Lodges we stayed in Namibia 2010
We spent three weeks in Namibia during late July to early August, this was our first trip there during the summer high season, both of our previous trips had been during the summer low season. Personally, with few exceptions, we didn’t find that much difference in the quality, frequency or variety of sightings that would prompt us to go in the high season again. Admittedly the bush is thicker in the summer wet season but we do every game drive that’s open to us maximising our chances of getting decent sightings.
Opako Lodge: This was the first lodge that we stayed at during a 3 week trip in July 2010, our 3rd trip to Namibia. It is run by a very affable French guy and his Dutch wife who have been running lodges and hotels in Africa for more than 15 years. The staff are very friendly, the food is of a high quality and the game drives have plenty to interest you for a 2 night stay. For me, the overall feeling of the place is let down a little by the European flavour of the bathrooms and the dining experience. Our Rating: ****
Waterberg Wilderness Lodge: This place is situated well up the Waterberg and just below the escarpment providing a unique situation for a lodge. The service is provided by professional and cheerful staff, the food is very good and the activities interesting. On our first game drive, I was concerned that I was going to get bored in a hurry, when the guide stopped the vehicle and told us that we were about to get out and WALK to the Rhino, I was using other people as traction to get out and see these beasties! Damn good experience, almost the highlight of our trip! Our Rating: ****
Onguma Treetop Camp: This is a small, intimate lodge with only 4 chalets ensuring great service and an intimate setting. The food was fantastic, get Simon to do the Eland for you when you are there, it was just about the best meal we had in the 3 weeks we were in Namibia. The lodge is close enough to Etosha that it's only a short drive through the private reserve and you get to see game on the way to and from Etosha. We were lucky enough to be the only guests there for one night and we were spoiled rotten. Our Rating: ****
Eagle Tented Lodge & Spa: This was the first of the Leading Lodges of Africa properties that we stayed at during a 3 week trip to Namibia, it was a complete disappointment. It's ~70Km to the Etosha gate and you do that in an open game vehicle so you either freeze or get blasted by hot winds for over an hour. The tents and bathrooms were looking shabby, the dining room was dirty and the service was exceptionally slow. 10 minutes to get served and then 15 minutes for eggs when we are the only people there for breakfast is pretty poor.
The lodge could be one of the best around, it's unique, Gothic meets Africa in a way we haven't seen in trips to Namibia or South Africa. Our Rating: **
Okonjima, Africat: We have been to around 20 lodges over 3 trips to Namibia and so far this is the best that we have stayed at. It is impeccably clean, the food is fantastic, the activities in conjunction with Africat are guaranteed to keep you interested and involved. We got some great photographs of a male leopard on a kudu that he had recently killed and then shots of a hyena that pushed him off of his meal during the night. The animals are radio collared as part of the Africat research efforts so they are “easier” to find. Believe me, this is no guarantee of success, imagine knowing the general direction of a leopard, only to find that it’s over one of the mountain ranges that you can’t get to. As I have said frequently to people, if you want guaranteed sightings, go to a zoo!
The attention to detail is what sets this lodge apart from its competitors. This is a lodge that is very definitely on our list to visit again and we have continually recommended it to friends and other travellers we met during the rest of our trip. Our Rating: *****
Erindi, Old Traders Lodge: This Lodge is a little commercial for us, catering to the mass tourist market BUT it does a great job in filling this market segment. The restaurant is extremely well organised, the food is much better than we had anticipated with good variety and a high quality offering. The game drives are exceptionally well organised and the guides to a great job in keeping the vehicles separated. They co-ordinate exceptionally well on sightings ensuring that there are not too many vehicles on site and are considerate when it comes to time on the sighting so that everyone gets a good view of the animals and their activity.
The service level was let down by a young and disinterested girl on reception, other than that the service level was well above average.
The rooms are functional and very clean with generous sized bathrooms. Our room had a great view over one of the waterholes where we were fortunate enough to see a black rhino late one evening. One great feature of this lodge is the great big waterhole outside the dining area. This was well frequented by game and is a great place to have a pre or after dinner drink watching the animals. Our Rating: ****
Intu Africa, Suricate Tented Lodge: This is marketed as a 4 star lodge and makes a mockery of the NAM star rating system. It's dilapidated and has had less than 50c spent on maintenance there in the last 5 years. The whole place is tired, unloved and is best left off of your itinerary. This was the second lodge that we stayed at in this chain (Leading Lodges of Africa) and both suffered from what seems to be disinterested management content to let these lodges fall into disrepair. Suricate is unloved, untidy and the best thing to do would be to demolish it. This was the Leading Lodges of Africa properties that we visited this trip and both appeared to be run down and badly in need of renovation and some innovation to bring them up to an acceptable standard. Our Rating: *
Wolwedans Dune Lodge: This is a great lodge in an area with some stunning scenery. Wolwedans prides itself on 5 star dining and accommodation and delivers 9/10 on these measures. The service is of a very high standard as are the rest of the Dune Lodge facilities. The dining experience is fantastic with enthusiastic service staff with a focus on personalised service. The wine list is extensive and the wine cellar itself is an attraction worth taking a god look at. Two nights would be an ideal stay there if you want to stay active but 3 days is fine if you prefer some relaxation time in the desert. Our Rating: ****
GocheGanas Lodge & Spa: This is a very comfortable lodge that has comprehensive spa facilities on 6000 hectares about 30km south of Windhoek. The lodge has spectacular sunset views of the Auas Mountains and a highlight of the reserve is the number of white rhino on the property and how close you can get to them.
In addition to the game drives and spa facilities, the lodge has hiking trails and mountain bikes for hire for getting out and exploring the area in a more personal manner.
The rooms are large, clean and very private although they could do with some TLC or a face lift. The food is of a high standard and the views from the dining room and bar at sunset are stunning. Service at the bar and dining room is good without being fantastic. Our Rating: ****
Naankuse Lodge & Wildlife Sanctuary: N/a’an ku sê is a lodge that forms part of the facilities a property that incorporates a wild life sanctuary and rehabilitation facility. The lodge and rooms are decorated in a more modern fashion than most in Namibia but their chosen colour scheme and fittings work well. The sunken bath in the rooms is an interesting feature.
The rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable and WIFI is available in all of the rooms except the farthest from the main building of the lodge.
The food is good without being fantastic, the cuisine is a fusion of traditional game meat with some modern influences. The fact that the food was only good not fantastic was a surprise especially as the lodge boasts an award winning chef.
The activities on offer focus on the animals that are kept on the reserve that cannot be released, carnivore feeding, entering the Caracal enclosure and for the children a petting zoo type arrangement to keep them involved and entertained.
N/a’an ku sê is a good alternative for a first or last night in Windhoek but would get boring is it was a destination in itself due to the lack of activities on offer. Our Rating: ***