Cradled by the russet sands of Nambia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve, Kwessi Dunes is a gateway to Sossusvlei, the oldest desert on planet Earth. Here, a sea of red dunes hems craggy mountain peaks and parched salt pans. Though life has adapted to survive in this stark environment, Sossusvlei is less about tracking wildlife and ticking boxes. Rather, it’s a place to feel joyfully small, humbled by endless sands, isolation, thousand-foot-tall dunes, and star-spangled night skies.
Use Kwessi Dunes as a basecamp to explore this bewitching landscape, passing splendid days visiting landmarks like Big Daddy or Dune 7, among the tallest dunes in Sossusvlei. Call on Deadvlei, with its eerie sunbaked camelthorn tree skeletons. The undulating sands can be traversed many ways: via open-air Land Cruiser, quad bike, sandboard, on horseback or on foot—all are uniquely memorable. Zoom out to get a bird’s eye view on a whimsical sunrise balloon ride or a scenic helicopter flight. You’re likely to spot antelope—gemsbok, springbok, and kudu—with Burchell’s zebra making the odd appearance. Sightings of elusive black-backed jackals, aardwolves, and African wild cats are reserved for those with good luck.
Back at camp, retreat to the comfort of Kwessi Dunes’ air-conditioned thatch-roof canvas chalets. There are just 12 suites (two are family suites), each enjoying wide-angle desert vistas that stretch to the horizon. The interiors are well-appointed and airy, but the absolute showstopper is the secondary, outdoor “star gazer” bedroom. Open to the elements, this al fresco bed allows you to gaze upon the celestial heavens before floating off to sleep. A private veranda with rocking chairs and an outdoor shower are nice touches.
Kwessi Dunes has a main chalet replete with a lounge space and dining room—but you can take meals in-suite upon request. A swimming pool offers a reprieve from the heat of the day, while a communal campfire is a cozy place to sip coffee, socialize with other guests, or stargaze.
We like this property for honeymooners and travelers who want luxury without breaking the bank.