Namushasha Lodge: Our full report
Namushasha Lodge is nestled amongst riverine vegetation on the banks of the Kwando River, in Namibia’s Zambezi ...... Region – formerly known as the Caprivi Strip. On the opposite side of the river to the Bwabwata National Park, the lodge overlooks a hippo pool, offering lovely views and good birdwatching opportunities – the area boasts over 300 bird species.
Namushasha Lodge is part of the Gondwana Collection, and is in many ways similar to its sister property, Hakusembe Lodge. It is large in comparison with most lodges in the area, and caters predominantly to group safaris rather than independent travellers. While that comes with a consequent loss of personal service, it also means that the lodge caters well to those on a relatively limited budget. You could also combine this with a stay in one of Gondwana's Etosha properties Etosha Safari Camp or Etosha Safari Lodge.
Namushasha has 24 thatched chalets which all face the river. These are made up of standard and family chalets – one of which doubles as a honeymoon chalet; all are decorated and finished in a similar style. There is also a campsite.
- The 21 standard chalets are modestly furnished with twin beds (only one has a double), mosquito nets, air conditioning and a tea and coffee station. All have an en-suite bathroom with a flushing toilet, a single washbasin and a shower. Two of the standard chalets have an interleading door, so it can serve as a family unit when required. This would suit those with older children who want a little more privacy as each room has its own en suite bathroom.
- The three family chalets are purpose-built two-bedroom chalets, each with a shared bathroom and separate toilet. The newest additions to the lodge, they are located a short walk (up to 500m) from the main area, beyond the campsite – but it is possible to drive between them and the main area if desired. The chalet furthest from the main area doubles as a honeymoon chalet and features an outdoor shower and private hot tub.
- Each pitch in the campsite has its own BBQ, electricity supply and private ablution block.
Within the lush grounds is a small swimming pool where you can relax on deckchairs during the heat of the day.
Activities at Namushasha focus on full or half day game drives into Bwabwata National Park, where herds of elephant and buffalo are found, as well as plains game, the occasional predators and water-loving antelope such as sable, roan and the rarely seen sitatunga.
On the water, there are usually boat cruises along the Kwando River morning and evening, giving you the opportunity to see the diversity of birdlife in this area – from herons and jacanas to the migrant carmine beeeater. On our last visit in July 2017 both game drives and boat trips were possible however on a previous visit in December 2016 the river level was too low for boat activities.
There is also the option to do some catch-and-release fishing, go birdwatching or take a guided walk or un-guided walk along a marked trail close to the lodge.
Guests who are travelling in a 4WD vehicle can explore the nearby Mudumu National Park independently. Although the same applies to the Nkasa Rupara (formerly Mamili) National Park, caution needs to be taken here as often the area can be flooded. Do not attempt to visit this park without prior planning and preferably only with two vehicles.
Namushasha Lodge is in a good location for visits to Bwabwata National Park and boat trips along the Kwando River, and its deck overlooking the river is well positioned for watching wildlife. On the down side, it doesn't really offer the same levels of personal service as the smaller, owner-run establishments – and although independent travellers do stay here, the lodge is more geared toward groups.
- Caprivi Strip, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- 2 nights
- Namushasha is some 25km south of Kongola along the C49.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Half Board
- Food quality
- None of the team at Expert Africa has had the chance to taste the food at Namushasha. However, the lodge tells us that their lunch is to order – usually something small like fish and chips, a sandwich or a salad. Depending on the number of people in camp, dinner is either a set menu or with larger numbers of people in camp, a buffet is more commonly done.
- Cultural experiences
- Namushasha Lodge worked with local people to help create the Namushasha Heritage Centre in 2014. This “living museum” showcases the village life, traditions and culture of the HaMbukushu, BaLozi and MaFwe peoples who inhabit the Caprivi area.
- See ideas for Cultural experiences
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcomed at Namushasha Lodge.
- Property’s age restrictions
- No age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- There are no special activities, but children are given discounts on activity costs. Extra beds, depending on availability, can also be added to the rooms and some of the rooms are inter-leading suiting a family with older children,
- Generally recommended for children
- Yes, there is plenty of space and a pool for children enjoy. We also felt that the atmosphere here was better suited to children than many of the lodges in the area, perhaps as it is a little larger.
- The camp is raised up above the river, where there are hippos and crocodiles, so children need to be supervised at all times.
- Power supply notes
- The generator is off from 10.00pm until 5.00am, there is no power between these times but a torch is provided in the rooms.
- There is cellphone reception throughout and WiFi in the main area, which is turned off at 9pm.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The water here is pumped from the river and filtered. This is fine for washing, but is not suitable for human consumption. All the chalets have hot and cold running water, and flushing toilets.
Leaving behind a legacy for culture conservation
Situated on the banks of the Kwando River, Namushasha River Lodge acts as an ideal base for a leisurely cruise to explore the native Jackalberry and Mangosteen trees. The lodge prides itself not only with operating in an eco-friendly manner, but also with initiatives to conserve the cultural heritage in the Eastern Caprivi region, which is something it strives to educate its guests about.
Working closely with the local community, in 2014 the lodge helped open the Namushasha Heritage Centre, together with Mashi community members, in celebration of the rich cultural diversity in Eastern Zambezi. The centre was built using natural resources including reeds and grass, and adds value to a region heavily reliant on tourism, where culture and wildlife are the main attractions. Shedding light on a diverse array of traditional activities, from traditional healing practices to making African musical instruments, guests are encouraged to get involved in a wide range of activities including traditional dancing and making arts and crafts. By promoting visits to the heritage centre, Namushasha River Lodge hopes to increase respect for the local culture and therefore determine tourists to act responsibly during their stay.
Apart from offering an enriching cultural experience, the centre provides local communities with a stable income, empowers them to manage their resources, and educates them to carry on conserving the culture and wildlife of the Zambezi River.
See more great sustainability projects in Namibia
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The closest hospital is in Katima Mulilo, 133km away.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Security measures
- Security guards are on site 24/7.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers can be found thought the lodge.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry can be done at an extra charge
- There are small electronic combination safes in each of the chalets.
- Accepted payment on location
- Visa and Mastercard are accepted, and cash payments may be made in UK pounds, US dollars, euros, South African rand and Namibian dollars.
Other lodges in Caprivi Strip
Alternative places to stay in this same area.