Etendeka Mountain Camp is set in a remote but stunning location...
Etendeka Mountain Camp: Our full report
Etendeka Mountain Camp is a small, fairly rustic camp, located in a private 500km² concession area (effectively a private reserve) in the foothills of the Grootberg massif, which stands in stunning scenery amidst the ancient Etendeka lava flows of northern Damaraland. Here the basalt rock has been slowly eroded over millennia, leaving scattered boulders lying upon dramatic flat-topped mountains. One of the first 'real' safari camps in Namibia, Etendeka opened around 1993 and has been run since then by Dennis Liebenberg, ably assisted by his head guide, Bonnie.
Etendeka Camp has ten walk-in tents under canvas roofs, with a couple of chairs at the front. All are relatively simple, furnished with twin beds, a small table, a table lamp and two luggage racks. The en-suite bathroom is open to the sky, but enclosed at the sides. Here you'll find a washbasin with hot and cold running water, a fun and surprisingly good bucket shower, a flush toilet and electric lights.
The camp's focal point is the open-sided dining area, with its small, fully inclusive 'bar'. Here Etendeka 's guests congregate for meals, sundowners around the campfire and after dinner to learn about the cosmos with Dennis.
Both Dennis & Bonnie know this part of Damaraland like the back of their hands and are passionate about the area, the geology and the wildlife that inhabit this harsh landscape. Activities from the camp are included in the rate – and major on nature/game drives and guided walks, at which Etendeka excels. The area's geology is especially interesting, and travelling on foot can be fascinating. The 'Quartz Walk' is littered with amazing quartz and agates – although the guides are strict that these are for viewing only! The guiding here is excellent, and Bonnie can tell you all sorts of facts about the local environment as well as Namibian history and sociology.
Etendeka isn't a place to come just for the game; it's better to treat sightings as a great bonus! The reserve has good populations of Hartmann's mountain zebra, oryx and springbok, as well as occasional giraffe and desert-adapted elephant, and very occasionally even black rhino, lion and leopard. On our last visit in Ocotber 2010 we had some good nature drives, and were lucky enough to see black rhino and also an aardwolf, as well as other more common animals. Even on the transfer into camp, which takes one-and-a-half hours, you gain a good introduction to the area; we saw Hartmann's mountain zebra, oryx and springbok during our trip.
With a good telescope in house, evenings are also a time of interest, learning about various constellations and the universe. On our last stay, Dennis arranged for some 5.00am stargazing, when he explained all about the galaxies, stars and nebulae visible in the clear night sky. This was a fascinating experience, and well worth getting up so early for.
Etendeka Mountain Camp is particularly conscious of their environmental impact, cooking meals over a fire and using alternative energy sources such as solar power. The staff also take great care to remove any litter and rubbish from the area.
Our viewEtendeka is relatively simple by the standards of modern safari camps, and is exceptional in being owner-run for around two decades – a major achievement. What's even more impressive if that Dennis & Bonnie have retain their enthusiasm, and still manage to make sure that all of their guests have a really individual experience. Helped by Etendeka's fairly small size (max. 20 guests), communal dining arrangements, and amazing home-cooked food, make this a friendly and relaxed camp. It will appeal strongly to those who love solitude, great scenery and walking – whilst the wildlife which is increasingly visible here comes as a real bonus!
Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights
Directions: Self-drivers should head west along the C39 from Khorixas or the C40 from Kamanjab, then continue north along the C43 north towards Sesfontein. Follow the signposts to the pick-up point, which is next to the veterinary fence. Guests leave their vehicles here, and are transferred to the camp by 4x4. Pick-up times are currently around 3.30pm in winter and 4.00pm in summer.
Owner: Dennis Liebenberg
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast at Etendeka is a self-service continental buffet.
Both lunch and dinner consist of good, wholesome, home-prepared food, with the evening meal being two courses. Dinner is often cooked over the campfire, and ours was delicious: chicken roasted in the ashes of the fire complete with stuffing and lyonnaise potatoes, followed by sticky date pudding and cream.
Afternoon tea is also provided along with a full bar. A small snack is provided on the morning walk.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks are included.
Walking: If you're fit and active, then Etendeka is a great place to do some walking – its activities are usually split fairly equally between driving and walking. A normal day at the camp might include a 2–4 hour walk, an afternoon game drive and possibly a short hike up one of the area's mountains.See more ideas for Walking in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Etendeka welcomes children of 8 years and upwards.
Generally recommended for children: Etendeka is recommended for older children (10+) who are keen on exploration and wildlife (great and small), and capable of long walks.
Power supply: Solar Power
Communications: There is no cellphone reception, phone or internet at Etendeka; you are truly isolated.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: Patients in need of medical assistance would be driven back to Palmwag Lodge, or in an emergency flown to Windhoek.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: Because of the camp's isolated location, there are no security guards at Etendeka.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers just outside each tent.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry cannot be done at Etendeka due to the short supply of water here.