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A never-to-be-forgotten escape from the world: a self-catering hideaway for 2 in a remote corner of the lunar Naukluft mountains
If your romantic idyll involves leaving the mundane far behind in favour of the wild, the beautiful and the remote, then this hidden retreat should be top of your African wishlist. Kuangukuangu - it comes from the Ovambo word for Milky Way - was born of a Frenchman's love for the amazing landscapes of the region where the Namib desert runs up to meet the Naukluft mountains. He chose an isolated corner of remote farmland (with farmhouse), then crafted a wood and stone cabin in such a way that it seems born of the savannah which surrounds it to all sides. And thanks to the cabin's all-glass frontage, you also feel wedded to this hauntingly beautiful terrain.

This is a place for retreat, contemplation and star-gazing. The cabin is eco in the purest sense: solar powered, with a simple rocket boiler, bathroom open to the elements and spare decoration which makes what's outside rather than inside the lead player. And if self-catering isn't your thing, you can eat at the neighbouring Barchan Dunes lodge, where great food and fascinating conversation are guaranteed.


  • Watching dawn over the savannah is a sight you'll never forget
  • Staying here is a back-to-nature experience in the very purest sense
  • There are no less than 4000 hectares of the Barchan Dune estate waiting to be explored on foot or by 4x4
  • Willem and Hannetjie, owners of the neighbouring lodge, are the kindest of hosts with a deep understanding of the country and its people


  • You could go for days without seeing another human being, although you should see plenty of buck as well as the occasional warthog, fox or jackal
  • You'll need to bring in your own supplies unless you opt to have meals at the Barchan Dunes lodge
  • Remember that it can get very hot here during the summer months (December through to mid February in Namibia)

Best time to go

When you come to Kuangukuangu will probably be influenced by what else is on your Namibian itinerary: if you've come for the game this will probably mean being here well after the rainy season at some time between May and September. This is also when temperatures are coolest and most suited for walking in the Rantberge mountains.

Bear in mind that showering beneath the stars could be a mite less appealing in the colder months of June and July when nighttime temperatures regularly drop below 10ºC. But if this doesn't appeal you can always have a bath or shower down at the lodge.

Our top tips

Slip a couple of your favourite CDs into your suitcase along with good quality sunglasses, sunhat, swimming costume, good walking shoes as well as sandals, cool clothes for the heat of the day, but also warm clothes and at least one very warm jacket for evenings. If you wear contact lenses, bring glasses in case of dust irritation. Keen birders will want binoculars and a copy of Newman’s Birds. We'd also recommend bringing insect repellent, a high factor suncream and a basic medical kit with painkillers, Imodium and rehydration tablets, and blister protection. A camera with an extra memory stick is a must!

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Cabin
  • 1
  • Self-catering with an onsite restaurant
  • Not suitable
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen


The best part of staying at Kuangukuangu is simply drinking in the vastness and beauty of the landscape which is spread out before you.

The cabin has been fashioned as one big, glass-fronted sleeping space with an outside cooking area and shower room slotted in alfresco between its outer wall and an enormous boulder. Beyond the sliding glass doors is a paved and shaded terrace with a table for two and twin director's chairs: this is the place where you're bound to spend most of your time reading, stargazing and gulping in those awesome views.

A large double bed - with a feather duvet and triple bank of pillows and cushions - is the axis round which the cabin turns, positioned so you awake to see the valley bathed in the first light of dawn without slipping out from between your sheets.

Behind the bed stone shelving doubles as your bedside table and on a higher ledge you'll find a CD player along with a selection of the owner's favourite Namibian sounds (choirs, marimbas, local music) - a collection of National' Geo' magazines and a handful of books and maps of Namibia. There are candles to light you to bed should the solar input drop, whilst animal hides and block prints of Namibian wildlife speak of the owner's love for the Great Outdoors.

On a small side terrace between the cabin and a huge rock you'll find your outside kitchen comprising a moveable gas hob, sink, cool box and small cupboard containing your cutlery and crockery, pots and pans, kettle and cafétière, matches and a few basic spices.

And tucked away round the corner is the shower room and toilet which are also open to the elements. Water is heated by a simple rocket boiler: it's lit for you on the day of your arrival then you're responsible for firing it up yourself. You'll find a small bottle of shower gel, another of shampoo and a small bar of soap.

Features include:

  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Hob stove
  • Kitchenette
  • Radio
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries


As a guest at Kuangukuangu you choose between cooking your own meals up at the cabin or dining at Barchan Dune lodge which is a 10-minute walk away. The chances are that you'll only be here for 2-3 nights, so we'd recommend you do both: it would be a shame not to have at least one meal beneath the stars at KK.

If you don't fancy shopping before you arrive (which in practical terms would mean in Windhoek, Walvis Bay or Solitaire) you can order a braai pack for your first night which will include sausages and meat for the barbecue, potatoes with garlic butter as well as salad and dessert: wine or beer can also be picked up at the main lodge.

You may prefer to have all your meals at Barchan Dune round its one big dining table, inside or out, in the very good company of Willem and Hannetjie (that's unless they have a full house in which case they'll be involved with preparing and serving).

Big breakfasts include Hannetjie's homemade breads, cheese and cold cuts, juice of the carton kind, fruit and cereals and the offer of eggs any way you'd like them.

If lunches at the lodge are fairly light in content - something along the lines of quiche, carpaccio or tuna fish with salad and served with a glass of white wine or beer - dinners are a lot more substantial. Willem enjoys wine and an engagingly quirky part of eating with him is that every night he'll ask one guest to choose the wine for the rest of the assembled company from a number of bottles lined up on the sideboard. Our supper was excellent: a tuna, gherkin and onion wrap as entrée was followed by springbok steak with a Greek salad and potatoes, and then a scrummy chocolate brownie for dessert. But best of all was the easy conversation with Hannetjie and Willem who seem born to their new role of keepers-of-the-inn: it was fascinating hearing them talk about life on their remote latifundia.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Hob stove
  • Kitchenette
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Kick back with one of those really chunky novels that you've been meaning to read
  • Wake at dawn, then laze in bed watching the ever-changing light and colour of the surrounding desert
  • Stargaze: seeing is believing when it comes to things astronomical in Namibia and you'll soon understand why the cabin was named Kuangukuangu ('Milky Way')
  • Go walkabout in the Naukluft mountain park (30-minute drive) or NamibRand Reserve (2-hour drive) and experience the exhilaration of finding yourself alone with no sign of habitation for miles and miles - and miles. Note: some may prefer to overnight closer to NamibRand Reserve in order to make the most of it
  • Join one of the guided Nature drives out from Barchan Dune lodge in the company of Willem
  • Go hot air ballooning in Sesriem
  • Rediscover the joy of being without a mobile, computer or TV for a few days
  • Head off to Sossusvlei to see the dunes at sunset which are an easy half-day excursion from here

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Safaris
  • Trekking
  • Wildlife


Kuangukuangu isn't set up with kids in mind but rather as a remote and romantic retreat for adults. But littl'uns are very welcome at the Barchan Dune Lodge and the easy One-Tribe vibe and all the surrounding space would mean that younger folk would be bound to have a really great time.

Our guests' ratings...


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