Enjoy a unique and thrilling safari experience in Africa’s glorious desert regions 

Wilderness, adventure and unrivalled beauty… while Africa’s desert regions may appear to be harsh and barren at first glance, they are in fact the ultimate safari and nature destinations. The vast landscapes, which feature everything from rugged mountains and rocky outcrops to smooth wind-blown dunes and blistering white clay pans, are home to fascinating varieties of desert-adapted flora and fauna. Birds, mammals, insects, plants and reptiles can be found clinging to rock faces and roaming the plains. thrill-seekers can choose from a wonderful array of adventure activities, such as quad-biking over the dunes, hot-air balloon trip, scenic flights, bush walks and guided day and night game drives. Those looking for a more relaxed experienced can kick back and simply breathe in the spectacular wilderness surroundings.

The Safari Index team has selected a collection of some of the best desert safari lodges and camps in two of Africa’s most amazing desert areas, Namibia’s Namib Desert and South Africa’s Kalahari Desert .

Desert Camp

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Located just 5km away from the entrance to Namibia‘s Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon, Desert Camp is the perfect base from which to explore and enjoy the Namib Desert region. The camp is eco-friendly and affordable, with self-catering facilities that are perfectly suited for families and groups. The tented canvas suites have en-suite bathrooms, fitted kitchenettes and barbecue facilities. The main camp area features a fully-stocked bar with a TV, 2 communal bomas with cooking facilities (perfect for groups), as well as an ice-cold pool where guests can can take refuge from the desert heat. Guests can enjoy numerous adventure activities and visit the many landmarks in the surrounding area.

Desert Quiver Camp

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Desert Quiver Camp is also located on the edge of the spectacular Sesriem/Sossusvlei region, near the entrance to the park. This is the perfect base from which to explore the famous dunes of the Namib Desert, and visit landmarks such as Sesriem Canyon and the Deadvlei. The camp offers comfortable and modern self-catering accommodation. Each room is family-friendly and features en-suite bathrooms, fitted kitchenettes, and barbecue facilities. There are also 2 communal boma areas that are well-suited to groups travelling together. Guests can relax between adventure activities at the bar and pool area, enjoying the beautiful surrounds or taking a refreshing dip to cool down from the desert heat.

Greenfire Desert Lodge

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Greenfire Desert Lodge enjoys a fantastic location in one of the most remote and beautiful regions in the world. It is set on a 20000-hectare private reserve in Namibia‘s Namib Desert, near to the Namibrand Nature Reserve. The lodge is ideal for solitude-seekers and adventure and nature lovers. It is surrounded by miles of desert wilderness that are home to a fascinating variety of desert-adapted plants and animals. It is also one of the least light-polluted places in the world- the area is an official International Dark Sky Reserve, and stargazers will relish it! Each en-suite room features fantastic views of the surrounding desert, as does the main lounge, deck and pool area. Guided day and night game drives and walks are on offer to guests.

Kulala Desert Lodge

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Kulala Desert Lodge is so named for its thatched and canvas “kulala” rooms, each built on wooden platforms and surrounded by magnificence of Namibia‘s Namib Desert. The lodge is situated on the private Kulala Reserve, close to the legendary Sossuvlei Dunes. Each “kulala” has en-suite facilities, private decks, and flat rooftops where guests can enjoy a night under the stars in the desert wilderness. There are also three family-friendly tents. The main area comprises a lounge, dining area, bar, plunge pool and wrap-around deck- kick back here after a thrilling day exploring the area. Numerous activities are on offer- explore the Namib on foot, game drive, quad bike and even hot-air balloon. The endless desert vistas are a photographer’s dream.

Little Kulala

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Little Kulala is an intimate a luxurious wilderness retreat, surrounded by the magnificent sand dunes of the Namib Desert. The camp is situated on the private 37000-hecatre Kulala Wilderness Reserve. It features 11 lavish suites, each blending seamlessly into the desert landscape and featuring indoor and outdoor showers, private plunge pools, and rooftop star beds perfect for an evening of magical stargazing. The main area consists of a lounge and dining section, a library, a wine cellar, and a craft boutique. Guests can relax and socialise here, in between exploring the fascinating surrounds and enjoying the abundance of adventure activities on offer. These include quad biking, game drives, nature walks, and hot-air balloon trips.

Sesriem Campsites

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Sesriem Camp is located at the entrance to the Sossusvlei region of Namibia, very close to the spectacular Sesriem Canyon. It is designed exclusively for campers, featuring 24 campsites. Each is simply furnished with fireplaces and electrical points, slowing for a genuine wilderness camping experience. Communal ablution facilities, a restaurant, bar, small shop and gas station are also available on site. The camp’s location is advantageous as it allows guests to enter and leave the Sossusvlei before sunrise and after sunset, which other visitors cannot do. This provides the chance to witness sunrises and sunsets over the towering Namib Desert dunes. Visitors can also visit the hauntingly beautiful Deadvlei, hike up the canyon during the dry season, or take a refreshing dip in the rock pools during the rainy months.

