Reviews of Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review
We stayed in one of the wooden chalets on stilts and would recommend this, both for the room and the wonderful views. A torch is useful for the walk to and from the main building for dinner.
I went on the early morning game drive and was the only one on it - perfect as I could ask the very helpful guide to stop whenever I wanted to take photos. My wife didn't accompany me as we'd just heard that our granddaughter had been born (late, should have been before we left home!) and remained glued to the internet. So grateful for the wi-fi and mobile phone signal which we didn't get on other parts of the trip.
Only disappointment was not seeing the meerkats as this seems to be promoted as a highlight at this location. Questions about this were met with ambiguous replies, we wonder if they're no longer there but they're not admitting it?
Although the staff were friendly this was the least personal of all the private lodges.
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review
Magical location. Arrived around sunset and the staff couldn't have been more friendly. Food was excellent and the kids loved the buffet style meals. Bushman walk and horse riding a must as was the cheetah feeding. Saw many more animals on the game drive than we expected.
The staff were exceptionally good with the children (twins aged 8)
Overnight stop en route to Fish River
An excellent overnight stop. Cannot comment on what it would be like for a longer stay.
Enjoyed seeing the feeding of the farm's orphan cheetahs, and the "sundowner".
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review
We had a lovely stay - it is in a beautiful setting, and we had great room with a fabulous view.Read more about the whole safari
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review
We loved it here! We did the evening and morning game drives which were excellent, with our guide George. We got to see some cool animals and had a nice time being outside in the reserve.
They have a very natural piece of land, very unadultered, which is fantastic. The food was delicious and the room was comfortable.
Good stop over
Nice place to stay when travelling south. We stayed in dune cabin which are really lovely. Great views. Food very good. Afternoon tea and cakes provided.
Game drive very pleasant and best sundowner overlooking desert scenery, but guide was a lacking a bit in enthusiasm. We did see more animals than expected including giraffe which was quite special. No Meercats as grass too high, but did see a mongoose close to reception. Unfortunately water was not working due to damaged pipe the morning we left so unable to use bath with a wonderful view! Probably a good thing as water a scarce asset in Namibia, but a shower would have been good before a 6 hour drive.
Horse riding looked fun, but we only had an overnight stop.
Welcoming staff, nice accommodation.
Would recommend the game drive. Sadly cheetahs only kept as a tourist attraction but they are well looked after.
Look out for the friendly springbok around the lodges. There is also an oryx which likes to say hello but he was off on his wanders.
Bagatelle Game Ranch
1. Very comfortable chalet with a beautiful bath, well-equipped mini-bar, lovely setting.
2. Ceiling fans in the chalet, windows and doors that opened wide.
2. Food was excellent, both dinner and breakfast. Also had tea/snacks in the afternoon.
3. Kitchen and dining room staff were very good - attentive, friendly, helpful. My waitress was there for afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast. She obviously works hard. The cook was there for dinner and for breakfast. Did a great job making toast fried in bacon fat over the fire when the electricity failed at breakfast.
1. My chalet was quite far from the main office and there was no internal telephone. So if you wanted something, you had to walk down to the main office (about 10 mins) to get service.
2. The chalet I was staying in is, I think, supposed to be the most luxurious of their accommodations. However, to get there you have to drive part-way up a hill of heavy sand, park and then walk the rest of the way to the top and then wade 100 metres or so through more very heavy sand to get to the chalet. I found it heavy going and inconvenient, plus my shoes got full of sand.
3. There were no lights on near the chalets at night and it was impossible to find your way without a torch ( not supplied that I could find).
4. There was no hot water in the chalet for all the time I was there.
I thought the place tried too hard to provide luxury trimmings, such as fancy toiletries and stylish decor, without making sure that the basics worked, e.g. no hot water, a lamp in my chalet did not work, no torch, they provide a beautiful bath and then put up a notice in the bathroom that basically says, please take short showers and don't use the bath. Sporadic electrical failures, a fan in the dining room that made a dreadful noise.
When I arrived, hot and tired, I was accosted by a receptionist who seemed to want only to sell me tickets for the upcoming "Activities". The next one was a game drive at 4.30pm and the time was already about 4.10pm. So I wasn't going to make it, particularly with her keeping me there talking.
Their roads are heavy sand and definitely require 4-wheel drive vehicles. It would be nice if their literature mentioned it.
Two things that detracted from my pleasure, which I realize were only temporary,but still, I think it is part of not paying attention to basic comforts.
1. They were doing construction work around the pool and public out-door areas. The noise of the back-hoe and power tools could be heard even in my chalet; they were deafening anywhere near the pool. It was hot and I would have liked to have had a swim.
2. The area had had a lot of rain just before I arrived, and the result was a plague of insects which showed up after dark. The problem was that they got into the chalet despite its being shut up and also under the mosquito netting, even though the net was tightly secured as possible. Not that I mind insects particularly, but the sheer numbers were overwhelming. There were so many of them that they were in my face, hair, mouth, underfoot. And I heard the next morning that others had been similarly afflicted. It would be nice if the mosquito nets had kept them out.
