Etosha is the oldest national park in Namibia, and one of the largest national parks in Africa. What makes it special is the Etosha Pan, a huge shimmering white salt pan spanning almost 5000 kilometres and a quarter of the park. The Etosha Pan is the largest salt pan in Africa and the park’s most distinctive feature, visible even from space. A visit to Etosha is a must on every Namibian tourist itinerary and ours was no different. Our base for exploring Etosha was the Etosha Safari Lodge , just 10 kilometres from the Andersson Gate, the southern entrance to the park.
We arrived at the lodge after a three-hour drive from Omaruru, and entered the stately reception area where a portrait and quote from Madiba served as inspiration. While I checked in with a friendly staff member, the rest of my family walked directly to the elevated outdoor deck at the back where they found comfortable seats to admire the view from.
Etosha Safari Lodge is part of the renowned Gondwana Collection, which owns lodges all over Namibia, and has won awards for its efforts in nature conservation and social commitment. Perched on a hilltop, the lodge overlooks a vast expanse of mopane woodland where giraffes, zebras, antelopes and other creatures roam free. There was dense bush as far as the eye could see. The vistas were spectacular, especially at sunrise and sunset, and the public areas were airy and inviting.
Accommodation is in 65 bungalows, consisting of 5 family rooms and 60 twin/double rooms. We were there during the Easter holidays and the family rooms were all booked out, so we stayed in adjacent rooms. The rooms are built in the traditional German colonial cottage style, with stone floors, dark wooden furniture, and white wooden rafters.
Light bulbs were encased in quirky elephant lampshades. The bathroom design was unique too. It was more like a room, with a rainshower at the further end.
The rooms opened on to balconies overlooking the woodlands, from where I watched the sun rise. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever witnessed.
Buffet breakfasts and three-course dinners were served on the wide outdoor deck overlooking the scenic surroundings. There was a wide range of wholesome vegetarian dishes for us to eat, as well as seafood and meat dishes.
Chilled iced tea and lemon water was available in the main building all day, and so was complimentary wi-fi. Should one be in the mood for retail therapy, there is a curio shop too. Other facilities include three swimming pools.
On our first afternoon, we went on a guided game drive to Etosha National Park with Ivan, our game ranger, and a friendly British family. It was a good introduction to the park and we saw a lion, oryx, springboks, giraffes, jackals and many other animals across the wide open plains of Etosha. The following day, we returned to the park for a full-day self-drive safari.
After the game drives, we returned to Etosha Safari Lodge where sundowners were being served on the deck. The sunset view from the elevated deck is spectacular and you will find most guests waiting there with drinks and cameras as the sun sets. This was followed by a delicious dinner under the stars. Then Ivan pointed out the Milky Way and other great stars of the sky to us, with a laser pointer. My kids were enthralled.
Children of all ages are welcome at Etosha Safari Lodge and we saw many families with young children during our stay there. Wide open spaces, fresh air, and nature all combined to create a relaxing, holiday ambiance. The staff were friendly, the food was good and the accommodation comfortable. We would definitely stay there again.