It’s not Etosha.
It’s not Damaraland either.
Hobatere Lodge lies nestled in its own world. A wonderful mesh of white sand, rock and mopane woodland. A place where two iconic Namibian settings marry to create a haven for wildlife. Hobatere, situated in the Khoadi Hoas Conservancy west of Etosha National Park, is a hub of animal and bird activity and breathtaking landscapes. This is a place for nature-lovers to not only indulge in sightings of plains game, lions and elephants but to also relax in peaceful tranquillity.
The only sounds I hear while sitting on the massive veranda of the lodge’s main area is the slight rustle of wind through the trees and countless birdcalls. They’re busy this morning, as restless as the leaves jostled by the winter breeze. In the distance, a pride of five young lions and their mother laze under a mopane tree at a waterhole. A group of Hartmann’s mountain zebra neigh unhappily nearby. They might be thirsty, but they’re no fools. They will return later for a refreshing drink, once the waterhole is distinctly predator-free.
On an afternoon drive our guide Albert catches a glimpse of the small and enigmatic Pearl-spotted Owlet in an Ana tree at the roadside. Though incredibly cute, this little predator is not well liked by the other birds in the branches nearby. They know he is a far better hunter than they are and would rather see him move along, increasing the effectiveness of their own hunting endeavours.
A savannah landscape comes into view. Dotted with over a hundred termite mounds. We dub it ‘Termite Town’ and the sight of gemsbok, mountain zebra and springbok grazing the sweet yellow grass among the termite mounds is enchanting indeed. Albert muses that he often imagines that we are as interesting a sight to the animals, as they are for us. Perhaps a game drive goes both ways, with us in our game-viewer the oddity being observed. Or, he ponders, perhaps the gemsbok just sighs and think: “Oh here comes Albert again…”
After our sunset visit to “The Valley of a Thousand Termite Hills” we head back to the lodge. At night we laze in wonderfully comfortable chairs around a fire pit where we watch the flames crackle at our feet and the night sky twinkle overhead.
Hobatere is a world unto its own. Home to birds abundant, regularly frequented by a pride of lions and migrating elephant herds, it is a must-visit retreat. A sentinel on the divide between Etosha and Damaraland like a drongo perched on a branch in a tree, keeping a watchful eye on the beautiful natural surrounds.