KULALA WILDERNESS RESERVE
27 000 hectares (67 000 acres); a private reserve immediately adjacent to the towering dunes of Sossusvlei and bordering the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Habitats include the acacia-lined Tsauchab River, vast grassy plains and rugged mountains. Key mammal species: ostrich, springbok, gemsbok, bat-eared fox, Cape fox, brown hyaena, black-backed jackal. Key bird species: dune lark, Burchell’s courser, Ludwig’s bustard, Stark’s lark.
Activities impress guests with the overwhelming magnitude, solitude and tranquillity of the desert and include private tours to Sossusvlei, scenic nature walks and drives to view the desert’s fascinating ora and fauna. At extra cost, it is also possible to experience the area on a hot air balloon safari.
NOTE: Closed from mid-January to mid-February.
The camp comprises 23 thatched and canvas “kulalas” (including three family units) with en- suite bathrooms and verandas. Each unit is built on a wooden platform to catch the cooling breezes and a at rooftop where bedrolls can be placed for guests to sleep under the stars.
NAMIB-NAUKLUFT NATIONAL PARK
4.9 million hectares (13.3 million acres); a vast area of pristine wilderness encompassing a large portion of the Namib Desert as well as the Naukluft Mountains. The most well-known area is Sossusvlei, an area characterised by its enormous sand dunes and moonlike dry pans and vleis.
Situated at the foot of the majestic Sossusvlei dunes is Kulala Desert Lodge with magnificent views of its famous red dunes, mountainous scenery and vast open plains make it the most spectacular.
Situated at the foot of the majestic Sossusvlei dunes, a private entrance (for Wilderness Safaris vehicles exclusively) to Namib Naukluft Park makes Kulala Desert Lodge the closest location to Sossusvlei, while magnificent views of its famous red dunes, mountainous scenery and vast open plains make it the most spectacular. The main area, with northern African-inspired décor, has a lounge, dining area, pool, and wraparound veranda overlooking a waterhole.
Sossusvlei itself is a large clay vlei (pan) situated towards the end of the course of the ephemeral Tsauchab River; however, the name has come to signify the entire area of vleis and their surrounding dunes, which in turn is part of the enormous sea of sand that stretches for 400 km south of Walvis Bay. Rainfall here measures only a paltry 50-100 mm annually. Despite the lack of vegetation and low rainfall, the Sand Sea is not without life and a surprisingly diverse array of insects, reptiles and rodents can be found – survival enabled by the detritus that collects in these depressions and by the coastal fog that blankets the area and penetrates far inland. Some of the world’s tallest dunes are found here, their sheer scale and grandeur combining with the austere minimalist plant life. The average height of the dunes is around 220 metres (720 ft.), with a few reaching 300 metres (980 ft.) or more. Many have been named: Big Daddy is one of the tallest in the world at 380 metres (1 246 ft.); Dune 45 is one of the most popular, given its easy accessibility from the road.