Waterberg Wilderness Lodge

Reviews of Waterberg Wilderness Lodge

Good(81%) From 26 travellers
Excellent
11
Good
8
Average
5
Poor
1
Terrible
1
Below are independent comments from 26 of our travellers who have visited Waterberg Wilderness Lodge, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Yellow Canaries from Reading
Arrived on: 10-Sep-2008 Stayed for: 1 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average

Waterberg Wilderness Lodge review

An idyllic spot, surrounded by lush gardens immediately below the rocky cliffs of the Waterberg Plateau. We had a pleasant, large room overlooking the garden with its small, springfed swimming pool. Caroline Rust greeted us in a friendly way at the reception (some 3km from the Lodge itself!) and was helpful in confirming our flight details for us, but the atmosphere in the Lodge itself was not so much unfriendly as lacking in any of the friendliness we had found everywhere else. The staff seemed cowed, with none of the banter or approachfulness we had been accustomed to. Everything was German (we were the only English speaking guests there), the books in the room were in German and the menu for dinner was in German. The meal arrangements were uncomfortably formal with long waits before courses were served.

Something I have never experienced before in a hotel was being asked to sign a detailed inventory of the things in the room (towels, books, etc) before settling in.

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Ms. Wattled Starling
Arrived on: 24-Aug-2008 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Terrible
Terrible
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Location, lodge beautiful - but oppressive!

The plateau, the actual lodge and its facilities and surroundings were lovely but I found the atmosphere there oppressive, controlled, cold and uncomfortable, so much so that I spent most of my second day there at the restcamp in the park down the road.

I was given an itemised sheet of things in my room to check, tick off and sign and have counter-signed as soon as I arrived, which I thought was appauling and insulting. It was a horrible welcome, even more so when you have just driven 6 hours!

The staff wore name tabs with their last names first, which seemed so impersonal but I thought it was clear that many of the staff were slightly fearful, seemed very controlled and unhappy. I would even go so far as to say that the environment was oppressive. It gave me a real sense of what it might be like to live in an apartheid society. It was horrible.

It wasn't that the staff were not good or friendly, just that they seemed to be so controlled and were therefore so submissive and unalive. I hated it. The uniforms felt like bootcamp, prison outfits.

It is such a shame because I could see the care that has gone into creating the physical environment of the lodge and rooms and how hard the owners have worked to do this. The room was lovely, food good (particularly as they catered specifically one night for me in cooking me fish when everyone elde had red meat, which I really appreciated) but I think they strip away all that is good by the atmosphere that has been created there., which I believe does not come from the staff but the owners and managers. Horrible.

Interestingly, the only time I saw one of the owners was when I settled up in reception on leaving, even then I was given no introduction. I knew the lady was the owner because I recognsied her from the brochure. It was so disappointing to have this exp the last two days before returning home. It will not of course taint my overall experience of Namibia but gave me a very uncomfortable eye-opener into how the culture and treatment of blacks and whites clearly can be in this country.

Sadly I would not feel able to recommend that anyone stay in this lodge. I was only at the restcamp/park down the road for some hours but the welcome and ambience there was so different it felt like a breath of fresh air. Such a shame.

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Mrs. P - Glass
Arrived on: 18-Aug-2008 Stayed for: 1 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good

Waterberg Wilderness Lodge review

A welcome oasis after the aridity of most of the country . Opportunity for unaccompanied walks welcome.

We would have like two nights here (in exchange for one less at Anderssons) to take advantage of the tours., one of which appeared to involve a visit to local nursery/orphanage.

