Visit three fantastic camps in three very different areas. See the amazing Sand Dunes of Sossussvlei, the elusive Desert Elephants of Damaraland and see the astonishing abundance of life in Etosha National Park.
Kulala Desert Lodge
Kulala Desert Lodge is located within the arid Namib Desert on the 37 000-hectare private Kulala Wilderness Reserve, and is closest to the iconic dunes of the Sossusvlei.
Accommodation at Kulala Desert Lodge comprises 23 thatched and canvas “kulalas” (“to sleep” in Oshiwambo) with en-suite bathrooms and verandas. This includes three family tents which can accommodate two adults and two children.
Each unit is built on a wooden platform to catch the cooling breezes and has a deck on the flat rooftop where bedrolls are placed for guests to sleep under the myriad stars that Namibia’s clear skies portray.
Kulala Desert Lodge has a main area, lounge, bar, dining area, plunge pool, and wrap-around veranda overlooking the waterhole – a perfect location to view and photograph the desert vista. The overall setting is a true delight to the senses, bringing together the rhythm of Namibia, wholesome meals and intimacy. A waterhole in front of camp attracts a number of local wildlife (such as gemsbok, springbok, ostrich and jackal) and provides a perfect location to view and photograph the desert scenery.
Activities at Kulala Desert Lodge revolve around early morning guided nature drives to the spectacular dunes of Sossusvlei through the private gate on the Tsauchab River. World-famous Sossusvlei is an enormous clay pan, flanked by the famous sand dunes that stand out starkly against the blue sky and flush red in the early morning sun. These dunes have developed over millions of years, the wind continuously transforming the contours of this red sand sea. The ‘vlei’ itself only fills after rare, heavy rainfalls when, in a complete turn-around, it becomes a spectacular turquoise lake.
Nature drives, walks and eco-sensitive, guided quad-biking are also offered through the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve to take in those incredible views and to catch a glimpse of the denizens of the desert.
Another option, at an extra cost, is early morning ballooning, beginning at first light. The balloon safari offers a truly unique experience to soar silently above the magnificent sand dunes and desert, with a champagne breakfast being served at your landing site.
Sossusvlei translates into ‘the gathering place of water’ in the local Nama language, and, odd as it may seem, in good years seasonal rains in the foothills of the Naukluft and Tsaris Mountains succeed in reaching the vleis. This creates temporary lakes that mirror the sand dunes surrounding them and Kulala Desert Lodge offers guests the unique opportunity to experience this miraculous transformation. The vleis have evocative names such as Hidden Vlei and Dead Vlei, while the dunes rise up to 300 metres above the valley floor with razor-sharp edges that stand out against the blue sky.
Sossusvlei is situated within the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, which itself is part of the Namib Naukluft National Park that stretches 400km south of Walvis Bay and is sandwiched between the west coast and the escarpment that runs parallel more than 100km inland. Its huge red dunes and flat valley floors make up the archetypical view of the Namib that is world famous.
From Kulala Desert Lodge guests can witness the wonders of the sparsely distributed desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok and gemsbok as the eke out an existence. Larger predators include spotted hyaena and the occasional brown hyaena, a mystical shaggy-coated scavenger. Smaller creatures such as bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal, porcupine, Cape fox and aardwolf can be seen at night in the cool desert air. One bird, the aptly named Dune Lark, has its entire global distribution limited to the area, so dependent is it on the area’s characteristic sands.
Despite the lack of vegetation and low rainfall, a surprisingly diverse array of insects, reptiles and rodents make their home around Kulala Desert Lodge – surviving thanks in part to the coastal fog that creeps up off the sea each dawn and penetrates up to 50km inland. At dusk the call of barking geckoes resonate around you, and walks reveal the smaller creatures – the buck-spoor spider with its multi-entrance burrow or the ambush specialist ant-lion, to name but a few.
The dunes are also evocatively known as the Sand Sea. The dunes nearest the coast are most mobile and no vegetation grows on them, as they are constantly evolving. Rainfall at the coast can average dramatically less than 50mm a year, and even further inland it measures a paltry 50-100mm annually.
Nature drives into the desert in 3 x 10 and 2 x 8 seater vehicles
Walking trails, including the Tsauchab River Trail
Eco-sensitive, guided quad-biking
Guided and self drive visits to Sossusvlei and Sesriem
Balloon safaris (additional cost, closed 15 January to 15 February)
Horse riding safari
The scenic sundowner tour, one of the best scenic safaris in the Namib
Private vehicles can be booked at an additional cost, subject to availability
Doro Nawas Camp
Accommodation at Doro Nawas Camp consists of 16 units: a mix of natural stone and canvas walls with wood and glass doors, shaded by a thatch roof. Each unit, is designed to blend into the surrounding scenery, and consists of a bedroom, en-suite bathroom (with outdoor shower) and a veranda for stargazing or sleep outs.
