The Namib Desert is one of Namibia’s biggest tourist attractions. It is believed to be the world’s oldest desert. Several rivers and streams run through it, and it is also home to the popular and picturesque Deadvlei.
Because of this, the desert has a wide variety of accommodation options.
Whether you are looking to go easy and slum it by camping, spend a little more and book yourself into a glamping facility or fancy lodge or even go big and live it up in luxury accommodation if you prefer, there is something for everyone.
The desert is a slow and somewhat uncomfortable three to four-hour drive south from the capital city, Windhoek. For first-timers, I recommend you maintain a 60km/h speed limit. Blind spots aside, the popularity of the destination makes it one of the busier gravel roads. It is also not the smoothest you will experience, so an off-roader is probably your best bet, 4x4 if possible.
Pack some light snacks and carry a cooler box - the journey might feel long.
Don’t forget your spare tyre and car jack - a tyre puncture is highly possible.
Gazza’s ‘Misunderstood’ or ‘Superstar’ by Lioness? Both work as soundtracks to the life-changing experience you’re about to have. Keep it local. (seriously, go buy the CDs)
Solitaire is the only place between Rehoboth and Sossusvlei with a petrol station, so if you need to, this is where you should fill up. The café sells their world-famous apple pie, so make sure to grab a slice, it’s heaven.
Gondwana collection has five accommodation choices under their dessert offering: Namib Desert Lodge, Dune Star Camp, Namib Desert Camping2go, Desert Grace Lodge, and Desert Whisper. All of them are conveniently fenced into one large area.
I’ve had the privilege to experience four of the five.
What I love about this Gondwana offering is that neither is like the other. Each lodge/camp has a completely different experience.
I will start with the Camping2go
I would define Namib Desert Camping2go as a glamping accommodation. It is perfect for an adventurous and light-hearted traveller who enjoys nature. The tents, which can each accommodate four people, come fully equipped with bedding, towels, a fan and a fully-kitted kitchen with crockery, a braai area and even camping chairs for when you just need to sit and watch the sunrise.
Each tent has its own large shower and toilet - bonus!
What I loved about this experience was the access we had to nature.
Another really great thing Gondwana does is allowing camping guests to use lodge amenities like the swimming pool. Guests may also make a reservation for meals (at extra cost). Quite impressive.
With Gondwana cards, the Camping2go experience costs about N$400 per person per night, a bargain if you ask me.
After Camping2go, we moved on to our next experience.
Dune Star Camp
Dune star camp is one of a kind, one night only glamping experience, whose main attraction is experiencing sleeping under the stars. This is literally the lodge’s value preposition - sleeping under the stars.
Because of this, guests check-in at Namib Desert Lodge and are shuttled from there to Dune Star Camp at 17h00. This is because outside of the sleeping cabins, not much else exists in the camp. The next morning guests are shuttled back to Namib Desert Lodge, which is where they go for breakfast. This experience is very cosy and very romantic. Children are not allowed in the camp.
With the Gondwana card, the Dune Star experience goes for a little over N$1 000.
The third accommodation establishment we went off to was the Desert Grace.
Where would one even begin with the Desert Grace? The pink fridge and cute sitting area atop a hill? The stunning interior with a feminine touch of pink? The proudly Namibian wall art? The gorgeous bar? The where I ask?
The place is stunning and it comes with the service to match. The rooms are elegantly and beautifully decorated. Each room comes with a private plunge pool and outside shower. Who doesn’t enjoy an outside shower? The marble tops and Marshall speaker are the extra touches every lodge needs.
The Desert Grace is a four-star experience and the experience can be enjoyed at the cost of N$1 785 per person with a Gondwana card.
The last of the collection is the Desert Whisper, which is a luxury offering.
The Desert Whisper is a one-of-a-kind intimate hideaway. The “spaceship” was built to only accommodate two people at a time, making it the perfect destination for intimate holidays like honeymoons or anniversary celebrations.
The lodge comes with a fully-kitted kitchen, some of the best and finest wines, whiskeys and champagne, delicious meals, the whole shebang! The experience is like no other.
With your Gondwana card, the Desert Whisper can come to a cost of about N$8 000 per night.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you want more information, travel consultation or collaborations.
Facebook: Ndapanda Haininga