Zannier Hotels Sonop

Karas Region, Namibia Book from Book from £639 per night

Stylish luxury tents in a spectacular remote desert location, with astonishing views and levels of comfort

There's nowhere else on earth like Sonop. Set in the heart of the Namib desert, 10 luxury tents straddle an outcrop of giant boulders - all built on stilts and connected together by meandering walkways. On arrival, a buggy twists you safely round a steep trackway to be greeted at reception perched high above. Once there, the views will end all views. Yes you really are far, far away. But you are also far from roughing it. Old style comfort harking back to the 1920s mixes with an age of adventure and exploration. You're spoilt at every turn. Pith helmets, brass telescopes, antiques and Persian rugs all lend a distinctive colonial feel: there's even billiards in the bar.

Jetsetters can arrive by charter plane (little over 1hr flight) from Windhoek or from their sister game lodge Omaanda. We chose an excellent 8-hour ground transfer through breathtaking Namibian landscapes; and we loved every second. Once installed, they'll guide you to explore on horseback, electric bike, jeep or on foot. Cool off in their spa or beautiful pool afterwards, or star-gaze at night. Every day, your jaw will drop afresh at the epic scene before you. Pinch yourself! It's remote, spectacular, unforgettable.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • It's a hugely ambitious feat to have created not just this lodge, but this atmosphere: relaxed, yet frissoned with a sense of adventure
  • We loved languishing by the beautiful spa and pool, hypnotised by vast plains, changing light and mind-altering cocktails
  • These are some of the most mesmerising and inspiring landscapes we have ever seen
  • Solid canvas tents combine old style luxury with creature comforts
  • Wonderful service and dining for somewhere so far removed

Lows

  • It's a long drive from Windhoek - but we really enjoyed our journey, and you can always fly in if you prefer
  • Communal dining might not be for everyone, but most people love it, and should you wish to dine alone it can be arranged
  • Nights can be a little nippy, but the beds are exceptionally comfortable and they'll do whatever it takes to keep you cosy
  • Not cheap, but worth every penny

Best time to go

Southern Namibia is good at any time of year. In summer (Nov-Feb), days can get very hot. Winter days (May-Sept) are milder, but be prepared for temperatures to drop sharply at night. We think May and September are a great combination of clear skies, comfortable temperatures and few visitors (but then again, Sonop never feels crowded). Feb and March are usually the cloudiest months.

Our top tips

Don't miss out on going fat biking - it was a wonderful way to whizz around. If you have time, double up with their sister property Omaanda then get driven here overland. This will enhance your sense of place and remoteness.

Great for...

Eco
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Spa
  • Luxury Desert Lodge
  • 10 tented suites
  • Gastronomic restaurant
  • Over 6s only
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

All 10 sturdy canvas tents are fixed on raised wooden bases spread out across the site. Each overlooks the plain beneath with viewing decks outside.

Walk in and step back to the 1920s. Antiques reminiscent of that era - writing desk, globes, campaign chairs, a brass telescope and binos to scout across the desert, even a chandelier - sit alongside super comfortable four-poster beds. We enjoyed delving into an old travelling trunk replenished with ice each day to keep our drinks cool. Thoughtful touches include decks of cards and games in case you need entertainment. Wardrobe space comes within a large leather travelling box. Bathrooms have clawfoot bath tubs, rain shower, double vanity, dressing tables, even a set of scales. If it all seems a bit old fashioned, fear not: you'll be able to chill with fans and A/C, and there's a Bluetooth sound system and other electricals to jolt you back into the 21st century. They also have Wedgewood crockery and kettle for those in need of a cuppa.

There are two 2-bedroom tents, suitable for families and closer to the main reception. The remaining eight 1 bedroom tents are spread out with plenty of space between them. Being nearer the reception will mean less walking back to the breakfast and dining tents, but further away means you'll be closer to the infinity pool.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Free laundry service
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Two tents at the top of the camp are used for dining, though you can also take "light bites" down by the pool bar. Breakfast and lunch are taken in the tent with the clearest views across the desert. To set you up for the day, breakfast is à la carte. Our fresh fruit salads and granola with passion fruit were excellent; our daughter loved her pancakes with blueberry compote and maple syrup.

The main event is dinner, served around 8, which all guests are invited to. Expect an opulent grandeur, with candelabras and silverware on the vast table, and service befitting a grand old country house. Considering Sonop's remoteness, we found the food remarkably good: cucumber gaspacho, kingclip curry and perfectly cooked rack of lamb. And we loved our traditional South African milk tart with the crispiest of pastry.

There is also a cocktail and cigar lounge which capture the feel of an old gentleman's club, with billiard table and obliging barman. Our only regret was not having spent more time there. And if we go back, we're determined to book a bush breakfast or dinner, with nothing but desert surrounding us.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • This is a place to soak up the stunning landscapes: the reserve has 5,600 hectares to explore and lots of ways to lap it up
  • Zoom out on their fat tyre electric mountain bikes: we completely loved the wind-in-your-hair freedom
  • Horse riding - they have their own stables nearby and a guide can take you out into the desert
  • Book a hot air balloon excursion, a guided hike, or a dinner in the wild
  • Go for a wildlife drive: there are oryx, hyena, rabbits, foxes, jackals, kudus and occasionally leopards (not a place for big 5)
  • It's possible to take a day trip to the Sossusvlei dunes, but it does take most of the day
  • Their open-air cinema down by the pool bar is an amazing spot to watch a movie
  • Or recharge in their delightful spa, gym and treatment centre

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Mountain biking
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

Sonop welcomes children over the age of 6. We think it would suit adventurous teens who don't mind some bumpy drives, and can cope with being unglued from their devices for a few days.

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bedroom tents are intended for families (and closest to the dining areas); but they can put extra beds in the other tents too.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Location
Sonop luxury tented camp is located at the southern extremity of the Namib desert, in the Karas region of Namibia.

By Air
Take an internal flight from Windhoek, or from their sister lodge Omaanda, to the Sonop airstrip, from where it's a 10-min drive (complimentary). Alternatively you could drive the 800km from Windhoek; handy if you're doing a tour of southern Namibia.

Airports:

  • Sonop Airstrip 10.0 km
  • Windhoek (Hosea Kutako) International 800.0 km WDH

Other:

  • Beach 300.0 km
  • Shops 100.0 km
  • Restaurant 100.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for Zannier Hotels Sonop

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