Reviews of Grootberg Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Sustainable tourism at its best
We were a little daunted by the vertical ride up the side of the mountain (in the Lodge's 4x4 vehicle), but when we reached the top the view was spectacular. The restaurant terrace ends in a sheer drop over the side of the mountain and from our cabin we had a similar vertical drop from our veranda. But you can watch eagles circling below.
We went elephant tracking on the first afternoon and after a long search managed to locate one elephant. The second day we tracked rhinos and were fortunate to find a mother and baby as well as father lurking close by. The guide and trackers were very knowledgeable and explained how the local community has come together to work to increase the number of rhinos in the surrounding area.
The Lodge is run by the members of the local community under guidance at present but that will gradually reduce until 2015. Staff were very friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. Food was good and plentiful and much to our surprise we had Wi-Fi in the lounge areas.
On our last day we found our car had been cleaned for us. En route to our next destination and not more than 3 km from the entrance to the Lodge we to wait whilst 7 elephants (mothers and babies) crossed the road in front of us. Could have saved all that time tracking had we known!
Grootberg Lodge review
Although we had booked a triple room, since the family rooms were booked up already, the room allocated to us was too small for a teenager for three nights. However, the next day the manager arranged for our son to be moved to a guide room (although very basic it had plenty of space and all necessary services) a few minutes walk from our newly allocated room.
Considering that Grootberg is a community project and that many of the staff are new to the hospitality industry, the camp functioned very well. The staff were friendly and eager to please. We especially enjoyed the Grootberg choir during dinner one evening.
We were fortunate to see two bull elephants during our elephant safari with our guide, Gerson, as these wildlife sightings can of course not be guaranteed. The rest of the drive was enjoyable, although not as interesting as it could be, since the guide and tracker were talking to each other almost incessantly.
Grootberg Lodge Review
Excellent overnight stop, limited wildlife but outstanding views.Read more about the whole safari
Location, Location, Location
It's all about location! Unless you have a 4x4 (and some experience) you leave your car in a secure parking area and you and your luggage are transported 1.5km to the top of the mountain, where the lodge sits on the rim with stupendous views of the Klip River Valley below.
Accommodation is in stone and thatch chalets. All are detached with the exception of numbers 3 and 4 which are attached to each other. As we stayed for 3 nights (rather than the 1 or 2 which seems typical) we were annoyed to be allocated number 3 which was small, and although we have been married for an awfully long time, we would have preferred a door on the toilet! We were let down by Expert Africa on this occasion as they could and should have been aware enough to have requested one of the detached units (ask for number 13 or 14 which are new).
There is a pool which gives the term 'infinity' a whole new meaning, perched on the edge of the terrace before the sheer drop into the valley. I wouldn't think the lodge was suitable for young children at all. Staff were uniformly friendly and eager to please and the food at dinner was very good (and in the context of the location, excellent). Note that water is heated by solar panels and so in the colder months showers are best taken in the afternoon/evening.
There is 24 hour electricity but no sockets to re-charge batteries, though you can take them to a central point for that to be done. There are no room keys and so it is not possible to lock it at any time. There is a room safe with a returnable deposit for the key. Room cleaning was not as impressive as the restaurant service. Those with walking difficulties may find the rocky nature of the site and paths to rooms a bit of a challenge.
Activities are, frankly, expensive based on what we saw elsewhere. Elephant and rhino tracking are key attractions, though looking for the rhino may be considered arduous for mature guests. There is also a visit to a village of the Himba people and walks. Overall we had mixed feelings but the magnificent location probably conquers all and for that unique experience it is worth considering, probably for 2 nights.
What a view !
The climb up the Grootberg pass from the west is spectacular, with zebra and oryx grazing in the valley below the summit. Having parked our 2WD vehicle at the lodge gate at the top of the pass we were driven up the steep rocky path to the lodge itself on the plateau overlooking the Klip Valley.
Our chalet was conveniently close to the main lodge, and was simple, but clean and comfortable. Hot water is provided by individual solar panels on the roof of each chalet and we were advised to have our showers in the evening in case the hot water ran out, but in fact there was still planty left in the morning.
We had arrived in the early afternoon, hoping to take a short self-guided walk on the plateau, but two lions had been spotted the day before and walks were forbidden. Instead we spent a leisurely couple of hours sipping coffee on the terrace in the sunshine, writing postcards, photographing the pigeons as they flew in to drink the water from the swimming pool, and ourselves drinking in the views of the valley, the light and shadow constantly changing with the shifting of the sun.
The set dinner was excellent, served by smiling friendly staff who rounded off the evening with an exuberant sing-song.
We wished we had stayed another night and taken the opportunity to track rhino or visit a Himba village.
excellent rhino tracking
the lodge had new owners so the way the lodge is run might improve further
the stafft appeared a little bit shy and not so well organized
the management was very generous to let us do the tracking free of charge because we didn't have a hot shower
the rhino trackers were extreemly skilled and we saw elephants, giraffe and rhino. you don't have a guarantee to see rhinos of course, but with three extremly skilled trackers you have a high chance of finding them and getting quite close if there are some.
On top of the world - at Grootberg Lodge
A really friendly lodge on top of the Etendeka Plateau with an amazing elevated view, we were on top of the world looking down into the Klip River Valley below...fabulous.
The staff here were superb and we were again serenaded so melodically after dinner.
The menu was read out in the local Damaraland dialect, very similar to the bushmens "click click" language, one of the waitresses Marianna was such fun putting so much into her singing and dancing but they were all great and we enjoyed our stay here immensely. The lodge is on the Grootberg Pass and a trip out to Palmwag was thrilling to say the least, the views were fantastic but not for faint hearted drivers and the pass should not be attempted unless you have a 4x4.
Also very important, the very very steep track up to the lodge should only be attempted if an experienced 4x4 driver, but you have an option to leave your vehicle at the bottom (where security will look after it) and travel up in the lodge vehicle.
Grootberg Lodge review
Fascinating, clean, comfortable,friendly, loved the singing. Excellent guide. Otti.Read more about the whole safari
Grootberg Lodge review
At Grootberg we had a most enjoyable and relaxing afternoon. Stunning location.
Regret we did't stay there two nights.
One of my favorite places in Namibia!
Wow -- I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful Grootberg Lodge is. First, it's quite a fun adventure going up the rocky road to the lodge. Damaraland is beautiful, and the Lodge is situated overlooking a canyon, providing a truly unique and captivating view of the landscape. The cabins are wonderful, with decks oriented toward the view.
Second, the staff at the Lodge were my favorite in the entire trip. Grootberg is staffed by the local community, and everyone was incredibly warm and knowledgable. The service was excellent. Josie, Otti, and Masaka were especially wonderful, but everyone was incredible. The food was amazing and surprisingly international. I wish I could get their homemade bread here in the US! The desserts were also incredible -- I particularly remember the chocolate cake with amarula cream, YUM! In addition, the staff sang at dinner, which was an utterly moving experience. The richness of their tones and the energy of the songs brought tears to my eyes.
Grootberg Lodge is certainly one of my favorite places in Namibia, and in fact one of my favorite places in the world. It's at the top of my list of places in the world to visit!
Rhino tracking excursion with Grootberg Lodge:
We went for a rhino tracking excursion which was quite an adventure and truly special. Charles, Lazarus, and Martin provided us with an incredible wildlife experience. I was simply amazed by their ability to locate wildlife and their knowledge of the entire landscape around us. The wildlife was incredible, and while I love Etosha, I found wildlife tracking to be more fulfilling than viewing animals at watering holes. This experience is not to be missed.