Reviews of Canyon Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Canyon Lodge review
The lady who was managing was absolutely on top of everything ad very charming with it. I thought this place had improved since I was last here - better service and better food.
Bed linen and towels were faded and need replacing - not pleasant to use.
Sundowner walk was informative - guides did really well. They should pack wine as well as beer though because not everyone likes beer but would have enjoyed a wine - and given we had to pay think they should have had wine with them!
Life among the boulders
We really enjoyed our stay here. All staff very friendly. All very good but we probably prefer slightly smaller places.Read more about the whole safari
Kasane to Cape Town days 13 and 14
A friendly and efficient welcome. We were in room 25, one of the furthest from the main building but close to a service road. Despite some initial concerns this was not a problem as all we saw was one vehicle, four horses and the lad bringing our laundry back.
Beds were comfy, towels fluffy and showers hot. The swimming pool area is lovely but not particularly warm if the breeze is blowing – even Martin only braved the water for a few seconds. Breakfast and dinner were fine though there was a limited choice of vegetables. The main meat option each evening was a game meat. The best meal we had, however, was an impromptu lunch of hake after returning from the canyon – absolutely delicious! There is no set lunch menu – you get whatever the chef has and feels like cooking.
Staff were all professional and friendly – special mention for Symon – guide, barman, waiter, host, anything that needs doing!
We opted to drive ourselves to the canyon rather than taking the organised trip from the lodge. This saved us quite a lot of N$ and the guided tour visited no more viewpoints than we did independently. We were the only people at the Sulphur Springs viewpoint for a while until another car appeared in the distance wanting to look at 'our' canyon.
Stunning Canyon Lodge
Quite a challenging drive there but completely worth it. Knock out views, 360 degree vistas.
Chalets spread out amongst rock formations. I have never stayed in such an amazing room. It was built into the rocks, our shower was a cave in the rock hillside. I will never forget standing out on our balcony in the evening with the rocks behind us , and the view in front.
We were invited to a sundowner up on a rock; not keen to share the sunset with 10 other people but found it really worth doing. Lovely views, very peaceful.
Very friendly staff, all quite lively. Food absolutely excellent, though like all these lodges we found that you ate in the near darkness.
We didnt take a tour, we walked 6 km to their home farm where they grow all their own veg. Though we hadnt said we were going, one of the farm workers very proudly showed us all their growing areas, and explained how they farmed in such an arid area. Fascinating.
Swimming pool setting was superb, all by itself perched on the edge of the rocks. Completely WOW.
A great first stop in Namibia
A really unique location with rooms built around the living rock. This does involve a fair amount of walking and climbing between the main facilities and the rooms, so make sure you let them know in advance if this is a problem. It wasn't for us and we loved it.
Went on the sundowner walk on our first night which was good, and free, including the sundowner drink. All of the food was buffets and the selection small, however the food was well cooked and tasty so this caused us no problems. The bar prices were reasonable considering that they had a captive audience.