Reviews of Zebra River Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Wonderful individual lodge in stunning region
This was the most amazing place to arrive at as our first "lodge". Gail (the American lady who was in charge whilst owners were away) was delightful; spoke with us at length about walks, the area, etc and we were spoilt with the honeymoon suite (not our request!) and the views we had were out of this world. The boys slept below us in an equally lovely room. Atmosphere was laidback and homely and food delicious and we felt we had entered a home rather than some slick, modern-day lodge. We all loved this place probably more than any other.
It is so worth walking there for a day; we spent 6 hours trekking on our own on Gail's advice, and had delicious picnic given us, and boys spotted Hartmann zebra and baboons and we saw Quiver Trees and much else. Total wilderness all around. I hope it will remain in good hands and not turn to a more impersonal place. For us, it was very special because of its homeliness and remoteness and its staff.
Zebra River Lodge review
After 10 days busy travelling and sight seeing stopping at Zebra River Lodge was a real tonic. It was more of a home away from home and a great place to relax and recharge ready for more action. Good walks around the lodge, delicious food and a beautiful location.
We were greated by Gail and from then on we felt relaxed. One of our party took advantage of the massages on offer which she said was great. Gail went out of her way to help another of our party by managing to successfully get a prescription item from Windhoek and we only stayed overnight!!! Would recommend a longer stay to relax and recharge.
Very friendly lodge! Nice location. Very wild (but few animals). Very helpful. Lots of good info. Could put a bit more cash back into the up keep of the place. Some finishing details to the rooms were a bit sloppy. Like tacks holding up curtains and mice running all around and over you at night. This didn't bother us, infact it was a bit of a laugh. Especially when the mouse almost poops in your mouth from the ceiling at night.
The drive to and from the Park is no big deal. There aren't many animals in this area and if you go slow it's only about a 1.5 hour drive back after dark to get back to the lodge. They do it all the time..
A walkers paradise
5 hour drive from Windhoek. Excellent introduction to Namibian lodges. Rooms built into hillside in idiosyncratic style without apparent assistance from a set-square, and improvements still being made to surroundings. Clean spacious and comfortable. Very friendly welcome.
Lots of beautiful birds and a diversity of wildflowers around lodge, brought out by some unseasonally late rains in June. Evening walk to quiver tree and tackled canyon walk the next day. Not for the faint-hearted as the trails are steep, but as keen walkers the 1000 ft climb on the canyon walk was rewarded by outstanding views. Provided with excellent packed lunch to break the day. Good walking shoes or tough cross-trainers recommended as paths stony and vegetation spiky.
Plunge pool on chilly side after some cold nights, but we all managed to have a splash to cool off after day's exertions. Food at shared tables gave up opportunity to meet other guests. A dawn stroll on the airstrip was rewarded by views of springbok, zebra (a solitary youngster) and baboons. By the end of our trip this amount of wildlife would have appeared sparse, coming early on it was exciting to see and photograph the animals.
Great private canyon hiking trail
Good for walkers for 1 or 2 days. Also fairly close (by Namibia standards!) to Nankluft Park with excellent day walkingRead more about the whole safari
Zebra River Lodge review
A superb introduction to Namibian 'lodge life' with some great self-guide walking. Communal dining in a cosmopolitan family atmosphere. On our 'must return' list.Read more about the whole safari
Lovely location plus warm hospitality.
Marianne was very hospitable and helpful and we enjoyed her company. We were sorry that Rob was away.
The room was lovely. We very much enjoyed our stay.
However, a little more information on the local walking trails (maps etc.) would have been an advantage although the maps which she gave to us for our onward journeys were helpful.
Zebra River Lodge - a true highlight
Although not far on paper, the drive from Kulala to Zebra River was another fairly long one, taking in part of the terrible D854 again. We arrived at lunchtime and were immediately offered an exceptionally warm welcome and plates of food. Marianne was on her own (well, not literally as there are three resident lovely dogs), with Rob, who we would later meet, in Windhoek.
After a lazy afternoon, we did a sundown walk on our own along the opposite ridge with a map, but could not find our way down, so had to return the same way we came; as it was after sunset, we were quite anxious but it was reassuring to know that almost all our movements had been watched by the staff who were keeping a weather eye on our progress (beautiful views from the top, btw).
A nice dinner with all the other guests followed, and the team made every effort to include those guests whose English wasn't the best. The next day we did an enjoyable guided early morning walk to Gail's Cave, and then later another well marked and mapped hike up to the magnificent quiver tree (with more superb views). On our last day, the staff dropped us two hours from a natural spring and we, with two other guests, walked up to it and then back to the lodge, which took pretty much all day. On the way back we also came very close to a wandering black spittting cobra which was, well, exciting I guess! Rob had arrived that afternoon and drove up to meet us on the walk back with sundowner beers, for which we were very grateful!
The only negative point about this part of our trip was the number of armour plated ground crickets around - they got everywhere and aren't very nice, but they do only come out after the rainy season ends apparently. This was a very hospitable, friendly and comfortable place to stay and is highly recommended.
Expert Africa comments
After the rains (usually Jan – early April) it is usual to see armoured ground crickets in Namibia. Marianne from Zebra River Lodge reports that they are exceptionally plentiful this year. She has been in this area for 13 years and this is the first time she’s seen so many. Although intriguing, they are large and not particularly pretty!
Zebra River Lodge review
We were exremely pleased with the superb accommodation at Zebra Lodge with a marvellous view from the natural stone constructed chalet on the hillside.
The welcome that we received from Marianne and Gail was excellent and we really felt part of the family. There was a uniquely friendly atmosphere. Fantastic fresh home made bread.
Be prepared for an adventurous approach to the property along the front drive - not for the feint hearted!
excellent canyon walk which takes about 4-5hrs, good food and a fantastic room up above the lodge (including a resident dormouse)
we had problems on arriving in wet season as rivers flooded and not passable for about 2 hrs even though in 4 x 4
Rob and Marianne were not present - and I think the stay would have been enhanced if they had been as would have liked more local knowledge/geology/nature info/astronomy etc
Expert Africa comments
Rob and Marianne apologised for not being at the Zebra River when these travellers visitied. On occasions they have to go Windhoek to do some shopping, so although they would ideally like to be a the lodge all the time, this just isn't always possible.
Gail, who has been with them for a number of years, is also based at Zebra River and has a very good knowledge of the area, especially the geology. In fact, she has worked on an archaeological dig on the property.
Rob and Marianne are also hoping to put together an information booklet which will then be available in the rooms.