Huab Lodge began as an idea to
generate funds to save the desert – dwelling elephant from being harassed and
shot. Since 1992 awareness has increased, as has tourism and the “value” of the
elephant is changing. The original farmland is a small, unique area called Monte
Carlo that boasts stunning views bisected by the mostly dry Huab River. The
former rest camp, which accommodated tourists in the 1970s, now houses the
lodge’s staff. At a special site just down river from the old rest camp, where
the Germans built the so-called German Bath in the late 1800s, Huab Lodge was
erected. Despite its size the unique main building blends well into its
surroundings. The irregular thatch roof mirrors a mountain on the opposite bank.
The stone and thatch bungalows spread along the elevated north bank of the river
ensuring a private and magnificent view – even from the shower!
Huab Lodge with all it has to offer and being off the beaten track is not a place for a single night-stop. You should allow several days to enjoy and absorb the tranquility and quiet, the welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, and the many activities. There is an airstrip near the lodge.
Huab Lodge is a charming, unpretentious Africa-style lodge, where guests quickly feel at home. Every year since it began, Huab Lodge has received a prize in the Best Lodge category in the Hospitality Association of Namibia's guest appraisal contest. Huab Lodge continues to be revisited by its guests and is recommended to their friends.
The main building of Huab Lodge is an enormous thatch roof with open sides so you feel as though you are outside but well in the shade! There is a cosy seating arrangement with a well-assorted reference library as well as photographs of all the guests who have come to stay. A permanent coffee and tea bar is laid out. The long dining table and other convenient tables and chairs are made of heavy Rhodesian teak sleepers and the easy chairs have colourful handmade cushions. Natural rock islands protrude into the area and are decorated with curious details. A small curio shop and the bar fill the spaces.
Accommodation at the Huab Lodge consists of eight stone and thatch
bungalows that can accommodate a maximum of 16 guests. Meals are enjoyed with
the hosts at the family table, where in the Lodge's friendly atmosphere guests
can make friends and exchange opinions and learn more about the country. In Huab
Lodge tradition a variety of less well-known South Africa wines are presented
ceremoniously each evening for guests to appreciate and enjoy.
The spacious bungalows have a large private patio and are tastefully and practically furnished. They all include a separate en-suite toilet, two hand-wash basins and mirrors and even the shower has a view. The airy room with two king size beds has large windows giving lots of light and a view across the Huab. Tea and coffee making facilities are set out. Mosquito nets, a ceiling fan, and a torch as well as biologically degradable soaps and shampoo is provided. 24 hours 220 volt power comes from the silent solar energy plant concealed on the hill. The chemically untreated water has a neutral pH value.
There is a bungalow for physically disabled guests with limited facilities.
Use of the swimming pool with
its decorative island is recommended, and you can also enjoy a wallow in the
thermal spring, which contains soothing and healing minerals and has a neutral
pH value and NO sulphur. The temperature fluctuates around 37 to 39 degrees
Centigrade and the pool is shaded by an attractive thatch roof that still
enables stargazing. There is a cool plunge-pool next to the hot wallow. A
secluded birdbath makes this a prime spot for birders.
If the stresses of life leave you in need of rejuvenating, our aromatherapist, who trained in South Africa, offers reflexology and aromatherapy massages in the privacy of the bungalow or at the thermal spring. This additional offer has proved extremely popular since its inclusion in the array of activities and can be another reason for wanting to stay longer.
Drinking water is first class quality and many of the salads and herbs served at the table come fresh from the kitchen garden.
Activities at Huab Lodge include an expertly guided early morning walk and scenic drives in an open vehicle before lunch and in the late afternoon to view the vegetation, birds, animals and the unique environment. Stargazing may take place before sun-up and could include viewing Saturn’s rings or Jupiter’s moons. There are unusual rock paintings and old tools and shards. The area boasts 9 of the endemic desert bird species including Hartlaub’s francolin, Ruppel’s parrot, violet wood-hoopoe, Monteiro’s hornbill, Carp’s black tit, Barecheeked babbler, Damara rock runner and White-tailed shrike, and many mammals and reptiles that are of particular interest in the semi-desert environment.
From early October to mid
April the Madagascar or Olive bee-eater arrives to breed and delight us with his
call and brilliance. The plum-coloured starling, the rosy-faced love bird and
the boisterous bare-cheeked babbler can be seen from camp. 190 birds have been
positively identified over the years. There is a little hide just below the main
house for bird watching and photography.
Hiking is encouraged and a walking stick (and dog) can be provided.
Environmental Considerations - Huab Lodge
The fact that the lodge is built on the threshold of Damaraland gives local communities the option of finding work close to home. Not only can they work directly at the lodge, but they can also supply homemade vegetables and curios. The lodge runs a small shop for their basic necessities and a modern card-phone adds to the amenities. A small handicraft project is developing, with ladies hand painting and sewing useful items for sale in the Lodge’s curio shop.
Desert - dwelling elephants continue to roam the spectacular area of the Namib and Damaraland and the bordering commercial farms in the remote north west of Namibia, as they have done for centuries. Today, the elephant's range is constantly being decreased by encroaching human settlement - from western communal Damaraland as well as the commercial ranches on the east. The land is arid and harsh – not ideal for farming at the best of times. Some of the previous landowners shot every animal in sight to make biltong (air dried meat).
