Erongo Wilderness Lodge

Erongo Wilderness Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
12 tented chalets
Traveller's rating
Excellent (96%) From 395 reviews
Children
Best for 5+
Open
All year

Just west of Omaruru, Erongo Wilderness Lodge perches amidst the rugged granite kopjes of Namibia's Erongo Mountains, in the vicinity of an ancient volcanic crater. The lodge is a founder member of the 2,000km2 Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, which brings together 30 private landowners in an effort to conserve this diverse area, known locally for excellent birding and walking. There are also rare and endemic species of flora and fauna here, along with Bushman rock paintings.

Erongo Wilderness Lodge is a friendly, relaxed place with superb views from its 12 comfortable tented chalets. Built up on raised platforms, these are tucked amongst the boulders, offering seclusion and privacy. (Wooden walkways and steps lead to most of the chalets, making access difficult for guests with limited mobility, although there are a couple of chalets, closer to the main area, which have easier access.) Glass sliding doors lead out onto a large, partially covered wooden deck where you'll find a couple of director's chairs and a rustic table flanked by two wooden chairs.

Inside, Erongo's chalets are spacious, with polished wooden floors. Insect-proof netting at the windows allows air to flow freely through the tented walls, but canvas flaps can be zipped up to cover the netting if required. Twin beds, each on a wooden base with a wooden headboard, are made up with crisp white linen, with a metal reading lamp suspended above and mosquito nets around them. There's an open hanging rack, a luggage rack, two wicker chairs, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a flask of drinking water and a small fridge, which is stocked on request. Tissues, candles and a torch are also provided and each tent has a digital safe and power point.

A solid door at the rear of each tented chalet opens into an en-suite bathroom. Partially built into the bare rock behind the tent, this has a very natural feel, with stone walls separating the shower from the basin and toilet, and a gap between the wall and the roof, allowing great views from the shower! There's hot and cold running water, and toiletries in the form of liquid soap, shampoo/conditioner/shower gel, body lotion and natural insect-repellent cream are provided.

In room number 6, the honeymoon tent, you’ll find a double bed instead of twins, and a larger private deck with a plunge pool, chairs and an umbrella.

There is also a two-tented suite, ideal for a family or a group of friends travelling together. Similar in style to the other chalets, it is made up of two separate en-suite tents around a central kitchen and lounge area, and a veranda that stretches around half of the unit with stunning views of the surrounding hills. We understand that this unit might be given its own private plunge pool in the future. Although the suite has been designed as a self-catering option, guests staying here are also welcome to eat at the main lodge.

Raised wooden walkways and natural stone steps connect all the chalets to Erongo's main area: a stone and thatched building atop a separate hill. Decorated with African basketwork and masks, it incorporates a central fireplace, an open-plan dining area/lounge with a selection of books, and a bar in the shape of a dug-out canoe. Make yourself comfortable on one of the big leather sofas or matching chairs, or take in the mountain views from one of two outside decks, one with a firepit, and both overlooking a small waterhole. There is a birdbath beside the dining area where rosy-faced lovebirds, red-eyed bulbuls, black-throated canaries and white-tailed shrikes are often seen, as well as rock dassies (hyrax) and the endemic dassie rats vying for drinking space.

Built into the rocks is a small swimming pool with a grassed area and sundowner deck, a good spot to relax in the afternoon after an energetic morning walk. A well-stocked curio shop doubles as the reception area for arriving and departing guests.

Activities at Erongo Wilderness Lodge focus on walking – which is the best way to explore this beautiful area. You can set out on your own, or join a walk with one of the lodge's knowledgeable guides. There are two walks each morning: one at 7.00am lasting 2–2.5 hours, and an earlier one, at 6.00am, of 3–3½ hours – which we thoroughly enjoyed on a previous visit in 2016. In the evening, there are sundowner walks to a nearby vantage point where the views are spectacular. Note, though, that this route would be challenging for the less sure of foot or for those with vertigo, and that sundowner drinks cost extra.

The longer morning walk leads up into the rocky outcrops and over the granite whalebacks, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the lodge below. Most of the lodge’s guides have grown up in the area, and they have some fascinating stories to share.

On our last visit in September 2018 we decided to skip the early departure and take on one of the self-guided walking trails. These vary from the 1.8km dassie trail to the lengthy 9.6km pangolin trail. Following the trail map proved easy and there are lots of markers on the route, but for safety reasons you should always tell reception when you are setting out.

An afternoon nature drive in an open 4WD vehicle is also available at additional cost, to include all drinks. While the Erongo Conservancy is home to a variety of wildlife, including steenbok, kudu, oryx, klipspringer, Damara dik-dik, Hartmann's mountain zebra, giraffe, warthog and, since 2008, black rhino, the densities are low and this is definitely a nature drive rather than a game-viewing experience. Birders should be on the look out for black eagles, Monteiro's hornbill and Hartlaub's spurfowl, among many other species, but for most the highlight of the drive is visiting Paula's Cave. Reached by a relatively steep walk up a trail skirting along the rocky hillside, this features some interesting Bushman rock art depicting various animals and people.

