Safarihoek Lodge: Our full report
Built on a hill with views over mopane woodland and a small pan to the expanse of Etosha National Park beyond, ...... Safarihoek Lodge lies in the heart of one of Namibia’s largest private reserves. The wildlife-rich Etosha Heights Reserve covers 600km2 and shares a 70km fence with Namibia’s premier wildlife park. Also marketed as Etosha Heights Safarihoek Lodge, it opened in its current form in 2016.
Safarihoek is newer and more modern than its sister property, Mountain Lodge, which is also found on the reserve. Both are about two hours’ drive from the national park’s Andersson Gate.
We enjoyed our stay at Safarihoek in September 2018, enhanced by staff who were consistently friendly and attentive. In terms of décor, we felt that a few splashes of colour could add character and warmth to the modern style of the large rooms and high-ceilinged main area . Conversely, each of the 11 thatched chalets features a mural of its namesake native tree species on the bedroom wall.
All the chalets come with twin beds or a king-size bed with a mosquito net, air conditioning, a seating area, small writing desk, minibar, coffee station, and en-suite bathroom. Outside each there's a private deck with a table and chairs offering spectacular panoramic views; this is a great spot for a morning coffee, something stronger before dinner or simply to relax with a book between activities.
The chalets are divided into three types:
- Two “standard” chalets, closest to the main area, are also wheelchair-friendly.
- One dedicated family chalet, also close to the main area, has a small living area separating the master bedroom from the children's room, making it perfect for families looking for a little more space.
- Eight “luxury” chalets are larger and more private, being better spaced and further from the main area; they also come with an additional outdoor shower. Two of these chalets connect with an inter-leading door, allowing conversion into a family room if needed.
Although the Etosha Heights Reserve shares a border with the national park, activities at Safarihoek take place on the reserve itself due to the distance to the nearest park gate. (There are plans for access into Etosha from the reserve in the future, but this is a way off.) 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. There are no organised trips to the national park, and while guests are welcome to drive the 70km or so themselves, this isn’t generally recommended.
Fortunately, we were far from disappointed by the wildlife in the private reserve. Sightings on our game drives included several black rhino, elephant and giraffe, as well as general plains game and numerous interesting bird species – with a pygmy falcon standing out as a particular highlight.
For keen photographers or simply those who want a more relaxing activity, Safarihoek has a photographic hide. Accessed by vehicle or a short escorted walk, it was designed in collaboration with a Namibian wildlife photographer on two levels, so that you can observe animals and birds visiting the waterhole – which is floodlit at night – without disturbing them. Due to its orientation it is best visited in the afternoon, as the glare off the water in the mornings makes it hard to see the animals, let alone photograph them. This said, once the sun had moved to the north the hide offered us a unique perspective on the wildlife that came to drink, and provided a thoroughly enjoyable way to while away a couple of hours.
Safarihoek is a solid, modern lodge on a private reserve. While it isn’t a base to visit the national park, it has a high density of wildlife and provides additional flexibility when it comes to activities, including the options of walks and night drives. The excellent photographic hide is also a real bonus. If you are considering a two-centre safari in the vicinity of Etosha, then Safarihoek would be a great option.
- Etosha National Park, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- 2-3 nights to make the most of the hide and activities on offer.
- Safarihoek is on the Etosha Heights Reserve, approximately 70km west of the Andersson Gate to Etosha.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- On our last stay in September 2018, we were generally impressed by the food here. The ever-friendly staff were attentive and, with advanced notice, can cater for most dietary needs.
Breakfast takes the usual form of a buffet of cereals, juices, toast, muffins, fresh fruit, yoghurt, cold meats and cheeses. Omelettes and other eggs, along with bacon and sausages, are cooked to order.
We didn’t have lunch at the lodge on this visit; instead we were treated to a bush picnic while watching elephant frolic in a waterhole on the reserve. Our roasted vegetable frittata came with a selection of cheese, cold meat, bread, droewors and crackers, and was followed by fresh banana bread.
Dinner was a three-course meal, starting with vegetable soup and fresh bread rolls. The main was chicken or a perfectly cooked springbok fillet served with carrots, courgettes (zucchini), steamed potatoes and gravy. This was rounded off with a generous portion of chocolate lava cake with ice cream.
- Family holidays
- In the private Etosha Heights Reserve, Safarihoek Lodge is unusual amongst safari lodges in offering discount rates for children up to the age of 18. This makes it (and its sister properties on the reserve) great value on a family holiday to Namibia.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- For many, the draw of the Etosha Heights Reserve is the chance to see some of Namibia's larger animals. However, with a superb split-level hide and expert guides Safarihoek Lodge also offers some very rewarding birdwatching.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Photography holidays
- Safarihoek Lodge boasts a spectacular split-level hide overlooking a pumped waterhole. Designed by a Namibian photographer in conjunction with the lodge it allows for spectacular closeup photography of the reserve’s animals and birdlife.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Walking safaris
- Safarihoek Lodge offers guided walks for the more adventurous guests. Begin with a short drive from the lodge before the fun starts as you experience a whole new way of finding and viewing animals big and small.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Safarihoek 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
- Additional beds can be requested in advance for families with young children.
- Generally recommended for children
- While Safarihoek has no age limit, the feel here is distinctly adult. We wouldn’t recommend the lodge for families with young children.
- There are numerous balconies, drop-offs and an unfenced, unguarded pool, so children must be supervised at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Safarihoek Lodge
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Safarihoek 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 generator backup system.
- Unlimited WiFi is available in the main area for a N$50 (£2.50) donation to the reserve’s anti-poaching unit.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- 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.
Creating a lion’s Haven
Established in 2016, Safarihoek is located in the Etosha Heights Farm Reserve and is an active contributor to the Etosha Rand Lion Conservation Project, an organisation dedicated to mitigating the human-wildlife conflict in the local areas and protecting the threated species of African Lion. The number of lions is declining as a result of habitat loss, with a number of more than 1000 lions having been killed by wildlife managers or farmers. The aim of the project is to research new ways to protect the felines and stall the plummeting numbers leading to their extinction.
A similar project is developed at Safarihoek Hide, were a local team has developed vulture feeding program to help prevent the poisoning of vultures by farmers.
The lodge is also working with the Namibia National Cheetah survey which researches and monitors cheetah population across the country and aims to implement measures to reduce the decline of the species.
See more great sustainability projects in Namibia
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- 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 gate. An air horn is provided in each chalet to attract attention in case of emergency.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in each chalet and around the main area.
Guided walking safari
- 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.
- 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, South African rand, GB sterling, US dollars and euros.
Other lodges in Etosha National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.