The main building of Doro Nawas Camp is perched atop a sparse, rocky knoll and offers unspoilt panoramic views. This diverse and dramatic landscape varies from tabletop outcrops, small canyons and dry riverbeds, to savannah and grassland vistas. The main area is made up of indoor and outdoor dining areas, pool area, bar and local curio area. A staircase to the roof allows for relaxing sundowners and stargazing.
Doro Nawas Camp provides an excellent base for self-drive and fly-in guests. Activities revolve around extensive game drives and exploratory hikes through this unparalleled landscape. A trip to the fascinating Twyfelfontein San art engravings is not to be missed. Namibia’s first World Heritage Site, Twyfelfontein has the largest collection of petroglyphs (prehistoric rock art) in Africa. Visit the Damara Living Museum and learn about the fascinating traditional culture of the Damara people. This combination of Africa past and present makes for a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
Wildlife viewing at Doro Nawas Camp concentrates on the game found in the riverbed and along the valleys that fill with floodwaters during particularly good rainy seasons. There are no large concentrations of wildlife, but this arid environment is home to desert-adapted elephant, gemsbok, springbok and variety of other species such as bat-eared fox. This includes the occasional glimpse of the endangered black rhino and cheetah. Birdlife is excellent with several Namibian endemics, such as Damara Hornbill, Carp’s Tit and Rüpell’s Korhaan.
A visit to Doro Nawas Camp is also a wonderful opportunity to contribute to economic empowerment of the local community while enjoying a luxury safari experience.
Situated a short distance inland from the stark Skeleton Coast and just north of the true Namib Desert, Doro Nawas Camp in the Doro !Nawas Conservancy exists within one of the driest, most desolate regions in all of Africa. In this arid environment the ceaseless processes of life revolve around harnessing the near non-existent water in the most economical way possible. Desert adaptation is the miracle of the surprisingly rich diversity of fauna and flora surviving here.
The landscape ranges from boulder-strewn floodplains, canyons and dry riverbeds to curious rock formations surrounded by sand dunes. Namibia’s geological formations are amongst the oldest in the world. The Petrified Forest is a collection of 280 million-year-old fossilised tree trunks. Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes, a mass of perpendicular dolerite pillars, are also vast and ancient.
The principle source of water in the Doro !Nawas Conservancy comes from the famous Namibian early morning mists generated by the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean colliding with the hot desert air of the Skeleton Coast. This daily cycle of airborne moisture rolls inland along the various depressions and canyons formed by ancient rivers. As the dew settles it is eagerly harvested by plants, animals and insects before the burning Namibian sun climbs into the sky.
Doro Nawas Camp rests on a sparse, rocky knoll in the breathtaking Aba-Huab River Valley. In times of good rainfall this landscape is transformed into a carpet of golden grass and beautiful desert flowers.
Obviously this scrub landscape cannot support vast, concentrated herds of wildlife, but nevertheless boasts a varied and surprising assortment of desert-adapted species around Doro Nawas Camp. The Doro !Nawas Conservancy supports healthy populations of the unique desert-adapted elephant, a special highlight here. Other game species complementing this landscape include gemsbok, kudu, springbok, steenbok and occasionally the rare desert-adapted black rhino. Carnivores include brown hyaena, bat-eared fox and black-backed jackal.
Birding is excellent at Doro Nawas Camp. Raptors include the Secretarybird, Booted Eagle, Black-Chested Snake-Eagle, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture and Pale Chanting Goshawk. The endemic Benguela Long-billed Lark is common on the rocky slopes here – its plaintive whistling call an evocative sound. Other endemics include Rüpell’s Korhaan, Monteiro’s Hornbill and Bokmakierie. During heavy rainy seasons, seedeaters like Red-billed Quelea are in abundance at Twyfelfontein ‘Dam’ and there is always the odd Gabar Goshawk looking for a tasty meal here.
Nature drives in 4 x 7-seater open Land Rovers
9 x mountain bikes
Visit the San rock art at Twylfelfontein, a World Heritage Site
The Damara Living Museum shows off the traditional culture of the Damara people.
Optional visits to the Petrified Forest, Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes
Andersson’s Camp is a family camp with a sensational waterhole, with a good chance of seeing some of Ongava’s famous white and black rhino – in amongst a variety of other game.
