Reviews of Waterberg Plateau Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Waterberg Plateau Lodge review
We got a bit lost finding the correct Lodge, no maps seem to be standardised. Although called Plateau, it isn't on the top as we had imagined, but rather a terrace half way up. Spectacular scenery of red cliffs though. Once we negotiated the very steep drive up we were in a cul de sac. No trails were available to walk.
The view was amazing from our chalets, right across the Kalahari. The plunge pool was a nice idea and ideal in hot summer but in mid-winter it was rather a hazard in the dark! Huge bathroom and pretty circular bedroom, a hot drinks tray with a flask but no kettle! Amazingly the staff kept the washing water hot by stoking individual log burners behind our rooms. Thanks very much for that! At night the dining-room staff gave us a hot-water bottle to take to bed. These would not pass health & safety in UK as they were just made of small plastic drinking water bottles in a velvet cover! Needs must!
The room inventory we were given to sign on arrival was a bit unwelcoming. We weren't told of any activities other than the one we had just missed by 5 minutes on arriving. As they knew 4 of us were coming and there were only 6 chalets of people staying it seemed rather churlish.
The staff were struggling to be friendly here, no-one seemed to be in charge. Maybe the owners were away? The dining room had limited rations at breakfast. We had to ask for fruit juice and the bread tasted of paraffin and was a bit stale. No toaster to help freshen it up. However it was out of season, we have to remember where we are and be grateful for food and hot water!
When I bring more friends we will stay in the lower, bigger, Waterberg Wilderness Lodge. From there you can walk the nature trails and birdwatch to your hearts content! The ambience was a little disappointing for our final night, although the views were stunning.
Expert Africa comments
We forwarded these travellers' comments to Joachim and Caroline Rust, owners of Waterberg Pleateau Lodge, who responded with the following:
Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to send us your feedback on your stay on 12 July at Waterberg Plateau Lodge. We regret to hear that you did not enjoy our nature reserve and the lodge as much as the majority of our guests.
Let us start by apologising for any unfriendly behaviour of our personnel. In our continuous training programme to transfer knowledge, skills and responsibilities to our staff we stress the importance of friendliness and helpfulness towards guests at all times. The positive feedback of the majority of our guests show that the programme shows results.
According to our guest book you checked in at 15h24. Our rhino drive starts at 15h00. The times of our activities - as well as a sketch of how to get to us - are clearly stated in our fact sheets for individual tourists (PDF for downloading on our website) and tour operators. Please understand that we cannot keep any guest waiting for other guests who have not even arrived. For guests who notify us about their late arrival we will gladly arrange an additional game drive. Again, we apologise, if our receptionist should not have communicated this to you in a friendly way.
Guests of Waterberg Plateau Lodge have two options to hike: The guided Plateau Hike in the mornings and our well-marked hiking trails for hiking on one's own. This is mentioned in our information brochure (containing descriptions of our activities and a map of the hiking trails) that we hand out to every guest upon arrival at the reception. One trail is in 5 minutes walking distance from the chalets, three further trails are in 10 minutes walking distance (at the reception). We admit that in mid winter 16h00 is too late to start a hike in order to return before sunset (17h15). That is why we recommend to arrive early afternoon and/or stay at least two
The plunge pool on the private terrace in front of each chalet is deliberately situated far out of the way to the entrance of the chalet and should be clearly visible when you switch on the light in the bungalow. Up to now we had no complaints or accidents.
Our breakfast buffet offers coffee, tea, milk, two or three fruit juices, home-made brtchen and bread, hard-boiled eggs, cheese and cold meat, jam, two sorts of yoghurt, cereals, fresh fruit and home-made sweet 'pap' (maize porridge). You can order fried eggs or omelettes with ingredients/toppings of your choice. We asked our staff but could not establish why on the morning of your departure the breakfast was not up to standard or they did not offer to roast the bread in the pan.
