(45 twin tents) PO Box 6900, Windhoek; tel: 063 693223; fax: 063 693231; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.sossusvleilodge.com
Situated at Sesriem, immediately on the right of the national park entrance, Sossusvlei Lodge has the most convenient possible location for anyone wanting to drive to Sossusvlei at first light, or leave the park as late in the day as possible. When built it caused quite a stir: a large luxury lodge so close to the restcamp and park. However, now it is accepted as part of the scenery, into which it blends surprisingly well.
Its construction is an innovative mix of materials and colours: concrete, ironwork, canvas and leather; reds, apricots, greens and whites. The 'tents' are elaborate, permanent constructions and each has an en-suite bathroom (with shower, toilet and washbasin) built as part of the solid base, which supports the canvas walls of the bedrooms. Inside is luxurious and spacious, with adjoining large single beds, bedside tables, lamps, easy chairs, a dressing table, etc – so banish any thoughts of camping when you read of 'tents' here. Although the bathrooms could do with a coat of paint, and there are signs of wear in the fabric of the canvas, this is still an extraordinary place to stay.
The lodge's bar is popular with campers as well as guests, and its restaurant is good, serving help-yourself breakfasts and light, modern, à la carte lunches. Dinner is buffet-style, with various meats (often including unusual game) cooked to order. The swimming pool faces the desert and feels sublime after a dusty day in the dunes.
The atmosphere here is that of a hotel, as you will be left to organise yourself, though morning and afternoon trips are available into the park using the nearby Namib-Pappot Safari Company.
The lodge has a 10” computer-controlled, light refraction telescope. This can be linked to a PC, to pinpoint any one of 281,000 objects in the night sky, including such southern-hemisphere 'specials' as Omega Centaurus and The Jewel Box, and even be programmed to track (or 'slew') them. The sky at Sesriem is clear for about 300 days per year, and there is virtually no pollution. Ask at reception if anyone is available to work the telescope for you; if not, climb the central water tower to see the stars at their best. (Clouds or rain are a cause for celebration here; don't expect sympathy if you can't see any stars.) Sossusvlei Lodge is not cheap, but is very comfortable and perfect for early starts into the Sossusvlei area of the national park.