North of Karibib and Usakos, is one of Namibia’s most popular tourist drawcards, the volcanic Erongo mountain range, of which the western peaks rise 2,320m above sea level. This roughly circular massif, dominates the flat plains west of Omaruru and gives the Erongo region its name. The Erongo Mountains are flanked by the Namib Desert to the west and a mixed, woodland savannah to the east.
The mountain is an eroded relic of a volcano that was active some 140-150 million years ago. It collapsed in on its magma chamber, allowing the basin to fill with slow-cooling igneous material. The resulting hard granite-like core, that withstood the erosion, washed away the surrounding rock.
This rare confluence of ecosystems are home to a vast array of plant, reptile, mammal and bird species, some endemic to Namibia. Wildlife in the area includes leopard, cheetah, giraffe, elephant, rhino, blesbok, waterbuck, impala, warthog, wildebeest, kudu, oryx, eland, mountain zebra, springbok and steenbok. Amongst the nearly 200 varieties of bird species recorded here, include the yellow-billed hornbill, the colourful lilac breasted roller and crimson bou bou.
Apart from the fantastic scenery and flora and fauna, rock paintings are also a lure for visitors to the area. The most notable rock painting is the ‘White Elephant’ frieze in Phillip’s Cave on the southern edge of the mountain. Situated on the farm Ameib, 30km from Usakos and 240km from Windhoek, this cave lies 3km off the road, and is a 45min walk each-way to view the painting, but the scenery along the way makes the ramble worthwhile. Superimposed on the elephant is a large humped-backed antelope – possibly an eland – with frolicking ostrich and giraffe completing the sketch.
It was the celebrated French archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnologist and geologist, Abbé Breuil, who bought this part of the continent to the world’s attention in his book Phillips Cave. He was noted for his worldwide studies of cave art, especially in Southern Africa. Breuil, a competent draughtsman, painstakingly reproduced the cave paintings he came upon, and published many books on the subject.
Also an attraction here are the Elephant Head and the Bull’s Party, a creation that resembles a circle of gossiping bovines. Another much-photographed formation resembles a Herero woman in traditional dress, standing with 2 children.
The Erongo Mountains is a perfect chill out zone and an ideal destination for hiking, 4×4 game drives, rock climbing, collecting minerals, mountain biking and game drives on horseback. (Not forgetting the odd sundowner drive either!)
Erongo Wilderness Lodge is a great favourite for many visitors to Namibia. Guests often stay for 2 or 3 nights, and the lodge is particularly possible with keen birders, walkers and those just looking to relax and enjoy the tranquil environment. This beautiful lodge is set in a really peaceful location and provides the perfect base to explore the mountains. As it is within easy driving distance of Windhoek and the international airport, many choose to begin and / or end their Namibian adventure here. Others who use it as a stopover between Swakopmund and Etosha wish they had stayed longer.
The lodge is close to the small town of Omaruru. It is nestled amongst, and surrounded by huge boulders and granite formations, all on the outskirts of an ancient volcano. These are the Erongo Mountains, flanked by the Namib Desert to the west and a mixed, woodland savannah to the east. The rare confluence of ecosystems are home to a vast array of plant, reptile, mammal and bird species, some endemic to Namibia.
Raised wooden walkways and natural stone steps, connect the tented chalets to the main area. The restaurant and pub at Erongo Wilderness Lodge are situated on a separate, rocky outcrop from which the floodlit waterhole can be viewed. A winding path, past colonies of dassies (some of which inhabit overhanging trees & have the startling habit of dropping down as you walk past) leads from the reception area up the hill to this entertainment area. There is a large, central fireplace, comfortable lounge with a big leather sofa with matching chairs, a small selection of books, and the ‘Mokoro’ bar, all set in stunning surrounds. There are also two decked areas where meals & drinks can be enjoyed in warmer weather.
This is not just the place to relax and unwind in, but also to enjoy the lodge’s fine wining and dining. Tea/coffee and rusks are served before the early morning walk, and on their return, guests can tuck into a huge brunch, consisting of cereals, yogurts, fruit, homemade breads, cheese, cold meats, plus a choice of omelette’s/pancakes, or a full English breakfast if so wished!
