If you’re daydreaming of desert dunes and the ultimate adventure then look no further, Wilderness Safaris is able to offer you some well needed escapism, transporting you straight from your home to the depths of Namibia.
Africa’s leading conservation tourism operator, Wilderness Safaris, established in 1983, operates camps and safaris in some of Africa’s best wildlife and wilderness areas across seven countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through this portfolio they offer their guests private access to over six million acres of Africa’s most remote and pristine wildlife areas, while remaining fiercely committed to protecting our planet’s precious natural and cultural resources.
Their acclaimed desert retreat in Namibia’s Sossusvlei area, Little Kulala, has opened following an extensive refurbishment. Maintaining the same much-loved look and feel, with great emphasis placed on offering innovative in- and out-of-camp activities, the rejuvenated camp celebrates the luxury of space, splendour and solitude of the Namib Desert.
As a firm favourite of both Wilderness Safaris guests and travel partners alike, Little Kulala is situated in one of the best locations in the exclusive 27,000-hectare Kulala Wilderness Reserve – the only lodge in a private reserve with direct access to Sossusvlei’s magnificent red dunes. “It is this location, combined with the camp’s notable architecture and elegant accommodation, that our guests have come to love”, notes Alexandra Margull, Wilderness Safaris Namibia MD.
“The new camp has a clean, modern and fresh twist, with even more space and comfort from which to explore its starkly beautiful surrounds. Little Kulala is all about celebrating the Namib, the oldest desert in the world, and not only bringing it alive, but showcasing its importance for our planet. Many of the camp’s new features focus on illustrating the natural beauty the desert, not only reinterpreting the desert experience, but telling the remarkable story of a desert habitat restored. The rebuild focused on embracing the overall purpose of the area, with interiors reflecting the environment, in colours, textures and composition. It also gave us the opportunity to adapt and enhance the guest experience to celebrate the Namib’s geology, wildlife, natural beauty, space, amazing night skies, and other special features”, she adds.
While maintaining the same light footprint, Little Kulala features an all-new 100% solar energy system. Its 11 desert suites have been expanded to offer better airflow, featuring a spacious deck, sala and plunge pool. Each room’s private rooftop area can now be utilised for sundowners, “African tapas” and other rooftop dinners, or stargazing. The room’s shaded sala has a roll-out bed for siestas during the day or for sleep-outs under the stars.
New walkways make it easier for guests to move between their rooms and the main area, built as close to the ground as possible without intruding on the dune environment. The cosy outdoor fire pit in front of camp is the perfect storytelling platform, with guides on standby to lead engaging conversations about the area’s geology and rehabilitation successes, and the classic sunken wine cellar offers a private dining option for those who desire a more intimate affair. The upstairs lounge area, complete with a photo hub and other interesting objects, offers a relaxing area for guests to learn more about the Namib Sand Sea and other interesting facts about its fascinating geology, fauna and flora.
Other activities guests can look forward to include sunrise breakfasts or brunches at superb outdoor locations, gin stops and self-guided walking trails, exploring the reserve on e-bikes, quad bikes and eco walks, as well as climbing the 300-metre red dunes at Sossusvlei, floating over the Namib in a hot air balloon, fairy circle dinners, cultural campfire evenings, river oasis lunches, day and night nature drives, and more. The new spa offers a place of solitude and rejuvenation, with Wilderness Safaris working with Healing Earth to create a unique desert offering centred on the Namib melon, locally known as the tsamma melon, which is used in the products.
Back in 1996, when Wilderness Safaris first started operating in the area, the locale had previously been used for subsistence goat farming, and precious little indigenous wildlife remained. The company undertook a comprehensive and careful rehabilitation programme to restore the degraded land to its original habitat. Today, the Kulala Wilderness Reserve is critical for episodic movement of wildlife as they follow food and water for survival. The reserve forms the link between the extremely important major drainage lines of the central Namib Desert and the surrounding pro-Namib, and the major drainage lines of the Namib Sand Sea.
“We are absolutely delighted with the new camp, and look forward to offering our guests a superlative desert retreat experience; one that continues to positively impact the conservation of this remarkable area and empower people through employment and other income-generating opportunities”, Alexandra concludes.