Reviews of Safarihoek Lodge
Wildlife sightings and reviews
33 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Safarihoek Lodge and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Safarihoek Lodge "
After the drive she drove us to the hide overlooking the waterhole for a surprise BBQ dinner along with the other guests. This was was nice but very cramped with hardly any space between each guest sitting in a long table.
We had a further 2 game drives the following day which although good we didn't see nearly as much as we did on our first drive so a bit hit and miss. Although we did see a spitting Zebra Cobra with head up which Mumsy said was a rare sighting and has requested from us the excellent photo my husband managed to capture of it!
We didn't see the member of staff that greeted us so warmly upon our arrival again and have to say some of the staff that were on duty the 2nd day and indeed breakfast on our last morning (terrible service) were not so friendly" See all these reviews: 21n in Namibia
"Safarihoek Lodge review"
"Safarihoek Lodge review"
Safarihoek Lodge is absolutely beautiful. The lounge and dining area are very comfortable, clean, well designed and contemporary. There is always a little snack and drink station set up with cookies, dried fruit, marshmallows. The staff in the lodge itself were outstanding–they were so welcoming to us and our son, always available to make a coffee or help with questions. The food was very good at every meal and the chef was especially wonderful–coming out to chat with me to plan meals for my vegetarian son and myself and offering to make custom options. This was very special to us. They even had a beautiful high chair with animals painted on it for our son set up at our table. We very much enjoyed our meals and all of our time spent hanging out in the lodge area.
The family chalet was enormous and well appointed. The beds were very comfortable and balcony was amazing with a sweeping view of Etosha Heights. The only things I would ask the lodge to improve on is better toiletries for guests (shampoo, conditioner, etc) as well as a shelf to put things in the shower. Also, for having these enormous balconies, the furniture on the balcony from which to enjoy the view was very limited- only two very basic chairs. But again, we were very happy with our chalet and these are just areas of opportunity. They also had a wonderful set up for our son, and put a beautiful crib next to our bed with mosquito netting going around it, and a soft little children's blanket.
The photography hide was outstanding–the nicest, best-appointed one I have been to. It has two stories- one with higher up view where you could enjoy the fresh air and scope out what wildlife might be approaching, and the lower level perfect for those ground-level perspective shots for photography. It even had two bathrooms and charging areas/plugs, and bed-type lounge areas. Really a very comfortable place to spend time. We had some nice Hartebeest sightings from the hide.
The very large negative: I will caveat this by saying I think we would have had a very different experience if we were assigned any of the other guides at Safarihoek - the others came up and introduced themselves in the lodge, joked around with our toddler, and were so engaging and eager to converse with us. What we experienced with our guide, however, was probably our worst guiding experience ever. I have never been on any drive in which I had so few opportunities to take photographs, despite his introductory speech that stressed that he knew we were photographers and would be happy to take requests and adjust to our views and help us get great photos. We spent our entire first night's drive going very fast around the property, with little care taken for extreme bumpy roads with our 2 year old son in the vehicle.
He finally had a call from a different vehicle and we had an incredible lion sighting with cubs–we sat and watched them for a long while and got some great shots. That was our only quality opportunity for photographs despite going on three drives with him. After that first experience, I made sure to be very specific in the morning that we would like him to stop anytime he sees running animals of any species as we would like to photograph them. We passed by multiple antelope species and wildebeest in what would have been gorgeous shots, but he still did not stop. Once, hartebeest were running right in front of our vehicle in this incredible scene and he was not going to stop on his own. My husband had to say "can you stop" loudly about 4-5 times before he finally stopped completely and we missed the shots.
The other several times I had to ask him to please stop for us, he did not do some basic things guides everywhere else would do–he never turned off the vehicle to eliminate shake. He would be very slow to respond to requests to stop. He also left several times while I was still shooting and would never ask if we were ready or done. He also completely missed any opportunity to try to engage with our toddler. We gave several opportunities that most good guides would have capitalized on–telling him that our son was curious about which animal's poop that was, and he answered the question once for him, but despite us talking about it and enanging our son in that vein, the guide never again mentioned it or told our son what it was. (For comparison sake–at the Frans Indongo lodge, immediately upon hearing us make this comment- the guide jumped out of the vehicle, grabbed a rhino poop and brought it to show my son and explain how he could tell it was white rhino poop). He also skipped doing sundowner drinks with us both drives and never commented on it or explained why. Again-the other guides we met in the lodge seemed so friendly and engaging,
I think we just had truly terrible luck which left us with a very bad experience. I was so sad to leave this beautiful place with hardly any photos from our drives." See all these reviews: 9n in Namibia
"Safarihoek Lodge review"
The chalets all have views over one of the waterholes, they have private decks, a kitchenette and an outdoor shower. Everything was well laid out and very comfortable. The lodge itself is a beautiful, relaxed space to have a drink or a swim and view the waterhole.
We loved Safarihoek in June but suspect it will really shine in the drier months when more animals from Etosha are looking for water away from the Etosha crowds. The manmade waterholes here are very picturesque particularly compared to neighboring Etosha NP and it has an outstanding photography hide near one of them. It was interesting that given 7 years ago this was a hunting lodge, we saw so many of the elusive species here such as Eland and Rhino. We also expected the animals to be more skittish but they seem to be relaxing. As photographers we fully intend to return here." See all these reviews: 15n in Namibia; 7n in Zambia; 5n in Rwanda; 1n in South Africa
"Safarihoek Lodge review"
Spotted great wildlife. The lodge itself is rather modern very different from the classics lodges. Our room was super with view to the Pond and shower outside. The common areas could be improved in terms of decorations.