Homemade cake is served around 3pm, before setting out on the afternoon activities.
Dinner is a delicious affair, and dishes such as baked camembert with red current sauce, beefsteak in brandy and cream sauce, pork in red wine, and an appetizing apple strudel and custard, appear on the menu.
The elevated pool deck, is just the job for a sundowner or night cap, whilst admiring the spectacular views, day or night.
There are 10 tented chalets, built on stilts, and erected under steep, thatched roofs for shade. As each one has been set apart amongst the rocks, a high degree of privacy and exclusivity has been achieved. The en-suite bathrooms have been built around existing rocks and tree. The tents have recently been upgraded, with the major improvement being an increased size & the introduction of proper doors (no more annoying zips to get in and out of your tent).
Apart from the main entrance the tents also boast large French doors, each of which serve the dual purpose of framing an amazing view as well as access to the private deck. A bush-style mini-bar, fan, mosquito net, tea/coffee station, in-room safe, reading lights & fine linen complete the Erongo chalet comfort level.
Although wildlife in the area include leopard, kudu, oryx, eland, mountain zebra, springbok and steenbok the primary reason for visiting Erongo Wilderness Lodge should not be as a wildlife viewing destination, it is better suited for those wanting to relax, walk & enjoy the tranquil environment. Birders will be thrilled by the variety of species on offer. It is recommended to join one of the lodge’s guided walks and drives, not only to view the game, but to marvel at the magnificent environment.
Guided walks depart early in the morning to a granite view point, with various flora and fauna being pointed out on the way, including their various traditional and medicinal uses. An evening walks to a nearby koppie, can also be arranged, which gives their guests an opportunity to quench their thirst as they watch the sun set. There are also a number of unguided tracks that can be explored.
The lodge are proud of being a founder member of The Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, a collective effort with 30 other private landowners, committed to conserve, protect and preserve over 200,000ha of land, rich in cultural heritage. This includes the historic and irreplaceable rock paintings and engravings found throughout the area, such as the Paula’s Caverock art site at Erongo Wilderness Lodge.
Erongo Wilderness Lodge. Highly recommended!
Ai- Aiba, the Rock Painting Lodge is set amongst a massif of granite rock boulders. The view overlooking the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy is simply stunning. This is the place to come and explore an area rich in historic rock paintings, the focal point of their activities. Hikers can also enjoy various guided walking trails. This includes a short trail quite close to the lodge which serves as a good introduction to rock art in general.
The main building at Ai Aiba Lodge houses the restaurant, Bushman Bar, and TV room. A collection of reference books, gives a valuable insight into much of the local flora and fauna of the area. Guests can relax next to the the palm-fringed swimming pool and gardens. Ai Aiba is a Khoekhoegowab word meaning ‘the person who walks in front to show the way’.
There are 20 luxurious twin & double rooms (additional beds can be added for higher occupancies) are housed in 10 thatch-roofed bungalows. They are tastefully furnished in an’ African style,’ and each room as an en-suite bathroom, with a private patio affording wonderful, scenic views.
The Ai Aiba Rock Painting Drive is approximately 2 hours long, with rock-art discovered along the way. Ai Aiba is an active member of the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, an association of land owners dedicated to the protection and preservation of the unique fauna and flora, as well as the magnificent granite landscape of the Erongo Mountains.
Namibian wildlife on the farm includes kudu, springbok, oryx, Damara dik dik, common duiker, klipspringer, hartmann mountain zebra, giraffe, jackal, leopard, brown hyena, warthog, aardwolf, aardvark, bat eared fox, genet, porcupine, dassies , springhare & a variety of birds some of which are endemic.
The rock art was first recorded by Abbé Breuil, a French archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnologist and geologist, noted for his worldwide studies of cave art, especially in Southern Africa. He undertook three expeditions to South West Africa and Rhodesia (Namibia and Zimbabwe respectively) in the late 1940’s and described this period as ‘the most thrilling years of my research life.) (Don’t we all!)
