Reviews of Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Bagatelle Game Ranch
1. Very comfortable chalet with a beautiful bath, well-equipped mini-bar, lovely setting.
2. Ceiling fans in the chalet, windows and doors that opened wide.
2. Food was excellent, both dinner and breakfast. Also had tea/snacks in the afternoon.
3. Kitchen and dining room staff were very good - attentive, friendly, helpful. My waitress was there for afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast. She obviously works hard. The cook was there for dinner and for breakfast. Did a great job making toast fried in bacon fat over the fire when the electricity failed at breakfast.
1. My chalet was quite far from the main office and there was no internal telephone. So if you wanted something, you had to walk down to the main office (about 10 mins) to get service.
2. The chalet I was staying in is, I think, supposed to be the most luxurious of their accommodations. However, to get there you have to drive part-way up a hill of heavy sand, park and then walk the rest of the way to the top and then wade 100 metres or so through more very heavy sand to get to the chalet. I found it heavy going and inconvenient, plus my shoes got full of sand.
3. There were no lights on near the chalets at night and it was impossible to find your way without a torch ( not supplied that I could find).
4. There was no hot water in the chalet for all the time I was there.
I thought the place tried too hard to provide luxury trimmings, such as fancy toiletries and stylish decor, without making sure that the basics worked, e.g. no hot water, a lamp in my chalet did not work, no torch, they provide a beautiful bath and then put up a notice in the bathroom that basically says, please take short showers and don't use the bath. Sporadic electrical failures, a fan in the dining room that made a dreadful noise.
When I arrived, hot and tired, I was accosted by a receptionist who seemed to want only to sell me tickets for the upcoming "Activities". The next one was a game drive at 4.30pm and the time was already about 4.10pm. So I wasn't going to make it, particularly with her keeping me there talking.
Their roads are heavy sand and definitely require 4-wheel drive vehicles. It would be nice if their literature mentioned it.
Two things that detracted from my pleasure, which I realize were only temporary,but still, I think it is part of not paying attention to basic comforts.
1. They were doing construction work around the pool and public out-door areas. The noise of the back-hoe and power tools could be heard even in my chalet; they were deafening anywhere near the pool. It was hot and I would have liked to have had a swim.
2. The area had had a lot of rain just before I arrived, and the result was a plague of insects which showed up after dark. The problem was that they got into the chalet despite its being shut up and also under the mosquito netting, even though the net was tightly secured as possible. Not that I mind insects particularly, but the sheer numbers were overwhelming. There were so many of them that they were in my face, hair, mouth, underfoot. And I heard the next morning that others had been similarly afflicted. It would be nice if the mosquito nets had kept them out.
Expert Africa comments
Bagatelle Ranch thanked this traveller for her feedback as it assists them in improving what they offer whenever and wherever possible. They thanked her for her positive comments and apologized for any inconvenience caused by the issues this traveller found; noting that they strive to take care of all their guests, from the basics to the extra touches.
In particular, Bagatelle Ranch responded with the following:
They were sorry that there was no hot water in her chalet during her stay. The Bagatelle team encourages guests to inform them as soon as possible should this happen as they can usually quickly repair or replace the geyser thermostat to ensure this is only a very temporary issue.
They noted that the standing lamps in the corner of the dune chalets are fitted with energy saving bulbs which can take a while to brighten, and thus may appear not to work. They have changed the bulbs so that the light now comes on quickly.
Bagatelles Dune Chalets are built on stilts atop a dune, which means they have lovely views and are the most private rooms available. The dune they are built into has sands that do shift. The sands around the chalets are stacked up again on occasion, but this shifting sand does mean that footpaths to the rooms arent possible. Guests in 2WD vehicles are assisted with their luggage to the Chalets with Bagatelles own 4WD vehicle. Guests in their own 4WD vehicle can also request this service. Bagatelle has Strohballe Chalets set below the dune, and Garden Chalets by the main lodge for guests who would prefer a shorter walk from the main areas.
Bagatelle doesnt have phones in the rooms, but they do offer torches on loan from reception when these are requested. Bagatelle will now inform guests of this service either on arrival, or by adding a notice to the rooms. Each chalet has an outside lamp and the walk between the chalets and the main area is lit by path lamps at regular intervals.
Namibia had a period of rain shortly before this guests visit and that did bring out a lot of bugs. Bug spray and insect repellent are provided in each room for guests use in such an event, which is thankfully rare. The lodge team will make the availability of these sprays clearer to their guests on arrival.
The baths provided in the Dune Chalets can be used by guests without any issue. There is a small notice in the bathroom describing the Kalahari Desert as a semi-desert and noting that water can be a scarce commodity in these regions. This note is just to make guests aware of the situation, and not to put them off having a bath if they choose to do so.
All the fans in the lodges main dining room were recently replaced prior to this guests stay at Bagatelle. One of the replaced fans did initially make a noise when it was on its highest setting. This has since been rectified.
The reception team and guides at Bagatelle endeavour to ensure a balance between making sure all guests are aware of the activities on offer; giving them a chance to join the activities before they head out; and leaving the guests to relax at the lodge and just enjoy the setting. Unfortunately, in this instance the reception ladys attempt to ensure that this guest didnt miss out on the afternoon drive when she appeared interested was misconstrued to be a hard sell. Bagatelle apologized that it was portrayed this way.
