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Shametu River Lodge
Shametu River Lodge
Shametu River Lodge
Shametu River Lodge
Shametu River Lodge

Shametu River Lodge: Our full report

Opened in July 2016, Shametu River Lodge is 7km south west of Divundu, in Namibia's central Caprivi.

Built on the banks of the Kavango River, it affords the best views of Popa Rapids of any privately owned lodge in the area. Guests staying here can enjoy the river, game drives into the Bwabwata and Mahango national parks, and village visits.

Popa Falls – which despite the name is really no more than a series of pretty rapids – is encompassed within the tiny Popa Falls Reserve. An area of dense vegetation, it attracts plenty of waterbirds, and can be explored on foot. While Shametu River Lodge is the closest private lodge to the falls, the basic NWR owned Popa Falls Resort is closer.

Shametu has 15 rooms split into three types: four ‘luxury’ chalets, four river-facing tented rooms and seven standard rooms. All have en-suite shower rooms, tea and coffee stations, safes, mosquito nets over the beds and verandas with director's-style chairs to relax and enjoy the view.
  • The four ’luxury’ chalets are set away from the other rooms, facing the river – and have the best views of the Popa Rapids. The largest and most luxurious of the room types at Shametu, they are also set slightly lower, so that you are almost at eye-level with the river – something that we particularly appreciated when we last stayed in July 2017 Each has his and hers basins in the shower rooms, a writing desk and an indoor seating area with comfy leather armchairs. Although reed screens ensure privacy between these chalets, they are quite close to each other – though we had no complaints at all. From our veranda, we saw a variety of birdlife on the riverbank as well as a family of otters in the river. We understand that hippos and crocodiles are also commonly seen here.
  • The four river-facing tented rooms are built on stilts right on the riverbank, affording excellent views of the Kavango. They are only slightly smaller than the ‘luxury’ chalets and work well for those who prefer a tented feel.
  • The seven standard rooms are set back from the river, behind the tented rooms and slightly up a hill. As a result, these don't all have river views. Two of the standard rooms have an interleading door, creating a family room.
The communal areas at Shametu are split across three levels and are of a fairly simple but functional décor. At the top is a large thatched reception/lounge area, where there's a television, and a selection of postcards and locally produced curios for sale. From here, steps lead down to an open sided restaurant and bar, where most meals are served.

Down more steps the area opens out onto manicured lawns leading to an inviting pool and a sundowner deck/outdoor bar, both with views of the river and rapids. This is a great spot to sample an item from the light lunch menu or to enjoy a sundowner. We really liked this area, although it will improve further as the bare man-made banks slowly vegetate and the new stone paths and steps start to blend in to the environment.

Shametu also has a mini spa, offering guests a range of treatments – from pedicures to full body massages. These need to be booked a day ahead.

Activities from Shametu focus predominantly on the river, with fishing trips, sundowner cruises and mokoro trips all on offer. The lodge also offers game drives into the Mahango and Bwabwata national parks, and village walks can also be arranged. We thoroughly enjoyed our morning drive, guided by one of the owners, into the buffalo core conservation area of Bwabwata National Park. Having left the lodge at around 8.00am, we drove through the forest alongside the Kavango River and spotted not only elephants moving through the bush but also buffalo grazing on the floodplains. We also saw a variety of other mammals, including bushbuck, impala, kudu, red lechwe and vervet monkeys, and some interesting birds, from blue waxbills and little bee-eaters in the more forested areas to African skimmers and wattled cranes nearer the river.


Our view

Shametu River Lodge is a relatively new addition to the lodges in the Divundu area and we would very much liked to have stayed longer than one night. Not only does it have a picturesque location close to Popa Falls, but it also offers convenient access to the nearby national parks and activities on the Kavango River.

Tracy Lederer

Tracy Lederer

Namibia expert

Geographics

Location
Caprivi Strip, Namibia
Ideal length of stay
Two nights
Directions
Shametu River Lodge is 7km south west of Divundu, overlooking the Popa Rapids.
Accessible by
Self-drive

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
On our last visit in July 2017, Shametu was also catering for a large film crew who were filming in the area, so the number of people at mealtimes was larger than normal. That said, there was easily enough space for everyone and we still thoroughly enjoyed our meals here.

Breakfast consisted of a considerable cold buffet with various cereals, breads, cold meats, cheeses and fruits – including freshly picked strawberries from the lodge’s own garden. Eggs, sausages and bacon are available to order.

The lunch menu is varied and reasonably priced with options ranging from sandwiches and salads to fish and steak.

For dinner we started with a rich butternut squash soup with warm bread rolls. Our main course was a buffet of hearty food with a real home-cooked feel. We sampled the cottage pie and roasted chicken tray bake, with coleslaw, various cooked vegetables and salsa. Pudding was a lovely vanilla cream cake.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Room service is not possible
Drinks included
Complimentary bottled water is provided in the rooms, but all other drinks are charged separately. There is a good choice of alcoholic drinks on offer, so order a cocktail from the pool bar to watch the sun go down or enjoy Hansa beer on draught.

Special interests

Birdwatching
The Mahango Core Area’s varied habitats support the largest variety of avian species in Namibia, making it a perfect place for birdwatching. While Shametu River Lodge isn't the closest camp to Mahango, it is one of our favourites in this area.
See ideas for Birdwatching

Children

Attitude towards children
All ages are welcome at Shametu River Lodge.
Property’s age restrictions
None
Special activities & services
None
Equipment
Cots can be provided on request
Generally recommended for children
Shametu has plenty of space and an atmosphere that would suit families with school-age children well.
Notes
There are lots of steps, some drop offs, and unfenced access to the river so children need constant supervision.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Shametu Lodge

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Shametu River 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.

Hippo

100% success

Buffalo

50% success

Elephant

50% success

Giraffe

50% success

Roan antelope

50% success

Sable antelope

50% success

Wildebeest

50% success

Zebra

50% success

Aardvark

0% success

Cheetah

0% success

Eland

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Lion

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Sitatunga

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
Generator back up
Communications
There is cellphone coverage throughout the lodge and WiFi in the main reception area.
TV & radio
There is a TV in the main lounge area.
Water supply
Other
Water supply notes
Water is pumped from the river and filtered; while it is fit for washing, it is not suitable for consumption.

All the rooms have hot and cold running water, with gas geysers for hot water. They are also fitted with flush toilets and plumbed showers.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
The nearest doctor is in Divundu (7km away), and there is a hospital in Rundu (210km away).
Dangerous animals
Moderate Risk
Security measures
There is a guard on the gate during the day and three security guards patrol the lodge at night.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers outside each of the rooms and in the main areas.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Fishing

    Fishing

  • Mokoro

    Mokoro

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
Laundry is available at an additional charge for guests staying at least two nights.
Money
There are small electrical safes in the rooms.
Accepted payment on location
Payment may be made by Visa, Mastercard or Maestro, or in cash using US dollars, euros, Namibian dollars and South African rand.

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