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Mountain Lodge
Mountain Lodge
Mountain Lodge
Mountain Lodge
Mountain Lodge
Mountain Lodge

Mountain Lodge: Our full report

Perched atop a dolomite hill, Mountain Lodge has commanding views of one of Namibia’s largest private reserves.

This wildlife-rich area, Etosha Heights, covers 600km² and shares a 65km fence with the iconic Etosha National Park. The lodge, more formally known as Etosha Mountain Lodge, was established in 1999 as the original safari destination on the reserve.

Although we have not had the chance to stay at Mountain Lodge, we visited in 2018 and found a small, traditional safari lodge where we looked forward to staying in the future. Unfortunately, when we visited the reserve in May 2022, Mountain Lodge was temporarily closed as visitor numbers were still recovering following Covid-19.

Smaller and more rustic than its sister property, Safarihoek Lodge, Mountain Lodge is the most economical option on the reserve.

The nine thatched chalets are made up of eight “classic” rooms and one suite, the latter doubling as a family room.

The “classic” rooms are billed as “comfortable and classically Namibian”, and we are inclined to agree. Each has high ceilings, twin or king-size beds, a tea and coffee station and overhead fan. Large folding doors open out onto a private deck with table and chairs and commanding views of the surrounding plains – ideal for enjoying a morning coffee or relaxing with a book. To one side, the en-suite bathroom comes with both an indoor shower and a bath.

The suite is a little larger than the already spacious classic rooms, with both a double and a twin bedroom. As these bedrooms share a bathroom, the suite is recommended for up to two adults and two children. Outside, an extended veranda includes a private plunge pool.

In the hotter months (October to February), the high ceilings, overhead fan and natural stone floors help to keep the rooms and suite cool, although there is no air conditioning and some of our travellers have reported that the rooms can get quite warm. On our visit, we felt that while the folding doors allowed plenty of natural light and that fantastic view into the rooms, an abundance of dark polished wood and the natural stone floor gave a slightly gloomy feel – although it was towards sunset at the time.

The main area, or “lapa”, is a large stone-and-thatch building housing the bar and lounge, with a restaurant area on the mezzanine level, seemingly supported by an impressive whole tree trunk that appears to grow from the stone floor. There is also a small curio shop. Here, too, polished wood, a thatched roof and natural stone floors lend a traditional feeling to the communal areas and help keep things cool in the summer months.

Outside is a large veranda where, weather permitting, meals are often served al fresco, making the most of the views. On a lower level is a plunge pool surrounded by sun loungers on a wooden deck, and a “boma” area complete with firepit where guests gather before dinner with a drink to swap tales of the day. An added bonus is a well-stocked wine cellar where guests can arrange wine tasting or enjoy a private meal for a special occasion.

Although the Etosha Heights Private Reserve, with its wild and harsh environment, shares a significant border with the national park, it is around 70km from the nearest gate (about an hour’s drive). There is talk of a private access gate into Etosha from the reserve, but this is a way off. For now and the foreseeable future, activities from Mountain Lodge take place only on the reserve, which is exclusive to guests. Options – with expert guides – include morning and afternoon game drives, night drives, and bush walks with a focus on the smaller things; bush meals and picnics can be arranged on request. While guests are welcome to drive themselves into the national park, this isn't generally recommended as driving in the dark is prohibited so they will miss the best hours for game viewing (around sunrise and sunset).

On our visits to Etosha Heights we have enjoyed some excellent wildlife watching. However, animal densities here are not as high as in the national park, especially in the off-season when much of the wildlife migrates into the park. Neither the reserve’s fence nor the National Park’s one pose much of a barrier to elephants, who don’t care for artificial restrictions on their range. As such, elephant-sized holes are a regular feature in these barriers making them porous for wildlife of all sizes.


