Canyon Lodge

Canyon Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
30 bungalows
Traveller's rating
Good (89%) From 94 reviews
Children
best for 6+
Open
All year

Canyon Lodge (fromerly Cañon Lodge, or even Canon Lodge) is situated in the 1,270km2 Gondwana Canyon Park, just 20km from Namibia’s iconic Fish River Canyon. Set away from the canyon edge the lodge’s lush lawns are an oasis of green in this arid environment.

Stone pathways lead to each of Canyon Lodge's 30 chalets, which are dotted amongst huge granite boulders, or kopjies. Some of the chalets have been crafted to make these rocks an internal feature giving each an individual feel. Despite their individual construction all the chalets follow the same broad formula. Outside each has its own small sitting area, with a stone table and metal chairs. Whilst inside, the chalets are quite rustic but furnished with all the essentials for a comfortable stay. Each has twin beds, with mosquito nets, an electric fan, air conditioning and bedside tables on either side.

The Fish River area is known for is extreme range of temperatures; in the hot summer months the chalet interiors are kept pleasantly cool by their stone walls and floors, and thatched roofs. However, the small windows make them quite dark inside, and on our last visit in May 2018 we couldn’t help but thinking that the rooms could benefit from a little more natural light. During Namibia's coolest months, hot-water bottles are placed in the beds to help take the edge off the chilly evenings.

All of the chalets at Canyon Lodge have an en-suite bathroom. Whilst these aren’t large there is enough space for a hot-and-cold shower, flush toilet and hand basin. They also have a mirror and shelves, with toiletries provided.

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, and a separate, well-stocked bar. There's also a self-service tea and coffee station. The building is mostly of natural stone, so again feels rather dark, but then again this helps keep the interior cool in the 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 our 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. All the gardens are kept alive with recycled and treated gray water. Indeed, gardening is important to the lodge's owners, who take pride in their 'self-sufficiency' credentials, many of the salads and vegetables served in the restaurant are grown on the farm at Kalahari Farmhouse.

A considerable walk from the main area, in a peaceful and isolated spot down a long pathway past 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 morning hike (approx. 6km), drives to Fish River Canyon, Nature drives in the nature park and sundowner activities. We found on our last visit that the organisation of the activities here was a little haphazard so we would recommend booking the night before to guarantee space and ensure that everyone know what you are intending to do. Furthermore we can’t help but feel that most travellers with their own car will want to drive to the viewpoints of the Fish River Canyon to take in the spectacle and explore for themselves. Given the enormity of the canyon the lack of development here is somewhat surprising and those exploring on their own don’t need to go far to get away form any other travellers doing the same.

Our view

The Canyon Lodge is probably our first choice on the southern side of the canyon for most travellers –the rooms have been designed well to fit in amongst and between huge granite rocks. The lodge's main area has quite a 'cosy farmhouse' atmosphere; we think that it's a lovely place to stay for exploring Fish River Canyon. Being close to the canyon, it is easy to drive yourself there, although there's also the option to join one of the lodge's guided trips. If visiting in winter, just be aware that it can get quite cold.

Geographics

Location: Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights

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

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. Many of the ingredients consisted of fresh products from the Gondwana self-sufficiency centre at Kalahari Farmhouse, including homemade salamis and cheeses, and freshly grown salads.

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

Lunch is from an à la carte menu, with international-style cuisine available. 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 last trip but we have previously enjoyed delicious chicken pitta with chips.

Dinner consists of a starter and desert served to the table, while main is a buffet. We had vegetable soup to start; the buffet was a selection of fried beef steak, vegetarian pasta, salads, boild potatoes and cheese. Desert was a panna cotta. Generally the food was tasty, although occasionally over cooked as is often the case with large buffets.

We have found that historically they are attentive to dietary requirements and requests here.

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: Children staying at Canyon Lodge can participate in a number of activities, from horseriding (young children are led by a member of staff) to scenic nature drives.

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

Notes: Canyon Lodge is set among high granite kopjies 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 incase of mains power failure, although on out last visit in May 2018 this was rather slow to kick in and we were left without electricity (AC) for over an hour./

Communications: There is a central telephone in the main reception area for guests' use and flexi-call cards (pre-paid phone credit) can be purchased at the lodge. 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 and accepts travellers' cheques only in South African rand.

Accepted payment on location: The lodge accepts Visa and MasterCard payments. Cash payments may be made in Namibian dollars and South African rand only.

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