Nambwa Tented Lodge: Our full report
Nambwa Tented Lodge, opened in early 2015, lies deep in Namibia's Bwabwata National Park and is the most ...... luxurious lodge in this part of the Caprivi. Situated on the wooded banks of a tributary of the Kwando River, it has ten stylish suites nestled among jackalberry. sausage and knobthorn trees and offers a good range of safari activities.
Nambwa Tented Lodge, along with its sister properties Nambwa Lagoon Camp and Kazile Island Lodge are set within the Mayuni Conservancy of the Bwabwata National Park, which is nearly 300km2 in size.
The lodge is made up of ten spacious tented suites, beautifully decorated in soft tones of white and stone, with wooden floors. At the centre of each stands a large double bed surrounded by a mosquito net, and behind a wooden headboard you'll find a luggage rack, shelves and hanging space for clothes, and a digital safe.
To one side of the bedroom is a lounge area with a sofa, chairs and a coffee table with complimentary sherry. To the other is the open-plan bathroom, with twin basins on top of a wooden vanity unit, a glass-enclosed shower and a free-standing bath in front of a gauze window. The toilet is in a separate room. Complimentary toiletries are provided.
Cream-coloured curtains hang in front of the gauze windows for added privacy. But if you wish to bring the outside inside, the canvas front of your tent can be fully rolled up to open the room to the elements. Each suite has a private deck with a small table and two chairs, overlooking either the river/floodplain or the lodge's own waterhole: a perfect place for sitting with a pair of binoculars to watch the prolific birdlife. During one of our visits, we even had a hippo, fondly named Oliver by the staff, grazing outside our tent through the night.
Raised wooden walkways, high enough to allow elephants to move through camp relatively easily, meander through the trees and link the suites and the main area. Having encountered a herd of elephants on the drive into camp, we then found them moving through camp an hour or so after we arrived. As we made our way along the walkways trying to get the best view, the elephants ambled beneath us and browsed on the large trees that surround camp, completely unperturbed by our presence. Getting a different view of these animals was special; it’s not often you get to look down on an elephant’s head!
The main area at the Tented Lodge has a large deck built on two levels. The circular lower deck features plenty of seating around a recessed firepit: a great spot to spend the evening with a drink and watch the sun set. The main deck incorporates the tented dining area and bar, and a separate tented lounge that is stylishly decorated with comfy sofas and chairs in tones of brown and cream. There are coir mats and animal skins on the wooden floors – and a chandelier hanging from the canvas ceiling!
Guests can dine either under cover at a large communal table surrounded by big modern chairs, or under the stars at a selection of individual tables. Hot and cold drinks are available all day at the open bar from consistently smart, friendly and well-trained staff. The managers were very welcoming and knowledgeable, and we could not find fault with any of the staff.
There is also a small pool with umbrellas and sun loungers, just behind the Tented Lodge, and is shared with Lagoon Camp which is just a short walk away. Being in surrounded by trees it’s a lovely spot to while away an hour or two relaxing and bird-watching at the same time!
Activities at Nambwa Tented Lodge focus on day and night game drives, bush walks and boat trips (when water levels are high enough); it's also possible to arrange a visit to a local village. On our last stay, it was possible to extend an afternoon drive inside the national park until 8.00pm, giving you the chance to spot some of Namibia's nocturnal animals. To make the most of this opportunity, the managers are hoping to get the 8.00pm deadline extended.
Game densities in Bwabwata National Park don't rival those in Botswana's Chobe National Park, but we understand that there are large numbers of elephants in the dry season (June to October), as well as roan and eland. Predators include lion, leopard, hyena and wild dog – although you may have to work hard for good sightings. On afternoon drives we have seen lots of elephant, along with kudu, buffalo, impala and vervet monkeys (which can be a nuisance in camp). Highlights among the birds were broad-billed rollers and African fish eagles.
During a morning boat trip we were lucky enough to see a normally shy sitatunga in an area of papyrus – as well as bushbuck, red lechwe, numerous hippos and some enormous crocodiles. Birdlife along the river was also very good including lots of white-fronted bee-eaters nesting in the riverbanks, goliath herons, pied and giant kingfishers, fish eagles and various plovers and ducks. Note however, that in the dry season there is not always enough water for boat trips, so if this is important to you, please ask us for the most up-to-date information.
Nambwa Tented Lodge offers a high level of accommodation and service. Sightings on game drives and boat trips here may be variable, but are likely to be better in the dry season, when high elephant concentrations are common. And if you are lucky enough to get a bird’s eye view of elephants moving beneath the camp’s stilted structure it is truly special.
- Caprivi Strip, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- Given its remote location and potential for good game, at least three nights here would be ideal to settle into the area and soak up this little-visited national park.