Service is very good but I think there is room for improvement for the food." See all these reviews: 13n in Namibia
The drive to the lodge was interesting as you drive through (?alongside) several other private areas, at least one of which designated for hunting. As we drove along the road we saw giraffe, kudu and mongeese as well as the most beautiful cattle we have ever seen (seriously, they were gorgeous! - no idea what breed but, certainly, not one we had seen before). We were warmly greeted on arrival by the manager (TJ), Mike and others who, between them, efficiently checked us in, talked us through everything we needed to know and took our bags to our beautiful room. The main area has really good wifi, is spacious and airy with comfortable seating and is beautifully decorated - and absolutely spotlessly clean. There is always a member of staff on hand to help out or serve a drink and they could not have been more friendly.
As I said, our room was beautiful with a lovely view which included the waterhole (though that is a little distance away and binoculars would be helpful if you want to see the animals in better detail). All fittings and furnishings were of a very high standard. The bathroom was fantastic and included an outdoor shower.
The food was exceptional for every meal and all members of staff (chefs included) seemed genuinely concerned to ensure that you enjoyed the meal. In addition to the main meals, absolutely delicious snacks were laid out in great quantity every afternoon. Hot drinks were permanently available.
We will definitely return here and would recommend it to anyone." See all these reviews: 17n in Namibia; 3n in Botswana
"Safarihoek, Etosha Heights"
The area of the private reserve is vast with a common border with the Etosha National Park. The game fence is breached in several places and the there is free flow of animals in both directions. Our guide - Romon - was tremendously enthusiastic and knowledgable and went to amazing lengths to get us good sightings.
It is often said that March towards the end of the rainy season is not great for game - maybe its not so easy as the game disperses to use widely accessible seasonal water - but there is plenty to see and we were delighted." See all these reviews: 12n in Namibia
"Safarihoek Lodge review"
This reserve, with a landscape that does not really resembles Etosha NP proper, was a pleasant surprise. Although the camp is easily accessible by self-drivers they do not drive through the reserve themselves but participate in the guided activities.
We came here for one major reason, namely that this park features white and black rhinos. And indeed, we saw both of these species several times, thanks largely to the perseverance of our guide Ramon. Besides seeing all the usual suspects, such as springbok, blue wildebeest, zebras and giraffes, we also had several nice encounters with a coalition of three male lions, and on our second day here, we had an experience that we never had before. On a drive to the western boundary of the reserve we encountered a pride of lions consisting of several adult females, 2 grown-up males, several subadults and 2 cubs, altogether there were like 8 or 9 lions. The males stayed pretty much in the background, but they roared ferociously. The animal closest to us was an adult female next to an adolescent male. Even we could sense that the female was not too happy to see us. She just stood there and gave us a scrutinizing look. After 3 or 4 minutes, she and then the whole rest of the pride decided to turn the tables and they started to chase us! Ramon, our guide, immediately started the engine and got us the hell out of there: First, he drove in reverse (luckily those Toyota Landcruisers appear to be much faster than regular sedans) and then did a 180 degree turn. We and the other two guests in the vehicle were quite eager to hear what he had to say about this.
Well, since he never saw this pride of lions before, he guessed that they probably just moved in from Etosha, and he assumed that they most likely had a bad experience with cars recently. To me that made sense, because according to him, there were rangers operating in the area to protect the resident rhino population. These rangers might not have shown the lions the proper respect, who knows. And now, this was their act of retribution, and Ramon was not convinced that this was just a mock charge. As scary as that might have been it did not prevent us from seeking out lions during the rest of our trip.
I would like to mention another commendable fact: Our guide Ramon consistently managed to position the vehicle in such a way that I could photograph the animals at eye level (rather than from above).
The rooms, the amenities, the service and the food in this camp were all very good if not excellent. But this is not our priority when traveling to Africa. We don’t come here for good food or luxury accommodation, but for encounters with animals and people." See all these reviews: 20n in Namibia; 15n in Botswana
"Safarihoek Lodge review"
Mike our guide was without a doubt the highlight of Safarihoek. In all our previous trips across southern Africa we never met anyone like him. His enthusiasm was energizing, knowledge exceptional and his humour ever present. Because Etosha Heights is a private reserve, the possibilities for game drives are greater than in Etosha. I'd like to highlight two:
On the first one we came across two black rhinos in the distance. Mike however wanted us to experience the beautiful animals a little closer. Long story short; we ended up just a few metres from these usually shy and potentially agressive animals (a mother and a calf). Totally at ease they let themselves be observed for at least 15 minutes without ever being disturbed. It might have been something to do with Mike talking to just about every animal and showing them respect in his own unique way.
On the second one we spotted two large male lions and decided to stay with them for a couple of minutes. These lions started roaring, which in itself is pretty impressive, but even more so when a third one answered. These three lions teamed up, started walking and decided to take over the territory of a fourth one. We followed the three brothers for a long time (luckily we already had a night drive with Mike planned) and at one time we lost track of them. Eventually they appeared behind us unexpectedly, which was quite an adrenaline boost. It never came to a confrontation (they scared the one away) and the lions just kept walking and roaring, marking their new territory once in a while. Probably a once in a lifetime experience, even Mike hadn't witnessed this before. It was the longest and most exciting game drive we ever had.
Of course, our Safarihoek experience is coloured by these experiences and the fact that we were the only ones. Still; the staff, the park and the conservation philosophy behind it all are great assets and definitely make us want to go back." See all these reviews: 16n in Namibia
"Safarihoek Lodge review"
Stunning rooms and luxurious lobby as well as the pool
Wonderful food and really really professional service
Beautiful view of a cistern (sic meaning waterhole) a bit far away but a lovely view
We went out for evening and morning activities with more professional guidance
We located black rhinos, lions, chitas (sic meaning cheetah) during action and much more
The order included epilene all inclusive of laundry we received with a good smell" See all these reviews: 16n in Namibia
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