Cheetah View Lodge

Cheetah View Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
5 suites
Traveller's rating
Good (80%) From 9 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
All year

Opened in June 2017, Cheetah View Lodge is the newest guest accommodation to be run by Namibia's Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) – a non-profit organisation committed to saving the cheetah from extinction. Set on the CCF's reserve, with views towards the Waterberg Massif, it is adjacent to the CCF's Research and Conservation Centre .

Cheetah View Lodge is part of the CCF’s Cheetah Eco Lodge portfolio.

The lodge has five suites – four standard suites and one family suite – all built of stone. The standard suites are in two blocks of two, back-to-back with each other. The family suite is set below the dining area in the main building, and is larger than the others, with two queen-size beds and a sofa bed. It also has the added benefit of overlooking the lodge's small waterhole.

All the suites are large and quite spacious inside. Décor is relatively simple and makes the most of neutral and earthy tones, not dissimilar to the reddish sand of the Waterberg region.

At the front of each suite is a lounge area with a small sofa and armchair, as well as a table and tea and coffee facilities. Large sliding doors open from the lounge onto a veranda with two wooden chairs and a table. This is a lovely spot to relax and take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding bush and look out to the Waterberg Plateau in the distance.

Between the lounge and the bedroom is the bathroom, with brushed concrete floors, basin, toilet and a large semi-open shower. Individual tiles dotted around the wall feature a finely detailed picture of a baobab tree and a rhino, which we thought was a nice touch when we stayed in June 2017.

The relatively simple bedroom is down some shallow steps from the lounge, past the bathroom. As well as twin beds with mosquito nets, wooden bedside tables and a wardrobe, there are two stretchers for your luggage. Being at the back of the property, the bedroom feels slightly dark, but it is perfectly comfortable and functional.

The main area is reached up a few steps from the family suite, or along the sloped driveway. Meals are normally taken communally around the dining table, while outside on the veranda you’ll find a table and chairs overlooking the camp’s waterhole. Although we did not see any wildlife here, we understand that steenbok, dikdik and jackal are sometimes seen coming to drink.

Cheetah View Lodge is in very close proximity to CCF’s rescue and rehabilitation operations within the cheetah sanctuary, and to the cheetahs themselves. The nearby research centre offers guests – both those from the lodge and day visitors – the chance to learn more about the cheetah and how the CCF is working to save them from extinction.

Most of the cheetahs here were rescued from human/wildlife conflict in Namibia, many of them as cubs, and would probably have died in the wild. Some cannot be re-released, and will remain in this safe haven, but those that have the possibility of being rehabilitated and released back into the wild are held far away from the public to minimise human contact. When we stayed, there were nine cheetahs with the potential for release back into the wild.

Activities from the lodge focus on the cheetahs that cannot be released, as well as on drives into the CCF’s reserve. Before breakfast, we had the chance to watch the cheetah run, during which the cheetahs are exercised for about 30–45 minutes, using a lure pulled along a track at speeds of up to 40km/h. This is a means of keeping the animals in good condition and provides fantastic photo opportunities, as you watch from inside the enclosure but behind a low fence.

On a cheetah drive, guests first tour the large CCF education and research centre, then are driven out into the cheetah enclosures for a close-up view of some of these magnificent cats, and perhaps to see them being fed.

There are also nature drives, termed the ‘Serengeti-sundowner drive’, into a part of the reserve where much of the encroaching bush has been cleared – leading it to be dubbed the ‘mini-Serengeti’ by CCF staff. Although, we did not get a chance to do this drive or to see this area, we understand that you can expect to see a good variety of plains game such as giraffe, oryx, eland and hartebeest.

The CCF itself, spearheaded by founder Dr Laurie Marker and general manager Dr Bruce Brewer, has many ongoing projects. These vary from genetic work on the cheetah’s DNA, a livestock guarding dog programme and bush-clearing initiatives. During our visit the integration of activities between lodge guests and day visitors was still being ironed out, but we are confident that as the lodge develops this will become clearer. We think that people with a real interest in the conservation and research work here will take the most away from their stay at Cheetah View Lodge.

Our view

Cheetah View Lodge provides a comfortable, no frills base to access the CCF. This would work well both as a stop between Etosha and Windhoek and for those with a real interest in the foundation’s research and conservation work – as well as those wishing to see the rescued cheetahs at close quarters.

Geographics

Location: Central Highlands, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: 2 nights

Directions: Cheetah View Lodge is located on the CCF reserve near Otjiwarongo.

Accessible by: Self-drive

Key personnel

Owner: Cheetah Conservation Fund

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: During our stay in June 2017 we enjoyed the food at Cheetah View Lodge. We understand that much of the produce served here is sourced locally, with vegetables and meat from CCF's model farm, and cheeses, ice cream and other dairy products from their Dancing Goat Creamery.

For breakfast there was a buffet of fruit, cereals, yoghurt and cold meats and cheeses, with cooked breakfast items available to order.

A variety of light lunch options is available from the café, which is just across the road at the main CCF centre.

Dinner was enjoyed communally. We started with a hearty broccoli soup with freshly baked rolls. This was followed by a nicely cooked beef fillet steak with potato wedges, honey-glazed carrots and pepper sauce. Dessert was a chocolate brownie, which always goes down well.

Dining style: Mixture of group dining and individual tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15

Drinks included: No drinks are included.

Children

Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome.

Property’s age restrictions: Children under the age of 16 may not watch the cheetah run.

Special activities & services: There are no special activities for children.

Equipment: There is one family chalet with could suit a family with two children depending on age.

Notes: The lodge’s proximity to cheetah, dogs and livestock means that younger children should be kept under close supervision at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Communications: There is free WiFi in the main area, although this was not working at the time of our last visit. It is also possible to purchase a voucher to access WiFi in the café at the CCF.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: The water is solar heated and showers and toilets are fully plumbed in.

Sustainability

Cheetah Conservation Fund

Cheetah Conservation Fund Cheetah View Lodge is situated in the middle of a Cheetah Conservation Area and was built to provide its guests with exclusive access to the conservation project.

In 1997, Dr Laurie Marker visited Namibia and encountered the widespread opinion that cheetah were vermin – considered cattle-killers by local farmers. Dr Marker founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and has since spent her time teaching local farmers how to protect their livelihoods while preserving the lives of the animals. The fund has become the world’s leading organization in saving the cheetah from extinction in the wild, taking part in many conservation and research projects across Namibia. The main part of this conservation effort relies upon education – both of local people and of visitors to the area.

CCF initially opened its doors for tourists in 2007, building a three-room guest house. Due to its popularity, Cheetah View Lodge, with five private rooms, opened in 2017. The lodge now offers visitors the possibility to engage in activities that would contribute to CCF’s work whilst learning first-hand about the conservation efforts of cheetah. Guests’ experiences therefore continue Dr Marker’s work, educating people on how to live side by side with these animals. Tourists have a chance to see some of CCF’s resident cheetahs during their feeding, or go on a tour of the CFF’s main facility and further support the project by paying a visit to the Cheetah Café or the on-site gift shop.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The closest doctor is in the town of Otjiwarongo

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: Guards are present on the property at night.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each of the suites and also in the main area.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: No

Money: There is no safe or currency exchange.

Accepted payment on location: Cheetah View Lodge accepts Visa or Mastercard credit or debit cards. Payments may also be made in cash with Namibian dollars and South African rand.

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