Situated on a private 4,000 hectare reserve just north-west of Mariental and close to the small town of Kalkran, Red Dunes Lodge is a characterful, relatively new accommodation in the Southern Kalahari. Everything here is intriguing and imaginative, from the setting between two desert eco-systems (the dunes of the Kalahari and the scrubland of the Nama Karoo) to the dry lake “”vlei”” on which the lodge, swimming pool and viewing deck are based. This central area also boasts a restaurant, bar and lounge with a fireplace, with the main building connected to the twelve individually designed chalets by a raised wooden walkway.
Each chalet is named after a different animal found on the reserve, from Zebra and Nyala to Black Wildebeest and Giraffe. Innovatively designed with canvas walls, thatch roofs and teak floors, there are large windows to permit views over the adjacent waterhole and hidden outdoor showers for washing under the stars. This is a stylish, comfortable place, but perhaps most attractive is the range of activities available. There are scenic nature drives, mountain bike routes and unguided hikes on the reserve, but best of all are the two-night Trans Kalahari walking expeditions, heading out deep into the dunes and spending one night in comfortable tents set on a high dune with sweeping desert views.