by Ron Swilling
When you’re dusty, hot and thirsty, arriving at your chalet at the Etosha Mountain Lodge is a veritable treat. Positioned on the mountain top, the view from the shiny wooden deck extends to the horizon. With its high thatched ceiling and slate floors, the large room is deliciously luxurious. The slate continues to the walls and floors of the bathroom, where the guest has a choice of a glassed-in shower or a bath. The towels and white robes arranged creatively on the soft white beds are decorated with speckled guineafowl feathers and porcupine quills. A well-stocked mini-bar adds to the opulent feeling.
This immaculate attention to detail extends throughout the lodge. A deck extends around the large high-roofed main building, leading down to a wine cellar, pool and boma area where outdoor suppers are arranged around a fire.
The inside area of the main building consists of a lounge, bar, dining room, and reception area, with computers for Internet access. It is all furnished with heavy mopane wood furniture and decorated with a rich range of orange colours and items of classical African chic such as a huge Hartmann’s zebra skin stretched against the wall of the dining room, lamps with dyed ostrich feathers and beadwork set alongside a vibrant painting of a leopard.
High standard of professionalism
Management couple, Glenn and Briggitta Baard, both have a business back–ground and use this knowledge to run this elegant lodge with a high standard of professionalism. Everything is immaculate and precisely placed, and the comments in the visitors’ book compliment this organised environment, with the guests praising the scenery and service they have received, most wishing they could stay longer. Dutch owner Leendert de Koster, humbly pages through the visitors’ book on his vi-sits to Namibia, enjoying the positive feedback. One entry reads: Perfect service; a beautiful place to relax and feel the sense of Africa.
Leendert bought the seven farms that make up the 50 000-hectare property bordering Etosha National Park ten years ago. He brought in new blood for the white rhinoceros population, sable and waterbuck. These add to the black rhino the Government allocated to them as custodians, and the black-faced impala, kudu, gemsbok, springbok and zebra that can be seen. The property also includes a hunting section, kept completely separate from the lodge.
The lodge opened in September 2006 and consists of six luxury chalets, one VIP suite and two guide rooms. The chalets, grouped in two per complex, are named in Afrikaans as ‘tarentaal’ (guineafowl), ‘kameelperd’ (giraffe) and ‘olifant’ (elephant), with information about each animal displayed in the rooms. The VIP suite is a self-contained cottage, immaculately decorated, with its own lounge, kitchen, fireplace and private plunge pool. The exceptional view of mopane bush and undisturbed landscape is visible through the glassed doors and from the deck.
Two routes can be used to reach Etosha Mountain Lodge. If you’re in the Twyfelfontein area and travelling towards Outjo on the C40 from Kamanjab, the turn-off is the D2671, and if you are travelling from Etosha on the C38 to Outjo, the turn-off is the D2695. The lodge will give detailed ad–vice and up-to-date information on weather and driving conditions. There is an airstrip for fly-ins.
The lodge offers afternoon game drives to where there is the possibility seeing the fifteen white rhino, takes guests to hides at various waterholes and offers bird-watching, with more than 60 species of birds listed for the area. Day trips to Etosha for those flying in or wanting to take a break from driving are also offered.
When you return to your room after a game drive, the bedside lamps have been switched on, the sheets rolled back and a Ferrero Rocher chocolate has been placed on the covers. These personal touches make your stay above average, and if you are someone who longs for a touch of luxury, or who wishes to treat yourself to a stay of classical African chic and good service, Etosha Mountain Lodge may be just the place for you.
This article appeared in the Aug/Sep ‘08 edition of Travel News Namibia.