Kwessi Dunes, once a traditional game farm is now a quirky 10-room desert lodge on 15,000 hectares of exclusive desert terrain, smack in the middle of the 200,000-hectare private NamibRand Reserve. This low key lodge offers full-board accommodation 85km south of Sossusvlei. Enjoy the pool under the sun and keep the cocktails going. All day. This is how things should be done in the Namib Desert.
The rooms are scattered across the farm, but close to the main house, pool and restaurant. Built in the traditional Namibian thatch-and-pole style, but with a design flair that is certainly non-traditional: think thatched safari lodge with striped canvas awnings, leather chairs, old maps and steel lamps. Each room comes with WiFi, full en-suite bathroom and, the special touch, an alfresco sleeping deck to enjoy the most marvellous night sky you'll ever see, all night. Now there is something you don’t see every day, literally.
As a guest inside the reserve, you can skip the morning queues and regulated opening hours to take a picture of the iconic red landscape. You are here, so grab your camera and enjoy the sunset and sunrise all to yourself.
Right on the edge of a dune belt, your view is of ochre sand and lots of it. Expected in the desert, sure, but who knew it was this special? A vast open expanse of seeming nothingness, dotted only by a few acacias against the vivid blue skyline. Phenomenal.
While this new spot seems quiet, that doesn't mean you will be bored. Activities include game drives, desert walks, helicopter flights, quad bike tours and hot air balloon rides. Also, did we mention horseback riding on the white salt pans?
Don't expect the Big Five in terms of game viewing. You won't find them wandering around these parts, not that that comes as a surprise since this is the desert, but what you will find are the adapted species such as the oryx, kudu, springbok, Burchell's zebra, jackals, aardwolves, African wild cats and bat-eared foxes. Leopard and cheetah are few, but who knows, you could be lucky?
We think this new lodge is a winner. Casual and comfortable with adventure around every corner. Disconnect from the world. Get on your horse. Order a drink, it's going to be a beautiful trip.
Activities include game drives, desert walks, helicopter flights, quad-biking and hot air balloon rides. For something a bit different, try horseback riding on the open plains of the reserve. Since you are in the middle of the reserve, the view makes for an outing itself.
Make a day excursion to Sossusvlei. It is a way away and comes at an additional cost, but well worth the visit if you have the time and want to tick this iconic highlight off your bucket list.