If you're looking for a place to stay near the famous towering red dunes at Sossusvlei, look no further than Sossusvlei Lodge, located mere feet from the entrance to Namib-Naukluft National Park. Since a visit to the dunes typically involves an early morning start to take advantage of the best light and coolest temperatures, the location couldn't be better - and the lodge itself is nothing to sneeze at either. Lodging is in individual canvas-roofed, adobe-style units designed to fit the natural environment. Each one has an air-conditioned bedroom, en-suite bathroom, and private outdoor patio. Public areas include a small pool, an observation tower with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, a gift shop, bar, and lounge areas.
But as wonderful as all of this was, what really made me feel like I'd died and gone to heaven was the food. After several days of somewhat uninspired meals elsewhere on my journey, I was thrilled with Sossusvlei Lodge's bountiful buffets - an almost infinite variety of salads, cheeses, fruits, desserts, and other side dishes to accompany the grilled-to-order game meats and other hot items. I could imagine no better place to enjoy this cornucopia than the outdoor dining area overlooking the vast Namib Desert, with the sun painting the surrounding hills red and the possibility that at any time an oryx or a springbok might wander by to visit the waterhole just beyond the camp.