Erongo Wilderness Lodge sits amongst huge granite whalebacks and boulders in the Erongo Mountains.
Erongo Wilderness Lodge: Our full report
Just west of Omaruru, Erongo Wilderness Lodge perches amidst the rugged granite kopjies of the Erongo Mountains, in the vicinity of an ancient volcanic crater and within a conservation area. With views across the mountains, the lodge is known for its walking and birding opportunities.
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. The area is locally well-known for excellent birding, and there are rare and endemic species of flora and fauna here. There are also Bushman rock paintings to be found among the surrounding rocks.
Erongo Wilderness Lodge is a friendly, relaxed place with superb views from its ten comfortable tented chalets. Built up on raised platforms, these are tucked amongst 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 rooms are spacious with polished wooden floors. Insect-proof netting at the windows allows air to flow freely through the tent, but canvas flaps can be zipped up to cover the netting if required. The 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 suitable for South African-style plugs with three round pins.
A solid door at the rear of each tented chalet opens into an en-suite bathroom, with hot and cold running water. 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! Toiletries in the form of liquid soap, shampoo/conditioner/shower gel, body lotion and natural insect-repellent cream are provided.
During our last visit to Erongo, in November 2015, we were advised that they were planning two self-catering units during 2016. Each will comprise two tents with a shared lounge and dining area, and would be ideal for families or a small group of friends travelling together. Speak to us for further updates on this.
Raised wooden walkways and natural stone steps connect the tented chalets to each other as well as 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 and small lounge with a small selection of books, and a bar in the shape of a dug-out canoe. Make yourself comfortable on the big leather sofa or one of the matching chairs, or take in the mountain views from one of the two outside decks, one with a firepit, and both overlooking a waterhole. There is also 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 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 are focused on walking, which is the best way to explore this beautiful area. You can set out on your own, or opt to join a walk with one of the lodge’s knowledgeable guides. There are two walks each morning: one lasting two hours that leaves at 7.00am, and a four-hour walk at the earlier time of 6.00am. In the evening, there are sundowner walks to a nearby vantage point, though note that for the guided walks, sundowner drinks cost extra.
When we visited Erongo in November 2015 we did the shorter two-hour morning walk with one of the lodge’s guides. He had grown up in the area, and was very interesting, with some fascinating stories to tell. Our walk led us up into the rocky outcrops and over the granite whalebacks, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the lodge below.
For independent walkers, there are several well-marked walking trails of between 1.5km and 9km in length, which you can explore at your own pace.
An optional afternoon nature drive in an open 4WD vehicle is also available at additional cost, to include all drinks. As well as affording the opportunity to spot a variety of small game, including steenbok, kudu, oryx, klipspringer, Hartmann’s mountain zebra and warthog, the drive includes a visit to Paula’s Cave, where there is some interesting Bushman rock art.
Our viewErongo is a very comfortable tented lodge in a scenic area, with good guiding, service and food. It’s a walkers’ and birders’ paradise and a great spot for both guided and unguided walks.
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: The lodge is 13km from Omaruru, south of the D2316; the turn-off to the lodge is 10km west of its junction with the C33. Follow the signs to Erongo Wilderness Lodge and leave your car under an awning in a parking area beneath the lodge. Most guests will be collected here in a 4WD vehicle and driven the remaining 800m to the lodge, but those travelling in their own 4WD can attempt the rocky drive themselves.
Accessible by: Self-drive
Owner: Independent / Owner Run
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: During our visit to Erongo in November 2015 we found the food to be imaginative and excellent.
In the early morning, tea, coffee and rusks or muffins are available before your walk, and drinking water is provided for the walks.
On returning from our walk, brunch was 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 was 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 four-course meal with a starter, salad, main course and dessert. We started with a tuna-filled pancake served with a green salad. This was followed by grilled chicken with satay sauce or peppered beef fillet with mushroom sauce. Both were accompanied by rice and fresh vegetables. For dessert we tucked into sticky chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream, beautifully presented with a caramel shard.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £1-5
Drinks included: Tea and coffee are included, other drinks are not. The tap water is considered safe to drink.
Further dining info: There is no room service
Birdwatching:See more ideas for Birdwatching in Namibia
Walking:See more ideas for Walking in Namibia
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.
Generally recommended for children: Yes, as long as they are sufficiently mature to take part in the walks.
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.
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: There are no TV's
Water supply: Borehole
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: First aid kit on site. There is a first-aid kit on site, and a doctor and small hospital in Omaruru (13km away). In the event of an emergency, guests are 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.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: There is an electronic safe in each tented chalet. Currency exchange is not available.
Money: 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 rands, or by Visa or MasterCard.