Canyon Lodge

Canyon Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
30 chalets
Traveller's rating
Good (89%) From 96 reviews
Children
best for 6+
Open
All year

Canyon Lodge (formerly Cañon Lodge, or even Canon Lodge) lies in the 1,270km2 Gondwana Canyon Park, just 20km from Namibia’s iconic Fish River Canyon. Tucked away from the canyon edge among deep-red granite boulders, or kopjes, the lodge’s lush lawns are an oasis of green in this arid environment.

Canyon Lodge has the most attractive setting of the three camps within the Gondwana Canyon Park, which is also home to the simpler Canyon Roadhouse and Canyon Village.

Dotted amongst the huge boulders at Canyon Lodge, and reached along stone pathways, are 30 relatively rustic chalets. Some of these are crafted to incorporate the rocks as an internal feature, lending an individual, almost cave-like feel, yet all follow the same broad formula. Outside, each has a small sitting area, with a stone table and metal chairs, while inside, they are quite rustic but comfortable, with twin beds mosquito nets and bedside tables. En-suite bathrooms are large enough for a hot shower, flush toilet and hand basin, as well as a mirror and shelves, and toiletries are provided.

The Fish River area is known for is extremes of temperature. In the hot summer months the chalets are kept pleasantly cool by their stone walls and floors, and thatched roofs – aided by air conditioning and electric fans. During Namibia's coolest months, hot-water bottles are placed in the beds to help take the edge off the chilly evenings. However, the small windows make them quite dark inside, and on our last visit in May 2018 we couldn’t help but think that a little more natural light would be welcome.

At the heart of Canyon Lodge is an old farmhouse, which today plays host to the reception and curio shop – stocked with a variety of locally made items – plus a large restaurant with individual tables, a separate, well-stocked bar and a self-service tea and coffee station. The building is mostly of natural stone, so again feels rather dark, but equally this helps to keep the interior cool in summer, and there are several cosy fireplaces for those colder winter nights.

Running along the back of the building is a large veranda where individual tables are set out under shady, tall camelthorn trees – a great place for a meal or just to sit and enjoy the views.

On many visits to Canyon Lodge we have consistently been struck by the immaculate garden: bursting with colour, including beautifully kept green lawns, and even a small mini-golf course! Quite an achievement considering that the lodge sits in the heart of a desert environment. Indeed, gardening is important to the lodge's owners, who take pride in their 'self-sufficiency' credentials. The grass and plants here are kept alive with recycled and treated grey water, and many of the salads and vegetables served in the restaurant are grown on their farm at Kalahari Farmhouse.

A considerable walk from the main area, in a peaceful and isolated spot down a long pathway beyond the chalets, is a stunning turquoise swimming pool with beautiful views. Comfortable loungers and plenty of shade make this a good place to relax, and there's also an honesty bar and towels for guests to use.

Activities at Canyon Lodge are often arranged in conjunction with its sister properties Canyon Village and Canyon Roadhouse. Options include a sunrise walk, a 6km morning hike, drives to Fish River Canyon, nature drives in the park and sundowner activities. That said, organisation of the activities here was a little haphazard on our last visit, so we would recommend booking the night before to guarantee space and ensure that everyone know what you are intending to do. That said, most travellers with their own car will want to drive to the viewpoints of the Fish River Canyon, just 23km away, to take in the spectacle and explore for themselves. Despite the scale of the canyon, there is little development in this area, and you don’t need to go far to get away from other travellers.

Our view

Canyon Lodge is probably our first choice on the southern side of Fish River Canyon for most travellers. The chalets are designed to fit among and between huge granite rocks, and the lodge's main area has quite a “cosy farmhouse” atmosphere. We think that it's a lovely place to stay for exploring the canyon, either driving yourself or on one of the lodge's guided trips. If you’re visiting in winter, just be aware that this area can get quite cold.

Geographics

Location: Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights

Directions: Canyon Lodge is in the Gondwana Canyon Park near to the Hobas entrance of the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and the main Fish River Canyon viewpoint.

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: The Gondwana Collection

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: When we last visited Canyon Lodge in May 2018, meals were simple and a little hit and miss. That said, many of the ingredients are fresh from the Gondwana self-sufficiency centre at Kalahari Farmhouse, including homemade salamis and cheeses, and freshly grown salads. Over the years, we have found that the lodge is attentive to dietary requirements and requests.

Breakfast is served buffet-style – a selection of fresh fruit, yoghurt from their own dairy, along with cereals, cold meats, cheese and home-baked bread. There are also, hot dishes.

Lunch is from an à la carte menu, with international-style dishes. There are sandwiches and salads for those who want a lighter snack as well as full meals such as chicken schnitzel and chips. We didn’t eat lunch on our most recent trip but we have previously enjoyed delicious chicken pitta with chips.

At dinner, a starter and dessert are served to the table, with a buffet for the main course. Following our vegetable soup our buffet was a selection of fried beef steak, vegetarian pasta, salads, boiled potatoes and cheese. Dessert was a pannacotta. The food was generally tasty, if occasionally overcooked as is often the case with large buffets.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10

Drinks included: Drinks are at extra charge, to be paid direct at the lodge.

Further dining info: No

Special interests

Walking: Hiking at Canyon Lodge offers views across the plateau towards Fish River Canyon; in winter (Apr–Aug) the 'morning walk' covers 6km with a knowledgeable guide. For those after gentler walking in Namibia the “sunrise walk” (year-round) may appeal.

See more ideas for Walking in Namibia

Children

Attitude towards children: All children are welcome at Canyon Lodge.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: Canyon Lodge has a cot and a highchair for loan to guests on request.

Notes: Canyon Lodge is set among high granite kopjes which, while spectacular, could pose a danger to children who are tempted to climb. Children must be supervised at all times by their parents.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is a generator back-up in case of mains power failure, although in May 2018 this was rather slow to kick in and we were left without electricity – and thus air conditioning – for over an hour.

Communications: The main areas have free WiFi.

TV & radio: There is no television or radio at the lodge

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: All bathrooms have plentiful hot running water and flush toilets.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Keetmanshoop. In case of any emergency, guests can be airlifted to Windhoek.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: Canyon Lodge does not have a security guard, but there is a night bell at the entrance to the reception area which will alert the manager on duty.

Fire safety: There are no fire extinguishers outisde the chalets and in the main area.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: The lodge offers laundry facilities at an extra charge.

Money: Canyon Lodge does not have foreign exchange facilities. There is a small electronic safe in each chalet.

Accepted payment on location: As well as Visa and Mastercard, the lodge accepts cash in Namibian dollars and South African rand.

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