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 kopjes of Namibia’s 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 well known locally 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 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. 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.
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.
During our last visit to Erongo, in October 2016, we had a look at a recently completed two-bedroom unit, which we think would be ideal for a family or a group of friends travelling together. Similar in style to the other tented chalets, it is made up of two separate en-suite bedrooms around a central kitchen and lounge tent, and a veranda that stretches around half of the unit with stunning views of the hills. Although it has been designed as a self-catering unit, that option is not yet available. We were also told that if the drought situation in Namibia improves, this unit might be given its own private plunge pool.
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 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 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 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 two to two-and-a-half hours, and an earlier one, at 6.00am, of three to three-and-a-half – which we tried. In the evening, there are sundowner walks to a nearby vantage point, though note that sundowner drinks cost extra.
The longer morning walk led us up into the rocky outcrops and over the granite whalebacks, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the lodge below. Our guide had grown up in the area, and was very interesting, with some fascinating stories to tell.
For independent walkers, there are several well-marked walking trails, varying from the 1.8km dassie trail to the lengthy 9.6km pangolin trail. You may explore these at your own pace, but should always tell reception when you are leaving.
An 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 game, including steenbok, kudu, oryx, klipspringer, Damara dik-dik, Hartmann's mountain zebra and warthog, the drive includes a visit to 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 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: Erongo is around 10km west of Omaruru along the D2315, from where it is signposted along a gravel road.
Accessible by: Self-drive
Owner: Independent / Owner Run
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: During our visit to Erongo in October 2016 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 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. On our most recent visit the meal started with a tuna-filled pancake with a green salad. This was followed by grilled chicken with satay sauce or a 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, but 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. The pool is also unfenced so children would require constant supervision.
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
Water supply notes: The showers are plumbed, the toilets are flush and there is plenty of hot water.
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.
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.