What we say
Mount Etjo Safari Lodge is one of the oldest lodges in Namibia – and plays an important part in the countries history as it was here that the ‘Mount Etjo Declaration‘ which led to Namibian Independence was signed in April 1989. Situated between Windhoek and Otjiwarongo the property is well placed to serve as a break between Etosha and Windhoek.
The Okonjati Game Reserve, which surrounds the lodge, was the brainchild and passion of world-renowned conservationist, Jan Oelofse, who opened the reserve in the mid-1970s. As neighbouring farms became available they were purchased resulting in a vast 36 000 hectare reserve. Elephant & lion were introduced, as well as many different species, like roan and sable antelope.
Mount Etjo is certainly not for everyone, it is something of a throwback lodge, still grounded in the 1970s. The rooms are cool, cavernous and dark, with heavy furniture with large outdated spa baths. The dining room is a large enclosed boma where traditional Namibian food (braaied meat) is served. While the lodge is sure to split opinion, we find it comforting and relaxing. In an age where most Namibian lodges are becoming indistinguishable modern structures, there is a joy to be found in this traditional lodge. It’s a shoes off while you enjoy a Namibian beer overlooking the huge waterhole kind of place.
There is a touch of Alice in Wonderland meets Jurassic park about Mount Etjo. The pond just outside reception has a flock of flamingos (wings clipped in the distant past – before such practices were not frowned upon). The adjacent waterhole has two hippos (not endemic to central Namibia) lounging in the murky water. On a nearby property are two sets of fossilised dinosaur tracks thought to be around 200 million years old.
The staff are friendly and helpful, the guides are well trained and informative and above all the huge Okonjati game reserve is well stocked with every conceivable Namibian animal. Game drives on the Okonjati Reserve are an excellent opportunity to see (and photograph) this wildlife. After dinner, there is an excursion to watch lion feeding from a hide. This is a wonderful opportunity to view (and hear) these magnificent cats up close as they tuck into their evening meal.
The conservation effort that has gone into the reserve is immense with many animals reintroduced into the area a true testament to the memory of Jan and still proudly preserved by his wife Anette.
What they say (the facts!)
One of the first private Game Reserves established in Namibia and founded by world-renowned conservationist Jan Oelofse.
Home to over 8000 animals and an impressive variety of bird species the Okonjati Wildlife Sanctuary is a true Conservation Area, this historic lodge deservedly carries the name “Etjo”, meaning place of refuge.
Whether you relax at the swimming pool, at the bar, the lounge or in the beautiful Mount Etjo Gardens, you will find that the beautiful scenery will leave you feeling rejuvenated! The waterhole is situated right in front of the lodge, allowing for all-day game viewing experience.
Why we like it
If you are looking for modern, light & airy then this is not the establishment for you! If you wonder what Namibia was like before the tourism boom which started in the mid to late 1990s then this is a fine example of that laid back, simple era.
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