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Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge
Ai Aiba Lodge

Ai Aiba Lodge: Our full report

Nestled at the foot of a granite kopje, Ai Aiba has enviable views of Namibia's Erongo Mountains.

The surrounding area hides a high concentration of Bushman rock art, leading to the camp’s alternative name, The Rock Painting Lodge. Over 200 sites have been recorded here, some thought to be over 2,000 years old and many in excellent condition. The area’s rolling hills and rugged terrain are also well-known for hiking.

Ai Aiba has long been one of our favourite lodges – a good-value place to stay in an interesting area with a lot to offer – and we were delighted when, after a challenging period, the management was taken over in 2017 by the team that was behind the erstwhile Erongo Wilderness Lodge.

With 20 twin rooms configured in pairs in ten thatched chalets, the lodge is relatively large. High thatched roofs and fairly small windows can make the rooms feel a little dark but help to keep them cool in Namibia’s hotter months (October–December).

Each air-conditioned room has twin beds, a tea and coffee station and a small lounge area with comfy armchairs and a coffee table. Usually, the luggage storage area is in the en-suite shower room, where guests will also find an electronic safe for valuables. To the front of the room a veranda with chairs and a coffee table is a welcoming, private spot to relax.

The main area at Ai Aiba focuses on a large, thatched building that houses the reception, a substantial dining area, a lounge area and a bar. Outside is a substantial swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and sunloungers, and a lush garden where tables and chairs are set out in the shade.

The lodge offers a range of activities, predominantly focused on the surrounding area’s rock art and hiking opportunities. Morning or afternoon nature drives explore the 2,000km² Erongo Conservancy, stopping at some of the more accessible examples of rock art. Although there is wildlife here, including re-introduced rhino, note that this is not primarily a wildlife destination.

Hiking is one of the area’s big draws, with options including a short one-hour self-guided trail, guided walks to see rock art, a combination walk and drive and a sundowner hike. The difficulty of these guided hikes can be varied to reflect travellers’ ability and preference.

While Ai Aiba is gaining a reputation for its mountain-biking trails, these will not be accessible to most guests as you need to supply your own bike.

Finally, the lodge can arrange tours of a local San (Bushman) living museum where guests can learn about the San people and how they used to live in the Namiban wilderness. Visits here can be combined with a hike on request.


Our view

Ai Aiba Lodge is a simple and relatively economical place to stay between Etosha and Windhoek and is within reach of Windhoek airport for most afternoon departures. Located in a less-visited area of Namibia, it is well placed for some of the country’s best and most abundant examples of rock art. It is also an excellent location to take a break from bouncing around in a vehicle and stretch your legs on a hike, with or without a guide.

Sabina Hekandjo

Sabina Hekandjo

Namibia expert

Geographics

Location
Central Highlands, Namibia
Ideal length of stay
Two nights to make the most of the rock art and walking in this area.
Directions
Ai Aiba Lodge is in the Erongo Mountains, approximately 45km west of Omaruru, just off the D2315.
Accessible by
Self-drive

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
The food at Aiba during our stay in May 2022 was good home-made fare and we enjoyed our meals. We understand that with advanced notice most dietary requirements can be catered for,

Breakfast is usually a substantial buffet including cereals, toast, pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurt, cold meats and cheeses, with fruit juices, tea and coffee. Hot items such as bacon, eggs and sausages are cooked to order.

We didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the usual à la carte lunch during our stay. Instead, we headed off early with a packed lunch, which included a toasted cheese and ham sandwich, a cereal bar, a piece of fruit and a juice box, and was ideal for eating on the move.

Dinner is typically a set menu with a choice of starter and main. During our stay we enjoyed a cherry tomato and camembert tart followed by a game fillet steak with peppercorn sauce, roasted seasonal vegetables and rice. The alternative options were a fresh Greek-style salad to start and a whole baked fish for main. Dessert was a rich millionaire’s shortbread parfait.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
There is no room service here.
Drinks included
A litre of filtered water is provided in the rooms and there is a water refill station in the main area. No other drinks are included in the rates.

Children

Attitude towards children
Ai Aiba Lodge welcomes children of any age.
Property’s age restrictions
None
Special activities & services
None
Equipment
None
Generally recommended for children
Although Ai Aiba welcomes children of all ages and has a good-sized swimming pool, there isn’t a lot to entertain young children. As such we’d usually recommend Ai Aiba for slightly older children.
Notes
The pool here is unfenced and unguarded so children should be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Ai Aiba Lodge

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Ai Aiba 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.

Giraffe

71% success

Oryx

68% success

Zebra

55% success

Wildebeest

17% success

Eland

15% success

Aardvark

0% success

Black Rhino

0% success

Brown Hyena

0% success

Cheetah

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
There is a back-up generator in case of power cuts.
Communications
There is cellphone service throughout the lodge and complimentary WiFi in the main area. That said, note that the WiFi can be slow depending on how many people are using it.
TV & radio
None
Water supply
Borehole
Water supply notes
Each en-suite room has hot and cold running water and a flush toilet.

Sustainability

Ai Aiba Lodge sustainability

Keeping local traditions alive

From its location in the Erongo Mountains, Ai Aiba – or The Rock Painting Lodge – offers the opportunity to see a wealth of traditional Bushman rock art, some of which dates back 2,000 years. Guides at the lodge offer informative walking tours, indicating their commitment to preserving their home and local area.

Visitors can also learn about the traditional lifestyle of the San people (Bushman) by visiting an open-air living museum. It’s an interactive experience where you might learn how to shoot an arrow, try the unique form of rope skipping or join in with traditional songs. The programme has been carefully designed to keep local traditions alive, while providing employment opportunities for nearby San communities. Guides are trained to speak English, helping to enhance the understanding among guests.

See more great sustainability projects in Namibia

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
No
Medical care
There is a doctor and small hospital in Omaruru (45km away). In an emergency, guests would be airlifted to Windhoek.
Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Security measures
We understand that there is 24 hour security on site.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in the rooms and main area.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Self-guided walking

    Self-guided walking

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
Laundry is available and is charged per item. Clothing is machine washed and air dried, and – depending on the weather – will be returned the same day.
Money
There are digital safes in all the rooms.
Accepted payment on location
Payments may be made in cash using South African rand and Namibian dollars. Card payment is also possible with Visa or Mastercard.

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