When planning our recent trip to Namibia, I knew there was one place at which I had to stay: Namib Dune Star from Gondwana Collection. If you have read our post about Kalahari Anib Lodge, you know that we are big fans of Gondwana Collection. Well, it was hearing about the Dune Star that originally prompted me to explore the other Gondwana Collection properties for this trip and the wonderful experiences I had working with their employees sealed the deal.
Reading about sleeping under the stars at Dune Star inspired me and I was most excited about staying at this property during our trip. I couldn't wait to experience it for myself and it turned out to be in our top three places to stay in Namibia.
By Karla J. Strand
A trip to Namibia is not complete without spending time in the Namib Desert and the Gondwana Collection offers you the perfect way to experience it. After spending a few hectic days in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, we were excited to get off the trodden path and into some desert solitude. Namib Dune Star Camp offers visitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sleep under the stars in perfect solitude. The beds of their nine cabins are designed to be rolled out of the room onto the spacious deck. This is adventure and comfort rolled into one, or "soft adventure" as Gondwana refers to it!
To get to the Dune Star, you first check into the Namib Desert Lodge (also beautiful, blog post coming soon!), and at 4:30pm, they will transport you to the Namib Dune Star where you can stay one amazing night in desert comfort. A guide accompanies the guests and stays the night as well, so you can relax knowing you are safe and well cared for. Even the drive from the Lodge to the Camp is one to remember! Rolling through the dunes, red sand as far as the eye can see... the rock formations are wind blown and majestic. We saw oryx and the driver is keen to stop so that guests can take photographs of wildlife, dunes, and the camp as you get closer.
Upon arrival at the camp, you head to your cabin to freshen up and enjoy the magnificent view. We opened up the french doors to the deck and that first look is unforgettable. There is a generous amount of room between the cabins, so you can have comfortable privacy from your neighbors. It was sweltering that day at 40 degrees celsius. There is no air-conditioning in the cabins but upon opening the windows as well, we were able to get a refreshing breeze through the cabin to cool us as we rested.
One thing I love about the Dune Star is that it is completely solar-powered. So you have the luxury of lighting and hot water in your lovely ensuite bathroom but you can rest easy knowing you are caring for the surrounding environment as well.
At 6pm, guests can head to the restaurant to enjoy some snacks and their first sundowner on the house. The giant deck offers phenomenal views as the sun goes down on the desert. Getting to know your guide and other guests is a highlight here, as the small number of guests makes it feel more like a dinner party than a restaurant and at around 7pm, dinner is served. Dinner was delicious and conversation delightful, but honestly we couldn't wait to get back to our cabin and push that bed out onto the deck, so we retired early. The other guests were led in a festive sing-a-long by our guide at the restaurant.
After the sun went down, thankfully the temperature did as well, and the weather was perfect for sleeping under the stars. We rolled the bed out onto our deck and got comfortable. We looked at the stars for what seemed like hours, just enjoying the serenity and comfort. After the other guests retired, we felt like the only people on Earth and drifted off to sleep.
Let me be clear: I got one of the best night's sleep that night at the Dune Star that I have ever had, hands down. We relaxed in bed for a little while before dressing and heading out for a morning desert walk in the area surrounding the cabins. You would never guess how much life and activity is occurring in those dunes all around you! We learned about insects and lizards, the sand and geology, as well as how life can actually thrive in the harsh desert environment. After this fantastic tour, we gathered our things for the drive back to the Lodge for breakfast.
Overall, our night at the Dune Star was one of the most unique and enjoyable experiences in all of our travels. The cabins are comfortable and well-appointed, the guide so knowledgeable and charming, and the staff all very kind and accommodating. We appreciated the commitment to sustainability at the Dune Star, as well as the attention to detail. If you are headed to Namibia, do not hesitate to book a night at the Namib Dune Star Camp. I assure you it will be a night to remember!
Thanks to Dune Star for offering one of us a complimentary stay. As always, our opinions are honest and our own.
I'm Karla, the creator, curator, & blogger for GlobalETA travel and outdoors digital library & blog.