Andersson’s Camp takes its name from Charles Andersson, the Swedish explorer who first ‘discovered’ the Etosha Pan with Sir Francis Galton in 1851. Set against the backdrop of the low Ondundozonanandana Mountains, Andersson’s Camp is surrounded by scrub-covered plains and white calcrete soils.
This former farmstead has been tastefully rebuilt to modern-day standards. The old farmhouse now forms the main area of Andersson’s Camp with 20 tents (16 twin-bedded and 2 family units) radiating outwards into the secluded mopane woodlands typical of the region. Tents are a clever mix of calcrete stone cladding, canvas and wood, with double-door entrances and a small veranda that is an extension of the elevated wooden decks on which the tents are constructed. The en-suite bathrooms continue the unique design. The family units comprise two tents connected by a raised boardwalk.
Andersson’s Camp‘s close proximity to Etosha Pan is ideal for full-day self-drives or guided drives into the Etosha National Park to take in the plethora of game found here.
Etosha National Park is Namibia‘s premier wildlife destination. At almost the size of Switzerland it is certainly one of Africa’s largest game parks. Large herds of plains game concentrate around the waterholes in the dry season, whilst the summer months’ sporadic rainfall produces a profusion of new life – with pronking baby springbok and comical young wildebeest.
Andersson’s Camp is a model of eco-sensitive lodging and provides an authentic, safe and down-to-earth experience for small groups, families and independent travellers to Etosha National Park. It is also easily accessible by road. Energy-saving initiatives include solar-heated water for showers, while throughout the camp most of the natural vegetation has been retained.
Andersson’s Camp is situated in the Ongava Game Reserve on the southern boundary of Etosha National Park, which is Namibia’s premier wildlife destination – providing an abundance of incredible big game viewing regardless of season.
Located in central-northern Namibia, Etosha National Park takes its name from the world-famous Etosha Pan – one of a number of large saltpans formed by wind action in this flat region. An evocative remnant of an ancient superlake, Etosha means ‘great white place’ in the local language, a name befitting the blinding white salt bleached earth that stretches over 120km east to west and 55km north to south (covering 5 000km 2 ). Etosha National Park itself covers a vast area of over 20 000km 2 , protecting an incredible wealth and diversity of both fauna and flora.
Etosha Pan is parched and dry most of the time, but occasionally a few rivers and the unpredictable heavy summer rains can fill it. After particularly good rains, Etosha Pan can attract over a million flamingos to its salty waters. While the Pan itself is extremely salty and as a result does not support much vegetation, its edges give way to a surprising variety of vegetation types: from the broad swathe of mopane that encircles the broader area; to the tall tree canopies of the tamboti and terminalia woodland in the east; and to the open acacia-strewn plains, grasslands and dwarf shrub savannah in the west. Here mopane woodland dominates, whilst a low row of dolomite hills, evocatively called the Ondundozonanandana Range, provide relief to the otherwise flat surroundings and harbour populations of the endemic Anchieta’s dwarf python and the local subspecies of rock hyrax.
Most general game are present in the Ongava Game Reserve as well as within Etosha National Park: including springbok, gemsbok, wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, waterbuck, red hartebeest, giraffe, eland and the endemic black-faced impala. Elephant can be found in the Park, with lion, leopard, and black and white rhino seen both there and on the reserve.
Birdlife around Andersson’s Camp within the Ongava Game Reserve is prolific, with over 340 species to be seen – amongst them 10 of Namibia’s 14 endemic bird species. Specials like Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Bare-cheeked Babbler, Violet Wood-Hoopoe, Carp’s Tit, Hartlaub’s Francolin, Red-necked Falcon, the Sociable Weaver and its enormous communal nests, the miniature Pygmy Falcon and the brilliantly coloured Crimson-breasted Shrike – justifiably Namibia’s national bird – are sought-after prizes by birders. Others include Ostrich, the immense Kori Bustard and raptors like Greater Kestrel, Lanner Falcon and Pale Chanting Goshawk in abundance. In the Etosha National Park, on the open plains towards Okondeka, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Double-banded Courser, and Spike-heeled Lark can be seen. Acacia thickets can harbour Yellow-bellied Eremomela and Acacia Pied Barbet.
Morning and afternoon/evening game drives on the Ongava Game Reserve (subject to availability of vehicles).
• Morning and/or afternoon game drives in Etosha National Park.
• Night drives on the Ongava Reserve on request.
• Nature walks on the Ongava Game Reserve.
Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.