Zebra River Lodge stands in its own small canyon in the Tsaris Mountains
Zebra River Lodge: Our full report
Set in its own canyon in the Naukluft Mountains, Zebra River Lodge is a comfortable former sheep farm offering a friendly welcome. Owned by Jean-Pierre Rambert and run by former owners Geraldine and Louise Fourie, it is well-placed for those wishing to explore the mountains on foot, or to discover something about their interesting geology.
When we last visited Zebra River Lodge in May 2016, they were in the throes of extensive reconstruction. Work on the garden, pool and some of the family rooms had been completed, with construction of additional family rooms in hand.
The accommodation at Zebra River Lodge has evolved and been added to over the years, bringing the total to 16 rooms on our last visit, with more on the way. Rooms come in one of three styles: standard rooms, rock chalets, and family rooms.
- The five Standard rooms are light and airy with traditional German furnishings.These rooms lead off a wide veranda around the fishpond near the main area. Other guests will often walk past the rooms whiilts making their ay around the lodge, so they aren’t the most private rooms here. Each has an en-suite bathroom with a separate toilet.
- The seven Rock chalets are larger rooms with bare stone walls, whose build and design help to keep them cool, even in the heat of the Namibian sun. Along with German-style furniture, most chalets come with a circular en-suite shower room. One of the rock chalets has a bathroom 'cave' with a bath and shower. There were a further 6 of these chalets being built when we visited.
The highest point of the lodge is the largest of the Rock chalets. This is sometimes referred to as the honeymoon suite, it has a huge stand-alone bath and the best views at the lodge.
- For families, there are two types of family room. One option is to take the two rock chalets rooms with an interleading door; the second is one of three newly built family rooms. These newer rooms consist of two twin bedrooms sharing a bathroom, and each also has a private veranda with a table and chairs. There was one more of the new family rooms on the way when we last visited
The lodge now has large sparkling swimming pool beyond the garden for guests to enjoy perhaps after once of the walking trails. The lodges old plunge pool near the main area, has now been converted into a decorative fish pond complete with water feature which nestles nicely into the beautifully planted garden.
The area around Zebra River Lodge is of particular geological interest, as some of the oldest examples of stromatolites (the worlds oldest fossils) and Namacalathus (the earliest known example of life with shells) have been found here. Interested guests can arrange a fossil/geological drive from the lodge. For birdwatchers, the variety of birds found here is another attraction, with resident favourites including black eagles and rosy-faced lovebirds.
That said, the main activities at Zebra River Lodge focus on exploring the local area on foot, with a variety of hiking trails starting from the lodge. They can provide a list of suggested walking trails, and advise you on the one that would suit you best. Options range from the two-and-a-half-hour Quivertree Trail to the five-hour Canyon Way, and a day's hike to some springs. It is also possible to travel part the way to the springs by 4x4, followed by a one-and-a-half-hour walk. For those who wish to take advantage of the coolest part of the day and hike before breakfast, the lodge will give you a snack before you go and then serve a full breakfast for you on your return.
In addition to walking, the lodge offers sundowner trips, and trips to Sossusvlei can be arranged on request, although it is around a two hour drive to get there.
Our viewZebra River Lodge is a very good-value destination and should appeal to those who love walking. It's a relaxing and friendly place, perfectly situated for those who wish to explore the flora and fauna of this area on exceptional walking trails.
Ideal length of stay: Zebra River Lodge makes a great stop for a minimum of two nights to hike - but visitors may stay a lot longer to explore the mountains.
Directions: From Windhoek, follow the B1 south and take the C24 when you reach Rehoboth. Take the D1206 when it splits from the C24 and then cross the C14 at Bullsport onto the D854. From here, take the D850 on the left and follow it for 19km. The lodge is on the right, 5km along the track.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Jean-Pierre Rambert
Staff: Geraldine and Louise Fourie – managers (May 2016)
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: Breakfast is a European buffet with a good selection of yoghurts, cereals, fresh fruit, toast and jams. Cooked breakfast can be ordered from the kitchen on request.
Lunch is currently a set menu with a plan to move to an à la carte menu from July 2016.
When we last stayed here dinner was a thee course home cooked affair. Breads and salads were laid out in a buffet style. We had broccoli soup to start to followed by oryx steak in red wine sauce with wild rice and creamed spinach. The meal was then finished off with a milk tart. Whilst food here isn’t the most stylish food you will find in Namibia but it is hearty, tasty and filling.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10
Drinks included: Drinks are not included. We are told the tap water is drinkable but bottled water can be provided on request. The bar in the main area will provide you with drinks on request throughout your stay.
Walking: Zebra River Lodge is nestled in the picturesque Tsaris Mountains and offers fantastic walking in Namibia. Walks range from 2½ hours to a full day.See more ideas for Walking in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Zebra River Lodge.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at Zebra River Lodge.
Special activities & services: Child-friendly menus can be provided on request.
Equipment: Cots can be provided on request.
Generally recommended for children: Other than the swimming pool, there's not a huge amount to keep children amused here.
Notes: There is an unfenced fishpond and unguarded pool on the property so we recommend that children are supervised by their parents at all times.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: The generator is on morning and evening, 7–9.30am and 5–7.30pm. At other times, a battery system operates to provide 24-hour power in the rooms.
Communications: WiFi is free and available for guests to use in the main area. There is no cellphone reception but the camp can provide a landline for emergency use.
TV & radio: None
Water supply: Borehole
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: The nearest doctor’s clinic is in Sesriem, about two hour drive away. In an emergency, patients would be airlifted to Windhoek.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: The lodge managers sleep on site and there are staff on duty 24 hours a day. The rooms are also lockable.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main areas and outside each room.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: There are no laundry facilities here.
Money: No currency exchange is available here.
Accepted payment on location: Payment in cash is preferred, either in Namibian dollars or South African rand. The lodge will also accept Visa and MasterCard payments, although the line can be unreliable.