Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch: Our full report
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch stands on the east side of the D1268, about 25km north of the tarred C20 road, between Hardap and Stampriet. This owner-run tranquil lodge in the red Kalahari dunes was initially a sheep and cattle ranch. It is just a 2½-hour drive from Windhoek and makes for an ideal stop-over en route to the Naukluft Park or south to the Fish River area.
Approaching the game ranch, your first sight of Bagatelle is the four dune chalets, which appear to be balancing on a typical Kalahari sand ridge. Only closer, you then see the rest of the lodge, which includes another 6 rooms made out of an innovative straw-bale construction.
When we arrived at the reception area of Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch on our last visit, we were greeted by three horses, a springbok, two dogs and a cat, reflecting the owners' love of animals. One of the lodge staff also came out to meet us and welcomed us warmly, before leading us through into the comfortable main area.
The game lodge's main area is beautifully decorated in rich warm tones, much like the red Kalahari sand dunes and shades of brown. It has a well stocked curio shop to browse through, lots of seating areas, a reading lounge with a well stocked library – where the owner, Fred, being an avid reader, shares some of his favorite books with his guests. On our last visit here, in depths of winter, we found the roaring fires in the lounge and the dining area to be warm and welcoming, and also added a cosy, homely atmosphere to the lodge.
Outside, Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch also has a shaded pool area with many loungers, and a nearby hammock. It's a good spot to relax with a good book, or just to lie back and take in the silence - interrupted only by the occasional bird chirping.
Activities at Bagatelle include nature drives on the property as well as sundowners and opportunities to watch the cheetah feeding, as the lodge has four captive cheetahs in large enclosures, kept here in association with the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
Guests may also be interested in taking a look at the various animals here, which include an oryx, a number of peacocks and a family of meerkats, which if you are quiet will come quite close and pose for photos.
Our viewAt Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch you will receive a warm welcome, wonderful food and great scenery, making this an excellent stop for a night or two on the long journey south to Fish River Canyon.
Ideal length of stay: 1-2 nights
Directions: From Windhoek, Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch is about 2½-hours' easy drive. The easiest route here is via the B1 towards Mariental. Turn off onto the C20 towards Stampriet, before turning off onto the D1268. After another 25km along this gravel road, turn right into the lodge's entrance gate; the lodge is just 3km from the gate.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: Afternoon tea is the first bite for many visitors, usually served at around 3.30pm. It's nicely set out with a variety of cakes and teas to choose from.
In warmer weather dinner is served around the pool. When we last visited, dinner was served indoors by the fire and was good, wholesome guest-farm fare, with substantial portions. If Bagatelle's busy then they'll often organize a buffet-style meal, whereas if there are fewer guests, they'll serve plated dinners.
Breakfast-time is flexible, depending on when you get up, and your morning activity, and is a continental breakfast with the option of a full cooked breakfast.
Lunch is served until about 2.00pm, and is usually an optional extra, paid for at the lodge.
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch can cater for different dietary requirements if advised in advance; they can also organize children meals on request.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No. Drinks are an extra cost, charged for directly by the lodge
Birdwatching: Bagatelle covers a stretch of typical Kalahari dunes. Cape turtle, laughing and Namaqua doves are common; white-quilled korhaan make spectacular displays in breeding season, and the ostriches are always magical. Raptors include the pale chanting goshawks, black-shouldered kites and the occasional rock kestrel. For an exotic touch, peacocks wander around the farmstead's gardens.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Namibia
Photographic: Around December, January and February – during the rains – this area is covered in a carpet of beautiful yellow 'devils' thorn' flowers. It brings colour and life to the Kalahari, and then it's a lovely time for photographers to shoot the stunning scenery here – and close-up shots of the meerkats can be a real bonus too.See more ideas for Photographic in Namibia
Wildlife safaris: Bagatelle's typical Kalahari dunes have good populations of springbok, oryx, giraffe, kudu, steenbok, black-backed jackals, warthogs, brown hyenas and marvelously comical bat-eared foxes. There are several troops of meerkats, including a habituated group. On old oryx and a young springbok frequent the farmstead – both are semi-tame. The ranch sometimes has cheetah and leopard in enclosures.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Yes Bagatelle is child friendly
Equipment: Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch has cots, but no highchairs. The tables here are not that high, so they would add extra cushions for a child to reach the table.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: Have wireless connection and guests may use front office to check their email or make a phone call. There is no mobile reception at all.
TV & radio: In the main area there is TV to watch important sports events
Health & safety
Malarial area: No
Medical care: In Mariental there is a doctor
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: There are no security guards here. Staff are generally up until quite late, and 2-3 staff members are always on duty.
Fire safety: Fire breaks along the side of the fence, fire tank is always ready and they have fire sweepers. There are no fire extinguishers in the rooms.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: There is a laundry service if you are staying for a few days – for which there is an extra charge.
Money: The lodge cannot exchange foreign currencies, and does not accept travellers' cheques.