Sun Karros Daan Viljoen: Our full report
‘Daan Viljoen National Park’ has always been one of the smallest of Namibia’s national parks; covering just 40km², it’s smaller than most of the country’s farms – and is often known simply as Daan Viljoen Game Park. It’s 20km west of Windhoek, in the scenic Khomas Hochland Mountains.
Close to Windhoek, Daan Viljoen Game Park is easily accessible to 2WD vehicles all year (on a tarred road). It encompasses some of the rolling landscape of Khoma Hochland as well as Augeigas Dam, which is a permanent source of water for the wildlife in the park. Although you won’t find much ‘big game’ here, there are good populations of Hartmann's mountain zebra, blue wildebeest, warthog, giraffe along with a wide variety of antelope, including the largest and rarely spotted eland. This park is particularly well known for its rich birdlife – over 200 bird species have been recorded. Some of Namibia's endemic bird species are found here including Ruppel's parrot, Monteiro's Hornbill, Damara rockrunner and white-tailed Shrike.
For many years the restcamp here, a ‘resort’ beside the lake, was run by the government, by NWR (National Wildlife Resorts) and its predecessor the MET (Ministry of Environment and Tourism). Around 2008 the restcamp was closed and taken over by a private company, Sun Karros Lifestyle Safaris working in partnership with the NWR.
After three years of work, the camp reopened in 2011 under the name Sun Karros Daan Viljoen. The park itself continues to be run by MET. We haven’t visited the park since the lodge here reopened, but here what’s we have been told about it:
"There are 19 chalets and 12 campsites here, overlooking the pretty Augeigas Dam:
- Seventeen of the chalets accommodate two guests. These chalets consist of a main bedroom with double or twin beds, side tables and reading lights, luggage rack, writers table, coffee and tea station with cutlery and crockery kit and bar fridge. All of these chalets are fitted with air conditioning (heat and cold) roof fan, satellite TV, telephone, cupboard, a small safe and 220V electricity. The bathrooms provide an amenity tabletop with washbasin and hairdryer. The shower and toilet are behind closed doors. The private patio of the chalets offers a set of outdoor furniture, umbrellas and a BBQ area with outdoor washbasin with a cold water tap for guests wishing to prepare meals themselves. There’s a kiosk for buying wood and firelighters, plus meat, bread and salad can be ordered from the kitchen.
- Two chalets are larger and accommodate a child on an extra single bed. A camper cot or single bed stretcher for a second child can be added to these on request.
- The 12 campsites are located on a grass terrace on the bank of the Augeigas Dam and each is suitable for two to six guests. Every campsite is kitted with a BBQ island with a grid, working surface top and washbasin with running tap water, a camp light and 220V socket. They are serviced by three ablution facilities of the same standard as the lodge bathrooms.
The lodge's main area has two restaurants (Boma Restaurant and Kraal Restaurant), an outdoor seating area with fire pit, a small kiosk, a bar, free Internet facilities and free Wi-Fi and an almost 20m swimming pool. Beside the pool are the pool bar, outdoor showers and a public ablution with dressing rooms.
The reception office is open seven days a week, from 6;30-20:30. Earlier check-out and exit via the park gate can be arranged with the management of the lodge.
Guests can explore the Daan Viljoen Game Park (open 06:00-24:00) on a self-guided basis either on a vehicle or by foot. There is a small game drive loop stopping at a number of waterholes on the way. This route can be quite rocky in places so we only recommend visitors try it in a vehicle with good ground clearance.
For travellers who like to walk there are two hiking trails: the 1.5km “Wag ‘n Bietjie" that leads past an Ancient Damara Cemetery to the Stegel Dam and for the more fit the 9km “Rooibos" trail leading east into the hills of the Khomas Hochland and into the riverbed valley.
Park fees for Daan Viljoen are excluded in the nightly rates; they are payable on arrival in cash (local or ZAR currency) with the park officials.
If you plan to visit Daan Viljoen Game Park, we recommend you stay during the week as locals from Windhoek often come during the weekends making the area a lot busier. However the lodge has introduced some rules to reduce day visitors’ impact: they are not allowed on the campsite and have to vacate the park at 4pm.
During your stay, keep a watchful eye on any food as the baboons here have learnt how to steal quite successfully."
Our viewDaan Viljoen Game Park is a lovely green space near to Windhoek, and so if you have a car and want to stay in the bush but near the city, it should be a candidate – especially on weekdays. There’s some game, but it can be especially rewarding for keen birders. We haven’t had the chance to see Sun Karros Daan Viljoen ourselves yet after its refurbishment, but the reports that we have had of it to date are very positive.
Ideal length of stay: 2 nights
Directions: Daan Viljoen Game Park is situated about 20km west of Windhoek, just off the C28 road.
Accessible by: Self-drive
Owner: Sun Karros Daan Viljoen is privately run by Sun Karros Lifestyle Safaris.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Breakfast: A continental buffet breakfast is served with the option of a hot breakfast as well. For those with early departures, breakfast and or lunch packs can be requested, but this must be done the night before.
An a la carte menu is available for lunch and dinner, with the exception of Sunday lunch which is served as buffet. The lodge offers a recommended wine for each main menu option.
A kiddies menu is available and the lodge can cater for any special dietary requirements (if notified for in advance).
Cake and tarts are available during the day from the Boma Restaurant.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No drinks are included.
Further dining info: Room service is available. The cutlery and crockery and basic BBQ utensils allow for guests to prepare their own food on an open fire. Meats/Salad and bread can be ordered from the kitchen for those who wish to self cater.
Attitude towards children: There are no restrictions on children here; all are welcome – it’s a fairly relaxed place for children.
Property’s age restrictions: No age restrictions.
Equipment: Two chalets are larger and can accommodate a child on an extra single bed. A camper cot or single bed stretcher for a second child can be added to these on request.
Generally recommended for children: Yes – this is a good stop for children; the chance to spend time outdoors with game but with little chance of encountering the more dangerous species. (Leopard are present, but very seldom seen.)
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: backup generator in case of black outs
Communications: There is free Internet and WiFi for guests in the resort. The chalets have a telephone in the room.
TV & radio: There is a TV in the rooms, International news and sport and movie channels.
Water supply: Mains
Water supply notes: The chalets and campsites are connected to the main water supply. Running water supplied to the chalets also the outdoor washbasins at the campsite. All water is recycled at an onsite plant and this semi purified water is used to irrigate the grounds.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: The nearest doctor is 25km away in Windhoek.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The suite is guarded 24 hours a day.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers dotted around the lodge.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: 0
Money: The chalets have safes and those in the campsite can use the safe at the main office.
Accepted payment on location: Visa and Master Cards are accepted and no commission is charged.