Reviews of Hakusembe Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Well appointed chalets in well tended (but incongruously watered green) gardens. Kettle and fridge supplied but bring your own supplies. Dinner was simple and well cooked and well presented, but not the individually prepared cordon bleu standard advertised. On the other hand, breakfast was the best we had.
Activities were limited to river cruises which gave an interesting insight into Angola. A second day would have been difficult to occupy. Useful overnight stop between Caprivi and Etosha.
all the marks I have awarded here are excellent but my overall score is good...I wonder why? we had genuinely been trying to get a twin bedded room. there was a bit of confusion as to which chalet we would get...the one we got was extremely nice but this was one of the rare instances when our twin bedded strategy did not work well...large double plus small extra! this gets one of my rare excellent for food scores...because it was the best food and best cooked kudu I had in any of this type of lodge. a bit like Ndhovu, I'm not convinced this was an exciting place to stay...but certainly relaxing with a nice deck over the river.Read more about the whole trip
Hakusembe Lodge review
We were met on arrival by the very friendly, lovable and boisterous Labrador, Sally, and Eddie (the deputy manager, we believe). We loved Hakusembe, and would highly recommend it, but there were some areas where we were disappointed.
We were given the two –tier 'honeymoon chalet' which also serves as the owners' residence when on site. This is the problem. The downstairs living room and upstairs bedroom with balcony overlooking the river were lovely but the kitchen looked as if someone had just abandoned it (half used washing-up liquid, fridge not clean) and the bathroom had part used cakes of soap and the owners' wash puff hanging in the shower. The under-sink cupboard was full of their toiletries – drawers in the living room contained papers left behind. It felt a bit like camping out in someone's home which had been grudgingly lent to us. We'd have been so disappointed if we'd been on honeymoon; as it was we just felt a bit uncomfortable.
The grounds were very pretty and other accommodation all looked good, despite the fact there was still some post-flood clearing up ongoing- this appeared to be carried out to a very high standard, despite Sally's attempts to add paw-prints in the cement!
Food was good, but despite them knowing about my cheese allergy I was told 'tonight you'll enjoy Steak Cordon Bleu' – I don't think so – in the event a plain steak was provided – however this was what they'd served me for lunch too. Perhaps because so many people only stay one night there seemed to be little attempt to co-ordinate meals.
Evening champagne cruises were excellent (free if staying more than one night) and the lunch time boat trip with food cooked on the boat is very highly recommended – it's a shame so many people only stay 1 night and miss the opportunity to do this; seeing life (human and animal) on the river was fantastic. We saw excellent wildlife, including Otters, and loads of great birds, and learnt a lot about how people in this area (in both countries) live.
Thanks to Eddie for everything, including returning our room key to Ghaub.
Hakusembe Lodge review
Were a bit worried by the very rushed "hello, here's your room" welcome at Hakusembe, but this was a place that really grew on us.
The room was quite cramped for four (hence the average rating), but had all we needed. The restaurant was small and cosy and the food was good - it was nice to be able to serve our own vegetables.
The veiws along the river and across into Angola are amazing and the sunset river cruise with Eddy, with multiple sightings of crocodiles, was just wonderful. Eddy also kindly arranged for us to a visit a local school at our request, which was really interesting, and we also visited a local camp which had been set up to accommodate people who lost their homes in floods earlier this year.
We were also pleasantly surprised to find that our (very) dirty car had been washed for us!
Would not return here
An adequate place to stop overnight, but we were rather put off by the attitude of the manager who clearly sees visitors as a licence to print money. One example was the extortionate price of bottled water in a place where you were advised not to drink the tap water. The barman also boasted in Afrkaans to local visitors that he'd managed to sell the foreigners the most expensive beer in the bar.
When we arrived for dinner, they had clearly forgotten about us and taken a booking from a large party at the nearby campsite. Eventually they had to lay a table for us in the bar.
We enjoyed the sunset cruise
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa is sorry to hear that these travellers were dissapointed and felt that Hakusembe Lodge overcharge for their extras such as drinks. Hakusembe Lodge assures us that this is not the case, and are sorry that the guests felt this way. The lodge apologises for the oversight in dinner arrangements during these guests stay.
We'll be keeping a close eye on any further reviews of this lodge.
A nice riverside lodge with good food
Hakusembe had been flooded earlier this year, and we noticed that in one of our chalets which smelt rather musty. The chalet was also very cold, especially as this was our coldest night of the holiday (-7).
The food here was very good and the service too - they even arranged a doctor for us at very short notice. The Sunset Cruise is definitely worth the money.
Hakusembe overnight stay
We can't comment on the activities but the stay in the honeymoon suite on the river was lovely, as we could just watch river birds from the "deck". Having breakfast served outside our room gave also a luxurious and spoiled feeling.
Apparently the lodge had suffered from heavy floodings of the river earlier in the year, and they were still recovering from it (swimming pool wasn't fixed yet).
Expert Africa comments
Hakusembe informed us that they experienced the highest flooding in 40 years during early 2009! The swimming pool was completely submerged during the floods and so needed some maintenance once it had all dried out. The pool will be up and running again with a new coat of paint for Namibia's hotter summer months.
Floating on the Okavango at Hakusembe Lodge
Given that the site had been under water for a month, two weeks before we arrived, it was in excellent shape. We drove in from Rundu and were thwarted by a deep muddy pool cutting the track into the lodge. Rescued by a passing 4x4, probably worth calling ahead from Rundu if any doubt remains about the suitability of access for 2WD, but since it only floods every 40 years or so, I guess we were just lucky! The welcome was worth waiting for and the pride in and quality of the facilities were a credit to Lena Mudge, the manageress, and her staff. Another great location for a relaxing couple of days by the Okavango River.
We were allocated the floating honeymoon suite, somewhat flattering, but not recommended except for honeymooners: the chemical toilet was far from romantic, the deck in front ot the cabin needed repaiiring after the flood (carefree honeymooners could slip through and be swept away on the flooded river), and the deck needed some furniture. We would have been very much more comfortable in one of the chalets.
Hakusembe Lodge review
This lodge had also been flooded and they were only just up and running when we got there.
The welcome here was second to none.
The gardens were beautiful and the rooms lovely.
We took a very informative river cruise.
The evening meal was served by the river and the table looked like it had been set for a wedding ...amazing
Smiling staff at Hakusembe
When we visited Hakusembe they still repairing the damage from the big floods this year and some facilites eg the bar and dining room were not yet reopened. Despite that the staff were amazingly friendly and cheerful and gave us excellent service. We loved the location on the banks of the Kavango and ate our dinner to the sounds of partying from the Angolan side - they were just about to have their election.
We liked our chalet which had a little veranda and views over the lawn to the river. The bathroom was fine but a bit dated.