Reviews of Ta Shebube Polentswa
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Ta Shebube Polentswa
We were staying at Polentswa on a self drive basis with the option of doing the game drives offered by the lodge if we wanted to. As we drove north through the park it became noticeable that the banks of earth at the side of the road became higher (up to a metre) and they then had grass and bushes growing on top of them. This started to become noticeable when we got towards nossob and got worse the further north we went, where we could mostly see only grass and bushes as we drove along. So by the time we got to the lodge we had already decided that we would do the game drives that were offered by the lodge, as we certainly wouldn't be able to see much game from the car and would be able to see much more from the higher vantage point of an open safari vehicle.
We had a high clearance 2wd vehicle for our trip. Driving through the national park itself was fine in a 2wd, however the access track to Polentswa lodge was a 4wd track and our car really struggled with it. I would definitely recommend that if you stay here you drive a 4x4. When we got to the lodge we were told that their game drive guide had gone away to attend a funeral and that they were unable to offer us any game drives. Also, contrary to the information we had received they also didn't have a permit for night drives and couldn't offer those either, even if there had been a guide available. This was extremely disappointing. Given all the above we asked if it was possible to move two of the nights we were supposed to be spending at Polentswa to their sister lodge rooiputs. We were able to arrange this so we only ended up staying one night.
The tents themselves are very nice, the service was good, the staff choir was a real treat, and the food is quite good. The setting is beautiful and the view is fabulous. If you want somewhere to relax and get away from it all for a few days then this would be ideal. However, if you want to come here to see wildlife then you are much better off in their rooiputs lodge further south where the wildlife is more prolific and you get a much better view of it due to the nature of the road.
• Staff all very friendly and helpful and most attentive
• Food was very good
• Rooms completed and finished to a high standard and very comfortable, and glass fronted, so you still keep the grand view even whilst in bed. Plus, at night, lying in bed you get a good view of the stars as well !
• Bathroom - toilet and basin en suite
• Shower ensuite- Outside
• They do game drives, but as we had our own guide we didn't go on any of the lodge ones
We did find the lodge hard to find as we didn't see any sign board for it, so we ended up arriving there as the sun was setting. The track to the lodge is before you get to the waterhole if you are travelling from Nossob, and you go through the park campsite and through the other side onto a track marked, for 4x4 only and no unauthorised entry. The lodge took this on board and were going to look at making a more visible sign, and possibly put in a new track just for the lodge.
On arrival, we had the warmest welcome we have ever had at any lodge over the last four trips. The staff made us feel really special, and made us feel very at home. It turned out that we were the very first paying guests as it was their opening day, plus we were the only guests until the following night, when one other couple joined us.
All the staff were newly trained from a local community, and as we were their very first guests they seemed a little anxious, which I think anyone would feel the same, however that will pass with time as they get more guests, they were however very keen to please and ensure that you had everything you needed, and am sure over time they will be more confident and relaxed in their roles. We very much enjoyed our stay there and the company of all the staff. The manager and guide were both particularly very hospitable, informative, and very helpful. They were both anxious to get our feedback - we apologise for our delay in completing full feedback. We did pass them some feedback on whilst we were with them. Please pass on our best wishes to them and hope that everything is going well for them, and we do hope to see them again one day.
The weather had turned very cold so we were sat at dinner with fleece, hats, and gloves on. Despite that all the meals were very enjoyable.
The lodge was well layed out and finished to a very high quality, and the location is quite stunning. It sits on a dune overlooking a pan with wide views. The tented rooms are sited along the top of the dune as well, looking across the wide views over the pan. All the rooms are connected to the main lodge by a wooden walkway which is lit at night by solar lamps. All the tented rooms also have a shade awning over them to keep the direct sun off.
Because there are Lions in the area, between sunset and sunrise you have to be escorted from your rooms to the lodge. The lions do pass through the lodge and by the rooms, and did so both nights that we were there. Including roaring one night which made it all very evocative. We could sit on our private veranda and watch wildlife passing in the pan below, Oryx, and Ostrich. There were also sunbirds in the tree round our room. It is quite a stunning situation.
The only blip we had was an issue with the outside shower. I had a bad bee sting whilst in the shower , as the bees came swarming into the shower to get a drink, and I hadn't realised one had landed on me until I felt the sting.
We rated this lodge very highly, and is one we would love to go back to. It was near the lodge and the waterhole that we had our best lion sightings.
When we left all the staff came out and sung us good bye - we did feel very sad at leaving