The lodge is run as environment-friendly as possible. The water is heated by 'donkeys' (continuous-flow water heaters, fed with wood from de-bushing).Electrical power is generated by solar panels and thus allows shavers and battery chargers, but unfortunately no kettles or toasters. Thank you for making us aware that we need to communicate these details better to our guests.
Stunning scenery, great location at Waterberg
After a long drive down from Etosha National Park on excellent tarred roads, the last leg on the D2512 was awful. As soon as you turn on to it from the C22 you pass a 100kph speed sign so you think this dirt road is in good condition. It isn't. We soon hit ridges which, no doubt, were caused by water damage from rains earlier in the year. There was also a lot of soft sand on the road which impaired steering so our speed was down to just 40kph for much of the way.
The direction signs to Waterberg Plateau Lodge were not particularly clear and we ended up heading down the long driveway to Waterberg Wilderness reception, despite the lady gatekeeper at the entrance saying that we were heading the right way! We had to return to the D2512 road and carry on for another 8kms (passing through another gate en route) where the Plateau Lodge was signposted along an even more challenging dirt track! Having made it to reception we were welcomed with an orange juice and told to continue in first gear further up the track where staff would be waiting to show us our room.
The climb up was unbelievably steep yet our hatchback managed it fully loaded. Goodness knows how because you don't realise how steep this track really is until you go back down! At the top we were met by one of the restaurant staff who guided us to our chalet. Although it was 5 o'clock, we were invited back to the restaurant for coffee and cake which is usually served at half past three. It was thoughtfully left out for us so that we didn't miss out!
Our chalet was one of eight positioned amongst the trees in a secluded location and with a tremendous view. There was a small patio with deck chairs and a plunge pool. The chalet itself was very spacious with an enormous bathroom (much of it taken up with the shower area) however our hairdryer would not fit the adaptor socket provided so we had to borrow one. Tea and coffee was provided but the hot water was supplied by the restaurant in a flask. There was no fridge. We found that the chalet was poorly lit, the roof being very high and the small spotlights being insufficient (although there were table lamps). The area off to the side leading to the bathroom was not lit at all.
Meals were taken in the large, circular restaurant which was nicely laid out. Dinner was served at 7.30 with candle-lit tables already set for the number of guests staying. The cold starter course had already been placed on the tables to welcome guests as they arrived. We were invited to help ourselves from the salad bar before the main course was served. On our first night this was spiced beef patties with sultanas accompanied by cauliflower, broccoli and rice. I found the meal quite tastey but my wife didn't enjoy it. The dessert was a rather too sweet orange custard slice. We were disappointed that coffee was not offered at the end of the meal.
On our second night the meal was very good. Rolled beef with ham accompanied with runner beans and peppered mash. Dessert was a delicious home made dark chocolate mousse. Mindful of the lack of coffee we asked for a flask of hot water and a small jug of milk to take back to our chalet, which was not a problem. We wished we had thought of that before!
Breakfasts were the usual help-yourself selections, with hot food cooked to order which was very good. There was no toaster and the bread was a little disappointing, being of a cake-like consistency which disintregrated when trying to spread fridge cold butter on it!
There are a number of activities on offer at Waterberg including self-guided hiking trails but after several days spent driving through the incredible Etosha National Park it was great to be able to just chill out and relax for a while and simply enjoy the peace and tranquility. One of the restaurant staff noticed we were not going anywhere and thoughtfully brought us a fresh flask of hot water at coffee time! However, we were not going to miss out on the afternoon's safari drive and that was time well spent. Being taken to see the Lodge's two resident white rhinos at close quarters (we were allowed off the land rover!) was well worth the very reasonable cost alone.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay. Waterberg is ideally situated in a stunning location and breaks up the long drive from Windhoek to Etosha. There is much to do here and although we chose to do very little we would come back to appreciate what is on offer more fully.
