience for us. In the end I rated it 3 essentially on a relative basis, relative to all the other upscale African lodges I have stayed at (probably close to 30 in total).

The MVS is large and quite comfortable, but it is rather faded. The bathroom is distinctly old and not easy to use (eg the shower is on wooden slats, the door doesn’t open or close easily, the taps are haphazard. Personally I like some sort of door on the WC versus a rather flimsy curtain to the main bedroom, and it would be easy to do. Even a zipping tent flap works. I understand that the bathroom is slated for updating - it does need it. The MVS generally has an air of slightly faded expedition style. It was annoying that despite a large bedroom and some quaint furniture, there was nowhere to hang any clothing. Shelving was open, which meant that everything gets really dusty (something with doors would be great ....) Its furnishings could do with being updated / upgraded to match up to the best that newer arrivals on the lodge scene are now delivering. That said, it’s clear that the outside of MVS has recently been redone, with nice landscaping, freshly painted decking with stunning views, a little plunge pool that was very welcome, and a lovely fire pit to have sundowners around and watch the stars (which are truly stunning). The inside needs updating to match. Hopefully it is on the agenda.

This was the only lodge that we have been to for many years where we did not have some sort of choice of menu. We were given no choice for lunch or dinner. We don’t mind being asked to choose in advance - it’s not that we want a huge menu. But we did miss having some sort of choice, which had been the case at every other lodge we visited, especially so that we could ask for something small and light at lunchtime. The food was very well prepared and cooked, but heavily game focused. They were excellent at adhering to allergies etc. It’s possible that this lack of choice could be temporary, as we noted they were building a new main lodge kitchen. Also, compared to the “best of the best” elsewhere, the service is a bit weak. No face towels or little refreshing drinks offered when you return from a drive. No afternoon tea as such. Laundry charged (first time this holiday). Just little things but these are what determines whether a lodge is at the top of its game or not.

The camp infrastructure also feels a bit tired / passé. The vehicles are Defenders, really quite old versus the Toyota Landcruisers that most camps now have, which are much, much, much more comfortable. Ours was churning out black smoke and there were a couple of really quite daunting moments on slopes when we really thought our vehicle might not make it. We think the vehicles should also be on the updating list.

We arrived to find that the camp had hot water, but apparently for the few days beforehand it had not. That would have prompted a major sense of humour failure on our part so we were very relieved it was fixed. Things like that / strength of solar generation etc again feel like they need a bit of investment so as to be robust. Note - no hairdryers; not a problem for us but one guest we overheard was pretty fed up not to have been told about it in advance.

The thorny topic of Wi-fi. At Wolwedans, it is only available in the communal areas of the main lodge building. In our view, at least the MVS should have its own Wi-fi. It’s a fact of life that most people can’t totally disconnect ... our own experience at all the other camps this year (and which we preferred) was to have Wi-fi in the rooms, and NOT in the common areas. Then, if you want to check email in bed (or rearrange your travel plans as we had to) you can, without disturbing your lunch and dinner times, and fellow guests etc. There was an element of everyone in the lounge being on devices which rather defeated the object of a communal area. Certainly having own Wi-fi in the MVS would make sense and save the longish, hot schlepp on sand to the common areas. This lodge does NOT have boardwalks and so it is a hot, dusty tramp from the outer rooms to the common areas.

The kids liked their room, though they came to MVS a lot to hang out with us.

Generally, this is not a high activity lodge. There is a pool and lovely views, and this is more a R&R place. Driving is spectacular but the miles are hard and there is only so much that you want to do. There is horse riding in the afternoons, and e-biking, if you can work up the energy. We had done so much in other places that we were content to rest in our sizeable suite and relax.

A note on the weather. AUGUST IS THE WINDY MONTH. And Wolwedans is right on the top of the dunes, and my goodness, it was REALLY REALLY WINDY. We were lucky that we had a day or two of relative calm (we were there for 3 nights) but on our last night, we didn’t sleep for more than 10 mins and were mildly concerned that the lodge would take off (of course it didn’t, but the noises of the canvas slapping etc are .... spectacular). The kids had the same in their room. With the wind, comes the DUST (naturally enough, but it does get everywhere, and I mean everywhere). It wasn’t as cold as in other parts of Namibia or Botswana, but the wind does make it difficult to enjoy (eg) sundowners and drives etc quite so much. And a sandstorm prevented our little plane from landing, necessitating a rapid drive to another airstrip where they could get to so that we could leave and catch our international flights. The lodge was calm and helpful with that.