Again experience was Very Good

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Mr P & Mrs C Leicestershire
Arrived on: 24-May-2008 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Waterberg Wilderness Lodge review

The lodge was an ideal place for our first two nights of this trip to Namibia and being halfway to Etosha is in easy reach of Windhoek. We particuarly enjoyed the walk onto the plateau

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Pangolins from Bromley - Kent
Arrived on: 18-Apr-2008 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Average
Average
Service:
Poor
Poor
Food:
Poor
Poor
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Average
Average

Wandering around Waterberg Wilderness Lodge

It was an easy drive to Waterberg from Ongava, and we arrived at lunchtime, or what we thought might be lunchtime. We asked at reception (which is 2km from the lodge itself) if we could get lunch and they said yes, but when we rolled up at our room at 1.30 we were told the chef was at lunch and no food was available!

The room was very basic, but clean and tidy but frustratingly had cups, tea and coffee but no kettle. This was not a good start after no lunch, and no availability of hot water because, yes, the chef was at lunch.

Afternoon tea (and cake) helped, and we then went out of a sundowner drive which turned into a great experience: We saw more giraffe and antelope, but then came across two White Rhino. We were encouraged out of the van, and walked to within ten yards of these huge animals. When they started to approach us, we slowly moved back to the van and watched them from there - a mere few yards away, and completely lovely! They posed beautifully!

Dinner that night was around one large table and most guests were german; warmth was provided by a nice big log fire. The next morning, after breakfast, we were guided on a four hour walk up to the plateau top, which was great fun, and had amazing views. We ralaxed that afternoon by the (freezing cold) swimming pool, and watched the wonderful, colourful, local birds.

Our second dinner was not great and the food in this lodge was the poorest we had throughout the holiday. The last evening was also spoilt a little by the staff making an early retreat, and leaving us to drink up in the dark (with only an honesty bar and the fire embers to keep us warm). The only time we saw the hosts was when Mr Rust greeted us back from the afternoon drive, and when his wife did the check-out at reception when we left.

A bit of a mixed bag - beautiful location, great activities, okay rooms but poor service generally.

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Mr & Mrs Cape turtle dove - Twickenham
Arrived on: 29-Nov-2007 Stayed for: 1 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good

Waterberg Wilderness Lodge review

Oh the joy of driving most of the way to Waterberg along paved roads! Waterberg is wonderful and so different to the other lodges we had stayed in. It is set in a green, well watered valley running into the mountains - and the game drives, which we were not able to take, offered animals not seen in the desert - e.g rhinos, zebras and giraffes.

The lodge caters mainly for German visitors - and that was the language mostly spoken but it was friendly with good food and some excellent walks through green, dappled meadows full of Springbok. We could have stayed longer.

P.S During our stay they also cleaned out our car, inside and out without being asked. It sparkled!

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Miss W & Mr A from Surrey
Arrived on: 22-Nov-2007 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Average
Average
Service:
Poor
Poor
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Average
Average

Waterberg Wilderness Lodge review

Despite its name, the lodge doesn't feel at all wilderness like. Although it is fairly remote, the way it is set out is like a holiday camp, so it feels more like a small built up area half way up the plateau rather than a lodge in the wilderness.

The staff were average and although they did their job they didn't seem to empathise with the guests or add to the trip. It felt more like a military operation than a lovely place to stay. They seemed very concerned with getting you to sign for towels, cups, books, room keys and keeping to schedule rather than providing a comfortable welcoming place to stay.

The food was provided but not described well leading me to eat something I am allergic to by accident, which is not very satisfactory especially in a remote place. The guides for the walk and game drive were good, but the rest of the staff were adequate rather than helpful. Not a good place to see animals, but the view from the plateau was lovely and it is worth the (fairly easy) walk. It might be worth investigating the plateau lodge instead, as it looked slightly more intimate with chalets and plunge pools.

The pool at the wilderness lodge didn't look too clean, so we didn't use it - too many dead leaves and other bits and bobs.

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Mr. P - Penny
Arrived on: 31-Oct-2007 Stayed for: 1 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Poor
Poor
Activities:
Poor
Poor
Facilities:
Good
Good

Cool efficiency at Waterberg

We were disappointed with this clearly very expensive and rather complacent lodge. Our first introduction on arrival was to be given a sheet of paper recording ten items to be found in our room; we were to take this to the lodge where a supervisor would check if off before he and we were to sign for them. The list included a room key and a plastic folder containing information about meal times and so on.