In 1953 he discovered a painting over 6,000 years old, subsequently named The White Lady, under a rock overhang in the Brandberg Mountain. Breuil, a competent draughtsman, painstakingly reproduced the cave paintings he came upon, and published many books and monographs on the subject.
Epako Safari Lodge is located in a 11,000ha private reserve, near the town of Omaruru in Namibia. Set in a beautiful mountainous region on the outskirts of the renowned Damaraland, it is conveniently placed midway between Windhoek, Swakopmund and the Etosha National Park. In 2013 the lodge was completely remodelled to a very high level of comfort and luxury, offering guests an exclusive and very upmarket wildlife destination.
Epako is a Herero word meaning ‘the corner in a mountain range,’ as the lodge nestles against a hillside overlooking the Epako River. It is surrounded by dense African bush and is home to a wide variety of mammals and birdlife which visit a number of nearby waterholes frequently. Therefore your wildlife and photographic opportunities are enhanced.
Amenities at Epako Safari Lodge include a dining room that overlooks a spotlit waterhole, bar and lounge with satellite TV, swimming pool, Internet facilities, tennis courts, souvenir shop, table-tennis and a small aviary. The large gardens are connected with walkways.
Meals can be served in either the inside or outside dining areas. Epakos’ chefs will prepare a combination of Namibian and French cuisine, complemented with a range of specially selected South African wines. Special dietary requirements can be met on request.
The Conference Centre is separate from the main lodge, with spacious indoor and outdoor seating areas. Not only is it the perfect venue for conferences, but Epako can organize special events, such as weddings, business or private family functions.
Accommodation is in a combination of 10 rooms – all have en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, mini-bar, satellite TV system, mosquito nets, tea/coffee station, telephone and garden or bush views from your private terrace.
• Waterhole Suite: The enormous Waterhole Suite (200m2) comes with facilities similar to the other suites/rooms with the addition of a fully equipped bathroom, free standing bathtub and both separate indoor and outdoor shower. Stretch out on the king-size bed which sleeps 2 adults and relax outside in the private lounge which affords both waterhole and river views.
• River Suite: In addition to the amenities of the other rooms, the River Suite (150m2) is fitted with a king-sized bed for 2 adults. The bathroom has a separate shower, free standing bathtub and an outdoor shower. Unwind out-of-doors on the private lounge complete with river views.
• Loft Suite: The Loft Suite (95m2) is fitted with similar facilities to the other rooms with either a king-sized or 2 twin beds depending on your preference. Guests (max 2) who prefer a river view should stay here enjoyed from the comfort of a private outdoor terrace.
• Junior Suite: The Junior Suite (80m2) sleeps 2 adults and is equipped with a bathroom comprising of a free standing bathtub and separate shower and facilities that mirror the other suites. Overnight in either a king-sized or 2 twin beds. Appreciate the river views from private outdoor seating.
• Deluxe Room: Each of the 6 Deluxe Rooms (from 60 to 75m2) are fitted with the standard facilities of the other rooms, sleeping 2 adults on either 2 x twin beds or a king-sized bed. Every room has a fully equipped bathroom with separate shower, double washbasin and toilet. Step outside to a private outdoor seating area with either waterhole or river views.
Activities include morning and afternoon safari game drives, scheduled cheetah feeding, hiking trails, a visit to San paintings and engravings and information and trips to interesting geological formations. Sundowner drives with breathtaking views of Brandberg and Spitzkoppe, can also be organized on request.
Wildlife sightings at the lodge or on a game drive or hike can include cheetah, leopard, giraffe, elephant, rhino, zebra, springbok, blesbok, waterbuck, impala, warthog eland, oryx, kudu and wildebeest. The farm is also home to numerous bird species, such as the yellow billed hornbill and the colourful lilac breasted roller. At least 170 other varieties have been spotted in and around the lodge.
Etusis Lodge is situated in a 12,000ha nature reserve of the same name. Many stopover here on the way from Windhoek to Swakopmund. The staff are friendly and helpful, complemented by tasty and enjoyable meals.
There is a wide variety of Namibian animals, plants and minerals to be observed and photographed here. The adventurous can take riding lessons and the more experienced can canter in the river bed. Scenic walks, fantastic geological features and stunning birdlife add to your Etusis Lodge experience.