- Self-drivers will be met at an arranged time at reception, which is located at the main entrance to the park. Here they will leave their car, then be transferred by road and sometimes boat to the lodge – a trip of about 45 minutes. If you have a 4WD and know how to drive it in deep sand (plus some sort of SatNav), you could alternatively drive through the national park to the lodge, though we generally do not recommend this.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- During our stay in June 2018, we found the food at Nambwa Tented Lodge to be of a high standard.
The buffet breakfast was extensive and included fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, fruit juice, cereals, fresh bread and pancakes. A cooked breakfast and a range of coffees were available to order.
Lunch was light and fresh and consisted of a salad and a chilli wrap.
On our first evening, dinner started with a tomato tart and side salad, followed by a delicious pork fillet with mustard sauce, a sweet potato bake and carrot and beetroot. Dessert – a meringue with stewed fruit – was less impressive as it tasted as though the sugar had been missed out.
During our second evening at the lodge our starter was served as we stopped for sundowners. A makeshift bar was erected, and hot soup and freshly cooked game kebabs were passed around. We thought this was a lovely and unexpected touch.
- Dining style
- Mixture of group dining and individual tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- Soft drinks, house wine and local spirits are included at the lodge when staying on a full board and activities basis. Fine wines, champagne and imported spirits and liqueurs are not included and are charged as extras.
Water from the tap is not suitable for drinking, but bottled water is provided.
- If your honeymoon plans include Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, stop and spoil yourselves at Nambwa Tented Lodge. Large suites include baths and private lounge areas; the service is superb and the food excellent.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- One of only a few camps located inside Namibia's Bwabwata National Park, Nambwa Tented Lodge is well placed for visitors to this top birdwatching location, whose diverse range of habitats includes reed-fringed waterways and mature woodlands.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Photography holidays
- Built up in the trees with long walkways from the main area to the rooms it isn't uncommon fro wildlife, particularly elephants to pass under Nambwa. This offers photographers an unique perspective for some unusual shots.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Cultural experiences
- Of the many different tribes in Namibia, each has its own unique customs and traditions. Find out about some of these on a cultural excursion to a local Caprivian village from Nambwa Tented Lodge.
- See ideas for Cultural experiences
- Walking safaris
- Experience the lush environment of Namibia's Babwata National Park on a walking safari from Nambwa. Led by a professional guide this is a great opportunity to focus on the small things and see the bush in a different light.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- A complementary sherry awaits you when arriving in your luxurious suite at Nambwa Tented Lodge. A swanky chandelier in the lounge area with polished wooden floor as well as comfortable and classy leather armchairs complete its stylish and sumptuous appearance.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Children of six years and over are welcome.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Families with children aged between six and 12 will have to pay for a private vehicle. Children under six years may be accepted at the discretion of the lodge.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- Not recommended for children under the age of 12.
- The lodge is located high up on wooden walkways and platforms and could be dangerous for young children. Large game, including hippo and elephant, also moves through camp regularly, so children should be kept under close supervision at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Nambwa Tented Lodge
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Nambwa Tented Lodge have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- The generator is on all day except 4–6.00pm (usually when guests are out on activities). At night, it is switched off about an hour after the last guest has gone to bed.
- WiFi is available in the main area.
- TV & radio
- There are no TVs
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Water is pumped from the river and filtered but is not suitable for drinking. There is hot and cold running water in the tents, and flush toilets.
The Sijwa Project
The Sijwa Project began as a vision of Chief Mayuni’s, from the local conservancy, to try and fight Namibia’s plastic waste, and was brought into fruition in conjunction with the owners of African Monarch Lodges. This joint venture has many facets, all with the aim of enabling people and wildlife to live sustainably together.
One aspect of the projects work is to take all recyclable waste from the African Monarch lodges (Nambwa Tented Lodge / Lagoon Camp and Kazile Island Lodge), and from the local community, and reform it into beautiful, resalable arts and crafts.
It also supplies food for the local people and lodge guests from its organic permaculture garden. The sandy soil is enriched with composted food waste, worm juice, and even elephant dung.
There is also a cultural village, artisanal skills training centre, a beehive project, a free-range egg scheme and a junior ranger training venue, as well as an indigenous tree nursery for visitors to buy and plant a tree to offset their carbon footprint.
As a guest of African Monarch Lodges, you will have a chance to visit the Sijwa Project if you like, where you’ll get to experience local culture, interact with the community as they make pretty, recycled objects, buy gifts, plant a tree and thus support for this community-driven initiative.
African Monarch Lodges have also been closely involved with local communities on a number of other projects over the years and this involvement still continues.
See more great sustainability projects in Namibia
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The nearest doctor is at Kongola about 20km from the lodge.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers at each room and in the main area
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Complimentary daily laundry service.
- Each suite has an electronic safe
- Accepted payment on location
- Payment is accepted by Visa and Mastercard as well as in Namibian dollars and South African rand cash.
Other lodges in Caprivi Strip
Alternative places to stay in this same area.