Experience African farm life
by Servaas van den Bosch
In the middle of Namibia lies Guestfarm Okomitundu, an 18 000-hectare haven of untamed wilderness in the famed Khomas Hochland. Driving from Windhoek through the African savannah, visitors can see baboons and warthogs playing alongside the road.
Only two hours from the capital, Okomitundu is the perfect starting point for any Namibian journey. From here visitors can take tours, or embark on a self-drive safari. Okomitundu’s airstrip accommodates fly-ins and makes it possible to hop onto a little Cessna and soar over the Sossusvlei dunes or the Fish River Canyon. Okomitundu, which means place of many termite mounds in the local Damara language, is as close as you will ever get to having a farm in Africa, without actually buying one.
When entering Okomitundu’s gates, the rustic farmhouse comes into view. Built in the early twentieth century by a German merchant family, it is the main building on the farm. A spacious veranda allows for outside breakfasts in the morning or nice relaxation with a book and a sundowner in the evening. Inside are a well-stocked hunter’s bar, a dining room, a library and a TV room. For more business-minded travellers, a seminar room, telephone and Internet connection are available.
Little paths lead from the homestead across a terrace with a lapa, to ten luxurious en-suite bungalows, each with its own veranda. The rooms are furnished in the colours of the Namibian savannah and set up in such a way that complete privacy is assured.
Two heated swimming pools allow for a refreshing dive even in the colder winter months. A top chef serves delicious meals three times a day. The menu varies from large farm-style breakfasts with homemade bread and cheeses, to light lunches, English tea and romantic dinners at the braai. Here freshly hunted gemsbok or kudu are served under the starry skies.
Because of its excellent service and cuisine, Okomitundu has been awarded the ‘HAN certificate of excellence’ from the Namibian Association of Gastronomy several times and won the ‘International award for the Tourist, Hotel and Catering Industry’ from Spain.
Hunting and wildlife
In part of the 320 000-hectare Okawi enclosure, hunters can safely book a stay at Okomitundu in the knowledge that they will take rich pickings from an abundance of game. Some 10 000 hectares of the farm are fenced, creating an exclusive wildlife area, while on the remaining section animals are allowed to roam onto other farms. Gemsbok, kudu, springbok, hartebeest and many more antelope, as well as the elusive Hartmann’s zebra, giraffe, cheetah and leopard, can be found on Okomitundu. One of the biggest kudu trophies in the world was shot here by experienced hunter and co-host Cornelius Kemp. The farm also sports a state-of-the-art firing range where marksmen can set their sights for an adventurous African hunt under guidance of Cornelius. For those who prefer to travel light, Okomitundu supplies rifles and ammunition.
“We also have many, many visitors who are not hunters,” says Cornelius’s wife, Daniela Kemp. For them the couple offers fascinating game drives, undisturbed observation from hides and even the possibility to participate in carnivore research.
The most attractive part of Okomitundu is its seemingly endless range of activities. Being a family holiday destination, the hosts have done everything imaginable to make a stay at Okomitundu attractive for every age group. A paddock with ten Hanover horses and fully equipped tack room, a dressage and show-jumping grounds, as well an adventurous cross-country track, will satisfy every rider’s need. From Kudu Mountain, which rises 400 metres above the surrounding plains, visitors can take in the breathtaking landscape. The Telestron C8 telescope gives you an astonishing picture of one of the clearest skies on the planet. Master the art of archery, or go hiking or mountain biking across the rough highlands.
For the young there is a petting zoo, where small children can become acquainted with bushbabies, guinea fowl and other small animals. A beautiful playground with adjacent playroom keeps the little ones in your sight, but out of your face.
Day trips to curio markets in neighbouring towns can be arranged and a tour to the coast leads through the Namib Desert all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, where you will board a comfortable boat to view dolphins and seals playing in the surf.
A very special part of Okomitundu is Dani’s cheese factory, where host Daniela Kemp uses the milk from goats and cows on the farm to make cheeses that are renowned across Namibia.
This article appeared in the Dec ‘09/Jan ‘10 edition of Travel News Namibia.