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The National Parks of Namibia- /Ai /Ais and Bwabwata

  
  

A few months ago we had a look at two national parks in Namibia that you may not have been familiar with (you can find that post here). Today we will once more be looking at two less well-known parks that you can visit in Namibia: The /Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and Bwabwata National Park.

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The /Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park at sunset.
(Image via Safari Bookings)

 

/Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Namibia, namibia accommodation, namibia national parks, caprivi, richtersveld, peace parks, nwr

A lone quiver tree in the transfrontier park.
(Image via Peace Parks)

 

This park can be found at the southern most tip of Namibia and is jointly managed by Namibia and South Africa. This peace park straddles the border of the two countries and was formed when the /Ai /Ais Hot Springs Game Park was merged with South Africa’s Richtersveld National Park in 2003.

Namibia, namibia accommodation, namibia national parks, caprivi, richtersveld, peace parks, nwr

A map of the peace park.
(Image via Peace Parks)

 

The reserve is part of the Succulent Karoo biome and is famed for its variety of strange and wonderful flora with the biome being home to almost a third of the world’s succulent species. The bizarre looking “halfmens” (Afrikaans for “semi-human”) can only be found in this part of southern Africa.

Namibia, namibia accommodation, namibia national parks, caprivi, richtersveld, peace parks, nwr

Seen from a distance these rare plants appear human-like.
(Image via Ask Nature)

 

Further from the border, on the Namibian side of the park, is where you will find Africa’s largest (and the world’s second largest) canyon: The Fish River Canyon. This mighty and ancient formation is a well-known attraction to many in Namibia and the world over and is always worth visiting if you find yourself in the south of the country.

Namibia, namibia accommodation, namibia national parks, caprivi, richtersveld, peace parks, nwr

The mighty Fish River Canyon.
(Image via Freedom Territory)

 

It’s not just the flora and the scenery that draw visitors to this park. There is an abundance of birdlife at the Orange River mouth which has led this area to be designated as an official Ramsar site. This wetland area is home to the Cape cormorant, Damara tern, Ludwig's Bustard, the Lesser Flamingo and Hartlaub's gull. The site is of particular ecological value as it is a wetland in a largely arid region.

Namibia, namibia accommodation, namibia national parks, caprivi, richtersveld, peace parks, nwr

The mouth of the Orange River seen from the air.
(Image via Dlist)

 

While this park is one of the most biodiverse and plant rich arid biomes in the world it is unique for another, and very human, reason. It is one of the few places that the nomadic Nama people of southern Africa still live out there traditional lives.

Namibia, namibia accommodation, namibia national parks, caprivi, richtersveld, peace parks, nwr

A group of Nama people in front of a hut in 1906.
(Image via Wikimedia)

 

Click here Namibia Wildlife Resort’s hot-spring spa that you can stay at while exploring this transfrontier park. 

AI AI

The resort is located on the Namibian side of the Orange River.
(Image via NWR)

 

Bwabwata National Park

BWAINTRO

A view of the lush naitonal park.
(Image via Foto Community)

 

This national park was officially opened in 2007 when the Mahango Game Reserve and the Caprivi Game Park where merged to form one park that is located in the riverine and lush Zambezi and the Kavango regions of north east Namibia.

MAPBWAThe location of Bwabwata.
(Image via MET)

 

As we have mentioned a few times before, the north east of Namibia is ecologically very distinct from the rest of the country. It is criss-crossed with perennial rivers and is teeming with loads of flora and fauna. In Bwabwata one of the main attractions are the migratory elephants that journey through the park.

ELLIE

A small herd of migratory elephants.
(Image via Wikimedia)

 

The park is also home to lions, cheetahs, leopards and several other large mammals including (but not limited to) African buffalo and sable antelope. As with much of Namibia’s north-east there is also an abundance of birdlife within Bwabwata’s borders. The western part of the park has been declared an Important Bird Area and is home to hundreds of species of bird.

WATTLE

Two Wattled Cranes flying into the sunset.
(Image via Travel News Namibia)

 

The park is also unique in that it is home to over 5000 people who live within the park. The permanent residents of the park have always lived in this region of Namibia and are mostly from the Khwe San Bushmen minority group. The Namibian government co-manages the park with these people and there are several community-based tourism co-ventures within the park. This ensures that people who have always lived on this land enjoy the benefits and profits of having a fully functioning national park. 

Life in the park.

 

If you want to stay a few nights within in the park then you should check out Namibia Wildlife Resort’s Popa Falls Resort.

POPA

The Popa Falls Resort seen from across the Kavango River.
(Image via NWR)

 

While exploring Namibia it can be very rewarding to veer a little bit off the traditional tourist routes, and to augment your travel itinerary with visits slightly less well-known locations like these two national parks. 

Happy planning! 

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Where to Stay in Namibia's Lush North East

  
  

Staying in the north east of Namibia is a great way to add something a little bit different to your itinerary when exploring our vast country. However, because of the distance from Windhoek, you will not be able to simply pop in for the day. So, to help you explore this extraordinary place we’ve picked out five lodges you can use as a base when exploring the Zambezi and Kavango Regions. 

Namibia, where to stay namibia, caprivi, zambezi, elephant, caprivi region, zambezi region, birding, namibia birding

Paddling out on to the Zambezi River.
(Picture via Shamvura Camp)

 

Lush, green, riverine… These are not words that people usually associated with Namibia as our country is famed more for its seemingly endless arid landscapes than for its verdant river-crossed Zambezi Region (formerly Caprivi) in the north.

 

1. Shamvura Camp

Situated on the banks of the Okavango River, in the Kavango region, is Shamvura lodge. It is a paradise for bird watchers with over 60 species of wetland birds (as well as several rare reptiles and amphibians). The lodge itself is situated on a large sand dune between the Cuito and Okavango rivers and commands awesome views of the river and the Angolan floodplains.

Namibia, where to stay namibia, caprivi, zambezi, elephant, caprivi region, zambezi region, birding, namibia birding

One of the bungalows at Shamvura.
(Picture via Shamvura Camp)

 

Whether you are into birding, angling (there are over 90 species of fish in the waterways around Shamvura), or just good old-fashioned relaxing by the pool as the sun sets over the criss-crossing river waterways, Shamvura Camp has something for just about everyone. The camp has a restaurant but guests are also welcome to self-cater. 

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Two guests and their best friend, cruising down the waterways.
(Picture via Shamvura Camp)

 

Check out Shamvura's website for more pictures and information on how to book.

***

2. The Ngepi Camp

Our friend Rachel Lang (BushBound Girl) has covered the Ngepi Camp before, but no list of where to stay in the Zambezi Region would be complete without this unique camp. Ngepi Camp offers both award winning campsites, bush huts and, of course, their famous tree houses.

