Hobatere Lodge is located outside the western gate to Etosha.
Hobatere Lodge: Our full report
Situated between Damaraland and Etosha National Park, but somewhat off the obvious route, Hobatere Lodge was re-opened under community ownership in April 2015, having been closed for some years. The lodge is set on its own 8,800 hectare concession, a short distance from the Galton Gate into the west of the park, and offers game drives in both areas.
Hobatere was for many years under private ownership, but following refurbishment it is now 100% community owned through the #Khoadi //Hoas Conservancy. It is managed by the same team as at Grootberg Lodge and Fish River Lodge.
Accommodation at Hobatere consists of 12 chalets and rooms: six individual terracotta thatched chalets, and a row of a further six terraced rooms. All have been refurbished since the lodge was taken over.
The six individual chalets are quite small, but beside each of the twin beds, large low windows, with net curtains for privacy, let in lots of light. Each room also has a ceiling fan, which works while the generator is on. There is a built-in cupboard for storing clothes, a luggage rack, and a built-in table with insect spray and tea and coffee; a flask of hot water is provided on request. There are plug points with a selection of sockets for charging batteries. Between the beds, a door leads into a small tiled bathroom with a toilet, single basin on a wooden shelf and walk-in shower. Shower gel and shampoo are provided.
The six terraced rooms are closer to the main area and are larger, each with a double bed and some with an additional third bed. Concrete floors are dotted with rugs and bright African prints hang on the walls. Large doors lead out onto a private patio with two comfortable chairs and a glass-topped table, with views onto the surrounding bush. The bathrooms are slightly larger than those in the chalets, each with a toilet, single basin and walk-in shower.
The newly built main area at Hobatere Lodge is large, modern and airy, with floor-to-ceiling windows and doors on three sides. This L-shaped open-plan thatched building houses a reception desk and curio shop, alongside a large lounge area furnished with comfortable leather and fabric sofas and armchairs. Cow hides are scattered on the polished concrete floors and brightly painted sculptures of animal heads hang on the walls. A large V-shaped wooden bar, flanked by bar stools, separates the lounge area from the dining area, where individual tables and chairs are placed both inside and out on the patio. On a large serving counter at the back, you’ll find tea, coffee, cake and biscuits available all day.
Sliding glass doors lead out onto two covered verandas, separated by a firepit surrounded by modern canvas chairs. There’s a waterhole some distance away from the main building, but there are plans to move this closer to the lodge during 2016. During our stay here in November 2015, we heard lion roaring very close by while we were having dinner, although unfortunately we did not get to see them in the dark.
Beside the main area is a small swimming pool surrounded by a newly grassed area and a raised stone deck with sunloungers and terracotta coloured towels.
The environment at Hobatere is similar to that of western Etosha, and professional guides lead walking safaris and day and night game drives. That said, activities (at additional cost) revolve largely around game drives in open-sided 4WD vehicles with a canvas canopy. Morning drives, from 6.00am to 9.00am, return in time for breakfast, while those on afternoon drives, taken between 5.00pm and 7.00pm, are back in time for dinner. Night drives are also available, leaving at about 8.30pm and returning to the lodge at around 10.00pm. It’s also possible to take a full-day drive into Etosha, with a picnic lunch and soft drinks, departing at 6.30am and returning at around 4.00pm. Activities are not included in the cost at Hobatere, and range from N$520/£26 to N$920/£46 per person.
Our viewHobatere may be slightly off the main tourist route, but it is well worth the effort to reach it, and we really enjoyed our stay here in November 2015. Accommodation is comfortable, and there’s plenty of space, with a pool to relax by. Although game on the reserve was quite sparse, we understand that this was due to poaching while the lodge was uninhabited. However with the lodge now fully operational, and with a focus on conservation, we anticipate that Hobatere will in time revert to its original good reputation as a safari destination.
Ideal length of stay: Three nights is probably ideal - to get to know the place and to experience what it has to offer.
Directions: Hobatere is 65km north of Kamanjab on the road towards Opuwo and 5km north of the Galton Gate into Etosha. From the main entrance gate to Hobatere, it is a further 16km drive along a dirt track to the lodge.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Journeys Namibia in conjunction with the local community
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: During our most recent visit to Hobatere in November 2015 the food was very good.
A buffet breakfast, usually available 6.00–9.30am, consists of cereals, yoghurt, fresh fruit and freshly baked bread, along with fruit juice, fresh filter coffee and tea. You can also indulge in a cooked breakfast with a selection of eggs of your choice, bacon, sausage and tomato.
Lunch is à la carte and is served between 1–2pm. At the time of our visit there was a choice of Greek salad, Hobatere open sandwich, tuna salad, grilled or fried fish and chips, or gemsbok or oryx schnitzel served with chips and salad.
Afternoon tea with a freshly baked cake can be enjoyed before the afternoon game drive.
Dinner is a set three-course menu, served between 7.00–9.00pm. On our first evening, we started with vegetable frittata, followed by oryx goulash served with mashed potatoes, cauliflower cheese and butternut squash. This was finished off with crème caramel. The following evening, beef samosas with chilli sauce were followed by stuffed chicken breast with red cabbage, wild rice and gem squash with corn, and rounded off by a very tasty chocolate mousse.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10
Drinks included: Drinks are not included. At the time of our visit in November 2015, costs were N$25/GBP1.25 for a glass of wine, or N$92/GBP4.60 –365/GBP18.25 for a bottle. Beers were N$18–25/GBP0.90 – GBP1.25 and soft drinks N$15–30/GBP0.75 – GBP1.50. The tap water is not suitable for drinking as it is not filtered and has a high saline content. Flasks of drinking water are provided in the rooms.
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Hobatere.
Property’s age restrictions: There is no age restriction.
Special activities & services: There are no special activities for children, although there are a few board games in the main area.
Equipment: There are currently no cots or highchairs.
Generally recommended for children: The lodge is open to the reserve and the swimming pool is unfenced, so we recommend Hobatere for children aged 8 years and over.
Notes: The lodge is not fenced and game wanders through day and night. Parents must supervise their children at all times.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: The generator is usually switched off after the last guests have retired for the evening.
Communications: Complimentary WiFi is available in the main building, and the lodge has cellphone signal. During 2016, it is planned to have a mobile radio in each room, so that guests can raise the alarm in case of emergency.
TV & radio: There is no TV at Hobatere.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: Hot water is available all day.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Most of the staff has had first-aid training. There is a doctor and clinic at Kamanjab, 80km away by road. In an emergency, guests are flown to hospital in Windhoek.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are free to wander around the lodge grounds on their own during the day but must be escorted to and from their rooms after dark by a member of staff.
Fire safety: There is a fire extinguisher at each room as well as in the main area.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: For guests staying two nights or more laundry is available at a cost of N$50/£2.50 per load. Depending on the weather it is returned the same day.
Money: There are no safes in the rooms. All valuables should be handed in at reception to be stored in the main safe. There is no currency exchange at the lodge.
Accepted payment on location: Cash is accepted in Namibian dollars, South African rands, US dollars, pounds sterling and euros. Payment may also be made with Visa and MasterCard.