Our view

Mountain Lodge is a comfortable lodge in the classic Namibian style, within a wildlife haven that is of a different kind to the neighbouring national park. We recommend travellers come here to avoid the crowds of Etosha and enjoy the kind of flexible activities that can only be enjoyed on a private reserve, such as walking, night drives and driving off road. Time spent here would combine well with a few nights closer to the national park.

Sabina Hekandjo

Sabina Hekandjo

Namibia expert

Geographics

Location
Etosha National Park, Namibia
Ideal length of stay
2-3 nights
Directions
Mountain Lodge is located on the Etosha Heights Reserve approximately 70km west of the Andersson Gate into Etosha.
Accessible by
Self-drive

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
We have not stayed at Etosha Mountain Lodge and have not sampled the food. However, on our visits to its sister property, Safarihoek, we have enjoyed our meals, and would expect the same high standards here. We understand that, with advance notice, the Mountain Lodge team can cater for most dietary needs.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Arrangements can be made for private dining for special occasion on request.
Drinks included
Soft drinks, local beer, house wine and house spirits are included in the full-board rate. Due to the high salinity of the borehole water here, bottled water is provided during your stay.

Special interests

Family holidays
With discounted rates for children up to the age of 18, Mountain Lodge is a great-value destination for families travelling around Namibia. Added to this, the Etosha Heights Reserve also offers a fantastic range of activities to keep children entertained.
See ideas for Family holidays in Namibia

Children

Attitude towards children
Mountain Lodge welcomes children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions
Families with children under the age of 12 must book a private vehicle for game-viewing activities.
Special activities & services
None
Equipment
Additional beds can be requested in advance for families with young children.
Generally recommended for children
While there is no age limit for children staying here, we feel that Mountain Lodge is better suited for older children.
Notes
There are numerous balconies, drop-offs and an unfenced, unguarded pool, so children must be supervised at all times.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Mountain Lodge

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

Black Rhino

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Oryx

100% success

Wildebeest

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Eland

89% success

Lion

80% success

Sable antelope

50% success

White Rhino

50% success

Brown Hyena

38% success

Aardvark

17% success

Cheetah

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Roan antelope

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
There is a generator back-up system.
Communications
WiFi available in the main areas
TV & radio
None
Water supply
Borehole
Water supply notes
All the en-suite bathrooms have hot and cold running water and flush toilets. Note, though, that water is heated by a solar geyser so isn't endless, especially early in the morning.

Sustainability

Mountain Lodge sustainability

Mitigating animal–human conflict

Located in a 60,000-hectare private reserve bordering Etosha National Park Mountain Lodge concentrates its efforts towards the conservation of wildlife. The objective of the initiative is twofold: educating tourists and providing financial help for the protection of endangered species.

The lodge consistently involves guests in rehabilitating the reserve – a former hunting concession – as a photographic safari area. For example, one midday activity for guests is to set camera traps that snap pictures when they are tripped by an animal passing at night.

The lodge also invests 1.5% of turnover in conservation, including support for the Etosha Rand Lion Conservation Project, which aims to find solutions for a more sustainable approach to lion management, thus avoiding over-population and reducing unnecessary killing. Additionally, the lodge hosts and assists researchers from the Namibia National Cheetah Survey to provide data on the population size and distribution of the cheetah throughout Namibia, both by tracking GPS-collared animals and through .
camera-trap data.

See more great sustainability projects in Namibia

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
The camp managers are trained in first aid. The nearest doctor is in Outjo. In a medical emergency, a traveller would be flown during daylight hours to Windhoek.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
The lodge is in a remote part of the Etosha Heights Reserve, which is fenced, and there are security guards at the reserve gate. An air horn is provided in each chalet to attract attention in case of an emergency.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in each of the rooms and around the main area.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Night drive

    Night drive

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
A full laundry service is included. Items are usually collected in the morning and returned in the evening, weather permitting.
Money
There is a small safe in each chalet. The lodge does not offer any currency-exchange facilities.
Accepted payment on location
Mastercard and Visa debit and credit cards are accepted by the lodge. Cash payments may be made in Namibian dollars and South African rand.

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