Namib Naukluft LodgeAugust 28, 2012
Paragliding for a good causeAugust 28, 2012
Quiet, comfortable, tranquil
by Ron Swilling
The Omaruru Guesthouse is a grand old lady whose history began in 1900 when two German men, Rósemann and Kronewitter, came to Omaruru from Otjimbingwe to negotiate with the Herero Chief Tjiseseta. They bought the piece of land for 1 400 goldmark to erect a hotel and start a vegetable garden. This was the momentous beginning of the hotel, which has grown and transformed into the Omaruru Guesthouse of today.
This large guesthouse has ample room and although recently renovated, retains its hundred-year-old character. The nineteen comfortable and spotlessly clean rooms and the large central area make the guesthouse an ideal location for workshops, presentations, conferences and groups. An outside fireplace makes a great place to sit around on a starry night and the elevated pool is surrounded by the greenery of palm, coral, lemon and grapefruit trees, extending to the reeds and river growth next door. Small round tables in the courtyard make a tranquil place to relax. Irmgard Redecker, the owner of the guesthouse, has added a wide veranda to the establishment and has made the old wooden bar into a reception area. She has also installed solar panels to make the most of the Namibian sun.
Irmi greets me warmly as I arrive, opening the gate and offering me tea and her own home-baked date cake as we wait for the rain to abate. She tells me that she chose the town of Omaruru for its central location, well-positioned between Swakopmund and Windhoek and on the route to Etosha National Park and the north. Omaruru itself is an enjoyable and interesting place to explore and, with its many artists from potters to Tikoloshe root carvers, galleries and Dörgeloh’s handcrafted chocolates, famous for its pralines and liqueur fillings, is well worth the stop.
A short drive down Dr Ian Scheepers Drive from the guesthouse is the Kristall Kellerei where guests can enjoy a wine tour and tasting with a lunch of fresh homemade bread and Namibian delicacies such as smoked game, gemsbok tongue and zebra salami. Besides their Ruby Cabernet and Colombard, they grow and distil their own prickly-pear schnapps. Rock paintings can be viewed at the nearby Ai-Aiba Lodge, and a bit further afield the Erongo Mountains and Brandberg’s rock art can be explored.
Annual events in Omaruru include the Spar Cycle Race, Omaruru Artist’s Trail, Omaruru Rough Ride mountain bike race, the Schlachtefest and the Reiterverein Annual Showjumping and Dressage Tour-nament, Wilhelm Zeraua Day, Oktoberfest and a Weih-nachtsmarkt. Omaruru has a large amount of natural produce with farm butter, cheese and cream available for sale, as well as dates and a variety of fresh vegetables.
On the veranda of the guesthouse, after a night of sound sleep, Irmi treats me to a delicious breakfast of fried omajowa, a large Namibian mushroom that grows at the base of termite mounds in the wet season. A pot of lemon verbena tea, fresh farm butter, a cheese plate with a locally made cheese called ‘vrotkaas’ in a bed of freshly picked rocket, tomato and cucumber and a freshly baked wholewheat bread, baked in her solar oven, complete the meal.
Grey louries and francolins call from the river vegetation and lucky birdwatchers may look forward to the chance of spotting a Hartlaub’s francolin, found predominantly in the Erongo Region.
This established guesthouse, suitable for individuals or small groups, is also ideal for large workshops and conferences, for which Irmi will cater. It has a refined peace-and-quiet character, mellowed and matured over the years. With no pretences or airs and graces, it has old-fashioned respectability, making the stay here calm, comfortable and tranquil.
This article appeared in the Dec ‘08/Jan ‘09 edition of Travel News Namibia.