Namibia's Top Safari Lodges
Little Kulala, Namib Desert
The Namib runs for 1,200 miles along the entire Atlantic coast of the country. A decade ago, adventure-travel company Wilderness Safaris acquired a 90,000-acre spread adjacent to the colossal Sossusvlei sand dunes to create the Kulala Wilderness Reserve. Today, this private park contains three small lodges. The newest is the Little Kulala (doubles from $900, all-inclusive), with 11 distinctive cement, wood, and glass thatched-roof villas. Each has a grand deck with a plunge pool; a rooftop terrace with “sky beds” for stargazing; and a minimalist studio with a platform bed, bleached plank floors, and leather shag throw rugs.
Bouncing across the sand on one of the guided desert drives, you’ll encounter giant dragonflies, springbok, spotted hyena, gemsbok with long elegant horns, and camel thorn trees hung with the monster nests of the sociable weaver (these avian apartment buildings can hold several hundred birds and last for up to a hundred years). Equally intriguing are the mysterious circles of grass, some as large as 30 feet in diameter; there are many theories as to their origins, from termites to static electricity.
The main attractions, however, are the great Sossusvlei dunes, with their distinctive salmon color and sharp edges; they resemble colossal pyramids. Of the hundreds of dunes, a few are standouts, like Big Daddy, which measures almost 1,000 feet, and Number 45, where climbing up (and body-sliding down) are permitted.