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Destinations: two luxury Namibian safari lodges

8 November 2023
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Call of the wild

In the heart of the Namibian desert lie two safari camps guaranteed to stir your soul and enrich your life’s journey

From Ultimate Safaris, founded in 2008, a multi-award-winning specialist in organising and operating well-orchestrated, privately guided, naturalist safaris for individuals as well as for small and intimate groups boasting one of the most experienced, creative, and respected ‘tribes’ in the Namibian safari industry comes these two offerings.

The company’s driving force is a carefully selected tribe of experts who are passionate about all aspects of Namibia and who understand the importance of seamless guest services. Ultimate Safaris employs the best naturalist guides and Journeysmiths, all of whom live and work in Namibia and offers the finest portfolio of lodges, hotels, and camps.

A giraffe canters into view, followed by a zig-zagging journey of more giraffes stretching from left to right ahead of you. You have just woken up, ready to breathe in the desert air, check the rising sun, and look forward to your fresh sumptuous breakfast. Welcome to Onduli Ridge.

The newly opened camp, in the heart of the fragile wilderness of Namibia, is set to become the flagship property of the award-winning Ultimate Safaris. With just six luxury suites, Onduli Ridge is a spectacular camp where architecture and the natural landscape blend seamlessly, blurring the defining lines between indoors and nature.

Named after the resident giraffe in the area, the camp is built at the base of two granite outcrops, allowing for magnificent views of Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, to the south and the dispersed cathedral-like granite landscape to the north.

Located in the temperate climate of central Damaraland, Onduli Ridge will define a new benchmark for luxury safari travel in Namibia. Known for pioneering life-enriching safari travel in Namibia, Ultimate Safaris is dedicated to the protection and conservation of the natural world, working closely with local communities to develop its conservation initiatives and to fuel a passion for the development of responsible and sustainable tourism, not just locally but wider on the national level.

As with all Ultimate Safaris camps, sustainability forms the foundation and Onduli Ridge is no different, as all power is produced by solar, negating the need for any use of fossil fuels. Because of its desert environment water is in short supply so all water runs through a sophisticated reclamation plant, then used to feed wildlife watering holes, so there is no wastage. Solid waste is also sorted on-site and driven out to recycling plants in Windhoek.

The camp is designed to optimise views from its six idyllic suites to be viewed from many different vantage points – the bathroom, the desk, and the bed all offer spaces in which to observe the unfolding activity and sights around you. Hidden among the granite boulders that nestle the camp the suites are naturally ventilated with partial open-air bathrooms and largely open communal areas.

A king-size bed cooled by its own ‘climate conditioner’ (Evening Breeze) is also the perfect place for afternoon siestas, and if you want to sleep under a billion stars the bed can be rolled out onto your private deck for the night. Character and meticulous sustainable materials and inspired artistic choices are visible in the lavish petrified wooden washbasins, animal prints, and artefacts decorating the suites, and in the interior colour palette which complements the granite of the surroundings. For those who want to keep in touch, WiFi is offered in all rooms, while the camp also has its own airstrip with a waiting lounge and bathroom 20 minutes away.

Onduli Ridge is a world-leading destination. From the architecture to the range of amenities, the sights and sounds are breath-taking and the range of activities suitable for individuals or families. A range of delightful activities proving unforgettable memories include:

  • Desert-adapted elephant tracking, desert-adapted black rhino activity, and desert-adapted giraffe activity: learn about the species or head out with a guide to track and locate the animals and efforts to conserve them
  • Star Beds : Roll your bed out onto your deck and sleep under a blanket of a billion stars
  • E biking: Explore the area on an e bike with a biking guide
  • Rock art: View and learn about the art of a bygone era, giving insight into our human origins
  • Nature Drives: Explore the area in a vehicle, learning about the intricacies and complexities of this ecosystem
  • Nature Walks: Explore on foot, learning about the smaller factors that also impact the ecosystem

Despite the challenges of enduring the catastrophic total travel shutdown from Covid-19 Onduli Ridge offers discerning travellers something never seen before in the Namibian travel industry. Nature and its boundaries are the key players in this unique location as Ultimate Safaris sat tight to retain and bring its vision to life after the lockdown eventually lifted. The result is nothing short of remarkable, a testament to faith, determination, and commitment.

And then there are the giraffes.

Camp Sossus, a brand-new camp by Ultimate Safaris in the heart of the Namibian desert, brings ultimate freedom back into the supreme safari experience. Life outdoors is possible all-year-round in the stunning camp set in a nature conservancy, nestled between two mountain ranges and just 30 miles from the gateway to Sossusvlei and the Great Namib Sand Sea World Heritage site, one of the most picturesque places in the region.

The eco-chic ethos of Camp Sossus is the epitome of Ultimate Safaris’ aim to redefine immersive exploration and luxury. With the qualities of privacy, intimacy, unforgettable experiences plus total flexibility at its core, the idea of perfect comfort has not been neglected.

The camp offers just six tented guest rooms and provides a striking alternative to any traditional lodge or camp in the Sossusvlei area while offering unparalleled opportunities for guests to explore the majestic Namibian desert environment.

A landscape of plains, mountains, and dry river valleys overlooked by towering plateaus, is also home to one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in the area – oryx, springbok, bat-eared foxes, zebra, hartebeest, giraffe, kudu, as well as predators such as cheetah, leopard, and spotted hyena.

The large west-facing windows and south-facing doors in the tented guest rooms allow natural cooling by the prevailing afternoon south-westerly wind, and all the tents have a basic infrastructure that offers necessary comforts.

Guests feel perfectly at one with their surroundings while they enjoy semi-open-air en suite bathrooms with flush toilets and hot bucket showers with locally sourced amenities, spacious extra-length three-quarter twin beds, solar lighting, 220V electrical charging station, pedestal fan, shaded patio, a shaded day-bed and a magnificent star bed.

Looking up at a billion stars as you fall asleep in the comfort of a feather bed is an experience to be treasured, and just one of the many forms of ultimate personal freedom to be experienced at Camp Sossus.

There is plenty to explore, and outdoor adventures include biking with a guide on Mountain Plus bikes, nature drives to learn about the intricacies and complexities of the ecosystem as well as nature walks on foot, a Sossusvlei excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Deadvlei and the giant dunes at the Namib.

Conservation and sustainability are at the heart of everything Ultimate Safaris does, and Camp Sossus is the result of years of intensive work to reinstate one of the more ecologically sound tracts of land in the area. Miles of internal fencing have been removed, wildlife watering points installed and road networks improved. The rehabilitation of land and the reintroduction of wildlife have been key to the restoration and renewal of this stunning natural resource, home to some of Africa’s most adapted desert species.

  • Open all year, and available to be booked on a per tented room basis
  • Only children 12 years and older (one child sharing per tented room on a stretcher)
  • Bookings of four rooms or more qualify for exclusive use – subject to availability and any existing bookings (exclusive-use bookings allow children under 12 years)
  • Minimum two-night stays (three nights recommended)
  • Fully inclusive rate including all meals, local drinks, and scheduled activities
  • Six shaded state-of-the-art all-weather en suite tented rooms
  • Semi-open-air bathrooms with flush toilet and hot water bucket shower
  • Star beds above the bathroom of each tented room
  • Only 30 minutes’ drive to the Sesriem gate with access to the Sossusvlei dunes
  • Unique and intriguing desert swimming pools
  • Waterhole for wildlife viewing

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