The impressive main lapa of Huab Lodge
Huab Lodge: Our full report
Huab Lodge is situated on a private reserve overlooking the ephemeral Huab River; it was one of Namibia's first small, owner-run lodges. The lodge is run by its owners, Jan and Suzi van de Reep; both have been in Namibia's tourism industry for many years, and Jan is a top-notch guide of some note. Both are ardent conservationists, and good conversationists too.
Some years ago the reserve where Huab Lodge currently stands was farmland and the site of human/animal conflict as farmers did what they could to keep desert elephant away from their fences and water points. Dismayed by the sight of overgrazing and the pressure on elephants to turn away from their traditional migration routes, Suzi and Jan bought three of the farms along the Huab River in the early 90's and set about taking down fences and regenerating the landscape.
These days, the Huab Reserve is home to a variety of wildlife as well as the rare desert elephant which are occasionally seen here. Huab lodge is well designed and comfortable, forming a great base from which to explore the reserve with Jan who is undoubtedly one of Namibia's top guides. But it is the warm welcome and wonderful hospitality offered by the hosts that often makes Huab a highlight for new visitors to Namibia and attracts many return guests. It is a great demonstration of how tourism can play an important part in conservation initiatives.
Huab Lodge's centerpiece is its large main building, called the Lapa. The Lapa is partly built into a granite outcrop and is an extensive lounge and dinging area covered by an enormous thatch roof with open sides and overlooking a small waterhole and the riverbed beyond. There is also a small curio shop, self-service bar and library here.
Below the Lapa there is a swimming pool ornamented with an island upon which stand interesting bird sculptures made of metal. A short walk away and at the edge of the river bed is a natural thermal spring captured in two small stone spa baths – the perfect spot for a dip under the stars! For guests who really want to treat themselves there's the option to book a session with the lodge's resident masseuse.
There are 8 spacious bungalows at Huab Lodge set in a staggered row up a slope - a design that ensures privacy for each room. The interior of each roomy bungalow is tastefully decorated with local materials and hand made furniture. There are two double beds, a table, chairs, mosquito nets and a ceiling fan. Tea/coffee making facilities and a flask of drinking water are set out on the table and a torch is provided. It is useful to have especially when walking back to your room at night!
Each bungalow has glass sliding doors that open out onto a large private verandah complete with deck chairs and a table. There are great views across the Huab river valley from here and the glass doors allow plenty of light to filter into the rooms. The modern en-suite bathrooms are fitted with twin basins and mirror, a flush toilet and a walk in shower. The shower wall is fitted with a window pane so you have a view whilst you wash! As part of Jan and Suzi's conservation ethos, they provide biodegradable soaps and shampoos. Fluffy towels and dressing gowns are also provided.
All activities at Huab Lodge are included in the price, and the guiding is first class (Jan is one of Namibia's most experienced guides). The Huab River runs through the reserve and although it is dry for much of the year, a high water table provides sustenance to tall trees that grow along the banks and fills the odd small natural pool. This in turn attracts a variety of wildlife including Hartman's mountain zebra, giraffe, a variety of antelope and even the odd cheetah and occasional desert elephant. Spend time here on nature drives or fascinating walks mostly guided by Jan. Huab is also an excellent site for ornithologists as many of Namibia's endemics are found here and Jan's knowledge of feathered creatures is beyond impressive.
Our viewHuab Lodge is a little off Namibia's beaten tourist track and has neither teeming wildlife nor spectacular desert scenery, so it is often overlooked. However, those visitors that do make it to Huab find a real gem with excellent accommodation, good food, fascinating and inspiring company and a truly at home feeling! Huab Lodge regularly wins the 'lodge' of the year award from Namibia's hospitality association and it's easy to see why.
Ideal length of stay: Two to three nights is recommended at Huab Lodge to give you time to enjoy each of the activities and excellent guiding offered here.
Directions: Huab Lodge is situated on the banks of the Huab River at the end of the D2706 road. The lodge is well signposted from the C35 road between the towns of Kamanjab and Khorixas.
Owner: Independent / Owner Run
Staff: Camp/Lodge Manager: Jan & Suzi van de Reep Guide: Jan van de Reep
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Meals are lively communal affairs at Huab Lodge with Suzi and Jan hosting the group around a long dining table in the Lapa.
Breakfast is usually made up of a selection comprising home baked breads, fresh orange juice, fruit salad, cereals, cheeses, different cuts of cold meat and tea or coffee.
A light lunch is served soon after midday and often includes fresh salads, vegetables, a selection of cold meats and a hot chicken or fish dish. Suzi believes in involving the local communities in tourism and conservation and when we visited she explained how she works with local villagers to grow much of the fresh and tasty produce that supplies the lodge.
In Huab Lodge tradition, the three course dinner is usually presented by the chef in her mother tongue, Damara, followed by the English translation. Jan adds to this with a recommended selection of South African wines to compliment the flavours. It's often a relaxed and sociable affair which guests really appreciate and enjoy.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Drinks included: Huab Lodge stocks a good selection of drinks including some lesser-known but personally sourced South African wines. All of these are included in the price.
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Huab Lodge
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: Each of the bungalows at Huab Lodge is furnished with two large double beds making them suitable as a triple or small family room.
Power supply: Solar Power
Communications: Since no mobile phone network is available in this part of Namibia, Huab Lodge provides a complementary Wireless LAN and high speed Internet connection via satellite in all bungalows and the Lapa area. Telephone and fax facilities are also available in the office.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The closest doctor or hospital is in the town of Outjo.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are strategically placed throughout the lodge.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included for guests staying two or more nights.