Both sides of the farm house have a terrace; ideal spots to read, or to simply admire the marvelous views of the Kudu Mountains, Coma Highlands and the Otjipatera mountain massif to the north. Meals can be enjoyed in the restaurant or on the lodge terrace and as you might expect from a lodge in a farm setting much of the food at Etusis is home grown. Meat & dairy is sourced from the farms own cows while game is provided by a neighbouring game farm, vegetables are grown on the property and fresh bread is baked daily. The bar, terrace & open fire pit are also popular places to enjoy a drink, share the days experiences and socialise with other guests.
Etusis Lodge offer four types of accommodation.
• Bungalows: 7 stone and thatch bungalows all well-spaced for privacy with private en-suite bathroom, tea/coffee station, mini-bar and cooling fan. Sleeping up to four on either 2 twin beds downstairs and 2 single beds in the upstairs loft, they are an ideal hideaway for the kids.
• Canvas tents: 5 Meru-style tents also well-spaced and include a power point. Three have their own private shower while the other two share a communal bathroom.
• The Farmhouse: The farmhouse sleeps between 2-7 people and is equipped with self-catering facilities. There are 4 bedrooms (3 doubles with en-suite bathrooms and 1 single, all sharing a bathroom), a kitchen and a lounge.
• Etusis Wildschutzgebiet: The farmhouse has the option of 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms. There is a sitting room, dining room, large kitchen/living room with cooker, fridge, pantry and 4 baths. Although the farmhouse is self-sufficient, guests are more than welcome to relax and/or dine in the nearby lodge. (Only 400 meters away.)
There are many activities and pursuits to partake in at Etusis Lodge and these are enjoyed by those on guided safaris as well as on self drive Namibian vacations.
Etusis Lodge is a HAN multi Golden Award for Excellence winner.
Hohenstein is situated south-west of the Erongo Mountains at the foot of the massif, and it the closest Lodge to the famous Spitzkoppe Mountains. This area has one of the most impressive landscapes in the country, and the lodge is named after the highest mountain of the range, and is located at the foot of it. Namibia’s Central Highlands are the traditional home to the Herero people.
There are spectacular views of both the (1,469m) Mount Kainachab and Hohenstein (2,319m) to its right. Both are situated across a wide valley, and are scattered with ancient Camelthorn trees.
Both the Camelthorn bar and outside dining areas have amazing views of the surrounding environment. There is something special about outdoor dining, whilst viewing game coming to the waterhole for a drink or to graze. Inside the main building, the restaurant has an inviting fireplace, where fine wining and dining can be enjoyed on those colder evenings.
The well-kept garden, runs right around the swimming pool, a great spot to either take a dip, or relax and unwind under the shady umbrella’s and sun-loungers.
Accommodation is in a combination of 14 twin or single bungalows each with en-suite bathroom facilities, mosquito nets, mosquito gauze netting on the doors and windows, in-room safe and 220v sockets. They are well-furnished, with beautiful views of the region from the private verandah.
Traditional Damara houses have been built by some of the employee’s, sited only a few hundred metres away from the lodges. The Damara’s are very proud of their traditions, and will be only too glad to escort visitors to these dwellings, informing of their ancestors’ way of life on the way!
As sections of the Haub River have permanent water, attracting animals to the area is not difficult. The Erongo Mountains are also renown as a superb bird watching area, and numerous species are attracted to the water points in front of the lodge’s main area, a great incentive to unpack the binoculars and camera’s!
The lodge offers a range of activities, including a night safari, sundowner drives to visit ancient Bushman and Damara paintings, and guided hikes to the ‘boulder forest.’ A visit to some small miner claims, where gemstones are sourced, is also a favourite. Experienced mountain climbers have been known to hike from the lodge, to the peak of Hohenstein in one day.
A small viewing platform close distance to the lodge offers a short walk in the early morning or late afternoon. Outstanding views of the riverbed to the mountain often yields sightings of antelope, wildebeest and at times giraffe.
Hohenstein Lodge are active members of the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, (EMNC) an organization that functions to protect the wealth of endemic and rare wildlife species, as well as the archaeological sites of the Erongo Mountain. They pride themselves on the creation of job opportunities, specifically in the area of tourism, for local people.
