Here we go...photos included!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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
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!
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!