by Marita van Rooyen
“Namibia offers many possibilities and opportunities for young people,” says Johannes Michels, partner at Kambaku Safari Lodge. “Young people from all cultures wish for improvement and are working together to make our country a better place. I want to be part of a time where things are growing.”
With his father, Thorsten, and their third partner, Birte Meyerdierks, Johannes is passionate about what Namibia holds for those who are willing to explore. Their mission statement – “The responsible handling of some of nature’s most sensitive creatures is the focus of all our activities at Kambaku” – proves it.
The name Kambaku comes from an African elephant, one of the seven original big tuskers found in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. And even though there are no elephants at Kambaku Safari Lodge, there is much more that will make your visit worthwhile.
A mere 35 kilometres north of the Waterberg Plateau Park, Kambaku Safari Lodge is a bush oasis waiting for visitors who appeciate nature. The lodge faces a waterhole and is surrounded by woodlands of big thorn bushes and omumborumbonga (leadwood) trees.
Here giraffe, warthog, eland, kudu, blue wildebeest, gemsbok, red hartbeest, impala, steenbok, duiker, Burchell’s zebra and other antelope indigenous to the area humour guests with their early-morning run around the waterhole. With their strange mannerisms, blue wildebeest are especially fun to watch.
Man and animal live in unison here, impala come right up to your front door in the quiet of the night (they have a tendency to walk into windows), and the friendly twittering of birds wakes you up as the day unfolds in the African bush. “Birte once saw a leopard kill a hartebeest right in front of the lodge!” Materials that blend in with the surroundings, thatched roofs, African masks, animal trophies and wooden furniture add to the African getaway feel.
With ten rooms – one of which is single, three are for families and six are doubles – the atmosphere remains cosy and warm. All rooms are wheelchair accessible. At dinner, guests share large tables and good food with guides, owners and other travellers with interests that tie up with theirs.
“We wanted a lodge that is more like a family place, where everyone is free to tell stories about the good times they have in Namibia, a place where you can meet others like yourself.” Breakfast is served on the upstairs patio and coffee and cake can be enjoyed at three in the afternoon. Apart from the computer in the lobby, all rooms are fitted with wireless Internet service.
At the lodge, which is located on the 7 600 hectares of the Okariuputa game farm, guests can spend their days participating in a large number of different activities. Most po-pular is the horse riding offered by professional trainer and guide, Birte. Cross-country riding, sundowner and breakfast rides, and horse-riding lessons are just some of the possibilities. “It’s very important for us to have well-trained horses and safety always comes first. If you want to offer professional horse riding, the horses also need to be professional.”
An adventure playground, ping-pong table, badminton, volleyball court and swimming pool will keep the kids busy, while clay-pigeon shooting, the bow-and-arrow shooting range, hiking trails and mountain bikes offer more. A small booklet with information on marked trees is available for guests to take along when they go on nature walks.
Further activities organised by Kambaku staff include one-day excursions to the Waterberg Plateau Park (with a picnic basket); the Cheetah Conservation Fund; the Ju/’Hoansi San found on the verge of the Khaudum National Park; and the Etosha National Park. The library and wide selection of board games will keep others entertained around the bar or inside fireplace. It’s easy to see why Kambaku is especially popular amongst families, and why many visitors stay for longer periods of time.
Kambaku Safari Lodge also offers trophy hunting. “Hunting plays a crucial role in helping nature to stay in balance,” says Johannes. “Removing large areas of bush is another major project of ours. If we remove 2 000- hectares of bush, it means we have space for about 2 000 more antelope on the farm. At Kambaku, wild animals have plenty of space in which to live, so that overgrazing and competition for food are avoided.”
Come and experience an environmentally motivated lifestyle in the African bush.
This article appeared in the June/July ‘10 edition of Travel News Namibia.