Modern rooms at the Desert Horse Inn, Klein Aus Vista
Desert Horse Inn: Our full report
The owner-run Desert Horse Inn stands on the Klein Aus Vista reserve, which is reminiscent of a 'Western' movie set. It's about 1,400m above sea level, in what is probably the coldest place in Namibia - a totally unspoilt semi-desert area, with wide open plains against a backdrop of mountains. Klein Aus Vista is just 2km west of the small town of Aus - and some of our travellers use this reserve as a base from which to visit Luderitz.
In fact the Klein Aus Vista reserve has on it two proerties: the Desert Horse Inn and the Eagle's Nest.
The Desert Horse Inn has four individual farmhouse rooms which are old and part of the original farmhouse building. These bedrooms all share an outside sitting area, in front of the rooms, with lots of shade provided by a large tree. Each bedroom also has its own outside entrance.
In addition to these four individual rooms, it has a further 20 rooms in slightly more modern, and certainly newer, chalets: these are standard rooms. These were built relatively recently, many years after the main farmhouse, and specifically designed for visitors. These each stand separately to the side of the main restaurant /main area, and are built of brick the same color as the red Kalahari sand. These rooms are to the side of the main farm house, and are not visible from the front of the lodge. This helps the lodge to feel small and intimate - although it must be noted that this Inn does sometimes host quite large parties of guests..
The main area at the Desert Horse Inn is built entirely of wood, and houses the main reception area, lounge and curio shop on the lower floor. A staircase to the side takes you to the restaurant, bar and sitting area upstairs. There is also a lovely outside deck area under a shaded roof. Here you can sit at the individual tables and chairs and enjoy the panoramic views of your surroundings.
There is a private lounge area leading off the bar where guests can relax to read a book – and for peace and quiet there is a smoked glass door which can be closed. This lounge is has comfortable sofas and arm chairs, with old fashioned luggage serving as coffee tables. The floors have animal skin rugs giving it an old, African safari camp feel. The bar area is tucked away in a dark corner, just off the main restaurant through an open archway. It is built of stone with a wooden counter and wooden bar stools to sit on. The bar is well stocked with a choice of spirits, local beer, wines and various other beverages.
The Desert Inn at Klein Aus Vista has a curio shop in a small room just off from the reception area. It sits through an open archway and sells African crafts made by local people in Aus. Then outside, there is an upstairs deck which is raised above the surrounding treetops. From here you can see for miles as you relax in wooden chairs set around tables.
The Inn's main indoor restaurant which sits guests at individual tables has large glass windows, affording diners a 270° view of the area. The restaurant has high ceilings supported by wooden beams, which gives the feeling of spaciousness. Then rich polished wood adds warmth to the room and a tree in the restaurant adds character.
The Desert Horse Inn is beautifully decorated with natural materials from the surrounding areas. These range from seed pods from the camelthorn trees, to ostrich eggs, feathers and various other natural artifacts. Next to the doorway leading from the bar area to the guests toilets is a carved out tree trunk serving as a wine stand.
Although a family-owned lodge, the three sons are the ones most involved in the day to day running of the lodge. For them it is not just a business, it is also their home and this is evident in their level of attentiveness. Each guest is welcomed warmly and treated like a personally invited friend. There are always staff members around in the main areas to help or answer any questions.
Activities at the Desert Horse in are similar to those at the Eagle's Nest, and include sundowner drivers, scenic drives on the farm, and self-guided walks. This is also a popular place for visitors to base themselves to visit Luderitz and the ghost town of Kolmanskop, which can easily be visted on a day trip from here. Guests can also look out for the wild desert horses that are sometimes seen in the area.
Our viewThe Desert Horse Inn at Klein Aus Vista is a place that makes you feel welcomed and at home straight away. For those travelling between Sossusvlei and Fish River Canyon it also makes a convenient stop for visiting Ludertiz without staying in the town. That said, if you have a little extra time, especially if you like the idea of hiking in the reserve, then we'd suggest that you look at spending at least one night (if not more) at its more atmospheric sister-property, Eagle's Nest.
Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights
Directions: Klein Aus Vista is situated just south of the B4 road which links Keetmanshoop with Luderitz. It's 121km from Luderitz, and the turn off is 2km west of the small town of Aus.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: Breakfast is served buffet-style with a wide selection of fresh fruit, home-made juices, fresh-baked breads and muffins. A cooked breakfast from the kitchen is also available. When we were last there our breakfast consisted of fresh fruit juice, cereal, yoghurt and toast.
Lunch consist of an a la carte menu with a choice of light snacks such as sandwiches and cold salads. We especially enjoyed their homemade fresh juices, which are bottled on the farm and sold in the nearby town of Luderitz.
The dinners at Klein Aus Vista usually consist of three courses served buffet style. When we where last there we had some spicy rice, a potjie kos (farmers' stew), pork chops, French beans and cauliflower with a lovely creamy white sauce. There is always a wide selection of fresh vegetables, 2 -3 choices of game meat and fresh salad. For dessert we had a lovely cheese-cake served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
There was also a selection of local and South African wines to enjoy with your meal.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No drinks included.
Family holidays: Klein Aus Vista has a very relaxed, informal setting, with plenty of room for kids to run around and play in. They keep ostriches near the main area of the Desert Horse Inn, which children often find interesting to see.See more ideas for Family holidays in Namibia
Photographic: The much-photographed Namib Feral (wild) horses can often be found in the area around Klein Aus Vista. Look out for them grazing on either side of the side of the road – often 20km west of the Klein Aus Vista on the way to Luderitz. For scenic shots, the high yellow grass and mountains makes for beautiful photographic opportunities.See more ideas for Photographic in Namibia
Walking: Keen walkers can hike from one of two possible bases on Klein Aus Vista. From the Desert Horse Inn, guests can embark on a short 1-hour sunset walk or a longer 3-hour walking trail. Note that April to mid October is the ideal time for the hiking trails here, as the other months can be very hot indeed.See more ideas for Walking in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Yes children of all ages are welcome.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: Children should be under parental supervision at all times.
Power supply: Solar Power
Communications: At the main reception area there is a telephone and also fax machine which guests can use and pay for direct. There is also intermittent, rather slow, and frequent unreliable internet access here.
TV & radio: Sometimes it is possible to watch a television set I the main lodge, usually only for major events only – like big sporting clashes, major news or important happenings!
Health & safety
Malarial area: No
Medical care: The nearest medical doctor is to be found in Luderitz and there is also a clinic in Aus.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Rural Namibia is generally very safe, and like most similar places, Klein Aus Vista doesn't use any form of armed security.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main areas at Desert Horse Inn.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Possible at an extra charge.
Money: Klein Aus Vista cannot exchange any foreign currencies, and they do not accept travellers' cheques.