Compare this with the iced tea, cool flannels and thirty minutes informative and informal induction at Lianshulu or Mowani and Okonjima; the management here should know that such courtesy costs nothing (cost is clearly a significant part of Waterberg's mind set) and the reverse, with the implcation that guests are likely to drive away with the swimming towels or a tacky torch, is at the best tactless and, at the worst, offensive.

This attitude continued; two vehicles left for a game drive in the evening. Our guide introduced himself as 'Helmut' (there is a pretty patronising habit - see 'Purple Hibiscus' - where black Africans are given European names by their employers); I don't know if Helmut had adopted his own Westernised name or not but he certainly behaved as though he did not undertsand or belong to the lodge culture which surrounded him. No more did he guide; his passengers asked him on a number of occasions to stop and identify a bird, usually a bird, and he was clearly floundering.

Rosemary spotted the problem; he had no binoculars and a book for bird indentification in German which he clearly did not understand. She felt very strongly that this man was being let down by his employer in that he was inadequately equipped and improperly briefed, so much so that she asked to see Joachim the morning we left; he was absent so a note asking for a response had to suffice; no reply, by e-mail, yet. Poor, non-existent, welcome; poor information; pretty poor food; owners/management never in evidence; the whole feel was of an outfit too big for its own good (a second lodge to run could have added to the remoteness of the direction.)

Lovely setting - a monopoly - spoiled by lack of concern for guests' welfare and expectations. Thoroughly disappointing.

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Expert Africa comments

We were fairly surprised by this review as, over a number of years, we have had very few complaints about Waterberg Wilderness Lodge.

Waterberg Wilderness Lodge comment that they are a mid-priced lodge, not top-end. It is approximately of half the price of Mowani, Lianshulu or Okonjima Bush Camp and (on the basis of our past experiences) we agree with them that they offer great value for money.

Regarding the welcome drink – when put to the owners they commented that guests are usually provided with a welcome drink on arrival and if this didn’t happen on this occasion they are very sorry.

In Namibia it is very common to find black Namibians with German names as Namibia was once a German colony. The guide Helmut is a Herero and was indeed christened Helmut by his parents. His full name is Helmut Hameva. In modern Africa nobody re-names employees with westernized names.

Helmut did apologise to us though, for not having his British bird book or binoculars to hand for the nature drive: he simply forgot that day to take them with him.

Most of Namibia’s small guest farms and independent lodges have their quirks and idiosyncrasies and although these are often puzzling, if you can dig deeper you will usually find interesting and informative explanations.

Mr & Mrs Tru
Arrived on: 31-Oct-2007 Stayed for: 1 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Waterberg Wilderness Lodge review

What a wonderful location. Only regret not having extra night to go into the Kalahari and meet up with the "locals".

We stayed in one of six widely spaced bungalows set against the plateau cliff and beautifully accommodated with own plunge pool and most tremendous views east across the Kalahari. Out of this world and quite stunning in every way and worth the somewhat steep and bendy track from the farm and lodge level below.

Would really recommend stay here for everything it has to offer. Three hour drive into the Kalahari very interesting . Pretty with plenty of fauna and birdlife. tracked down the pair of "home" rhinos imported from South Africa at some great expense. to see them both in the wild so close was memorable. Good luck to them in their breeding plans. Be just perfect to see some little ones soon

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Mr. D - Norman
Arrived on: 13-Oct-2007 Stayed for: 1 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Average
Average

waterberg wilderness

good first night stop. decided against organised activity and went for local walk instead, which was ideal after flight / drive.

freindly welcome. good room.

communal food was some of the best we had on trip.

after dinner drinks on terrace for another hour would have been nice and appreciated by others as bar in resturant not so good. good advice from staff on routes for next day.

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