A safari to the stars in Namibia

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia offers travellers stargazing from its observatory in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, which has just been declared Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR). Like a ranger on a wildlife safari, here an astronomer is available to explain  the guests the unrivalled scene that unfolds before their upwards moved eyes.

The astronomer at the Lodge shares his stories about the constellations, as well as unbelievable views of the moon and planets such as Jupiter or Saturn. Stargazing is not limited to the lodge’s observatory, however, and each desert suite also features a large skylight above the bed in each room. With just 10 stone and glass desert villas blending into the grandeur of the Namib, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is the perfect choice for travellers wishing to rediscover the beauty of the stars, as well as an incredible desert adventure.

&Beyond played an instrumental role in getting the Reserve to be declared the world’s newest IDSR from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). It is the first IDSR to be awarded Gold Tier status which describes nighttime environments that have little to no impact from light pollution and artificial light.
“Viewing the pristine night sky over the NamibRand is an unforgettable experience. Being recognised as a Gold Tier IDSR will serve to promote and protect this valuable resource. This is a significant accomplishment not just for &Beyond and the NamibRand, but also for Namibia and all of Africa”, says Dr George Tucker, one of the Lodge’s international resident astronomers who led this certification effort.

With the nearest town 140km (90 miles) away, there are no sources of light pollution and the reserve’s sky is one of the darkest yet measured. The absolute silence and dramatic landscapes contribute towards making Sossusvlei Desert Lodge one of the best settings in the world for stargazing. The Lodge also boasts a state of the art observatory, complete with a Meade LX200R 12 inch telescope. Guests are invited to join the resident astronomers either before or after dinner to unlock the mysteries of Namibia’s skies.

Winter (April to September) provides the clearest skies. Darkness descends at about 18h00 and at this time of year, the full splendour of the central region of the Milky Way is displayed. This creates a visual feast with star-clusters, galaxies and the southern constellations of The Southern Cross and Centaurus clearly visible. Summer provides its own selection of breathtaking night sights, including a globular cluster known as 47 Tucanae” a several-billion-year-old cluster of over a million stars.

More information about the accomodations of &Beyond: www.andbeyond.com

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