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The view from Ngepi is something to behold.
(Photo via Ngepi Camp)

 

Guests at Ngepi are also able to take part in a whole range of activities offered by the camp. If you feel like getting out into the delta you can go on sunset cruises, rent a fishing boat, take a guided walk, enjoy a game drive, or for the more adventurous you can sign up for their famous dragon river rafting experience. 

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Getting the blood pumping on the Dragon Boat Rafting Experience.
(Photo via Ngepi Camp)

To book visit the Ngepi Camp website here.

***

3. Mahangu Safari Lodge

Not many people are familiar with this lodge and all the awesome things it has to offer. We're hoping in time this will change because this place is fantastic! There are four en-suite luxury air-conditioned safari tents, seven en-suite air-conditioned double bed bungalows and three guide bungalows with shared facilities.

Namibia, where to stay namibia, caprivi, zambezi, elephant, caprivi region, zambezi region, birding, namibia birding

Who wouldn't want to relax on this deck overlooking the pituresque river?
(Photo via Mahangu Safari Lodge)

 

The lodge is ideally situated for those guests who want to experience both river safaris and more traditional game drives. The game drives are through the nearby Mahango National Park where it is not uncommon to catch sighting of crocodiles, hippos, elephants and fish eagles.

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Elephants making there way through the Mahango National Park.
(Photo via Mahangu Safari Lodge)

 

If you’d rather spend time on the water then you’re in for a treat: The water around Mahangu is teeming with bream and tiger-fish and the lodge offers guided fishing trips for anyone who wants to do some fishing in one of Namibia’s most beautiful and diverse regions.

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A prize catch!
(Photo via Mahangu Safari Lodge) 

For more information and bookings click here.

***

4. Popa Falls Camp

This camp was revamped and reopened last year much to everyone’s joy. Popa Falls is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Namibia’s Zambezi Region and the nationally run Popa Falls Camp does its astounding surroundings justice. We ran a piece on it in January that you can read here.

Namibia, where to stay namibia, caprivi, zambezi, elephant, caprivi region, zambezi region, birding, namibia birding

We know that you'll fall for these falls...
(Photo courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)

 

There is not a lot of perennially flowing water in arid Namibia so any lodge or camp that puts you close to a series of cascading rapids like the Popa Falls Camp does will be a special place to visit.

Namibia, where to stay namibia, caprivi, zambezi, elephant, caprivi region, zambezi region, birding, namibia birding

The 'golden hour' as seen from the banks of the Zambezi.
(Photo courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)

 

The camp is, like Mahangu Safari Lodge, is very close to the Mahango National Park and you can visit that park on a guided tour if you enquire at the Popa Falls Camp reception. It also has access to all the beauty of the surrounding river networks with all the bird, plant and animal life that you could hope for.

Book your spot via Namibia Wildlife Reorts here.

 ***

5. Mazambala Island Lodge

Found on an island in the Kwando River this lodge boasts 12 comfortably appointed thatched bungalows. There is also a 12-metre high viewing deck on the island which gives guests unrivalled views of the amazing and diverse plant and animal life of the Zambezi region.

HUT describe the image

The lodge are the perfect mix of unspoiled and luxurious.
(Photo via Temba)

 

Mazambala pride them selves on employing local guides that have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the surrounding area’s birdlife and wildlife. Given the sheer numbers of birds that call this part of Namibia home it is massively helpful to have a guide who knows what to look for and how to find it. 

This lodge is near the Bwabwata National Park and you can hop on a safari drive through this park that is famous for it’s large herds elephants migrating over the Angolan and Namibian borders.

ELEPHANTS  BOATS

Boat cruises and game drives- just another day at Mazambala.
(Photo via Temba) 

To book a few nights on this island retreat click here.

***

The Zambezi Region is truly a place of diversity and the unexpected. If you plan on visiting Namibia and want to get a totally different experience to what is considered “traditionally” Namibian, then you should consider making a trip up north to the border.

Namibia, where to stay namibia, caprivi, zambezi, elephant, caprivi region, zambezi region, birding, namibia birding

Visit the Zambezi Region and let go!
(Photo via Ngepi Camp)

 

++++++

 

Are you a birding enthusiast?
Well here’s a blog on the birdlife you can find in the Zambezi Region (and other parts) of Namibia:

 

BIRDLIFE IN NAMIBIA

african pygmy goose

Where to Stay in Etosha National Park

  
  

So, you want to visit Etosha National Park? Of course you do. It is one of the most highly regarded national parks in Africa. The park has an enormous amount and variety of wildlife and guests are frequently treated to sightings of several rare and endangered animals. If you are going to visit Etosha, you will need a place to over night. This blog will give you the low down on where to stay while you explore this national treasure.

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A dazzle of zebra at a waterhole in Etosha.


Staying Inside the Park 

Most people start by looking for accommodation inside the park itself. There are only five camps you can stay at that are situated inside the boundaries of the park and they are all run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts. Below is a table of all five of these camps; if you want more info on the camp then simply click the picture next to the description.

http://www.etoshanationalpark.org/media/Etosha-Map2.jpg
Click here for a larger version of this map.

(Map via ENP)

 


 

Halali

Image via ENP

Halali

Closest gate: Either Anderson or Von Lindequist

This camp can be found right smack in the middle of the park. It is surrounded by shade-providing Mopane trees and has a nearby waterhole that allows guests to unobtrusively view game. Rhinos, lions and all manner of creatures frequent the viewing spot- so be sure to bring your camera! Halali has chalets and camping facilities, a bar, swimming pool and a restaurant.

Book here

 

NAM

Image via ENP

Namutoni

Closest Gate: Von Lindequist

The building that makes up the bulk of this complex is an old German fort and is the first port of call for most visitors who want to secure driving permits within Etosha. There are also several chalets and double rooms at which guests can stay. An African fusion restaurant, fully stocked bar as well as a flood-lit waterhole should provide enough reason to stay at this camp!

Book here.

 

 


 

okaukuejo

Image via ENP

Okaukuejo Camp

Closest gate: Anderson Gate

This camp has a wide variety of accommodation options from luxury bush chalets over looking the flood-lit waterhole to family chalets and double rooms. There are also camping facilities as well as a swimming pool, bar and restaurant. The camp is very close to the Anderson Gate and is easy to get to if you use that gate to get into the park. It is the administrative hub of Etosha. 

Book here.     

 

DOLO

Image via ENP

Dolomite Camp

Closest gate: Galton Gate

Up until recently the western portion of Etosha was closed off to the public. It has just been reopened and so too has the Dolomite Camp (the camp gets its name from the geology surrounding it). This part of Etosha has seen increases in the numbers of black-faced impalas and black rhinos, so be sure to be on the look out for these two large mammals. Beyond this, awesome views and beautiful vegetation make visiting this camp a treat.

Book here.  