In summary: a nice R&R lodge, with not a huge number of activities, but enough for a few days of dramatic scenery and relaxation. The MVS was lovely, if a bit faded inside. Service was patchy and overall we felt that this grande dame of Namibian desert retreats may need to up the game a little to stay at the top.

Date of stay: August 2019
Trip type: Travelled with family
2  Thank 63CarolineS
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
NamibRand-Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wolwedans, responded to this reviewResponded 6 September 2019

Thank you very much for this detailed review and response. We are always so grateful when guests take the time to prepare such kind and generous feedback, which invariably helps us to use this valuable feedback to assess and review our services as best we can to improve the experience of our guests.

Indeed you are right, the year 2019 has seen many changes, which remain ongoing at Wolwedans. Besides some of the improvements you saw at Mountain View Suite, we have embarked on bold plans to upgrade all of our accommodation and interiors.

We are very excited about the future and we hope to complete our refurbishments by early 2020. We are indeed very aware of our need to spruce up our experience for guests and each and every word in your review has been considered to assist this process. Thanks once again for taking the time to liaise with us. We will certainly heed your advice and input.

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Reviewed 20 May 2019

We stayed at Wolvedans for two nights with our children and two other couples, and we had an absolutely magical time.
The lodge is set in the middle of the desert on top of sand dunes and the scenery is stunning, as are all the installations. Our suite was comfortable and spacious with two rooms and a lovely terrace to watch the desert life go by.
The common areas are beautifully decorated, and the pool is a welcome gathering place during the warmer hours. We loved the old-school decor and the 360 degre views everywhere.
Service was excellent throughout, from the lodge staff to the dining room to our guide. Yes there is sand everywhere (it's the desert...) and the road here is long and rocky, but it is a place of wonder and it is one of my top places in Southern Africa to stay at.

Room tip: Families should ask for the family room at the very end of the row, it has a "all alone in the world feel"
Date of stay: April 2019
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Wanderlust_SAB
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
NamibRand-Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wolwedans, responded to this reviewResponded 21 May 2019

Thank you @wanderlust_SAB for your beautiful review of our property, the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge. Its quite fitting that in 2019, we should receive a review that applauds our unique style and way of doing things, as we have been in operation for a stunning 25 years this year. Although we work hard, at Wolwedans we believe, that our work is never done - and as I write this response, we are busy with refurbishments and renovations celebrating our 25-year jubilee. We hope that you will have another opportunity to visit, not only Wolwedans again, but indeed our beautiful Namibia, where conservation, eco-tourism and a love for our fauna and flora are evident in all we do. Thank you once again, on behalf of the entire team for taking the time out to write this review. We are indeed grateful for your kind words.

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Reviewed 30 December 2018

We recently stayed two nights at Wolwedans Dune Lodge.

Firstly, it is important to know that this lodge is about 80 kms from Sesrim (the entrance to the Sossusvlei Nature reserve). In order to get to the gate for the 6 am opening you need to leave the lodge around 04.30 am, which is a very early start.

Whereas the location and the views are absolutely stunning, we were very disappointed with quite a few aspects of our stay. We have given our feedback below to the management, who did inform us that they would follow up on our input.

On the positive side, the rooms were clean and the beds very comfortable and the staff friendly.

