&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
More than a dozen years after it debuted, &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge remains a lone oasis in the stark and hauntingly beautiful landscape of Namibia’s private 445,000-acre NamibRand Nature Reserve. The remote game lodge, which underwent renovations last year, unveiled in Febru-ary the transformation of its 10 split-level villas into sleek retreats with all-new furnishings and marble bathrooms.
The stand-alone accommodations—plus a main lodge with a dining area and bar, and a spring-fed swimming pool—overlook an open plain and the petrified dunes of the northern NamibRand. Despite its desolate appearance, the desert teems with wildlife, including onyx, antelope, springbok, zebras, kudu, baboons, and giraffes. An hour’s drive from the lodge are some of the planet’s tallest dunes, which can be reached by safari vehicle, helicopter, or hot-air balloon.
As the day winds down, guests can order drinks in the lodge or watch the desert’s changing colors from their patios. After dinner on a lantern-lit deck or among the dunes, they can take in an astronomer’s talk at an on-site observatory. Telescopes and over-bed skylights in the villas further showcase the wide Namibian sky. &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, +27.11.809.4441, www.andbeyondafrica.com