Hohenstein Lodge. A great base to explore the Spitzkoppe and Brandberg Mountains.
Amongst beautiful gardens in a peaceful environment only 30 km from Omaruru is the self catering Klein Eden Guest Farm. The town of Omaruru, is considered to be the hub of Namibia’s artistic community – and numerous coffee shops and galleries can be found. The town itself is is surrounded by mountains, notably the Oruwe to the southeast and the Erongo Mountains to the southwest.
Unlike many other guest farms in the area, Klein Eden has a modern feel, this is reflected both in the buildings and decor. There is a communal entertainment area with pool tables and a TV with DStv (satellite TV), this can be used as a conference venue as well. Children can play at the jungle gym and the swimming pool offers welcome refreshment during hot summers.
The restaurant offers contemporary and uniquely prepared cuisine, with a homemade flare. And if you need to stock up on some food or camping items a small shop could have what you are looking for. Wines , ice, cold beer, ice and a variety of soft drinks are also available.
Klein Eden Guest Farm offer seven self catering chalets. Each comes fully equipped with air-conditioning, roof fans, satellite TV, wireless connection, indoor barbecue and full en-suit bathrooms, ensuring the visitor an exclusive and comfortable atmosphere. Chalets come fully equipped to cater from 2 to 6 people and extra roll-away beds can be added upon request
The Klein Eden Guest Farm has good variety of wildlife and game drives can be arranged on request.
Located on the banks and overlooking the seasonal Omaruru River, and in the town of the same name, is Kashana Lodge. It is the ideal stopover to investigate the creative nature of Omaruru; many local Namibian artists live here. Omaruru is also known for the quality of its wines and chocolates. The beauty and charm of the surrounding Erongo Mountain region richly deserve some exploration as well.
There are numerous routes to and from Omaruru, all within 1 day’s travel. Your itinerary can include visits to the seaside town of Swakopmund, the Cape fur seal colony at Cape Cross, Namibia’s highest peak at Brandberg Mountain, over 2,000 rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, Waterberg Plateau and Namibia’s number one tourist attraction, Etosha National Park.
The volcanic Erongo Mountain range is also one of the country’s most popular tourist draw cards. Flanked by the Namib Desert to the west and a mixed, woodland savannah to the east, a gathering of ecosystems have formed over the years. A home to a most impressive array of plant, reptile, mammal and bird species, some endemic to Namibia, has evolved. Rock paintings are also a lure, the most notable being the ‘White Elephant’ frieze in Phillip’s Cave on the southern edge of the mountain.
Facilities include a bar and a restaurant with separate terrace and 2 private function rooms. Namibian style food is served as well as a continental and English breakfast, an ‘A la Carte’ and set menu for lunch and dinner. Breakfast and lunch packs can be ordered in advance as can any special dietary requirements and set menus for groups. The swimming pool has a ‘lounging area’ and there is wellness treatments available, Wi-Fi, a laundry service, hair dresser shop, goldsmith and herbal shop.
Kashana Lodge is also home to the Nawa Nawa Arts Centre, complete with a gallery and several shops, offering locally made arts and crafts. The focus here is of recycling materials. Old oil drums, building rubble and reeds from the riverbed have been used to make innovative, high quality Namibian Arts and Crafts. Artists featured include Thelma van Rhyn, Annette Niedermeier and Martie Zwemmer.
Accommodation is in 10 chalets. Each unit has an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning, mini-bar, mosquito nets, tea/coffee station, TV, Internet connection, an in-room safe and 220v AC power supply. Available are:
• Chalets: 6 chalets fitted with a king-size bed or two double beds, an en-suite bathroom with bidet and a private verandah.
• Family chalets: The 2 family chalets come complete with an upstairs loft, 2 double beds and 2 single beds, a shared bathroom with bidet, private verandah.
• Luxury rooms: There is 1 twin suite and 1 double luxury rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, separate lounge, extra bed for families and shared verandah.
English, German & Afrikaans are spoken, and children of all ages are welcome at Kashana.