 

DOLO

Image via ENP

Onkoshi Camp

Closest gate: King Nehale

With space for just thirty people this camp is the smallest and most intimate of the five NWR camps in Etosha. Onkoshi is also off all of the major routes and feels more secluded and private than most areas of the park. Each chalet in the camp offers a view of the Pan itself- this should convince you to try book a spot here. Each of the fifteen chalets are double rooms and there is a pool, restaurant and bar. 

Book here.     

 

Staying Outside the Park

If none of the five options within the park really suit your tastes then there is always the option of staying just outside Etosha as there are many different establishments that specialise in providing guests with a springboard into Etosha National Park.

One of the advantages of staying outside of the park is that you are spoiled for choice. From self-catering camping lodges, to luxury lodges with spa’s, we’re sure you will find somewhere that’s perfect for you.

Below we have collected a few options to demonstrate to you how diverse the lodges and camps around Etosha are. If you want more information on any of the camps just click on the picture next to the description.

Etosha Safari Camp

Etosha Safari Camp

Close to Etosha’s Anderson Gate this unique and quirky lodge is a must for visitors looking for something a little bit different. One of a kind décor and the serene surrounds make this camp the perfect place for young and old alike. It is reasonably priced with both double and single rooms available.

Book here.

Monjilla

Mondjila Safari Camp

Situated 30km south of the Anderson Gate this camp is well within driving distance of the famous national park. The camp has a laundry service, internet and a beautiful deck for watching the sun set behind the famous Namibian horizon.

Book here.

Aoba

Etosha Aoba Lodge

Etosha Aoba Lodge can be found on the Onguma Private Game Reserve. Onguma used to be part of Etosha National Park but it is now privately owned and managed. The Aoba Lodge  boasts eleven chalets that are all extremely private. Onguma, and Aoba, can be found on the eastern side of Etosha.

Book here.

ETOSHA VILL

Etosha Village

The name of the game at Etosha Village is good value and friendly service. The Village focuses on giving animal lovers easy access to one of the world’s most renowned national parks and is only two kilometres from the Anderson Gate. Game drives through the park can be organised as well.

Book here.

Mokuti

Mokuti Lodge

This lodge is a short four-minute drive from Etosha’s Von Lindequist Gate. The lodge hosts large groups of visitors from around the globe, so look forward to being able to share some stories round the camp fire with your fellow travellers. This lodge is situated on a nature reserve that shares on the border of Etosha. 

Book here.

Mushara Lodge

Mushara Lodge

This lodge is a situated very near the Von Lindequist Gate and is perfectly suited to explorers who are looking for a relaxed, tasteful and serene place to stay. The lodge has a library, a well-stocked wine cellar and a great collection of modern and traditional Namibian and African art.

Book here.

Eldorado

Eldorado B&B and Camping

This well-priced establishment can be found jminutes from the Anderson Gate. The area is famed for its birdlife and many interesting species have been spotted in and around the camp. Run by the same family for over 60 years Eldorado's focus is on good value and good service.

Book here.

epacha lodge and spa main 059

Epacha Game Lodge and Spa

This lodge is situated a little further from Etosha than the others on this list. However, it is still within an hour’s drive of the massive national park. Epacha boasts a spa and luxury chalets; so if you are looking for wellness and wilderness while visiting Etosha then Epacha is the perfect place for you.

Book here.

Onguiva

Little Ongava

There are only three units at Little Ongava, making it one of the most private and sought-after camps in the whole of Namibia. Be sure to book long in advance if you want to get a spot here. The camp itself is perched on a rocky outcrop that is extremely close Etosha’s Anderson Gate.

Book here.

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For more places to stay outside of Etosha click here.


An Important Reminder

Whether you are staying in the park or outside the park you need to know that you cannot drive around the park in your private vehicle after dark or before sunrise.

Be sure to check what time the day begins and ends before setting off an adventure through Namibia’s largest game park. Always allow enough time to get back to the gate you arrived in at and never, EVER leave your vehicle.

IMG 0598

Every animal in Etosha is a wild animal- be safe and enjoy!


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Check out some of our other blogs on Etosha National Park:

 

 How to Explore Etosha

Camping in Etosha 

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The Ngepi Camp in Namibia's Zambezi Region

  
  

Bush-bound Girl has written for us once before and now she is back for a second time. In her recent post she shares her experience of staying in one of the most unique accommodations in Namibia: The Ngepi Camp in the Zambezi (Caprivi) region. Read on to find out what makes this camp so special...

My George-of-the-Jungle tree house in the Caprivi

by Rachel Lang

 

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Ngepi Camp.
(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

 

Ever since watching George of the Jungle as a kid, I’ve wanted to live in a tree house. Unless you’re scared of heights or of sharing a bed with the odd creepy crawly creature, who wouldn’t want their own cosy tree hideaway? Recently, I spent time at the legendary Ngepi Camp in the Caprivi region of Namibia where I stayed in the tree house of my dreams! Although George didn’t swing by, I (Ursula) had plenty of company, from hippos and little skittering mice, to fish eagles and coppery-tailed coucals…

The Caprivi, in the upper reaches of the Okavango Delta panhandle, is a magnificent area – calming plains of green viridescent marshland and white Kalahari sand, and, of course, the Okavango (or Kavango) river, where Ngepi Camp (and the beautiful tree houses) are situated.

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Caprivi Region – seen from a microlight.
(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

Hippo Ngepi Camp resized

A hippopotamus in the Kavango
(Photo © Ngepi Camp)


The camp has twelve tree houses in total, each one unique and completely open to the river. They are all built of farmed materials upholding Ngepi’s owner Mark Adcock’s strong belief in the importance of safeguarding the area’s indigenous trees. Even the trees that the houses are built around have not been touched or used as building structures, with the intent of symbolising that man and nature can live together peacefully.

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One of the cabins.
(Photo © Bush-bound Girl)


Everything (including hot showers) is run on solar energy. Mark, who can also be referred to as Ngepi’s ‘artist’, has made sure that solar panels are not hidden by vegetation, but placed in full view for guests to see, “I want people to ask questions, I want them to say this works so well, where can I get one for my house?”

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Larger rooms are available too.
(Photo © Otto Grimm)

 

Another environmentally friendly novelty is the tree houses’ air-conditioning system. It’s a method so simple yet so clever! At the top of each thatched roof is a tap, and, when it’s switched on the cool water runs down each side of the roof. Air blowing against the water is cooled (the same as when we sweat) and this causes the temperature of the room to drop by at least 10 degrees c. More than a camp, Ngepi is a place of learning. Every element reflects a commitment to live sustainably, to reduce human impact on the environment, and, as a foreign client once put it,“live with your feet in nature!”. This is exactly what I did every morning as I opened my eyes to the sunrise between my toes!

ngepi shower pic resized

Gran and Grandad – you asked if this pretty bum was mine and who took the photo…
Sadly, I have to report that this is not me.
I got the photo from the kind folks at Ngepi and I’m not sure who the model is!

