Erongo Wilderness Lodge sits amongst huge granite whalebacks and boulders in the Erongo Mountains.
Erongo Wilderness Lodge: Our full report
Just west of Omaruru, Erongo Wilderness Lodge perches amidst the rugged granite kopjies of the Erongo Mountains – within the area of an ancient volcanic crater. The lodge is a founder member of the 2,000km² Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, which brings together 30 private landowners in an effort to conserve this diverse area. The area is locally well-known for excellent birding, and there are rare and endemic species of flora and fauna here. There are also bushman rock paintings hidden in between the rocks all around this area.
Erongo Wilderness Lodge is a friendly, relaxed lodge which offers great views across the mountains with good walking and birding. Erongo's 10 comfortable tented chalets have superb views and are built up on stilts. Each is tucked away between its own boulders offering seclusion and privacy. The rooms are simply furnished with sundecks at the front and en-suite bathrooms at the back.
Raised wooden walkways and natural stone steps connect the tented chalets to the main area which sits atop a separate hill. Here you will find the restaurant and lounge, one large room built from stone and thatch, and open on one side from the waist up. Within it are a central fireplace, dining area, small lounge and a 'mokoro' bar, all decorated with African basketwork and masks. There is a big leather sofa with matching chairs, and a small library of books, as well as a selection of curios for sale.
From an outside deck, you can watch animals come down to the floodlit waterhole below - on our last visit a couple of porcupines accompanied us for an evening tipple! There is also a birdbath right next to the restaurant where, whist eating brunch we could watched rosy-faced lovebirds, red-eyed bulbuls, black-throated canaries and white-tailed shrikes at some water as well as rock dassies and the endemic dassie rats vying for drinking space.
A small pool built amongst the rocks has a partially shaded grassy area and a few loungers. Above this is a thatched sundowner deck, complete with comfy chairs and a large table – the perfect spot for toasting spectacular sunsets.
Activities on offer at Erongo mainly involve walking, which is certainly the best way to explore this beautiful area, possible either with the lodge's knowledgeable guides or on your own. You can opt to join guided morning walks, which vary in length from one to four hours, and evening sundowner walks to a good vantage point for your G & T. Note that for the walks any sundowner drinks are extra but for sundowner drives drinks are included. There are also several marked walking trails which you can explore on your own and at your own pace. There are two guided walks offered, a long one starting at 6am and a shorter one starting at 7am.
An optional afternoon nature drive is also available in an open 4 x 4 (not included). We took this when we stayed in 2010, and saw a variety of small game – including steenbok, kudu, oryx, klipspringer, Hartmann's mountain zebra and warthog. This drive also includes a visit to Paula's Cave, where there is some interesting bushman rock art, although the cave is currently inaccessible due to a resident swarm of bees. However, when we visited, we were able to see inside the cave from the entrance. The lodge also offers a guided sundowner walk, which takes guests to the top of a kopje to enjoy the view and the sunset with a drink.
Ideal length of stay: 2 nights, or 3 nights for keen walkers. If you're not visiting Damaraland, then Erongo Wilderness Lodge makes a perfect stop between Swakopmund and Etosha; alternatively, stop here on your way between Etosha and Windhoek.
Directions: The lodge is 15 kms from Omaruru. Erongo Wilderness is just south of the D2316; the turnoff to the lodge is 10km west of its junction with the C33. It's about 12-13km south-west of Omaruru. Following the signs to Erongo Wilderness Lodge, you normally leave your car under an awning in a parking area. The lodge is above this area, perched on the boulders – and the team there will collect you in a 4x4 vehicle, to transfer you the remaining 800m to the lodge.
Owner: Independent / Owner Run
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: In our experience, the standard of food at Erongo is excellent.
Before the early morning walks there is tea/coffee and rusks available. When we were on our walks, the guide chose a beautiful spot to stop where juices and snacks where offered to keep us going until we returned to the lodge for brunch.
The extensive brunch consisted of cereals, yogurts, fruit, homemade breads, cheese, cold meats, plus a choice of cooked options. You could have a choice of omelettes or pancakes with different fillings or a full cooked breakfast (eggs, bacon, tomatoes) – enough to satisfy even the hungriest of people after their exertions!
Tea/coffee and delicious homemade cake and other nibbles were served at around 3pm before we set out on the afternoon activities.
Dinner is a 4-course affair with a starter, salad, main course and pudding. When we last visited memorable dishes included baked camembert with red current sauce, beefsteak in brandy and cream sauce, pork in red wine, and a wonderful apple straddle and custard.
Meals are served at individual tables although, due the sociable nature of the place, some people chose to join tables to enable them to continue chatting.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Drinks included: Tea and coffee are included, other drinks are not. The tap water is safe to drink.
Birdwatching: The Erongo Mountains are great for keen birders. In and around the lodge many species are common ranging from small sunbirds through to Verreaux's Eagles. On our last visit, sightings included the red-billed and Hartlaub's francolin, rosy-faced lovebird, pale-winged starling, white-tailed shrike – and a lovely sighting of a freckled nightjar nesting.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Namibia
Walking: The exposed granite around Erongo forms large, rounded hills which are well-suited to hiking and gentle scrambling. Walks can either be accompanied by knowledgeable guides, or on your own along clearly marked walking trails (for which the lodge provides a detailed map).See more ideas for Walking in Namibia
Attitude towards children: The lodge has a good attitude to children.
Property’s age restrictions: None, although the nature of the tents – they are raised on stilts, with a rocky, fairly steep climb to get to them – means that parents need to keep a close eye on children at all times.
Special activities & services: There are no special activities for children.
Equipment: Erongo Wilderness Lodge has one cot for infants.
Generally recommended for children: Yes, as long as they enjoy walking.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is a central telephone and fax for office use. Mobile reception in some rooms only and in the restaurant. Due to nature of being in a valley and amongst boulders, reception is a little erratic here.
TV & radio: No
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: First aid kit on site. The nearest doctor is in Omaruru (13km away). Medi-rescue available.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There is an armed security guard here at night, who usually stays beside the cars.
Fire safety: Fire extinguisher outside each tent and in the restaurant/kitchen.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry can be done at an extra charge; and is possible if you stay for 2 nights. Leave your washing on the bed in the morning, and it is returned that evening. The cost is moderate, and depends on the items.
Money: Electronic combination safes in each tent. Erongo doesn't offer a foreign exchange service.
Accepted payment on location: Payment is accepted in cash (N$ or Rand), Visa or Mastercard.