Waterberg Plateau Lodge review
The Plateau Lodge was just finishing a new restaurant, which will be stunning. It is perched up on the rocks with views across the plain. It means that people staying there would no longer need to go to the main Wilderness Lodge to eat, but it would be a pity to miss out on going to see the main lodge as the setting is stunning and the short walks around the head of the valley are lovely.
We were dissapointed that the access to the plateau was no better than from the government's resort camp. we would like to find a way to go camping across the plateau for a few nights without having to take a whole lot of gear out with us.
Waterberg Plateau Lodge review
As our first visit to a refubished NWR it was a pleasant surprise,the bush chalet (4 bed) was indeed very spacious and comfortable.If you are not fond of baboons perhaps this is not the place for you,they do wander about the lodge area but there is plenty of warnings about keeping doors etc closed.
A great place for birders,other animals included families of banded mongoose.The restaurant and choice of food was fine,staff atttentive and curteous.Would have stayed another day.Did not go on any organised drives.
Waterberg Plateau Lodge review
This was the least satisfactory place we stayed.
The Plateau Lodge is in a glorious situation, but you are very much on your own. There are limited facilities on the Plateau, and no staff or managers around to answer questions or solve problems. Our sense of being ignored was accentuated by being told that all we needed to know was set out in the Waterberg Wilderness Lodge booklet, which was available only in German and which even the helpful receptionist could not read. Our Game Drive was also in German.
We were irritated to find that the cost of the afternoon game drive had gone up by 40% from the price quoted on their website for late 2008. [In contrast, we did not find any other lodge charging different prices for extra meals or extra activities from those shown on its website.]
We were reasonably happy there because it gave us our first encounter with the landscape and with wildlife - but I would not stay there again, and would not recommend a friend to do so.
Waterberg Plateau Lodge review
Very remote location particuarly for anybody arriving in darkness as we did!
Dinner excellent but breakfast only average with the staff being somewhat brusque.
Excellent game drive.
We stayed only one night but enjoyed the game drive in particular. Our host went to great lenghths to find the rhino - successfully. The room had spectacular views.Read more about the whole safari
Unexpected Rally Driving in a great location.
The Waterberg Plateau is a fantastic location and we enjoyed our limited hikes here a lot. That said, the drive in was a a bit of an ordeal because the rains had affected the track/road quite badly in patches and we only had two wheel drive. The drive to the Plateau Lodge was even steeper but mercifully more stable.
The Lodge was in a great location but the overall feel was one of functionality over atention to detail. It was a long drive down to breakfast, which gave the impression that this set up was for the convenience of the management rather than the guests. After all, if evening meal can be served at the Plateau Lodge, why not breakfast?
The main lodge gives the somewhat offputting impression [to us] of being a bit of a colonial outpost - with large numbers of black staff in green fatiques at the beck and call of the white management. Felt a bit like stepping back 50 years. I was not too impressed by the photos of relatives posing with shot leopards displayed adjacent to the breakfast table. It kind of reinforced the above feel.
Waterberg Plateau Lodge
The new Plateau Lodge chalets were really nice. Huge showers in the bathroom. The small private plunge pool on your own patio was a good feature - a lovely way to have a quick cool-down on a hot day.
The lodge catered very strongly to Germans. The books provided in each chalet were in German. The staff spoke mostly German. It was such that we decided not to participate in the morning guided walk but did our own walk to the fountain. However the lodge provided a guide to show us the way and he ended up taking us up to the Plateau so it worked out well for us.
The main complaint we had was on the afternoon game drive. The guide (I think it was the owner but he didn't introdice himself) did almost the whole 3 hour trip only in German, despite the fact that we requested an English translation of his commentary.
We did not feel welcome there. I would not recommend it.
We didn't stay there
With the problem with Christine's back we decided not do drive the 90 mile round trip to Halali on a gravel road in poor condition. Tracy Lederer kindly found us alternative accomodation at Waterberg Plateau Lodge, which was a wonderful location. The room was superb, as was the service, the food, activities and facilities. A taste of the real Africa.
Please note the overall experience rating is for Waterberg Plateau Lodge.