(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

Mokoro in front of Tree House - resized

Instead of George of the Jungle’s ‘watch out for that tree’
it’s a matter of watch out for that mokoro going by while you’re in the shower!!

(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

 

Bedtime in an Ngepi tree house is equally special. I showered beneath a million bright stars, naked for only the hippos to see. I listened with delight to the low hoots of a Pels Fishing owl, which echoed into the evening and eventually sent me soundly to sleep. On some nights you may even hear the roar of a lion from the other side of the river, which is Bwabwata National Park, or from Mahango Park to the South.

hamock- resized for blog

There’s a hammock on each tree house deck to chill with a book in the afternoons.
(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

 

Read more about Ngepi’s tree houses here

For More info email:  bookings@ngepicamp.com

+264 (0) 66 259 903 or +264 (0)81 20 28 200

Namibia's Most Exclusive Getaways (Part 2)

  
  

We have already shared three magnificent getaway destinations in our previous blog post. Now, today, we give you another three establishments in Namibia that provide guests with the ultimate in comfort, relaxation and exclusivity.

This post will be giving you a brief look at the Lianshulu Lodge, the Okahirongo Elephant Lodge and the AiAiba Lodge.


1. Lianshulu Lodge

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The lodge overlooks the perennial Kwando River.
(Image via Expert Africa)

 

The Lianshulu Lodge can be found in the north of Namibia on the Kwando River in the lush and ever-surprising East Kavango (Caprivi) region. The lodge is situated on a private concession in the Mudumu National Park of Namibia.

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Wildebeest at the Mudumu National Park.
(Image via Cardboard Box Travel Shop)

 

Since the lodge is on a privately run concession you get all the creature comforts of an exclusive and excellently run establishment, along with the opportunity to explore one of Namibia’s renowned national parks. The focus at Lianshulu is on the guests and the entire staff at the lodge will do everything in their power to make you feel as relaxed and looked-after in the beautiful surrounds of the lodge.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

The main deck is the perfect place to unwind.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

 

Staying at Lianshulu it would be easy to forget that the outside world even exists. The bungalows at the lodge are made from locally sourced materials and put together by local craftsmen. The architecture together with the picturesque riverside, combine to create a truly serene and unique atmosphere.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Another amazing sunset over the Kwando River.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

 

If you feel like exploring the surrounds and the Mudumu National Park then there are a few options available to you. Lianshulu offers its guests a highly recommended boat ride down the Kwando. On this trip it is not uncommon to see some large game on the river’s banks.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

An elephant on the bank of the river near the lodge.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Two adult hippos cruising through the river.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

 

If big game is your thing then you can go on a 4x4 game drive through the national park and see if you can catch a glimpse of a few of these mighty creatures. However, there is also an amazing variety of birdlife, including several types of water birds, that can be viewed whilst you explore the river near the lodge.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

A low flying Great Egret.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

 

You can book at the Lianshulu Lodge here.

 

2. Okahirongo Elephant lodge

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Nighttime at the Elephant Lodge.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

The Okahirongo Elephant Lodge can be found in one of Namibia’s most sparsely populated northern regions: The Kaokoveld. Okahirongo is located on the Purros Conservancy and is 200km south of the Kunene River and 55km inland from the Skeleton Coast.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

The Kaokoveld- remote and beautiful.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

The lodge’s remote location means that if you want to get to it you are going to have to climb in a 4x4 or a light aircraft. The drive can be quite long and tricky and the flight is two and a half hours from Windhoek.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive 

In many ways this lodge is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

The difficulty in getting there, however, is well worth it. The Purros conservancy is home to some of the Namibia’s desert adapted elephants, rhino, lions and giraffe. Okahirongo also offers its guests several activities like game drives, night walks, night drives and a visit to the nearby local Himba settlement.

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Some rare desert-dwelling giraffes.
(Image via Okahirongo)

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A small herd of elephants marching through the Kaokoveld.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

If you are looking for a place to relax and unwind then Okahingoro is a great place for you to visit. An infinity pool, a library, a world class kitchen and stunning panoramic views of the desert and the ephemeral Hoarusib River await you at this lodge. So if you don’t feel like striking out into the conservancy’s wilderness then you will feel right at home thanks to the lodge’s facilities.

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A fire basket is prepared in the twilight.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

You can book at the Okahirongo Elephant Lodge here.

 

3. AiAiba Lodge

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The lodge is nestled in the foothills of the Erongo Mountains.
(Image via AiAiba)

The AiAiba Lodge overlooks the beautiful Erongo Mountains north west of Windhoek. It is mostly renowned for its proximity to some of the oldest rock paintings in Namibia. The lodge itself is also part of a group of establishments that is committed to the protection on conservation of the Erongo mountains and their surrounds.

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Examples of the ancient art can be foudn all around the region.
(Image via AiAiba)

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Some of the paintings are more than 200 years old.
(Image via AiAiba)

AiAiba is perfect for travellers looking to spend some time in the deep calm of nature. The views from the bar and restaurant are unmatched and all you need to enjoy the beauty of the region is find a chair on the deck, grab yourself a refreshment and sit back and watch the natural world go by.

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Sunsets are particularly serene in this part of Namibia.
(Image via AiAiba)

 

If you feel like exploring then the lodge also has several activities that you can take part in. Chief amongst these activities is a guided 4x4 trail which will take you on a mini safari and to the sites of the ancient rock paintings left by the regions first inhabitants thousands of years ago.


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Guests about to embrak on a safari drive around AiAiba.
(Image via Blasdale)

 

There is also a short marked hiking trail that guests can tackle without the aid of a guide. AiAiba also offers guided walks through the region on which guests will be introduced to the various flora and fauna of the region.

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Hiking and wlaking are great ways to unwind in the bush.
(Image via Changes in Longitude)

 

You can book at the AiAiba Lodge here.

*Changes in Longitude seleceted AiAiba as one of the seven most unique places in the world to visit. Read their article here.*

The three lodges we have highlighted in this post, along with the three we mentioned in our previous post make up six unique and inspiring places to visit. For travellers who want a bit more seclusion and remoteness all six of these establishments offer something that you cannot get anywhere else in Namibia.

Keep an eye out for a tour itinerary that will give you advice on how you can visit all six of these wonderful lodges and camps on a trip through Namibia.

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Namibia's Most Exclusive Getaways (Part 1)

  
  

Sometimes you just have to get away from it all. Lucky for you, Namibia is widely regarded as one of the best travel destinations in the world to do just this. With an extremely low population density and an incredible variety of landscapes to choose from the Land of the Brave has become a top destination for travellers looking for somewhere to retreat to.

