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Palmwag Lodge
Palmwag Lodge
Palmwag Lodge
Palmwag Lodge
Palmwag Lodge
Palmwag Lodge
Palmwag Lodge

Palmwag Lodge: Our full report

Palmwag Lodge sits in an attractive location next to a palm-lined spring in the Uniab River, which often ...

... flows with water and draws elephants close to the lodge. This is one of northern Damaraland’s oldest lodges, and it’s able to accommodate a significant number of people. The main area was renovated in 2014/15 and the original rooms revamped. Four new bungalows and five tented chalets were also added bring the total number of rooms to 32.

The lodge is the gateway to the vast Palmwag Concession, which covers an area of about 4,500km². Damaraland as a whole supports Africa’s largest free-roaming population of black rhinoceros, of which the Palmwag Concession hosts around 70%. This semi-desert area is also home to a healthy population of rare desert-adapted elephant, as well as a variety of other game including kudu, springbok, oryx, giraffe, Hartmann’s mountain zebra and ostrich. Lion and hyena are also occasionally spotted. However, because it is so arid, wildlife densities in this area are much lower than in the reserves further east, which receive higher rainfall.

Palmwag's rooms differ slightly in construction but all have broadly similar facilities and space, and all cost the same. Typically they are simply decorated with white-washed walls and crisp white linen sheets on the beds. All the rooms have mosquito nets over the beds, power points, a safe, and either a ceiling fan or standing fan, plus insect repellent and an emergency alarm.

Each room has a functional and clean en-suite bathroom with shower, washbasin and toilet. Hot and cold water are on tap but no toiletries are provided except for soap.

Broadly speaking, Palmwag Lodge has two main styles of accommodation. There are:
  • 19 stone and thatch bungalows the majority of which are located closed to the main area. This includes two family units which can sleep five and which share a small pool, garden and picnic table.
  • 13 tented chalets.of which four are next to the central area. The remaining nine chalets are built slightly further away and overlook the reed beds of the Uniab River. These nine chalets are elevated on stilts and each has a raised wooden veranda at the front, with a table and chairs, where you can sit and watch birds and animals come for a drink at the spring below.
The focal point at Palmwag Lodge is the large, thatched open-plan central area, incorporating the restaurant, lounge and bar, and with two large verandas looking over the reedbeds of the Uniab River to the mountains in the distance. Here you can while away the hours watching a variety of birds flit in and out of the reed beds, or observe the elephants that regularly come to the spring.

The big, friendly Uniab Restaurant, with its wooden tables and a buffet bar for breakfast, is decorated with beautifully woven baskets, African bush drawings and masks. In the adjacent small lounge area, a big sofa has large comfy cushions and a few reference books on Namibia. On cooler winter evenings, seek out the tall wood-burning heater between the dining room and the lounge. A small, well-stocked bar is constructed partly of natural tree branches.

The lodge has two swimming pools: one with loungers under shady palm trees; a second with a pool-side bar (where, bizarrely, they won't serve you drinks by the pool). This is near to the campsite, and so sometimes gets a lively crowd. Palmwag's curio shop is open 6.30am–8.00pm.

Because of the number of people that can be based here and the number of groups that pass through, the lodge can feel quite busy at times, and service can be a bit hit and miss.

You can use Palmwag Lodge as a stopover, or stay for longer to take part in some of the activities offered here. These include daily morning and evening scenic nature drives; guided walks to Two Palms which can take approx. three hours. Half Day Rhino tracking activity which can last up to six hours and Full Day Rhino tracking activities which can last up to ten hours. Information about the activities offered can be found in the reception area.

With advance booking, there are also various full-day game-viewing and cultural excursions. The adventurous might consider the option of an 'under canvas' sleep-out within the Palmwag Concession, which explores the breathtaking landscapes and spends the night in comfortable dome tents with rustic bush facilities (although no showers) and nature all around you. Many of our travellers enjoy a night based at Palmwag Lodge, followed by a night camping in the wilds, but these trips can last as long as you wish.

There is a petrol station at Palmwag Lodge where diesel and Unleaded 95 petrol can be purchased (however please note that this is only payable in cash) using NAD and ZAR.


Our view

Palmwag Lodge has a lovely setting and following recent renovations to the rooms and main area, it offers a comfortable, convenient and affordable base for guests on a self-drive holiday to explore the rugged beauty and captivating wildlife of Damaraland. The option to spend a night relaxing at the lodge, followed by a night or two camping on the Palmwag Sleep-out, may also appeal to adventurous travellers looking to feel more connected to this pristine wilderness.

Richard Trillo

Richard Trillo

Namibia expert

Geographics

Location
Damaraland, Namibia
Ideal length of stay
2–3 nights
Directions
Palmwag is in northern Damaraland just west of the C43.
Accessible by
Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
When we last stayed at Palmwag Lodge in June 2014, the standard of food was good.

Breakfast is served between 6.30 and 9.00am, and consists of a large buffet offering cereals, fruit, yoghurt, breads, cheese, meats and hot options.

Lunch and other meals are available from 10.00am to 10.00pm at the Makalani pool bar, where there is a short menu offers a variety of salads, pasta and burgers with prices ranging from N$80 to N$170.

Tea and coffee are available in the restaurant area throughout the day, with cake being provided from 3:00pm.

Dinner is 3 course buffet which is served in the restaurant from 7pm, and should be booked before 3pm. An a la carte menu is also available at the pool bar

Special interests

Wildlife safaris
Palmwag is one of the last wilderness areas in the world outside of a national park. You can see a variety of game including, with a bit of luck, free-roaming black rhino, desert-adapted elephant and lion, all in the most spectacular landscape far off the normal tourist routes.
See ideas for Wildlife safaris

Children

Attitude towards children
Palmwag Lodge has a very good attitude to children – and two special 'family units' that share their own plunge pool.
Property’s age restrictions
None
Special activities & services
Palmwag Lodge do not offer any special services for children.
Equipment
One small bed and a highchair and are available for guests' use.
Generally recommended for children
Yes
Notes
Parents should be aware that the camp is not fenced and that dangerous big game often passes through (elephants are pretty regular visitors).

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Palmwag Lodge

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

Elephant

100% success

Oryx

67% success

Giraffe

50% success

Black Rhino

25% success

Brown Hyena

0% success

Cheetah

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Lion

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Wildebeest

0% success

Zebra

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
There is a backup generator in case of a power cut.
Communications
There is a central phone, fax and email. There is cellphone reception and you can also purchase phone cards which can be used in the public phone. There is no WiFi available.
TV & radio
No
Water supply
Borehole

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
The nearest doctor is in Khorixas. Nurses are available closer and there is a medical kit in the lodge. Medi-rescue is also available.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
There are five guards on site and they each carry a deterrent against animals.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in every room and in the central areas.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
There is an extra charge for laundry of between N$3 to N$15 per item.
Money
The lodge will exchange cash in US dollars, euros and British pounds, but not travellers' cheques.

Each room has an electronic combination safe.
Accepted payment on location
They accept payment by Visa and MasterCard, as well as in cash (US dollars, euros and British pounds).

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