Reviews of Canyon Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A growing concern!
The lodge had been extended since our last stay and feels more like a resort. The accommodation is as interesting as ever but the manicured lawns seemed somehow out of sync. The pool area, slightly off the beaten track, is impressive with great views of the wider landscape.
The food offering is good although the breakfast buffet had been cleared away long before the end time on one of the days and they had to put it out again for us as we had been walking beforehand. The quality of the dinner is very god with interesting choices from the help yourself buffet but waiter served starter and dessert.
However, the logistics of this system didn't work very well and not just for us .On our first night we sat for 20 mins without anyone taking our drinks or starter order so gave up and just took food from the buffet in the end. The manager lady had struggled to find us a table at all and we wandered round the room with her for what seemed like ages before she offered us one. Despite an eventual apology that we had been ignored the waiter finally brought the drinks but never came back so we kept having to ask for things. We had had to accept an awful table by the toilets as all the others had been reserved in advance. It was a dark. pokey corner with less attractive table dressing and lighting and another couple refused to even sit there! It all spoilt the meal and now wise to the tactics we then reserved a better table for the following night although service was still erratic. The seating arrangements and staff didn't seem to be able to cope with the numbers.
One staff member stuck out as being very friendly and knowledgeable but many of the others including the manager were unsmiling and indifferent.
Canyon Lodge review
Lovely lodge. Many of the cabins are a significant distance form the restaurant etc. but the paths are good and staff help to bring in luggage. Most of the cabins have good views over the desert for spectacular skies and sunsets. Cabins are individualy built around natural boulders. They could benefit by having a small fridge provided.
Food is good and on our second evening the staff performed local songs for diners.
The lodge is well placed for the canyon and also for petrol (14Km) at the Canyon Roadhouse but only accesible over ~100Kn of gravel and sand roads from north or south.
Canyon Lodge review
This is a really wacky place to stay and very interesting. Food was excellent hereRead more about the whole safari
Enjoyable stay, friendly staff
Whilst it was evident that some of the staff were quite new, all were helpful and polite. Nicely landscaped location, great room and good food.
We really enjoyed our stay and had some very nice cocktails at the bar!
Two nights at Canyon Lodge
The accommodation was lovely (built into the rocks and with an outside seating area and outlook over the koppies) - although the road to the Lodge was less so. The food was reasonable although we found bar prices to be on the high side.
Participation in an organised trip to the canyon cost N$580pp, which we felt to be outrageously expensive so we drove ourselves there instead.
The pool-with-a-view was a lovely place to relax
More commercial than some lodges
Stayed 2 nights after long drive from Bagatelle - given very private cosy chalet (no 25) with wonderful views.
Excellent buffet food. Very friendly staff.
Fine hospitality at Canyon Lodge
We enjoyed our two nights at Canyon Lodge. The climate-controlled chalets were well equipped, but in harmony with their surroundings (to the extent of incorporating extant boulders into their construction, in some cases). We managed to obtain one whose patio overlooked the plains (rather than facing other chalets, as did most) - pleasant for us, as we preferred the relative privacy and the wider view.
The property, as a whole, is like an oasis within its arid surrounds. It contains irrigated green lawns, fish pond, horse paddocks (with horses available for excursions), well-tended enclave of succulent (and other desert) plants and tastefully secluded swimming pool and bar, all surrounding a well-equipped central lodge.
Facilities generally were excellent for such a location. We were told that there was wi-fi internet access normally available, but that the wi-fi would be out of action during our stay. The Receptionist helpfully volunteered the use of the office inter-net connection, but even this had gone down on the second day - a situation not uncommon in Namibian locations so remote.
On our first evening, we joined the complimentary sundowner excursion. This took the form of a twenty minute guided walk from the lodge, up a nearby kopje - with a number of stops for commentary on fauna, flora and local geology by the knowledgeable party guide, Raymond. It culminated with beautiful views of the sunset from the top of the kopje and the supping of cocktails, conjured out of a convenient rock recess by the multi-skilled Raymond. Very enjoyable.
