Swakopmund GuesthouseSeptember 3, 2012
Bird’s-eye view – Lappet-faced vultureSeptember 3, 2012
A combination of affordability with comfort and style
by Marita van Rooyen
Arriving at Taleni Etosha Village – the latest addition to the Taleni Africa Collection, which includes Sossusvlei Lodge and Sossusvlei Desert Camp – you see nothing but endless stretches of mopane forests, and you wonder whether the driver of the custom-made game-viewing vehicle has dropped you off at the right place. But as you make your way along the pathway leading through the trees and you reach a round brick building where you are welcomed with a glass of ice-cold juice, you know to expect nothing short of excellent service amidst wild African bush.
The 5 000 hectares on which Taleni is situated is made up of scattered pieces of interesting rock formations, among which a heart of rock, grasslands, and large numbers of indigenous mopane and commiphora trees. Although Taleni is ideal for self-caterers, visitors can choose the option of having all their meals provided. Designed by Nina Maritz, the round buildings are based on the traditional village concept and have three dining areas – one each for the men, women and children – although in this case it makes for a more modern arrangement, with the three different areas used for breakfast, dinner and lunch. Says Fanie van Rooyen, General Manager of Taleni, “The dinner area, currently called the Brauhaus, is where men and kings meet to have talks about the big one that got away and dance around the fire to celebrate those who didn’t.”
Ironically enough, the Brauhaus is indeed fitted with a large fireplace around which the tables are placed. The lunch kraal is covered with shade netting and furnished in natural colours to blend with the environment, whereas the breakfast area stands out as a fresh burst of colour – in lime green and orange. All meals are buffet style, with a choice of breads straight from Taleni’s state-of-the-art oven. The Village even boasts its own ice machine, in the middle of the bush! All materials used are eco-friendly or recycled, from the charcoal freezers, to the bar stools made from truck rims and lights covered with air filters. Solar energy and recycled water also form part of Taleni’s policy to preserve the environment for future generations.
In line with this policy, the swimming pool was originally built as a splash pool, but when a group of 30 Italians squeezed themselves in and it became like a can of sardines, Fanie realised that the pool needed to be expanded to a size that would accommodate larger groups of ‘hot’ Italians. The 40 tented units – which have the shape of a bunch of grapes when seen from above – are conveniently close to the three dining areas. They are all fitted with air-conditioning, an open-air bathroom and shower, and a boma-type self-catering area. The boma area, circular to provide the guest with his own personal kraal, provides a unique atmosphere of private bush where meals can be cooked under starry skies.
Additional facilities include a wash-up area, a two-plate stove, fridge and barbecue. Like Sossusvlei Desert Camp in the south, Taleni Etosha Village caters for disabled visitors with a special unit that comes with a ramp. A definite plus point is that the rooms are designed in such a way that not one of them looks out onto a neighbour’s backyard. A special treat is the view from your bed – endless stretches of mopane forest. Self-drivers can take their vehicle right up to their own back door. The One Stop Cuca Shop next to reception caters for all travellers’ needs, with items ranging from braai-packs and cooking utensils, to wine and the normal curios, even jewellery. Taleni Etosha Village officially opened its doors to visitors in December, and is situated 4.3 kilometres from the Andersson Gate near Okaukuejo.
This article appeared in the Feb/March ‘09 edition of Travel News Namibia.