This week we are focusing on six remote and exclusive destinations. Part 1, which you have just started to read will focus on: The Wolwedans Boulders Safari Camp, the Serra Cafema Camp and the Fish River Lodge.

*You can find part two by clicking here*


1. The Wolwedans Boulders Safari Camp

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Panoramic views at the Boulders Safari Camp.
(Image via Wolwedans)

 

If you are looking for exclusivity then the Boulders Camp is the place for you. The luxuriously appointed camp sleeps a maximum of eight guests so there is never a massive crowd of people at the site. The camp is part of the world-renowned Wolwedans collection of camps and lodges. 

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The landscapes in this part of the country are simply stunning.
(Image via Wolwedans)

 

Staying at the camp will allow you to explore the southern reaches of the NamibRand Nature Reserve that is home to a variety of wildlife and several unique geological features. In the reserve visitors can also take guided walking tours through the ancient hunting grounds of the Bushmen. 

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Guests tracking animal spoor thorugh the reserve.
(Image via NamibRand)

 

If exploring the surrounds is not really what you are after then you can always relax at the camp and enjoy the wonderful facilities. You can even take a trip to edge of the plateau the camp sit upon and enjoy a spectacular sundowner. 

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Watch the sun set with a glorious meal and a refreshing drink.
(Image via Wolwedans

 

If you are more of a night owl then you should know that the night skies around this area of Namibia are widely regarded as some of the best in the world. The NamibRand Nature Reserve is particularly famous for its stargazing facilities

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An image of the night sky over the NamibRand Nature Reserve.
(Image by Dr. George Tucker via NamibRand

 

To book at the Boulders Safari Camp click here.


2. Serra Cafema Camp

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Serra Cafema is uniquely situated on the bed of a river that runs through an arid landscape.
(Image via Uyaphi)

 

Serra Cafema can be found in the north east corner of the Land of the Brave, near the Angolan border. Its location is so remote that it is suggested that you charter a private plane to land nearby the camp. If you do decide to take the trip up to the camp by car it will take you in excess of a week to navigate the rural roads.

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The camp can be found in this remote and awesome landscape.
(Image via Rhino Africa

 

The far-removed nature of the camp’s location means that the 8 million acres (yes you read that right!) of land that camp sits on are available exclusively to Serra Cafema’s guests. This means that if you can find your way to the site you will be rewarded with an experience that will stay with you forever. 

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Welcome to the wide-open outdoors.
(Image via Uncharted Outposts)

 

Since there are only eight thatched chalets at the riverside lodge you are ensured a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. So once you have reached the camp all you have to do is enjoy the beautiful surrounds while you listen to the rushing water of the river that runs beside the camp. 

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The Serra Cafema Camp in the twilight- pure magic.
(Image via Kiwi Collection)

 

While at the camp you can visit a nearby Himba settlement, go quad biking through the nearby dunes, or as mentioned above, simply relax at the camp enjoying the contrasts of place where a river runs through a desert.

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Part of a Himba settlement.
(Image via Audley Travel

 

You can book at Serra Cafema Camp here

 

3. The Fish River Lodge

The Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world and it is truly one of the most stirring sites in Namibia. It is found in the south of Namibia and if you are in this part of the country then you simply have to check out this canyon on the border between South Africa and Namibia.

 

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Every chalet has a sweeping view of the canyon.
(Image via Fish River Lodge)

 

One of the best places to use as a base when exploring this canyon is the Fish River Lodge. It is the only lodge in Namibia that is perched on the edge of the immense canyon. The parks board has forbidden any more building on the rim of the canyon so the Fish River Lodge is the only lodge where you can lounge by a pool and soak in views of the canyon like this:

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Lounge in the pool and take in this impressive natural wonder.
(Image via Fish River Lodge)

 

The lodge itself can only by accessed by driving on a very rocky and challenging dirt road. A decent 4x4 with sufficient is a must if you hope to make the trip up to the lodge. Smaller sedans and two-wheel drive cars will struggle to get through some of the rougher parts of the road.

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The rugged roads around and into the lodge are not built for city dwelling vehicles.
(Image via Fish River Lodge)

 

There is much more to this lodge than just amazing views of the canyon. The lodge offers a range of activities. There is a mammoth, and highly rated, five-day hike; a day hike; and scenic day drives around and into the canyon. The stargazing is also spectacular in this part of Namibia as there is very little to no light pollution.

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Hikers scrambling down the face of the cliff of the canyon.
(Image via Fish River Lodge)

 

You can book at the Fish River Lodge here.

 

This was part one of two in our series on exclusice and remote places to stay in Namibia. Later in the week we will be posting a second blog on another three places... Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the follow up post later this week!

 

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For more information on Stargazing in Namibia, and to find out what it is like to hike in the Fish River Canyon, check out these two blog posts from our archives:

Exploring Namibia's Starry Skies A Day Hike Through the Fish River Canyon
506 namibia star gazing moon rising windhoek into the sun 

Where to Stay in Swakopmund

  
  

Choosing where to stay for a few nights can be a daunting task for any traveller. So we have decided to do the hard work for you. We had a look at some of the most highly rated places to stay in Swakopmund and collected them all into one article.

8294054278 085017bf71 z

The iconic Swakopmund jetty.

We have separated them according to four different kinds of accommodation: Self-catering, Bed & Breakfasts, Backpackers and Hotels… So take a look at what we have collected and decide what kind of a place you wwould want to stay at while exploring the famous seaside town and its surrounds.

Self-catering Accommodation in Swakopmund

The Beach Lodge

Beach Lodge

Image via The Beach Lodge

The Beach Lodge is unique in Swakopmund in that it is the only pension that is located directly on the seafront. As a result of its location guests at the Beach Lodge are treated to spectacular views of the setting sun over the Atlantic. Each unit in the complex has a massive window so that you can better enjoy the setting sun from the comfort of your unit.

There are four twin rooms and six family rooms with self-catering facilities. There is also a “Luxury Family Room” which offers guests sweeping ocean views from every room in the unit. Making this particular unit ideal for a romantic getaway.

To book, click here.

Atlantik Sicht self-catering apartment

atlantik sicht 2

Image via Cornerstone Guesthouse

This apartment is the ideal choice for people travelling in a group of six or less. This single, large apartment is less than 50 metres from the coast and commands impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean.

All three rooms of the apartment are luxuriously appointed and guests will have access to WiFi, a range of satellite television channels and their own private balcony. The main room in the apartment has an en-suite bathroom.

There is also has a tumbledryer, fully equipped kitchen, and a double garage making it the ideal place for you and the family, or a group of friends, to stay for an extended period of time.

To book, click here.