Bagatelle apologized for the noise that disturbed this guests stay. They were in the process of building their new salt water swimming pool and did their best to keep the machinery noise limited to a time when guests were out on activities. They did comment that had this guest requested the option to swim, she would have been given the privacy to do so.
All too brief visit to Bagatelle
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch was very pleasant, with good food, but again I question the need to drive so far off the road for just a one night stay. It was late afternoon by the time we arrived so we were a bit late to join in any of the activities and we had to leave quite early the next day to get back on the main road to drive to the airport.
Our Dune Chalet was very pleasant with a lovely view over the dunes: however,we had to trudge through quite a lot of dune to get to it, even from the car parking area. I think walkways should be provided - and umbrellas! The bed was also the least comfortable bed we had in Namibia - too soft.
None of the windows are netted so we could not open any windows at night to allow the breeze through, due to the number of kamikaze moths trying to get in. In fact, there were quite a lot of bugs altogether!
The ranch was in the middle of renovations, so the pool area should be more inviting soon - when we were there it was rather bleak.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa forwarded these travellers' comments to Bagatelle who thanked them for their feedback.
They explained that the Dune Chalets (which these travellers stayed in) are set on a semi-permanent dune. The upper layers of sand shift around, so from time to time the lodge fills up the area around the chalet with sand. For this reason they cannot put pathways on the dune, as they will be permanently under sand. The Dune Chalets are built on stilts for this reason.
The lodge pointed out that they do have umbrellas available in the reception area for guest use.
Bagatelle are looking into the mattress softness, as this is the first time it has been brought to their attention.
The windows at Bagatelle are not netted, but there are mosquito nets over the beds. The large number of moths there during these travellers stay is due to the best rainfall in the area for a long time.
The lodge has recently renovated their pool, including the pathway and a thatch roof.
A surprising place among red dunes
We used Bagatelle as a transit stop for one night en-route back to Windhoek and it proved so attractive we wished we had been able to stay longer. The camp is located in its own large private game reserve which used to be a ranch. The accommodation is in well appointed, spacious, framed tented chalets safari camp style, and ours was high on a red sandy dune with a pleasing view. As usual we enjoyed good hospitality and good food (buffet self-service) - good as buffets go but not "gourmet".
Activities here are particularly varied and interesting ranging from trips by 4x4 through the game park which extends many km (where a large variety of wild life can be seen in attractive surroundings), to a "bushmen walk" focussing on bushmen culture, to seeing some orphaned cheetahs that are kept in their own very large enclosure being fed.
There is also an observatory with an interesting lecture available on astronomy in the context of the southern hemisphere night sky.
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review
Power cut during dinner meant back up generator, but not up to scratch and intermittent.
Buffet style dinner average.
Staff not particularly friendly.
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review
Fantastic location. Charming chalet and very helpful staff.
Enjoyed dinner but recommend using insect repellent when eating outside in the evening.
We loved Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch and the accommodation was idyllic. Nice sundowners and views. In the evening we had a very spectacular storm with lightning. Not too much rain but some. We did the Bushmans Walk and this is highly recommended. A very interesting activity but the morning was cool and so were the bushmen !!!! Their story of the Love Bow and the dual purpose tree for constipation and diarrhoea.... is well worth seeing as the miming is great !!
Visit was one night only but unfortunately marred by the fact my wife lost her mobile smartphone. This only discovered at the next lodge and we immediately contacted Bagatelle as the only place it could have been lost was in the jeep transfer from dune house to our car. Unfortunately they could not find it so this was a bit of a black mark. Someone has it I am afraid.
Lovely location Bagatelle Game Ranch
Our chalet No 2 overlooking the waterhole among beautiful dune was brilliant. Everyone friendly. Would not go Cheetah feeding again since they are only 50 meters from the ranch.Read more about the whole safari
A very interesting place. The location is excellent. We had a quite good dinner there, in a beautiful area.
We highly recommend the morning activity with the local San people.
Disappointed at Bagatelle Game Ranch
We had 1 night in a Dune chalet and 1 in a Straw Bale chalet. Dune chalets have a bath, are more expensive and give views over their not very impressive waterhole. But BEWARE - you need a 4 wheel drive car to get up to them. With a 2 wheel drive Nissan we got stuck in the sand, and had to be towed out! In the day the lack of wall insulation, and inefficiency of the air con unit in the Dune chalet made it feel as if we were literally in an oven - definitely NOT to be recommended, whereas we were quite comfortable in the straw bale chalet, all of which are closer to the Lodge reception.
Excellent early morning game tour - we saw a lot, though no Meercats! Also good sundowner tour. They have 3 orphaned cheetahs there, and we went on a short evening feeding tour into their enclosure, but it lacked the feel of the wild.
Good food, specialising in springbok, oryx and kudu. They even have a "tame" springbok, oryx and pheasant wandering around. Nice pool and pool bar.
Bad management - the owner/manager took no interest in his guests at all, never once greeting us or other guests, or asking if we were enjoying our stay. Would not return.
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review
Perfectly placed as your first stop in Namibia (on your way to Fish River Canyon), or as your last stop on the way back to Windhoek airport.
The chalets are good and the owners and staff very friendly and helpful (we asked about the meerkats and we were treated to our own private viewing). The tame springbok that wanders around the lobby/bar/restaurant area is cute (feed it the ginger biscuits).
We elected for just the cheetah feeding activity - this was very well organised and good value.
Perfect for a over-night stay