Expert Africa comments
Bagatelle Ranch thanked this traveller for her feedback as it assists them in improving what they offer whenever and wherever possible. They thanked her for her positive comments and apologized for any inconvenience caused by the issues this traveller found; noting that they strive to take care of all their guests, from the basics to the extra touches.
In particular, Bagatelle Ranch responded with the following:
They were sorry that there was no hot water in her chalet during her stay. The Bagatelle team encourages guests to inform them as soon as possible should this happen as they can usually quickly repair or replace the geyser thermostat to ensure this is only a very temporary issue.
They noted that the standing lamps in the corner of the dune chalets are fitted with energy saving bulbs which can take a while to brighten, and thus may appear not to work. They have changed the bulbs so that the light now comes on quickly.
Bagatelles Dune Chalets are built on stilts atop a dune, which means they have lovely views and are the most private rooms available. The dune they are built into has sands that do shift. The sands around the chalets are stacked up again on occasion, but this shifting sand does mean that footpaths to the rooms arent possible. Guests in 2WD vehicles are assisted with their luggage to the Chalets with Bagatelles own 4WD vehicle. Guests in their own 4WD vehicle can also request this service. Bagatelle has Strohballe Chalets set below the dune, and Garden Chalets by the main lodge for guests who would prefer a shorter walk from the main areas.
Bagatelle doesnt have phones in the rooms, but they do offer torches on loan from reception when these are requested. Bagatelle will now inform guests of this service either on arrival, or by adding a notice to the rooms. Each chalet has an outside lamp and the walk between the chalets and the main area is lit by path lamps at regular intervals.
Namibia had a period of rain shortly before this guests visit and that did bring out a lot of bugs. Bug spray and insect repellent are provided in each room for guests use in such an event, which is thankfully rare. The lodge team will make the availability of these sprays clearer to their guests on arrival.
The baths provided in the Dune Chalets can be used by guests without any issue. There is a small notice in the bathroom describing the Kalahari Desert as a semi-desert and noting that water can be a scarce commodity in these regions. This note is just to make guests aware of the situation, and not to put them off having a bath if they choose to do so.
All the fans in the lodges main dining room were recently replaced prior to this guests stay at Bagatelle. One of the replaced fans did initially make a noise when it was on its highest setting. This has since been rectified.
The reception team and guides at Bagatelle endeavour to ensure a balance between making sure all guests are aware of the activities on offer; giving them a chance to join the activities before they head out; and leaving the guests to relax at the lodge and just enjoy the setting. Unfortunately, in this instance the reception ladys attempt to ensure that this guest didnt miss out on the afternoon drive when she appeared interested was misconstrued to be a hard sell. Bagatelle apologized that it was portrayed this way.
Bagatelle apologized for the noise that disturbed this guests stay. They were in the process of building their new salt water swimming pool and did their best to keep the machinery noise limited to a time when guests were out on activities. They did comment that had this guest requested the option to swim, she would have been given the privacy to do so.
All too brief visit to Bagatelle
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch was very pleasant, with good food, but again I question the need to drive so far off the road for just a one night stay. It was late afternoon by the time we arrived so we were a bit late to join in any of the activities and we had to leave quite early the next day to get back on the main road to drive to the airport.
Our Dune Chalet was very pleasant with a lovely view over the dunes: however,we had to trudge through quite a lot of dune to get to it, even from the car parking area. I think walkways should be provided - and umbrellas! The bed was also the least comfortable bed we had in Namibia - too soft.
None of the windows are netted so we could not open any windows at night to allow the breeze through, due to the number of kamikaze moths trying to get in. In fact, there were quite a lot of bugs altogether!
The ranch was in the middle of renovations, so the pool area should be more inviting soon - when we were there it was rather bleak.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa forwarded these travellers' comments to Bagatelle who thanked them for their feedback.
They explained that the Dune Chalets (which these travellers stayed in) are set on a semi-permanent dune. The upper layers of sand shift around, so from time to time the lodge fills up the area around the chalet with sand. For this reason they cannot put pathways on the dune, as they will be permanently under sand. The Dune Chalets are built on stilts for this reason.
The lodge pointed out that they do have umbrellas available in the reception area for guest use.
Bagatelle are looking into the mattress softness, as this is the first time it has been brought to their attention.
The windows at Bagatelle are not netted, but there are mosquito nets over the beds. The large number of moths there during these travellers stay is due to the best rainfall in the area for a long time.
The lodge has recently renovated their pool, including the pathway and a thatch roof.
A surprising place among red dunes
We used Bagatelle as a transit stop for one night en-route back to Windhoek and it proved so attractive we wished we had been able to stay longer. The camp is located in its own large private game reserve which used to be a ranch. The accommodation is in well appointed, spacious, framed tented chalets safari camp style, and ours was high on a red sandy dune with a pleasing view. As usual we enjoyed good hospitality and good food (buffet self-service) - good as buffets go but not "gourmet".
Activities here are particularly varied and interesting ranging from trips by 4x4 through the game park which extends many km (where a large variety of wild life can be seen in attractive surroundings), to a "bushmen walk" focussing on bushmen culture, to seeing some orphaned cheetahs that are kept in their own very large enclosure being fed.
There is also an observatory with an interesting lecture available on astronomy in the context of the southern hemisphere night sky.