Spitzkoppen Lodge: Our full report
Opened in November 2016, Spitzkoppen Lodge (widely known as Spitzkoppe Lodge) is located at the foot of the ...... spectacular Spitzkoppe Mountain, sometimes referred to as the “Matterhorn of Namibia”. The lodge is set in its own small reserve, between Usakos and Swakopmund, offering access to a remote and less often visited part of Namibia that was previously accessible only to campers or on day trips.
As you approach the lodge, weaving around large, apricot-coloured boulders, the awesome Spitzkoppe Mountains grow from silhouettes on the horizon until they loom large above you. It is not hard to understand why this area was chosen as the set for Hollywood blockbusters 10,000 BC and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
From the meeting area at the centre of the site, which is the setting-off point for activities, a high walkway snakes its way over and around a rocky outcrop to the lodge’s 15 chalets. Strewn across the foot of the mountain, these are a unique cross between a beach hut and a more traditional safari tent. Each is raised up on stilts, with a taut, ribbed khaki-canvas roof that forms an attractive peak in the middle. Inside, they feel light, airy and unfussy. Large windows and white, wooden-clad walls are complemented by light-blue curtains and attractive rustic features. A large headboard divides the room, with twin beds in front and a storage area and bathroom behind. The beds, complete with mosquito nets, face an impressive deck with views through french windows across the plains to the ochre-coloured mountains.
Shaded by the roof of the chalet, the deck has two stylish metal chairs complete with cushions and a drum-shaped table. Two of the chalets are set closer together than the others and are linked by a short walkway to make a family chalet.
During our visit in May 2019, we tended to walk to and from the main area during the day, but after dark – and at other times if preferred – guests are usually transported on one of the camp’s golf buggies. These are supposed to run every half hour, although it is generally better to organise a time to be picked up or dropped off. It is also worth noting that passing places for the buggy along the walkway aren’t all that frequent, so those on foot should keep an eye and ear out.
Spitzkoppen Lodge’s main area is reached along another walkway that weaves its way up from the meeting area, around and over the smooth sandstone whalebacks. You’ll pass the reception and managers' office and a small curio shop, but the capacious hub of the lodge is at the top level. Here, beneath a billowing canvas roof, are the lounge, restaurant and bar. It’s a light, airy, multi-level space, dominated by individual dining tables, yet with armchairs, sofas and a range of books tucked away in comfy alcoves, and a semi-circular bar whose glass walls make the most of the views.
In one corner, a door leads to the ingeniously designed pool area. A shallow depression in the sandstone, carved out by millions of years of erosion, has been slightly deepened to form a stunning setting for a refreshing dip, facing west and overlooking the plains below.
Activities at Spitzkoppen Lodge focus on exploring the geological features around the mountain range, by vehicle and/or on foot, and the San rock art that is hidden away under overhangs and in caves. However, with limited guides at the lodge, and only one vehicle, we would be concerned that individually tailored activities may not always be possible.
Although driving without a guide is not permitted, you can take one of the self-guided walking trails, for which maps are provided. Either way, vertigo sufferers and the less sure of foot should be aware that some of the walking trails are very steep.
After breakfast we headed out through the reserve by 4WD with one of the lodge's guides towards the collection of rock paintings known as Little Bushman's Paradise, which sits under a protected overhang surrounded by a natural rock amphitheatre. The last section of the trip was a walk up a very steep rocky face with a chain handrail for support. The area is reminiscent of something out of Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World and you can certainly see why the nomadic San peoples would have sought refuge here. Sadly, although the location is impressive, the rock art itself has been defaced over the years, and what were once spectacular artworks have been reduced to shadows of their former vibrancy. Among the area’s better preserved rock-art sites is Bushman’s Paradise, which is close to one of Spitzkoppe’s picturesque rock arches.
En route back to the lodge we embarked on a peculiar detour to a tree with a carcass tied up in one of the branches. We understand that this is a ploy to entice the local leopard down from the rocky outcrops for guests to see. This sort of baiting isn’t something we encourage or enjoy and while a leopard sighting is a bonus we do not condone this kind of artificial feeding as it disrupts the animal’s natural behaviour. Luckily for us the leopard was nowhere to be seen, but some guests may wish to ensure they avoid this segment of the trip.
We were very impressed by the quality and design of Spitzkoppe Lodge, in an area which until now has offered only camping or very basic self-catering chalets. Come to explore the interesting geological features of this sandstone landscape and the ancient rock art hidden in its midst, or just to relax and take in the grandeur of the surroundings.
Country manager: Namibia
- Damaraland, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- 2 nights
- Around 4½ hours' drive from Windhoek or around 3 hours from Swakopmund.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Half Board
- Food quality
- On our last visit, in May 2019, our meals at Spitzkoppen Lodge were part wholesome and hearty and part imaginative and well presented, particularly the starters. We also found that at times the service lacked a degree of finesse.
In particular, we felt that the self-service buffet was over utilised for such a small lodge, especially as it was less than half full on our visit, and we felt that the food suffered a little as a result.
Breakfast was a buffet of cold meats, cheeses and fruit with bread and cereal brought to the table. Perhaps unusually there were also self-service hot dishes, which if you aren’t up early can result in some rather sad- looking eggs. On the plus side, freshly cooked omelettes, bacon, sausage and eggs can also be prepared to order.
We haven’t had a chance to have lunch here, but we understand that there is a light lunch menu. The lodge can also provide you with a packed lunch if requested the night before.
For our three-course dinner, an imaginatively presented starter of beetroot and game carpaccio was served to the table. This was followed by a self-service buffet of potatoes, rice, sautéed beans and carrots, beetroot, Chicken roulade with a cheese sauce and vegetarian pasta. The meal was finished with a chocolate tart.
- Namibia’s Spitzkoppe Massif has long been a fantastic destination to explore on foot. The picturesque mountains, which hide ancient Bushman art, are often accessed via steep paths which, with the opening of Spitzkoppen Lodge, are now much easier to explore
- See ideas for Walking
- Attitude towards children
- Spitzkoppen Lodge welcomes children.
- Property’s age restrictions
- No age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- The lodge can provide camp beds for younger children to sleep on, and there is a family chalet that would suit older children.
- Generally recommended for children
- For safety reasons we feel that the lodge is not suitable for children under six years old.
- As the pool is unfenced and there are raised walkways around the camp, children should always be supervised by their parents.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Spitzkoppen Lodge
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Spitzkoppen 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.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back-up generator in case of a power failure. The chalets have three-round-pin plug points for charging equipment, but travellers will need to bring their own adapters.
- There is WiFi in the main area.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The water is solar heated.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The nearest hospital is in Usakos. Guests could be flown to Windhoek or Swakopmund in case of emergency.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Security measures
- The reserve is surrounded by a fence with a gate, and a guard is on duty all night.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the chalets and in and around the main area.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service is available at extra cost.
- There are no safes in the chalets and the lodge does not offer a currency exchange.
- Accepted payment on location
- Spitzkoppen Lodge accepts Visa and Mastercard. Cash payments may be made in Namibian dollars and South African rand.
Other lodges in Damaraland
Alternative places to stay in this same area.