However, there were quite a few negatives
- the food was not at all enjoyable, one evening we had steak and it was so tough we could hardly cut through it. My husband ordered a replacement, but it was exactly the same. Guests mentioned that they had the same problem with the duck the previous evening (inedible in their words). The portion sizes of the three starter courses are stupidly small - one course was the size of a teaspoon. The bread was hard and we had to ask for it.
- guests should be given the option if they want to have dinner with a bunch of people they don't know or dine alone. We were looking forward to a romantic weekend, but got stranded at a dinner table with a loud group.
- there is no bar - which is surprising for a "luxury guest lodge". We had to look for someone to serve us a drink which they did grudgingly. One would expect a few snacks with our before dinner drinks as well, nothing.
- coming back from a very windy and sandy sundowner drink we thought that we would get wet towels to freshen up. Obviously we expected too much
- I asked for a plaster, answer was sorry we have run out. We would have thought that having a fully stocked first aid kit was basics.
- There was a tissue box in the toilet - empty
- We went out for a sundowner and when we returned the bed had been turned down, one would have thought that they would also remove the empty water bottles and the lunch box … no it was still there. A top lodge would have paid attention to such details
- We ordered a breakfast box as we needed to leave early one morning, it was packed with goodies including a yoghurt and muesli, but no spoon and also no serviettes. Again, lacking attention to detail.
- We had booked a wake-up call for 5 am, the call came at 5.15. Fortunately, we also set our own alarm.
- Coffee was ready for us at 5:30. It would have been nice to have a few biscuits or a rusk, especially since we had a long drive ahead of us … nothing.
- We wanted to do a horse ride as it was advertised as part of the package, however asked if we could go at 17:30 instead of 17:00 due to the heat. Answer was no as the horses need to eat at 18:00. Not really customer service.

Overall, we were really disappointed with our stay especially taking into account the very high price we paid.

We thought we were going to a luxury lodge, but we would classify this as a mid-range lodge. Our comparison and basis for feedback is based on the fact that we have been to over 20 "luxury" lodges before.

Room tip: All rooms are fantastic, but if you have difficulty walking through the sand make sure you request a room closest to the common area.
Date of stay: November 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank KrigGB
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
NamibRand-Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wolwedans, responded to this reviewResponded 9 January 2019


Thank you very much for your valuable feedback. Your review, which was sent to us during November 2018 has been previously discussed with you and we thank you for accepting our apology. With regards to the abovementioned:

It's unfortunate that Wolwedans was sold as a Sossusvlei destination to you. This is certainly not how we should be sold. We advise all of our agents and clients that it is better to book our Collection of Camps and Lodges after or before a Sossusvlei excursion. We are a desert-based destination that promotes the beauty and diversity of the Pro-Namib ecosystem and not specifically as a Sossusvlei destination. We happily offer an excursion for our guests who are adamant to visit the iconic tourist destination at an additional cost and we make it very clear that it's an all-day excursion that is charged separately.

We would like to apologize for the unfortunate experiences you had with regards to the detail you have described above. The Operations manager has discussed these concerns with his team and is addressing all aspects as training with them.

With regards to our communal dining experience, we by no means force anyone to sit in the group setting, and it would have been completely okay if you had asked to be seated by yourselves or in a different area completely. Since our inception 25 years ago, we have offered the communal dining experience and for the most part, all of our guests are pleasantly surprised by this and very happy to meet their fellow travellers and share their African-Safari experiences around a table. However, we do see that this was not a pleasant experience for you and for this we apologize.

Our First Aid Kits are to be fully stocked and a medical plaster is certainly not something we should be running out of, as are tissues. These concerns, again, are being addressed with the Lodge Manager. The horses are indeed fed at 6 pm, however, we cannot reconcile why you weren't able to enjoy the horses, in spite of this. As far as our investigation is concerned, this shouldn't have happened and we are most apologetic for your experience.

This review is concerning and we will do our utmost to rectify every aspect of this feedback. Thank you once again for taking the time to prepare your feedback and to give us the opportunity to provide our feedback and address the training needs that have transpired from this.

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Reviewed 29 December 2018 via mobile

My review is quite late but better late than never.

This place is really really incredible.

Selma and Stanley are particularly great and the entire hotel could be a case study for customercentic experience.

We were constantly blown away, a year later we will still talk about it and consider it one of our top 3 experiences.

Date of stay: January 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank ActivePath
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
NamibRand-Safaris, Guest Relations Manager at Wolwedans, responded to this reviewResponded 8 January 2019

Thank you very much for your review, albeit from some time back. Not to worry - we are thrilled that you had a good experience and look forward to welcoming you back to Wolwedans Dunes Lodge one more time.

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