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Natural Selection opens Kwessi Dunes in the private NamibRand Reserve, NamibiaBy Mercedes Bailey, Natural Selection
As Namibia opens its borders to international travellers, so Natural Selection have opened the doors to their newest property, Kwessi Dunes. The new property is set in the heart of the vast 215,000 hectare NamibRand Nature Reserve, with easy access to Sossusvlei’s iconic rusty red sand dunes and the photogenic Deadvlei.
The new camp has been designed with the lightest footprint possible, featuring solar panels to provide all of the camp’s power. The all-Namibian design team created twelve thatch and canvas rooms measuring 88 square metres inside and out, and feature vintage four-poster beds, striped canvas walls and a beautiful map mural feature wall. Each bedroom has an ensuite bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers and a shaded, outdoor veranda. High thatched roofs and solar powered air-conditioning keeps guests cool during the hot desert days.
But the rooms at Kwessi Dunes really come into their own after the sun sets. Each room has been designed with a special “star gazer” room and every night there is the option to sleep outside, under the African night sky. In 2012 the NamibRand Nature Reserve was selected by the International Dark Sky Association as an official dark sky reserve on account of its low light pollution and cloudless night skies. It is one of the best places on earth to star gaze and enjoy spending the night under a canopy of twinkling stars. The guides at Kwessi Dunes are experts in the night sky and will help guests to tell their Southern Cross from their Orion’s Belt but if that all feels like too much hard work then counting shooting stars is a wonderful way to fall asleep.
The view from the lodge is spectacular and the glass windows and doors at the main area look out onto the undulating landscape that only ends when it meets the mountains, far in the distance. Inside, the lodge is a living art gallery, showcasing the work of Namibian photographic artist Paul van Schalkwyk whose life was dedicated to capturing the beauty of Namibia’s extraordinary landscape. Each of his beautiful pictures that hangs in the library area and dining area are for sale.
As with all Natural Selection’s projects 1.5% of turnover goes straight back to conservation projects which directly impact the area. Conserving the pro-Namib, the area along the eastern edge of the Namib Desert, is critically important in order to facilitate seasonal migratory wildlife routes and to protect biodiversity. Through the NamibRand Conservation Foundation Natural Selection’s guests are helping to fund environmental conservation, education and research.
Dave van Smeerdijk, co-founder and Director of Sales and Marketing at Natural Selection says, ‘’this new camp on our private reserve has all the great features of the Namib Desert with endless red rusted dunes on our doorstep to discover on open vehicles, quad bikes, and on foot, as well as a beautiful scenic drive to Sossusvlei. The camp is designed to keep our guests cool with insulated chalets with air conditioning and all 100% solar powered”.
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