Sea Horse Guesthouse

sea horse

Image via Hotels.com

A short walk away from the beach the Sea Horse Guesthouse is located in an upmarket neighbourhood of Swakopmund. Its eight units are all self-catering but breakfast can be arranged if you contact the reception the day before you wish to have breakfast prepared for you.

There is only one family unit at the guesthouse so be sure to phone ahead if your party is larger than three. Each unit in the guesthouse has its own unique drawcard, some have sea views, others have balconies while the ground floor units have patios.

So call ahead, find out what is available and decide which unit best suits your tastes and needs. 

To book, click here.

Bed and Breakfasts in Swakopmund

The Brigadoon Boutique B&B

Brigadoon

Image via Brigadoon.

This charming little B&B offers guests the opportunity to relax in style on the edge of Namibia’s most vibrant town. They offer a selection of double rooms all with private bathrooms and kitchen facilities. There is also a family room for those travellers who are journeying across Namibia in a large group.

Each room has a patio that overlooks the private garden, and it is on this patio that your custom made breakfast will be served to you every morning.

The Brigadoon B&B was awarded a certificate of excellence by Trip Advisor in 2013 so you can trust that your stay here will be enjoyable. 

To book, click here.

The Desert Villa Guesthouse

desert villa

Image via Desert Villa Guesthouse

The Desert Villa is a unique guesthouse in that it has eight different rooms all decorated in different ways. Each room’s décor is inspired by some of the most famous deserts in the world, an homage to the Namib Desert, which surrounds Swakopmund.

This guesthouse is also unique in that it encourages guests to go out and explore the parts of the town that are not on the seafront. The guesthouse is very close to the Swakop river as well as the dunes just outside the town. So if you are not excited by a beach bound stay in Swakopmund this could be the perfect place for you. Having said that, the guesthouse is still within walking distance of the beach. 

Breakfasts are served to all guests every morning, and dinners are available on request.

To book, click here.

The Namib Guesthouse

Namib Guesthouse

Image via Namib Guesthouse

The Namib is a high-end establishment that offers guests the chance to unwind from a busy day’s activities in their serene surroundings. There are single suites, double suites and a two bedroom family suite on offer. There are also luxury suites with a opulent bathtubs and large showers for those guests who desire a little more pampering.

Each room has free and speedy WiFi, as well as a safe to deposit your precious laptop into, so if you need to do a bit of work on the go then you won’t be inconvenienced. Breakfast is included every morning for all guests.

To book, click here.

Backpackers in Swakopmund

Villa Wiese Backpackers Lodge

villa

Image via Booking.com.

Occupying a building that is over 100 years old, this lodge is within walking distance of several restaurants and the beach and is a great place for any backpacker who is looking for accomodation that has a touch of old world history.

Villa Wiese does offer breakfasts on request and the friendly owners will be more than willing to point you in the right direction for finding some local grub in the town for lunch and dinner.

While this backpackers does mainly cater for people looking for single bed dorms, it does also have a few single, double and triple rooms. They also have a sister establishment, the Dunedin Star that specialises in low cost family accommodation.

To book, click here.

Skeleton Beach Backpackers

skeleton beach backpackers 1

Image via Tourist Link

This backpackers is a highly rated establishment largely thanks to the friendliness and helpfulness of its staff, in particular its owner Lena. It also helps that it is centrally located in the town and is a short walk from the beach.

There are single bed dorms one can stay in, as well as double rooms. The double rooms include breakfast, but travellers staying in the dorms are welcome to order breakfast as well.

There are also barbecue facilities if you wish to have a cook out under the stars as well as a garden in which guests can relax. There is a communal kitchen, so if you want to self-cater then you can make use of the facilities in the hostel.

***NOTE: You will have to pay for your rooms in cash as the Skeleton Beach backpackers do not have card facilities.***

To book, click here.

The Desert Sky Backpackers

Desert sky

Image via Desert Sky Backpackers

Just 200 metres from the centre of town this backpackers is ideal for travellers looking to stay close to the hustle and bustle of Namibia’s adventure capital. The focus at the Desert Sky Backpackers is on doing your own thing. It is fully self-catering and there is a large communal garden and two communal kitchens fully equipped with everything you need to cook up a storm.

There are single bed dorms on offer, with eight beds in each room. But where this backpackers distinguishes itself from others is that it also offer a wide range of family-sized and smaller private rooms. Check out their various options here.

To book, click here.

Hotels in Swakopmund

The Seaside Hotel and Spa

seaside 

Image via Seaside Hotel and Spa.

This hotel is literally on the beachfront and it offers guests a chance to relax in the lap of luxury. Not only are the rooms excellently appointed, but guests can also book into the hotel’s famous spa for some added R&R.

There are over 30 sea-facing rooms but these will be snapped up quickly, particularly over the busy period, so be sure to book well in advance if you want to ensure you get an ocean view. There are also six luxury suites available for those of you looking to really treat themselves.

All guests at the hotel have access to the spa’s steam room, Jacuzzi and sauna… All the more reason to extend your stay in Swakopmund!

To book, click here.

The Hansa Hotel

hansa

Image via Hansa Hotel.

Placed right in the middle of town, and just three blocks from the beach the Hansa Hotel is the second accommodation option in this article that has loads of old world charm. The hotel has been in operation since 1905 and as such the entire establishment seems to be full of stories.

The façade of the building, and the décor within, are absolutely colonial and stepping into the Hansa Hotel is almost like stepping back in time. But the quality of the service, and the kitchen in particular, are very up to the highest modern standards.

The hotel has five family units, 49 double bed rooms and four suites. The suites are the jewels in the crown of the establishment and offer guests who stay in them an array of additional luxuries.

To book, click here.

Deutches Haus Hotel

DHH

Image via Deutches Haus Hotel.

This is a good honest hotel that is consistently praised for its friendly service and good value. It also has a lively bar and a good restaurant that helps lend a jovial and congenial atmosphere to the establishment.

The Deutches Haus Hotel offers guests all the usual amenities that one would expect from a hotel. There are single rooms, double rooms, family rooms as well as luxury single and luxury double rooms.

The hotel also works closely with two tour operators: Desert Explorers and Ocean Adventures. This gives the guests of the hotel an easy to fit a little bit more Swakopmund adventure into their itineraries. Click here for more info.

To book, click here.

Five Must-visit Spas and Wellness Centres in Namibia

  
  

After a hard few days of trekking through the Namibian wilderness, or after climbing some mountainous dunes, you may find yourself longing for a bit of rest and relaxation. Well the good news is that there are several spas and wellness centres dotted around the whole of Namibia that exist to help you unwind your mind and rejuvenate your body. Below are five of Namibia's finest spots for relaxation.

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View from the GocheGanas chalets.
(Image via GocheGanas on Flickr)

 

1. GocheGanas

GocheGanas is a 6000ha nature reserve aimed at providing visitors with a variety of activities to help them unwind. It is situated less than 30 minutes from Windhoek and offers walks, safari drives and access to international quality wellness facilities.

