The word “oasis” quickly becomes a hospitality cliché in a desert country, but if there’s one place that deserves the description, it’s Otjiterazu Guest Farm.
The residential and recreational heart of this dynamic working farm is set in one of the most lush gardens I have ever seen in Namibia. Under a tall leafy canopy are wonderful lawns and ponds, manicured bushes and flower beds, nooks and pathways and benches. It’s soft underfoot, and cool and dappled with shade throughout the day, with exotic and indigenous birds providing the soundtrack.
And at the centre is a large bright pool and lapa area under majestic palm trees, where you can sit, lounge, gather, eat, and above all, relax. My carnivorous heart loves the way that Otjiterazu has provided every possible way to braai in and around the lapa – with a Weber kettle braai, large gas braai and oven, traditional braai & grids, fire pits, and a round table Mongolian barbecue set-up where each place has his own gas cooker and wok. Brilliant.
Guests have the run of the pool room, and can help themselves at the well-stocked “honesty bar”, refuel at the tea and coffee station (always with rusks and biscuits), watch DSTV (full bouquet, of course), stay connected with complimentary wifi, or choose from a variety of games, books, and magazines. In the afternoon the staff bring through goodies like milk tart and jugs of chilled fruit juice for tea-time, and the ice bucket on our table was never allowed to get empty.
If you’re feeling energetic then there’s a trampoline, farm golf, and even jukskei. If you can break away from the happy gravity of the pool area, then ask about the game drive options, because in addition to the traditional open game drive vehicles, you can go looking for wildlife (Golden Oryx, anyone?) on quadbike. The quadbike trips are also guided, and are a wonderfully active way to engage with your surroundings. So too are the walking trails, of course, and you can choose go on a guided walk or to go it alone.
If you don’t get the chance to exercise all these options, it may be because you’re there to work, and will be spending a lot of your time in the new conference centre. Well, things could be a lot worse – the conferencing facilities are state-of-the-art, and I confess to being amazed at the standard of the entire set-up. It’s modern and stylish, and up to 40-50 delegates can benefit from the high-end audio-visual equipment, big screen, break-away areas, crisp airconditioning, and all the other bells and whistles you’d expect. Full catering is provided from their very professional kitchen (I had to be dragged away), and there is an elegant bar for after-hours teambuilding (I had to be dragged out of there, too).
There’s so much to do by day, but the accommodation is no afterthought. There are seven en-suite rooms, and a family-friendly unit with its own garden and kitchenette that can sleep 4 adults and 4 children. My favourite feature is the Nespresso coffee machines in each room. Classy. Breakfast is included, and is a typically generous farm-style spread that showcases the best of fresh farm produce, with homemade everything; even the cold meats are cured on the property.
There’s a camp site with brand-new ablution facilities for each site, as well as full electricity and plug-in. The camp site is close to the main area, and campers won’t miss out on the lovely oasis I’ve already described. More intrepid campers, however, can get “out there” at the remote camp site, where you swap the electricity for a waterhole and a sense of glorious isolation, but without missing out on hot showers and wash-up facilities.
The folks at Otjiterazu are not the sort to let the grass grow under their feet, and amongst their plans for this year are to add a beer garden with a pizza oven, and braai facilities, of course. There’s no doubt that whatever they do, they’ll do it well, just as there’s no doubt that I’ll be back.
Otjiterazu Guest Farm is situated approximately 100 kms North East of Windhoek (80kms from the International Airport and 60kms from Okahandja) in one of the richest game areas of Namibia.
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