Huab Safari Ranches is an amalgamation of farmland between the commercial and communal farmers. In 1992 when the project leaders first came across this part of the Huab Valley on the edge of Damaraland and learned of the plight of the desert elephants, they founded a private nature reserve as a buffer zone for the elephants in particular, and wild animals in general between the conflicting farming interests. The ephemeral Huab River, which runs through the 20 thousand acre nature reserve, has natural water pools, which attract wild life. The once severely overgrazed farmland has been completely given over to wildlife and is gradually returning to pristine condition. Anti-erosion measures consisting of half moon contours raised on the affected land to decrease the speed of flowing rainwater as well as gabions and the filling of erosion channels are helping the scars to heal. The indigenous flora now has a chance to proliferate and provide food and refuge for the wildlife, birds, insects and reptiles. The recent decade of care and a strict no-shooting policy have brought about remarkable changes.
Species such as kudu, Oryx and mountain zebra have been able to survive the shooting parties of the past. Numbers are growing and the new generation is approachable. However, in order to re-establish the natural balance of fauna, it is necessary to reintroduce indigenous animals such as giraffe, springbok and ostrich, as all these species succumbed to the guns. Others are now returning of their own account. As the vegetation is no longer overutilised by excessive domestic stock, the wild animals are drawn to the better grazing and can drink in peace from waterholes that no longer have barbed wire fences around them. They have been made "game-friendly" with drinking sources enabling good vision rather than the original walled cattle troughs.
Animals that can now be observed in increasing numbers include the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, a feisty small zebra with a quaint birdlike trill. Their ability to camouflage has to be seen to be believed! Large herds of Oryx cross the plains or climb a stony hill as sure-footedly as a mountain goat! A dainty steenbok may leap from its shady place or if you are lucky you could even see a common duiker. You may get good views of klipspringer on the granite outcrops. The best sight remains that of the majestic elephant. He comes and goes as he pleases unrestricted by fences. Plentiful water and food keep him travelling up and down the dry river, where he sometimes finds company with a breeding herd of elephants or other lone bulls.
The Huab Conservation Project also promotes the rehabilitation of the mismanaged land on many levels by:
- enforcing anti-erosion measures
- cleaning up the rubbish people threw around them
- removing fences and allowing free passage for the wild animals
- not keeping domestic stock
- encouraging wild animals to return to the land by improving natural feeding conditions
- making drinking water available in open saucer-like troughs
- enforcing a no-shooting policy
- re-introducing animals which used to occur naturally
- encouraging natural combinations of animals that are mutually beneficial
Generous donations by individuals financed the purchase and installation of two solar pumps at waterholes. In June 1998 the Huab Conservation Trust was able to finance the purchase of 10 giraffes and 8 ostriches thanks to the generosity and involvement of the many visitors to Huab Lodge. Since then the animals have dispersed, as the nature reserve is not game-fenced. The intention of reintroducing game is not to fence it in and manage it for a selected few, but to assist nature in restocking itself. So while the giraffes and ostriches are not restricted to the reserve area they are in its vicinity, covering the vast tracts of land they require. This holistic approach is unusual but meeting with increasing approval. The new conservancies which are forming on the bordering communal areas realise the value of the wild animals and they also recognise the need to preserve them, not only for future generations, but for the basic well being of today’s balance in nature and hence their own health. The conservancies also understand the tourism aspect of nature and wild animals.
Rates - best available:
Per person per night fully inclusive + activities: on request
Huab Lodge is situated halfway between Khorixas and Kamanjab in the north-western part of Namibia.
From Outjo you can cut off about 70kms by first heading 10km towards Okaukuejo on the C38, then turn left for a further 40km on the tar towards Kamanjab on the C40. Then turn left again onto the D3236. At the T-junction with the C35 turn north toward Kamanjab for 15km and just after the narrow bridge take the Monte Carlo signboard and the Huab sign on the D2670 going west ward. 35km later on a road that becomes more and more breathtaking as you continue you arrive at your comfortable and inviting lodge!
A four-wheel drive vehicle is not necessary, except maybe in the rainy season. The D road, #2670 halfway between Khorixas and Kamanjab is a well-maintained all-weather gravel road. If the rains are really heavy then even a 4-wheel drive vehicle will not help get you across roaring rivers! PLEASE do not attempt to cross these! If you are on your way to Huab Lodge and you have a booking, we are expecting you. As we know the weather conditions and are in contact with our neighbours, we ensure that a rescue car comes to meet you if conditions are uncertain. A saloon car can easily manage these gravel roads, obviously you need to drive carefully! The driving time from Khorixas as well as from Kamanjab is 1 hour 30 minutes, at a safe speed but without stopping to smell the flowers! The driving time from Outjo is 2 hours 30 minutes, from Swakopmund 5 hours and from Windhoek 6 hours.
If you travel by plane, these are the airstrip coordinates:
S: 19 58 23
E: 14 46 29
Huab Lodge is wheel chair accessible: guests in wheel chairs are welcome and the bungalow closest to the main building is used - no stairs between bungalows and the restaurant.
Please see map, activities
March 2018: Road access to Huab Lodge
Contact & reservations:
1) you can e-mail us requesting information and/or rates
Reservations are only accepted in writing: by fax or via e-mail.
Final availability confirmation: in writing: by fax or via e-mail.
Terms & conditions, Payment options and Cancellation policy
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