If you’re a regular reader you will know that we are avid campers and have camped all over Namibia. We considered ourselves extremely spoilt therefore when we were given a night at the luxurious Erongo Wilderness Lodge for my birthday (thanks again Mick). Not to be outdone by Mick, Rob chipped in for an extra night to make it a whole weekend treat!
Situated in the beautiful Erongo Mountains, this lodge stands proud as one of the leading lodges of Namibia. Guests stay in fabulous tents perched on the side of the mountain. Each tent has an en-suite open-air bathroom with all the mod-cons. The entire tent sits under a thatched roof and has its own wooden patio overlooking the valley and the magnificent views.
Just getting to there is an experience in itself. To self-drive one has to have a 4×4 as the road up the mountain is very rocky and cannot be negotiated in an ordinary car. Guests who don’t have 4×4’s are greeted at the gate and offered a lift up. The drive up to Reception is spectacular and before we reached the office, baboons and rock rabbits (dassies), that sit like sentinels on the rocks, had already called out their welcome.
After checking in we were offered a guided walk to the top of the mountain so that we could watch the sun going down. The views from the top were amazing and we were very amused by a lone chair perched on the highest point, that looked out over the vast expanse of land below. The dry Omaruru River could be seen cutting a swathe through the barren landscape. Our guide carried snacks and drinks for us to make the sunset even more memorable!
The open-air dining room overlooks a floodlit waterhole where animals come to drink. We also saw many nightjars and bats catching the insects that gathered around the floodlight. We were delighted when a porcupine ambled past the dining room on his way to the kitchen for a snack. This was the first time that we’d seen a porcupine in the wild as they are nocturnal creatures. In Namibia you have to carry a camera with you at all times otherwise you miss out on special moments like this
We were up at six the next morning to take a guided hike around the mountains. We specifically asked for a guide who was knowledgeable about birds and were very impressed by the young man who accompanied us. He identified a Verreaux’s Eagle flying overhead and took us on a long detour to find its nest perched on the side of a rocky cliff. When I mentioned the nightjars that we’d seen at the waterhole the night before, he offered to show us a pair that he said slept quite near our tent during the day. We notched up a ‘lifer’ with the Freckled Nightjars and were happy to be able to photograph them. Here local knowledge was essential for finding them, as they blended into the rocks so well.
I was fortunate enough to spot a rare and elusive black mongoose on a rocky plain. We also saw leopard footprints, a horned adder soaking up the sun and numerous birds. A common resident in the Erongo area is the White-tailed Shrike. I love these birds with their sweet little grey waistcoats!
As always, the weekend was very special. Whether we’re in a tent or a lodge, wherever we spend our weekends in Namibia they are certain to offer up many delights in the way of scenery, birds and nature. This weekend was no exception and we came away with many more memories of this awesome country.