Spacious and gracious
by Amy Schoeman
If you are someone who appreciates high ceilings, large gardens and plenty of space, the Out of Africa Town Lodge in Otjiwarongo is the place for you to spend a night or two next time you travel to the north.
Contemporary African motifs and objets d’art are the main theme in this elegant, Cape colonial-style lodge, which can host large conferences and is an ideal setting for weddings and other receptions.
Situated on the outskirts of Otjiwarongo, the farming town halfway between Windhoek and the Etosha National Park, the lodge is also conveniently placed for visiting the Waterberg Plateau Park, the Cheetah Conservation Fund headquarters and Okonjima, home of the AfriCat Foundation.
The lodge belongs to Leon and Elke van Eck, who opened the Out of Africa Bed & Breakfast establishment, also in Otjiwarongo, eighteen years ago. Leon is originally from South Africa, while Elke grew up in Otjiwarongo. Building the larger and more upmarket Town Lodge was an obvious extension of the bed & breakfast establishment.
The floor plan of the lodge was drafted by an architectural student, Anita Gianni, and built by Leon’s father, fondly referred to in Otjiwarongo as Oupa van Eck. Since opening in 2002, it has been managed by Roelien de Lange, a born-and-bred Namibian who hails from Gobabis.
Roelien studied for her diploma in Food Service Management at the Bloem-fontein Technikon. She initially worked at the Mount Etjo Safari Lodge, ran the Okambihi Restaurant in Windhoek for five years, first in the northern and later the southern industrial area, and then managed the Rock Lodge in Omaruru for a year, before accepting the managerial position at Out of Africa.
The entrance to the lodge leads to a large enclosed parking area with a wide circular driveway surrounding a fountain amongst colourful plants and shrubs. Vehicles are safe here since the premises are security guarded for 24 hours a day. The foyer and reception area are especially roomy, the high ceiling providing an atmosphere of cool airiness, complemented by elegant leather, wrought-iron and wicker furnishings that impart an impression of understated plush.
This leads to the breakfast room, bar, lounge, a second private lounge, bistro and à la carte restaurant, which also has seating outside on a veranda and is a favourite dining spot for locals. The lodge currently has 14 rooms (nine twin and five double) with 23 beds. All bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms and are equipped with telephone, air-conditioning and digital satellite television. Six more rooms, scheduled for completion by July, are currently being built. The new section will consist of a honeymoon suite and double rooms.
The Town Lodge specialises in conferences, for which it has two venues, one for up to 30 and the other for up to 60 delegates. Clients are mostly large corporations, including Sanlam and Old Mutual. Out of Africa is one of only a few establishments in the north that can cater for as many as 80 people at a time, also in terms of accommodation, as the additional beds in the Bed & Breakfast establishment are close by.
The large, spacious pool area with lapa and well-tended gardens offer an ideal setting for wedding receptions. This is utilised mostly by local people, al-though it has hosted brides from as far afield as Pretoria.
This article appeared in the May/June ‘04 edition of Travel News Namibia.