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Two guests on a walk through the reserve.
(Image via GocheGanas)

The wellness facility is fully equipped to ensure that the lodge’s guests can fully unwind and rest up for the next leg of their Namibian adventure. There are eleven treatment rooms with state of the art crystal baths, hydrotherapy baths, and Vichy showers so there is little that you will want for when visiting this mecca of relaxation.

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A guest reclines in one of the specialised baths.
(Image via GocheGanas)

In addition to the treatment rooms there is a heated indoor pool, a cave sauna in a cathedral-like masonry vault, and a well-equipped fitness gym if you want to work up a healthy glow. All this makes the Wellness Village at GocheGanas a must-visit for any weary traveller looking to recharge their mind, body and spirit.

CATHEDRAL

The cathedral is truly a sight to behold.
(Image via GocheGanas)

Click here for booking information.

 

2. /Ai /Ais Hot Springs

The /Ai /Ais Hot Springs Resort can be found in the southern most region of the Fish River Canyon nature reserve, and it is perfectly situated for adventurers who have just finished exploring the beautiful canyon.

The water from the springs is naturally hot and issues from a warm water spring called/Ai /Ais. The unique spring was discovered in 1850 by a young Nama sheepherder and the spring was named /Ai /Ais which means “burning water” in the local language.

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This is the actual site of the natural hot spring.
(Image via The Cardboard Box)

A soak in the warm water is ideal for anyone suffering from joint or muscle pains of any kind and it is also good for relieving any other kinds of stresses or aches that you may be suffering from.

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One of the warm water pools at the resort.
(Image via The Cardboard Box)

The resort offers a host of other activities for active guests including hikes, walks and even tennis. As a result of its proximity to the South African border the resort is very popular with travellers from both countries so booking ahead is a must.

Click here for booking information.

 

3. Diplomat Hydro Spa

In the heart of Windhoek lies a hidden gem of wellness, the Diplomat Hydro Spa. The spa is situated in the foothills of Windhoek and as such seems completely cut off form the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Spending time in the resort it is easy to forget that you are just kilometres away from a major city.

The spa is open six days a week and offers a variety of different wellness treatments for its guests. All the treatments are water-based and the spa sticks strictly to the mantra that “water is nature’s greatest healer”. You can read more about their ethos here.

Click here for more booking information.

 

4. Seaside Hotel and Spa

Situated right on Swakopmund’s iconic beachfront the Seaside Hotel and Spa offers guests a wonderful place to kick back and enjoy some wonderful sea views while being pampered in the hotel’s world-class spa.

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The hotel is literally on the beach.
(Image via Stay Today)

Facials, pedicure and manicures are just some of the specific treatments that the spa offers its guests. There is also a sauna, steam room, jacuzzis and the unique Spa Oceana. Here is a list of all the treatments on offer at the spa.

 

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Two pools within the spa, overlooking the ocean.
(Image via Stay Today)

The spa of the hotel is available to both day visitors and hotel guests alike so whether you are just passing through Swakopmund or staying there for a prolonged period of time it is definitely worth your while to check out the Seaside Hotel. The spa also specialises in couple packages- perfect for honeymooners!

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Another happy couple.
(Image via Stay Today)

Click here for booking information.

 

5. The Kalahari Sands Hotel

Sun International’s Kalahari Sands hotel is another location in Windhoek that offers guests the opportunity to relax and unwind. The hotel’s wellness facility is located on the panoramic rooftop of the international hotel and casino.

The wellness centre offers a full range of treatments and therapeutic products as well as a gym. Whether you are staying at the hotel or not the Kalahari Wellness Centre can provide you with a few hours (or days!) of much needed time off from the bustling modern world.

 

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Nothing relaxes a tired body like a few hours of shuteye.
(Image via Kalahari Sands)

Click here for more booking information.

So go on and treat yourself to something a little out of the ordinary in Namibia. Both your body and your mind will thank you for the precious hours you dedicate to relaxation and wellness on while you are travelling through Namibia.

Exploring Namibia's Starry Skies

  
  

Namibia is one of the top destinations in the world for stargazing. Its dark and clear night skies are amongst some of the most pristine in the world and below are four reasons why we think you have to go stargazing while visiting Namibia.

 Namibia photography, sossusvlei, stargazing namibia, photography, astrology

The moon rises in the clear winter sky.
(Image via I Dream of Africa)

1. Dark Sky, Bright Stars

In 2012 the NamibRand Nature Reserve was selected by the International Dark Sky Association as an official dark sky reserve on account of its low light pollution and cloudless night skies. And indeed the whole of Namibia has some of the darkest skies measured on earth allowing stargazers to gaze deep into the night sky on just about every night of the year. 

Many lodges around Namibia take advantage of the unusually dark skies in the country and have their own telescopes. All you need to do is enquire at the reception of wherever you are staying to find out if your lodge has such facilities.

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Starry sky over the desert.
(Image via I Dream Africa)

2. Photographing the night sky

The night sky over the Land of the Brave lends itself incredibly well to photography. Countless photographers, amateur and professional, travel from all over the world to capture astonishing images of our universe. 

Below is a particularly stirring video made from a collection of over 16,000 still images of the Namibian night sky.

The award winning Namibian Nights by Marsel van Oosten.
(Video ©Marsel van Oosten Squiver Photo Tours)

 

3. Guided tours

The great thing about visiting Namibia is that you can always find someone willing to take you on a guided tour of its attractions. The night sky is no different. There are several tour operators around the country that offer guided tours of the night sky.

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Taking a guided tour of the night sky is perfect for the whole family.
(Image via I Dream Africa)

The local guides are knowledgeable and passionate about the stars that shine down on Namibia and they are always more than willing to share their stories with visitors from near and far. Below are a few tour operators who offer stargazing tours.

Solna’s stargazing experience.

Rob Johnstone has been an astrology enthusiast since 1986 and his company SOLNA (Space Observation Learning in Namibia) offers two guided tour options for visitors.

Namibia photography, sossusvlei, stargazing namibia, photography, astrology

Guests at the SOLNA viewing site.
(Image via SOLNA)

The first is just 29km south of Windhoek at the Gocheganas Nature Reserve. If you wish to book a tour at the reserve then email reservations@gocheganas.com or telephone Gocheganas at +264 (0)61 224 909.

SOLNA also works in partnership with Wilderness Safaris with whom they organise stargazing tours throughout the whole of Namibia. It is best to get in contact with Wilderness Safaris if you want to organise a stargazing trip and you can email them on constancet@wilderness.com.na.