The buffet-style dinners were good. On learning that Anni was a vegetarian, the chef promised a special dish for her the following evening - and lived up to that promise in fine form. Diners remaining to the last (approx 9 pm) were treated to a five minute chorus of singing - from restaurant/ kitchen staff and the ubiquitous Raymond, who was also the wine waiter. This unannounced choir may well have been singing "Push off to bed and leave us in peace" in a local tongue - but the renditions were beautiful to hear and roundly applauded.
After breakfast on our first morning, we opted for a self-guided, circular hike of around 7kms, taking in what I will call "hole-in-the-wall". This unusual feature is a cliff-side aperture of about 3m diameter, near the top of a ridge. The latter lies across a small plain to the north of the lodge, from which the see-through hole is easily visible in morning light. The walk at this time of day was delightful. We encountered, among other things, springbok, kopje-dwelling dassies (rock hyrax), mouse-birds and quiver trees - some of the latter engulfed by huge social-weaverbird nests and their busy tenants. From hole-in-the-wall, looking out at the plain on the other side of the ridge, we saw a female kudu with her calf. Animal tracks and droppings abounded, as did large mysterious burrows whose inhabitants we, perhaps fortunately, never identified.
With the day heating up, we took a break. On our patio we downed wine, nuts and crisps - the latter shared with birds of various shape and hue who crashed the party. Later that afternoon we set off in our car for a couple of hours of sightseeing from various spots on the rim of the Fish River Canyon. The latter is a spectacular piece of landscape, well worth the detour for anyone coming up - as we did - from the South.
Unlike at the Grand Canyon, one is here forbidden to climb down into the gorge (part-way or otherwise) unless in possession of a pre-arranged licence. However, there is a pleasant, shortish walk from the rim-road down to one of the designated viewing areas, namely Sunset Point. It culminates in a panoramic 270 degree view over a lower plateau and the meandering canyon. During our initial inward journey to Canyon Lodge, we did visit Ai-Ais with its lodge and hot spring, located at the start and base of the canyon. However, the latter here is relatively shallow and unimpressive (as is the appearance of the hot spring, by comparison to elsewhere in the world). The key attractions appeared to be the beer selection, the naturally heated swimming pool and the spa - enjoyed mainly during our brief visit by hearty German-speakers.
Good base for Fish River Canyon viewing trips
No lounge area for sitting in the evening, only a small bar area.Read more about the whole safari
Canyon Lodge review
Canyon Lodge is beautifully situated and its location is impressive and the facillities overall are of a good quality. The location of the swimming pool looking out over the desert is spectacular. However the rooms are looking a little tired - holes in the mosquito nets etc - and could benefit from some refurbishment.
The lodge clearly caters to the German market which is reflected in the food which is plentiful and one gets the impression they are trying a little too hard with some of the combinations which are to say the least eclectic.
We also found the service a little too formal and even perfunctory at times. Certainly compared with Bagatelle and especially Desert Homestead.
One concern we had was the abundant notices telling us to conserve water while they continually watered a verdant garden at the front of the lodge and outside our rooms the sprinklers were on regularly trying to coax life from a large expanse of soil. Maybe they should concentrate on planting more succulents!
Expert Africa comments
We forwarded these comments to The Gondwana Collection, who own Canyon Lodge. They thanked these guests for their comments as they help them to continue to improve their service. They wish to point out that Canyon Lodge, as with the majority of Gondwana properties, has a recycling plant, allowing 70% of waste water to be recycled. It is this recycled water that is used to water the gardens.
Canyon Lodge review
We received a very friendly welcome upon arrival, with a welcome drink and comprehensive introduction to the facilities. Our room was small, but comfortable.
The swimming pool at the resort is spectacular with views over the surrounding countryside. We found the staff very friendly and welcoming. The resort is favoured by coach parties and serves the main course at dinner buffet style - although they seem to manage this very efficiently, without the congestion around the buffet that we experienced at other resorts.
We had excellent lunches at Canyon Roadhouse en route and on the day that we visited Fish River Canyon itself. Canyon Roadhouse also has an excellent giftshop.