As you drive South from Windhoek, you may think that the landscape can’t get any more spectacular, and you will be surprised to discover that it gets more and more interesting along the way. You will leave Windhoek on the B1, travelling South through the mountainous Windhoek surrounding area, on tar road until you eventually turn off onto a gravel road. This is where the real fun begins. Depending on which route you have taken, you might get to the Spreetshoogte pass, which is an incredible drive through the Khomas Hochland Mountain Range. When you reach the top of the pass, you will need to stop and marvel at the view across the immense plains that stretch for hundreds of kilometers, before continuing your journey. Finally, shortly after having stopped for a coffee a slice of famous apple pie from McGregor’s Bakery in Solitaire, you arrive in Sesriem, the gateway to the famous Sossusvlei Desert.
It’ll probably be busy when you arrive at the Sesriem gate and go into the permit office. After all, Sossusvlei is Namibia’s most popular tourist attraction. However, once you’ve gotten your permit and continue towards the Dead Valley Lodge, you’ll slowly feel like you’re entering into another world. When the lodge comes into view, it doesn’t fail to amaze. The architecture is fascinating, but it doesn’t stand out like an eyesore against the serene desert background. In fact, it seems to blend in with its surroundings, as the iconic metal structure in front of the lodge is evocative of majestic shape of the desert dunes.
Upon entering into the lodge lobby, you are greeted with the welcome sounds of cascading water from several water features, like entering into an oasis, and offered a refreshing cold-drink. You are also met with the incredible sight of the lodge interior. The word ‘interior’ may not even be the correct way to describe it, because everything is wonderfully open, so much so that there is no real barrier between the interior and exterior. If I’m making it sound like a fairytale, it’s because it is. The openness of the main lodge creates a lovely sense escape and relaxation, and looking out into the desert plains whilst sitting on a big comfy couch with a refreshing beverage is pure bliss.
The accommodation at the Dead Valley Lodge consists of 20 luxury tented chalets. Each chalet is equipped with all the essentials; a kitchenette with fridge and coffee/tea station, air-conditioning, safe, and more. The chalets stand facing out towards the desert, and the tented walls have large ‘windows’ which can be opened to reveal the incredible view of the landscape. Each chalet is also free-standing, and feels like a private villa. The room and bathroom are spacious and impeccably decorated, and each chalet has a private patio with a table and chairs, which is the ideal spot to have a morning coffee and gaze out at the nature, and sometimes you are even greeted by the desert wildlife, such as the majestic oryx, who roam about the desert plains.
Another highlight of the Dead Valley Lodge is one thing that is important to everyone: the food. Every evening, the dinner buffet is laid out like a spread fit for royalty. You wouldn’t imagine that a lodge in the desert, in a remote part of Namibia would be able to serve such fresh and scrumptious cuisine. The starter spread is made up of a wide variety of foods including smoked salmon, prawns and calamari, fragrant soups, and fresh bread and salads. The main course is a special experience on its own; you choose your steak from a variety of meats (including ostrich and crocodile!), which is then seared to perfection, according to your preference, in front of you on one of the buffet grills. You also have a large selection of sides including vegetables and sauces. The dessert (not to be confused with Desert – both are incredible at Dead Valley) is no less spectacular, with options ranging from a warm, baked Southern African Malva pudding, to cheesecakes, chocolate mousses, and more. Lunch and breakfast are served à la carte.
If you aren’t spending your time relaxing by the idyllic pool, or reading in the lobby lounge, or unwinding in your chalet, you could go on one of the scenic drives that Dead Valley Lodge offers. You can’t go to Sossusvlei and not visit the iconic Deadvlei at sunrise, which the Dead Valley is named after. It is the most pristine and surreal desert landscape, with the fossilised trees standing in stark contrast against the bright orange dunes, rising up from the white salt pan. Or, you can go on a sunset drive and have a guided walk on the Elim dunes, where you will be able to sit and enjoy the sunset with a refreshing beverage. You can also choose to go to the Sesriem Canyon, which is like a hidden gem, lying beneath the earth’s surface. It is awe-inspiring to walk in the canyon, between the tall canyon walls and magnificent rock formations.
Overall, my time at the Dead Valley Lodge was one that I won’t soon forget. Its location, views, services, and activities create an atmosphere and experience that can aptly be described with one word: magical. I will most certainly be going back for more.
If you’d like to see more photos click here to visit our Instagram.