Sossus Dune Lodge

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Sossus Dune Lodge is located inside the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia, in the famous Sossusvlei region. It is the only lodge located inside the park itself. This makes it the ideal destination for those wishing to visit the famous Namib Desert dunes, the Sossusvlei and the Deadvlei. The Sossusvlei is a massive white clay salt pan, surrounded by the fiery red dunes of the Namib. The Deadvlei is a nearby pan, distinguished by its twisting dead camelthorn threes that contrast sharply with the white clay background. The region is a dream for photographers, and wildlife lovers can also look out for a host desert-adapted species. The lodge features 23 en-suite chalets, each authentically constructed from wood, canvas and thatch. The main area comprises a pool, bar, restaurant and lounge area, perfect for relaxing while surrounded by the desert wilderness. Enjoy game drives and guided walks, and visit the incredible Sesriem Canyon, located nearby.

Sossus Oasis Campsite

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Sossus Oasis Campsite is located near the entrance of Namibia’s Sossusvlei and Sesriem region. It shaded individual campsites provide guests with the opportunity to genuinely experience the thrill of being out in the wilderness. Each site is equipped with ablution facilities that include a toilet, basin, and hot and cold shower, as well as electrical points and barbecuing facilities. There is a sparkling pool where guests can escape the desert heat and refresh themselves, in between exploring the intriguing desert surrounds. A host of adventure activities are on offer, including hot-air balloon trips or scenic flights over the stunning desert landscape, quad biking over the dunes, and dinners out in the desert bush. Guests can also explore on their own on a self-drive safari.

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge provides ultra luxury in the heart of Namibia’s desert wilderness. The lodge’s lavish suites are spacious and air-conditioned, featuring a range of luxurious amenities, including outdoor showers, indoor fireplaces and star-viewing skylights. The main lodge area blends wonderfully into the surrounding mountain and desert landscape, featuring a swimming  pool, wraparound veranda and walk-in wine cellar. A range of unique and exciting activities are available to guests, including stargazing at the state-of-the-art observatory with the guidance of a professional astronomer. Visit ancient San Rock Art paintings, and experience the thrill of a hot-air balloon trip over the desert. Navigate the terrain on motorbike excursions; quad biking, hiking, game drives and nature walks are also on offer.

Sossusvlei Lodge

Namib Desert and Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei Lodge is located on the edge of Namibia’s Namib Desert, and provides comfortable 4-star accommodation in the heart of this spectacular wilderness. The air-conditioned rooms are designed to blend in with the desert landscape, and are outfitted with en-suite bathrooms, tea and coffee-making facilities, and patios from where guests can relax and drink in the views. The main area is made up of a sparkling pool and Acacia beer garden, as well as an open-terrace that looks out over a waterhole in front of camp. Guests can enjoy watching wildlife come to drink- and even at night, when the waterhole is floodlit. a dedicated Adventure Centre at the lodges offers a wide range of activities, including archery, quad biking, scenic flights, hot-air ballooning, guided sunset walks, sundowner trips, trips to Sossusvlei, bush dinners and stargazing.

Tarkuni Lodge

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Tarkuni Lodge is an exclusive, ultra-luxury desert safari lodge, found in the private Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve in South Africa. The lodge, which was previously the Oppenheimer family’s private home, has been redesigned to accommodate just 10 guests. Five opulent suites are each outfitted with en-suite bathrooms, outdoor showers, two lounges with fireplaces, and outdoor star beds for a thrilling experience. Guests at Tarkuni will have their every need attended to, with the services of a host, private chef, personal field guide and tracker all provided. Private game vehicles are provided as well. Facilities include a pool, spa, boma, and restaurant. Special children’s activities are offered, and there is also a babysitting service available. Guests can explore the reserve on guided game rives, walks or horseback safaris, looking out for the abundance of wildlife species in the region, including the magnificent black-maned Kalahari lions.

The Motse

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

The Motse is a family-friendly luxury safari lodge, found on the Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve in South Africa. Tswalu is the largest private game reserve in the country, and its stunning mountain and desert landscapes are home to a wonderful variety of wildlife species, including the fascinating black-maned Kalahari lions. The intimate camp features nine luxurious suites, three of which have been designed especially for families. Each has been constructed from rich desert clay and Kalahari thatch, and features outdoor showers and private sundecks with views of a watering hole. Guests can enjoy personalised safari activity schedules according to their preferences- these include game drives, guided walks, horseback safaris and San Rock Art tours. The lodge has a full range of facilities, including a gym, spa, pool, wine cellar and Wi-Fi connectivity.