Desert Horse Inn

Desert Horse Inn: Our full report

Rooms
30 rooms
Traveller's rating
Good (89%) From 41 reviews
Children
Best for 8+
Open
All year

The owner-run Desert Horse Inn stands on the Klein-Aus Vista reserve, which is reminiscent of a 'Western' movie set. It's about 1,400m above sea level, in a totally unspoilt semi-desert area, with wide-open plains against a backdrop of mountains. As well as offering some excellent walking, Klein-Aus Vista works as a base to visit Lüderitz, some 125km to the west.

The Desert Horse Inn is one of four very different properties on the Klein-Aus Vista reserve, including the more remote and rustic Eagle's Nest and an entirely separate campsite.

The 30 rooms at the inn are set up in pairs in individual bungalows whose red brick blends in with the red Kalahari sand. Each has its own private entrance and veranda (with a wooden table and two chairs), a design that helps the lodge to feel small and intimate – although note that the inn sometimes hosts quite large parties of guests.

Inside, large windows let plenty of natural light into the open-plan rooms, which are broadly similar in design and style, including a small lounge area, a fridge, tea/coffee facilities, AC and a ceiling fan. Simple handmade furniture features single beds with bedside tables, wooden luggage racks and a large wooden wardrobe. Three of the rooms have an extra single bed, while another three have 2 twins and a bunk bed – ideal for families. Spacious en-suite bathrooms have a flush toilet, washbasin and stand-alone shower.

The two-storey main building at the Desert Horse Inn, built entirely of wood, houses the reception, lounge and curio shop on the lower floor. The whole place is beautifully decorated with natural materials from the surrounding area, from camelthorn seedpods to ostrich eggs, feathers and other natural artefacts. Next to the doorway leading from the bar area to the guest toilets there’s even a carved tree trunk serving as a wine stand.

The lounge area has comfortable sofas and armchairs, with old-fashioned luggage serving as coffee tables, and animal-skin rugs on the floors lending an old safari-camp feel. It’s a great place to relax, perhaps with a book, or head for the wood-topped bar, tucked away in a dark corner and surrounded by bar stools. It is well stocked with a good choice of spirits, local beer, wines and various soft drinks. An open archway leads to the reception and curio shop which showcases crafts made by the people of Aus.

Upstairs in the restaurant, large glass windows afford a 270° view of the plains. Guests sit at individual tables beneath high ceilings supported by wooden beams, which give a feeling of spaciousness, while rich polished wood adds warmth and a tree adds character. On our last visit in May 2018, the outside deck under a shaded roof was our choice spot for lunch, while taking in those panoramic views.

Down some steps you’ll come to a sparkling horseshoe-shaped pool – a nice addition when it’s hot, although we can’t see the unheated water being too popular in the cooler winter months (July–October).

Activities at Desert Horse Inn, as at Eagle's Nest , include guided sundowner drives, scenic drives both on the reserve and to find the feral horses, mountain-bike trails and self-guided walks on trails ranging from 4km to 20km. Klein-Aus is also a popular base for self-drivers, with Lüderitz and the ghost town of Kolmanskop easily visited on a day trip from here, perhaps looking out for the horses on the way.

Our view

The Desert Horse Inn is a welcoming and homely lodge. It makes a convenient stop for those travelling between Sossusvlei and Fish River Canyon, but if you have a little extra time and want to enjoy the reserve, search out the feral horses or visit Lüderitz and Kolmanskop, we'd suggest at least a couple of nights here.

Geographics

Location: Luderitz, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights

Directions: Klein-Aus Vista is just off the B4 outside Aus, 121km east of the coastal town of Lüderitz.

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

Key personnel

Owner: Independent/Owner-run – managed by the Gondwana Collection.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: We have found the food here to be more wholesome than fine dining. This said we have always enjoyed eating here.

A buffet breakfast includes a wide selection of fresh fruit, home-made juices, fresh-baked breads and muffins, with hot dishes cooked to order.

The à la carte lunch menu features light meals such as sandwiches and salads. We especially enjoyed their home-made fresh juices, which are bottled on the farm and are on sale in Lüderitz.

We didn’t eat here on our last visit in May 2018 but dinner is usually a three-course buffet with 2–3 choices of game meat, a wide selection of fresh vegetables and fresh salad. On a previous visit we enjoyed spicy rice, a potjie kos (farmers' stew), pork chops, French beans and cauliflower with a lovely creamy white sauce. Dessert was a lovely cheesecake served with vanilla ice-cream.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10

Drinks included: No drinks included.

Further dining info: No

Special interests

Family holidays: For a family safari holiday in Namibia, consider the Desert Horse Inn, which has no age restrictions. Set in Klein-Aus Vista's semi-desert reserve, it has a relaxed, informal atmosphere, with plenty of space for children to run around.

See more ideas for Family holidays in Namibia

Photography holidays: On a photographic holiday to Namibia the feral horses of the Namib and the deserted ghost town of Kolmanskop are certain to be highlights. Desert Horse Inn makes a great base to take in both these attractions.

See more ideas for Photography holidays in Namibia

Walking: Klein-Aus Vista reserve has seven walking trails, ranging from 4km to just over 20km, so makes a good choice for guests interested in hiking in Namibia. Note that April to mid October, when it is cooler, is the ideal time for hiking.

See more ideas for Walking in Namibia

Children

Attitude towards children: Yes children of all ages are welcome.

Property’s age restrictions: No age restriction

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: Whilst this is a relatively safe environment, parental supervision of children is still recommended at all times due to high drop offs and the un-fenced u guarded pool.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: There is power in the rooms overnight although excessive use may drain the batteries, and hairdryers cannot be used.

Communications: There is a telephone in the reception area that guests can borrow and pay for direct. There is free WiFi here too although it can be somewhat unreliable.

TV & radio: It is sometimes possible to watch major sports or news events on television at the Desert Horse Inn.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: There are flush toilets and hot and cold running water in all the bathrooms.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care: There is a clinic in Aus, but the nearest doctor is in Lüderitz, about two hours’ drive away.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: Like most similar places, Klein-Aus Vista doesn't use any form of armed security.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main areas at Desert Horse Inn.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Possible at an extra charge.

Money: There is a small electronic safe in each chalet.

Accepted payment on location: Klein-Aus Vista takes cash in Namibian dollars or South African rand, and both Visa and Mastercard. Travellers’ cheques are not accepted.

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