Out for a hike in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA. Photo taken April 19, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Best of the Gondwana Collection!

In December, we were fortunate to be able to spend at least a night or two at each of twelve of the Gondwana Collection of specialty lodges in Namibia. Each one has something a little different to offer, so we thought it would be fun to do a "best of" post based on our experiences at the lodges.

Here we go...photos included!

Best Campsite:

Without question, the winner is Kalahari Anib Lodge! With only three campsites, and several dozen meters between sites, you've got a campsite where you likely won't see any other people. Not only that, you've got your own private bathroom and shower facility attached to a well shaded patio and braii (bbq) area.

Our campsite at Kalahari Anib Lodge

Runner up: The campground at Canyon Roadhouse has quite a few sites and most of them are just average. However the facilities (showers, toilets, and kitchen wash up areas) are first class!

Best "African" Experience:

Has to go to Namushasha River Lodge. You really feel like you're in the jungle here. And with the hippos, elephants, and the sounds of the lions roaring in the distance, you feel like you're in the middle of Africa. And you pretty much are!

Ruth, at the entrance to Namushasha River Lodge.

Runner up: Hakusembe River Lodge. Located directly on the bank of the river looking across at a very rural section of Angola, you can't help but know that you are most certainly in Africa.

Best Food:

This is a tough call. With rare exceptions, all of the food we experienced at Gondwana Lodges was top notch. However we both agree that Hakusembe River Lodge stood out in a number of ways. They took exceptional care to comply with our "gluten free" diet requirements. And I had the best steak of my life cooked by chef Elizabeth. Of course the wait staff and restaurant location make up the ambiance of the meal and we enjoyed both of those things at Hakusembe.

Breakfast is served overlooking the river at Hakusembe River Lodge.

Runner up: Damara Mopane Lodge. Best lunchtime chicken salad ever!

Best Swimming Pool:

We thought we had this category figured out, and then towards the end of our Namibia trip we stayed at Canyon Lodge. Nothing more you can say about the swimming pool except "wow"!

The gorgeous swimming pool at Canyon Lodge.

Runner up: Damara Mopane Lodge. The pool is large, although it has to support quite a few people when it's busy. And they needed some new loungers when we were there. But, it's a beautiful pool!

Best Room:

Canyon Lodge picks up a second win at the top of this category. With each chalet designed around a series of boulders and rocks, it's an interesting experience staying here.

Our chalet at Canyon Lodge. Ruth, sitting on the front porch.

Runner up: Hakusembe River Lodge. They have some brand new chalets there are they're really nice!

Best Landscaping:

By far, the prettiest lodge is Hakusembe River Lodge. It certainly helps that they are by a constant source of water, and that makes things very green. But we enjoyed the variety of flowers and the colors that they presented.

Greenery and flowers at Hakusembe River Lodge.

Runner up:. Believe it or not, Namib Desert Lodge. Considering they should have a lack of water in the middle of the desert, they've obviously got a good source of underground water. The gardens are well maintained and a welcome oasis in the dryness.

Best tour:

All of the lodges offer tours. There are sundowner tours, and game tours, and river tours. We enjoyed all of the tours, but the best by far was the river cruise at Namushasha. We never expected to see so many hippos!

Hippos in the Caprivi region of Nambia at Namushasha Lodge.

Runner up: We didn't go, but we would have to think that Etosha Safari Lodge would be a great tour. Anytime you go into Etosha National Park, you are pretty much guaranteed a great tour!

Best staff:

Once again, a tough call. We flipped back and forth between Etosha Safari Lodge and Hakusembe River Lodge. In fact, we flipped back and forth so many times that we're calling it a tie.

Etosha Safari Lodge

Hakusembe River Lodge

Best Hiking:

Almost all of the lodges offer some sort of hiking or walking trails. Way out in front in this category is the Desert Horse Inn at Klein Aus Vista. A wide variety of well maintained and well marked trails.

Ruth, enjoying the view from the trails at Klein Aus Vista.

Runner up: We did a few trails at the other lodges, but none that were very special. Namib Desert Lodge has a couple of decent trails, but they have the potential to develop some really good ones!

Overall favorite:

Each lodge has so much to offer, and for different reasons.  So it's difficult for us to choose an overall favorite. We enjoyed our time at each and every lodge. If we absolutely had to pick a favorite, we once again flip back and forth between two choices. Hakusembe River Lodge, and Namushasha Lodge. So, consider it a tie for best overall!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Gondwana Collection of lodges in Namibia. It's probably not something we'll ever do again, staying at such places for 25 nights in one month! Thanks to our facebook fans for securing our spot in the contest last year, and to Gondwana Lodges for having us!

Want to win your own trip to Namibia with Gondwana Lodges?

They're launching a new contest in March. If you have a standout picture of a highway road trip, hang onto it and win a trip to Namibia! Contest starts in March!


  1. The Canyon Lodge remind me of the golf courses in Scottsdale, AZ. Sort of...

    1. Maybe a bit of the scenery does but I doubt that the chalets do! :-)

  2. Great post! If I ever get to Africa (in that region), I will definitely look at some of those places for sure!
    Are you going to make a trip to Robben Island? It's only 6 miles from capetown :)

    1. No we aren't going to Robben Island for two reasons. One it is very expensive and two they were fully booked while we have been in Cape Town anyways. If we somehow managed to get the chance to go then we certainly would have loved to have seen it.

    2. Maybe next time :) Not sure if you are allowed to take pictures in there anyway.

  3. Replies
    1. Kevin could have spent even more time on it but it was already long enough.

  4. OK, it's official - an African photo safari has just moved up into our top 5. We're planned out through 2015, so 2016 or 2017 it is!

    Question - how do you hike knowing there are, well, wild animals out there? Here in the States while hiking we carry bear bells and talk loudly, but I'm still nervous whenever we're in Grizzly territory. What's the scoop there?

    1. Glad to hear that the African photo safari has moved up your list, you won't be sorry!

      As for hiking with "wild" animals the only wild animals were kudu, oryx, springbok and zebra, which are no more dangerous than deer and elk. Normally they will run before you even get close. I guess the only time we really were worried was when we were in the Caprivi Strip where the hippos were, they can be pretty mean but normally during the day they spend their time in the water. Lions and such are in the National Parks or specialty game parks and you wouldn't be allowed to hike in those areas.

  5. Replies
    1. The neat thing about Africa, is that you can have luxury right down to roughing it and still have a great time.

  6. I can see why you had a hard time choosing one over the other. Maybe you need to win the next contest to go back and try them all out again! ;c)

    1. Would love to win it but I think we will give that chance to someone else.

  7. It was a real chore hitting that click button everyday so that you would win! Just kidding, glad it all worked out and we can't wait for you guys to come back. We have tons of questions!

    1. Thank you so much for hitting that voting button each and every day. We couldn't have done it without your help and all the others that helped us. I hope we did the trip justice.

  8. ...and the Best Post goes to Kevin & Ruth for their coverage of their FB trip to Namibia's Gondwana Lodges!!

    Well done guys!! Really enjoyed the wrap-up. Pretty sure this is better coverage than they could ever have imagined!!

    1. Thanks Doug and Nancy, we really enjoyed our time at the Gondwana Lodges and we were more than happy to report on them and let our readers know what they were voting for and how we enjoyed our time.

  9. What wonderful experiences you've had! The photos are great! Love Canyon Lodge and Hakusembe Lodge. Great shot of the hippos bathing!

    1. Thanks Paul, we did have a wonderful time there. We had so many great experiences and it was really hard to find much fault in any of the lodges.


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