Namibia photography, sossusvlei, stargazing namibia, photography, astrology

A picture of Saturn taken from the SOLNA viewing site.
(Image via SOLNA)

Stargazing tours near Swakopmund

Stargazing Adventure Namibia is a company run by Dr Ansgar Gaedke and Lynette Gaedke that is based in Swakopmund. Dr Gaedke is a professional astronomer who graduated from the University of Hamburg in astrophysics and astronomy and now gives tours to visitors interested in astronomy.

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Photographs of one the company's many star tours.
(Image via Stargazing Adventure Namibia)

They have several activities for would-be stargazers and you should check them out here to see which tour suits you. They also have a great gallery of photographs to whet your appetite ahead of your stargazing adventure.

Hakos guest farm

Just west of Windhoek on top of the Gamsberg is the Hakos guest farm. On this farm the German-based International Amateur Observatory maintains an impressive collection of telescopes and other equipment for stargazing enthusiasts. There are several tour options on the farm and you can view them here.

The guest farm is specifically geared towards giving guests a memorable astrological experience in an environment that is largely untouched and unspoiled by man.

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One of the farm's many pieces of advanced equipment (L).
The isolated location of the farm (R).
(Images via Hakos guest farm)

4. Sossusvlei by night

If anyone needed another reason to visit Namibia’s iconic Sossusvlei, here it is: The stargazing opportunities at Sossusvlei are simply incredible. The sky is clear almost always and there is almost no light pollution out in the desert near the vlei.

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A tree on the vlei against a slowly rotating starry sky.
(Image via Rhino Africa Safaris)

The Sossusvlei Lodge was in fact recently ranked amongst the top 12 stargazing hotels in the world by CNN Travel. But this is not the only lodge in the area and there are also several other lodges that offer stargazing opportunities.

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The Sossusvlei Lodge by night.
(Image via Sossusvlei Lodge)

Below are three of the top-rated lodges that offer stargazing activities at or near Sossusvlei.

Sossusvlei Lodge

Little Kulala

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

No matter where you are in Namibia the night sky is simply beautiful, and if you are visiting Africa from the Northern hemisphere then you should not miss out on this opportunity to see a totally different set of stars on the other end of the world.

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Quiver Trees by Night - Florian Breuer
(via Florian's Photographs)

Northern Namibian Homestay at Ongula

  
  

Namibia is full of hidden treasures and Ongula Village Homestead Lodge near Ondangwa is one such treasure. The lodge can be found nestled next to a traditional Owambo homestead and guests staying there are afforded a unique opportunity to experience life in traditional northern Namibia.

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What is Ongula?

Ongula Village Homestead Lodge is community run lodge near the northern town of Ondangwa where travellers who are willing to go out of their way can experience a side of Namibia that most tourists do not ever manage to see.

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Ongula in relation to some well-known locations across Namibia.
(Image courtesy of
Ongula Lodge)

The whole point of the lodge is to invite tourists, local and international, to take a step back from the frantic urban world and take a peek in to how a rural community in Owamboland lives.

A video briefly explaining how the lodge operates.
(Video courtesy of
Ongula Lodge)

The Lodge is built next to a traditional and functional homestead- this is no sterile museum or staged theatrical production- and at Ongula you will be shown exactly how the Owambo people of Namibia’s under-explored northern regions live on a day-to-day basis.

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The homestead's entrance.

From the granary, to the kraals, to the central fire pit, visitors are not only shown how the local tribe/community goes about their daily chores but will also be afforded opportunities to take part in some of these daily routines.

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A visitor helps grind Mahangu.
Mahangu is a delicious staple found in Namibia’s north.

The focus of the your trip to Ongula will be on getting you immersed in the local culture so that you can get a better understanding of how the community there lives and as such there are several activities that are on offer.

Activities at the Lodge

As mentioned you can take part in several of the day-to-day chores that need to be carried out around the homestead on a daily basis. This could include clay-pot making, basket weaving and even cattle herding.

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This structure houses an underground traditional clay-baking facility-
you’ll have to visit to find out what it looks like inside!

While at the lodge you will be taken on a tour of the homestead and the basic functions and purposes of all the various rondawels (traditional huts), living spaces and quarters will be explained to you.

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This well has serviced the homestead for generations and it is still in use.

In addition to the various package activities that you can enjoy on-site there are also several day trips that can be organised by the staff at the lodge. These trips will show you a bit more of the surrounds if you have a little extra time to explore the greater Ondangwa area.

Here is a list of some of the day trips on offer at the lodge:

  • A visit to the Nakambale Museum where visitors can learn about the legacy of the Finnish Missionaries who brought Christianity to Namibia.

  • Onankali village’s Mahangu paper project where the grain is used to manufacture paper for the local community.

  • A visit to Oonte OVC Organization where a bottle recycling plant is used to benefit 450 orphaned and vulnerable children in the Ondangwa area. This is a perfect place for anyone interested in helping out in a volunteer capacity in Namibia.

  • If in session you can attend a local communal court proceeding.

  • A tour to Ondangwa’s open craft market.

  • Or for those of you who want to get a taste for the night life in Namibia’s rural north why not enjoy a sundowner drink at one of the local “shebeens”.

** When you get to the lodge simply ask any of the hospitality staff if there are any activities you can get involved in. The list of things to do is dynamic and there are always new experiences to be had for those willing to get involved.**

Facilities

The Lodge has electricity, WiFi, bar and restaurant, credit card facilities and four spacious twin bed rooms with private en-suite bathrooms.

Click here to have a look at the lodge’s rates. Book here.

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The rooms are appointed with furniture made from recycled materials.

(Photo Courtesy of Ongula Lodge)

**For those of you who can’t get enough of the great outdoors, a camping site is currently under construction at the lodge. If you wish to camp on-site then simply contact the staff at the lodge and enquire as to availability and pricing.**

How to get there

Getting to the Ongula homestead is not a simple matter of driving on a national road and attention has to be paid to which route you will need to take. On the lodge’s website you can find detailed directions explaining how you can get to the lodge from Windhoek, Etosha National Park and Ruacana Falls.

If you have any questions about how to get there or which route is best for you do not hesitate to call the friendly staff at the lodge.

Mail: ongula@resdest.com   

Reservations: +264-61-250725

Lodge: +264-65-264555

Website: http://www.ongula.com/

 

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Getting to the lodge is not difficult, it just requires planning.

Voluntourism around Ondangwa

The north of Namibia is beautiful and rugged, but it is also quite underdeveloped. As a result there are many community based projects you can get involved with. From schools to shelters for at risk children and adults there are numerous causes that can benefit from your time.

A good way to get involved in some community-based projects in this region is to work through the Ongula Village Homestead Lodge. Check out some of the projects they directly run, and if none of those take your fancy you can always ask them about other outreach projects that are being run in the region.

More on this topic

The Owambo People of Namibia

Things to do in Owamboland

Tips for a Self-Drive Adventure in Namibia

Owambo Owambo 2 Owambo3

 

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