In the daytime, explore NamibRand, the largest private nature reserve in southern Africa, on guided walks through sand dunes, drives into the desert, and rides on ATVs. Ostriches, oryx (a kind of antelope), and Hartmann’s mountain zebras might cross your path. At night, in the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge’s observatory, an astronomer leads a safari of the desert sky, using a computerized telescope to point out star clusters, the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius, and other sights that are visible only in the Southern Hemisphere (best seen from April to October). Retire to one of the lodge’s 10 stone villas, each with a skylight above the bed for stargazing until sunrise. From $415 per night, including meals, lodging, and activities in the reserve.
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, (888) 882-3742. This story appeared in the January/February 2011 issue.