Our view

Erongo is a very comfortable tented lodge in a scenic area, with good guiding, service and food. It's a birders' paradise and a great place to stretch your legs on one of the numerous walking trails. The lodge is most often used as the final stop on a Namibian adventure, being only a 3–4-hour drive from Windhoek international airport on good roads.

Geographics

Location: Central Highlands, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: Two or three nights for keen walkers. If you're not visiting Damaraland, then Erongo Wilderness Lodge makes a perfect stop between Swakopmund and Etosha; alternatively, stop here on your way between Etosha and Windhoek

Directions: Erongo is around 10km west of Omaruru along the D2315, from where it is signposted along a gravel road.

Accessible by: Self-drive

Key personnel

Owner: Independent / Owner Run

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: During our visit to Erongo in September 2018 we found the food to be as well-presented and excellent as on our previous visits.

In the early morning, tea, coffee and rusks or muffins are available before the guided walks.

Brunch, which is timed to coincide with guests’ return from the guided walks, is brought to the table on a small tray with a selection of fresh fruit, yoghurts, muffins and a plate of cold meat and cheese. A cooked breakfast is also available. We were offered a selection of eggs, omelettes with different fillings, and sweet or savoury pancakes.

At around 3.00pm, before the afternoon activities, afternoon tea is served, with tea/coffee and delicious homemade cake.

Dinner is a three-course meal with a starter, main course and dessert. Ours started with butternut soup and freshly made bread rolls. A choice of oryx steak or herb-crusted fish followed, both served with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes. For dessert we tucked into a lemon sponge pudding, a nice crisp finish to the meal.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10

Drinks included: Tea and coffee are included, but other drinks are not. The tap water is considered safe to drink.

Further dining info: There is no room service

Special interests

Birdwatching: Erongo Wilderness Lodge should be high on the list of those visiting Namibia for a birding holiday. The rocky landscape is home to a surprising proliferation of avifauna, including several near endemics, and exploring the area on foot is a great way to spot them.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Namibia

Walking: The walking opportunities from Erongo Wilderness Lodge rank amongst the best in Namibia. The vast rocky landscape is easily explored on guided or self-guided walking trails and the views are certainly worth the effort.

See more ideas for Walking in Namibia

Children

Attitude towards children: The lodge welcomes children of all ages.

Property’s age restrictions: There is no age restriction

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

Equipment: The lodge has one cot for infants.

Notes: There's a rocky, fairly steep climb to the individual chalets, so parents need to keep a close eye on children at all times. The pool is also unfenced and unguarded so children require constant supervision.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: Power is always on and generally reliable, but there is a back-up generator too. Plugs are South-African style with three round pins (230 volts).

Communications: Cellphone reception is available in the dining area, and in some of the tented chalets, though the lodge's location in a valley and amongst boulders makes this a little erratic. WiFi is available in the main area, and there is a guest computer for internet access in the curio shop.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: The showers are plumbed, the toilets are flush and there is plenty of hot water.

Sustainability

It’s the simple things that matter

It’s the simple things that matterIn a special hideaway in the valley of Erongo Mountains perches Erongo Wilderness Lodge. Sitting peacefully amongst rocks and trees, the luxurious chalets harmonise with the surroundings. Outside, the pool lures guests to relaxation and rejuvenation. Pool towels are provided- as a personal touch, but guests are encouraged to keep them during their stay and reuse like home.

Tour guides invite guests for nature walk and share stories on the stunning plant life and its different uses – medicinal or edible. Provided with the freedom of walks, guests are encouraged to engage in adventurous hikes or gentle strolls depending on their daily routine.

In an attempt to preserve the beauty of the local area, both guests and staff are advised to follow simple steps such as disposing of used plastic water bottles in designated recycling bins, which are then collected and sent to local recycling plants.

Each chalet has its own private en-suite and excess water is re-used for cleaning the floors. The atmospheric solar jar lights help guests unwind at dinner time, whilst admiring the impressive range of magnificent birds frequenting the restaurant’s nearby water points. A rewarding feeling is created when donating to the lodge’s endorsed conservation fund - the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy whose mission is to protect the Black-faced Impala and Black Rhino. The future will see the lodge becoming more reliant on solar power, with the introduction of solar panels and solar heaters already underway. Erongo Wilderness Lodge is the perfect destination for those who wish to act upon conservation of the local environment.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care: There is a first-aid kit on site, and a doctor and small hospital in Omaruru (13km away). In an emergency, guests would be airlifted to Windhoek..

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: There is an armed security guard on duty at night.

Fire safety: There is a fire extinguisher outside each tented chalet and in the dining/kitchen area.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.

Money: There are electronic combination safes in each tent. Erongo doesn't offer a foreign exchange service.

Accepted payment on location: Payment is accepted in cash in Namibian dollars and South African rand, or by Visa or Mastercard.

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