This has to be Namibia’s most romantic honeymoon pod

With its open plains, endless gravel tracks, and diverse landscapes, where better to renew your romance with the enormous outside? Take a soul-soothing trip to the sands of the Sossusvlei region.
Written by Melanie van Zyl
15 September 2021

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Driving distances in Namibia are almost always colossal. This big sky country is geared for slow travel. In fact, it’s the sort of place where you’d likely land a punctured tyre – or worse, heaven forbid – when in a rush. Luckily, that was not my case, even though (against all sensible advice) I caught myself leaving Namibia’s capital Windhoek at 4pm with a decent four-hour route ahead.

Namib Desert Map Namibia

Once thoroughly advised on tyre replacement charges, puncture procedures, and wheel-changing ways, I hit the road in a lucratively lime green Suzuki Jimny 4WD rental car from Namibia2Go. As if a solo female traveller wasn’t unusual enough in this harsh environment, my drive drew even more attention in these contradictory beige surroundings. Perhaps all the better, then, that I arrived at my destination in the dark?

Self-drive Namibia
Buckle up, there are wonders to see in Namibia | Source: Melanie van Zyl

I cruised past Rehoboth, swapped tar roads for gravel tracks and never looked back. Steering through switchbacks, I sang at the top of my voice to Hotel California (you know, “on a dark desert highway”) and spotted both kudu and warthog on the drive south to my delightful desert destination. Reigning as Africa’s least-populated country (then third in the world after Greenland and Mongolia), Namibia is an exemplary pandemic-era address divvying up some stupefying statistic like seven people to every square mile.

Best places to stay in Namibia
Oryx call the Namib Desert home. A low metabolism allows these antelopes to survive for much of the year without drinking | Source: Melanie van Zyl

We were but two in the safari-style chauffeur vehicle that chugged up a gravel-strewn hill in the dark to my private designer desert pod, the Desert Whisper. Much like a Mad Max spaceship landing, I was dropped off, left alone at a glittering ochre oval delicately perched on the rim of an expansive plain.

Also read:  6 dreamy destinations to spend your African honeymoon

This remote villa is one of five different accommodation options available inside the private Gondwana Namib Park. Operated by a proudly Namibian travel portfolio, the Gondwana Collection,(one of the biggest tourism employers in the country with a network of over 20 stays spread across the country and 1100 staff) it lies an hour’s drive from the country’s most iconic neighbourhood, Sossusvlei. These surrounds are best-known for stark dune terrain and picturesque plodding oryx.

Desert Whisper Villa
The Desert Whisper is a one-of-a-kind villa on a cliff top above the sands in the Namib Desert | Source: Melanie van Zyl

The Desert Whisper pod was devised by architect Sven-Erik Staby and is modelled on the Namib’s endemic !Nara plant, a hardy leafless and thorny botanical, bearing succulent melon fruits that feed and water the desert’s wildlife. This robust eco-engineering spawned Staby’s innovative construction, given that the eco-friendly pod would likewise need to endure harsh living conditions. Sun, heat, wind, and sand were all considered when crafting the building’s curved carapace shell.

Namibia Villas
Inspired by nature and natural shapes, material and colours, your contemporary desert home is one that you may never want to leave | Source: Melanie van Zyl

Echoing the !Nara plant’s tough exterior, the rounded pod successfully deflects wild winds while punched holes in the shapes of its seeds welcome the breeze for gentle ventilation. In the morning, I relished how these orbicular peepholes also artistically let the velvety light in to dance shadow puppet circles on the wooden floors and walls as the sun shifted outside.

Desert Whisper
Luxurious on the inside, strapping and sturdy on the outside | Source: Melanie van Zyl

Like plant, like pod, the insides are softer with nourishment in mind. I bounced between the immaculate pool and plush reading lounge, come cocktail nook, stopping to refuel at the kitchen’s cellar for flutes of sparkling wine. An open-plan apartment, the Desert Whisper is contemporarily furnished in biscuit tones of buttermilk, gingerbread, and caramel, then iced with gold accessories (right down to the responsibly-sourced toiletries) and a broad bed nuzzles enormous glass windows.

A dream dawn in the desert | Source: Melanie van Zyl

The view – and everything besides – was mine with nobody else for miles around. Enjoying solitude at its sweetest, I left the whispy cotton curtains open throughout my stay. Much like the structural light show, it ensured the scenery always seeped straight in. A flick through the guestbook revealed similar sparks of genuine joy: stories of wedding elopements (by none other than South African Instagram couple. @HowFarFromHome), engagements, celebrations.

Intended for couples as a one-of-a-kind honeymoon hideaway, being here solo only heightened its seclusion. Still, I easily experienced that same unadulterated elation scrawled in the reviews. For me, however, the luxury lay in being left unchaperoned to my own devices.

Desert Whisper
It’s easy to embrace the solitude and magnificence of the Namib Desert at Desert Whisper | Source: Melanie van Zyl

Visit Sossusvlei

Many people don’t realise that you can’t actually stay at Sossusvlei. Sesriem is the closest outpost.

The actual Sossusvlei is a typically dry pan (though it filled like a glorious mirage with healthy rains in February 2021), which sits near the more famous and photogenic Deadvlei inside the Namib-Naukluft National Park – both are a good 110km drive away from the Gondwana Namib Park.

It’s a kilometre-long walk over small sand dunes to get into this area, the iconic Dead Vlei | Source: Melanie van Zyl

Looking for unique honeymoon ideas? Want to surprise that special someone with a spectacular hot air balloon adventure? Get in touch with us and we’ll plan your unusual African adventure.

Book your next trip with us

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