Tsondab Valley Lodge

Sossusvlei

Tsondab Valley Lodge
Sossusvlei
3 stars

You'll be staying on a 17 thousand hectare private nature park in a desert and dune landscape. The closest town is Solitaire and describing this as a small place is a bit of an understatement. It's pretty much the only bit of civilisation between Sossusvlei and Walvis Bay. Tsondab Valley Lodge is in a very remote place.

Please note: Our review of this property has not yet been added. Watch this space. We're working on it.

As a tailor-made tour operator, we often have to get creative when designing your perfect itinerary.

For example, your travel consultant might add this property to your itinerary if:

Location is a significant factor
It offers a unique feature that will enhance your experience
This is a last-minute booking and room availability is limited
Cost is a factor and you'd rather splash out on another part of your trip
This is a newly opened or refurbished property that we have not inspected yet

When designing your custom itinerary we have much to consider not least of which is the value proposition of every product and service included in your quote. In all cases we strive to give you the best experience possible within your budget so please feel free to ask your travel consultant to share their reasons for including this property in your itinerary.

But what a place at that. You'll be an hour and a half north of Sossusvlei and could easily spot oryx, jackal, ostrich and zebra. It's an 18km drive from the gate to the lodge and you'll be glad of a 4x4, although it's not essential. It should take about half an hour and once you arrive you'll see the acacia wooded valley, blue mountains and hidden canyons. The ancient red dunes are right there and it's clean, friendly and family run. Views are impressive too and reports of the food are highly favourable. And after a long drive, this might be the most important consideration for now.

Tsondab Valley Lodge is still home to the people who built it. As such, they make a big effort to make your experience match their dreams. The man in charge describes himself as a 'bush pilot, do-it-yourself handyman, passionate perfectionist.' He's Hans Schreiber and sounds as though he's the one to go to if your fan belt breaks. He's also a man with a unique travel industry background. He was the first person to bring the tourism potential for Epupa Falls to life - he saw it whilst flying and ending up building and running the first fly-in camp on the banks of Kunene River. He also developed a guest farm on the edge of Etosha National Park. The woman in charge is Kristin Schreiber, born and bred in Berlin she's been in Namibia for nearly 20 years. A keen photographer she's also the chef here so definitely keep her sweet. That might get you seconds. The couple will happily join you for dinner at the long dining table and regale stories and histories of the German South-West African experience - it goes back three generations for Hans.

Best of all, after dinner you can have a night under the stars - in elevated bliss. Your bed can be put outside - actually on top of your bungalow - so you can lie back and star gaze. This has got to be up there with the best of glamping (we saw the pun, we ignored it).    

They're an eco friendly couple and Tsondab Valley provides its own electricity and water supply.

Facilities

There are five bungalows with 10 beds. They have high ceilings and thick outer walls which shield against the heat and strong winds. You'll have a living room with two beds and a bathroom with shower and toilet. You'll also have dune views and a roof terrace which is ideal for private sundowners - you reach it by using a staircase outside. Breakfast, afternoon coffee & cake and a 3 course dinner are included. You can expect fresh game meat from the farm.

There are also three campsites complete with rock showers. They're hidden inside overhangs of rock along the edge of the valley so you'll get a view of the savanna as you lather up.

They don't accept bookings for children under 12.

Bar; natural swimming pool and airstrip - please contact before your flight is scheduled to assess weather condition, check airstrip information and confirm shuttles

Activities

Firstly, just explore where you are. They have a 50m deep hidden canyon on the property - this is made up of petrified or ‘fossilised’ dunes and are ancient remains of the world’s oldest desert. You can also reach the ‘Blue Marble’ mountains.

You can walk or hike on your own or as a guided tour called Climbing Panorama Mountain. It's best to climb early or in the evening to avoid the heat and you'll get a 360° view of the desert. It takes a couple of hours and you'll reach an altitude of approx 150m. You could also do the Hidden Canyon half day tour. You'll walk across million year old petrified dunes and see fossilized roots, eggshells of ancient ostriches and prehistoric stone tools. The canyon is 50m deep and approximately 2km long and there is shade. Near the end of the canyon there is an exit route where you can find your own way back to the lodge over the red Namib dunes. A map and GPS co-ordinates are available at the lodge. If you like you can book the Canyon Shuttle which will take you to the entrance of the Canyon or fetch you, or both. This reduces the Canyon hike to approx. 2 hours, saving on the 4km hike from the lodge. Another hiking option is the Camelthorn Valley below the lodge. Here, hundreds of ancient trees cover an area reaching northward into the red dune-fields. You can choose your own route and explore the dunes and the canyon. You can always see the lodge so you can't really get lost.

There are guided tours by car or plane on offer too. There is strictly no self-driving on the property. The Sundowner Tour is in a vintage, open Landrover. This lasts an hour and a half and you'll drive through the dunes to the sundowner spot. There you'll find a table set with a white tablecloth, snacks and drinks of your choice. You could also do the Hidden Canyon & Sundowner Tour which takes a bit longer depending on how long you spend at the canyon. This is also in the old Landrover and is all quartz ridges, blue marble, canyons, dune valleys and Camelthorn trees.

Or go flying. The Scenic Flight Tour goes over the Namib Desert & Diamond Coast (Sossusvlei, Tsondabvlei, Kuiseb Canyon, Eduard Bohlen shipwreck etc.) You travel in a single engine Cessna 210. This trip is for a maximum of 4 people but for safety reasons they will need to know how much you weigh beforehand. The trip is also subject to availability.
There are 4 potential routes:

  1. Tsondabvlei & Kuiseb Canyon
    This goes over the Tsondab riverbed to Tsondabvlei. This clay pan is closed to the public as it is the breeding ground of one of the largest populations of the protected lappet-faced vulture in southern Namibia. Then you'll fly over the Sea of Sand to the Kuiseb Canyon before heading back over the game rich plains south of the Kuiseb.
  2. Sossusvlei & Tsondabvlei
    You'll fly over the Sea of Sand to Sossusvlei. Southwest you will see Dead Vlei and then flying north you will pass Tsondabvlei on the way back to the Tsondab Valley airstrip.
  3. Tsondabvlei, Diamond Coast & Kuiseb Canyon
    This trip flies west via Tsondabvlei towards the 'Forbidden Coast' on the Atlantic Ocean. You'll see the shipwrecked freighter Eduard Bohlen, which went to sea for the Woermann Linie on its last journey in 1909. Seal colonies are regularly seen. Next, you'll find the coastline along the Lange Wand, a 6km long dune wall dropping straight into the Atlantic Ocean. Then on, you'll see the Kuiseb river before reaching Kuiseb Canyon and finally Tsondab Valley.
  4. Namib Highlights
    You'll fly straight to Sossusvlei and fly over the forbidden Diamond Area. Then watch the seal colonies along the coastline and pass the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen. Next look out for Lange Wand, a huge dune crest before flying over the Sea of Sand. Finally, Kuiseb river, Kuiseb Canyon and Tsondab Valley.

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