The Kalahari Anib Lodge is conveniently located 30km northeast of the town of Mariental, in the Namibian Kalahari. It may seem like it is in the middle of nowhere but if you are a wildlife traveler, it is very likely that you are on route to Etosha NP from the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park. Then the Anib Lodge is perfect. It is only a four hour drive from the Mata-Mata gate in the Kgalagadi. That gives you time to do a short morning drive to look for hyenas and still make it in time for lunch at the Anib Lodge.
And that is what we did. We were welcomed with a cold refreshment upon arrival. Then we were given a tour of the place, chose our lunch and arranged our sundowner drive for that evening. We had 30min until lunch was ready so we went to our room and explored the lodge. We were surprised by a complimentary carafe of sherry in our room that we immediately opened and enjoyed in our private patio area while enjoying the view.
The lodge is divided into two main areas. The group accommodation area and the restaurant are arranged around a courtyard and a swimming pool. There are hammocks available for the occasional siesta. The other area is reserved for individual travelers. These 19 rooms are set slightly apart from the group accommodations, have a separate swimming pool and incredible savannah views. The local group of horses graze every morning and evening in front of the rooms.
Each morning and evening the lodge organizes a drive through the property. We took the evening drive. It was very tempting to also do the morning drive but we took our stay at the Anib Lodge as a break from early mornings so we slept in and chilled out by the pool. We were on our way to Etosha, so it was our way to recharge batteries and get ready for more wildlife action.
Our drive guide was Timo, who was our teacher for the evening. It does not matter how many wildlife drives you go on, there is always something new to learn. Timo taught us about the geology of the Kalahari and different types of sand. We did also learn about why pigmy falcons nest on a sociable weaver colony and about nest sharing in ostriches. For this, we stopped by an abandoned ostrich nest and Timo showed us how strong the eggs are. He stood on top of the eggs and they didn’t crack.
One of our wildlife surprises of the drive was to find a large group of marabou storks at the lodge’s waterhole. We have never seen so many of these wading birds hanging out together.
Other wildlife we spotted was zebra, springbok, wildebeest, steenbok and scrub hare. We were told there’s a group of eland living the property but we never saw them. Each drive is different.
The lodge property does not have any big predators, but remember that leopards do go everywhere. You never know who has jumped the fence that night and who you might see on your drive.
As a last treat, Timo and Happy (the other guide) drove us to the top of a dune to have our sundowner drinks and watch the Kalahari sunset. A gin and tonic was in order.
The restaurant at the Anib Lodge
This is the only dining option around if you are staying at the lodge because of its remote location. Once you try the food and experience their service you won’t want to look for another place anyway.
We loved the partially-covered outdoor dining area arranged in a crescent shape around a fire pit.
One of the highlights was to be visited by an owl during dinner. It landed on one of the palm trees in the outdoor dining area and stayed with us for most of the meal.
Breakfast is a self-serve buffet with a vast number of choices, cold and hot. And for us Europeans there is even Nutella! Lunch is a set menu with two choices available for two hours in the afternoon. Dinner is a fixed menu served at a set time. All the lodge’s guests are seated at once, and a four course meal is presented by the very friendly staff. Our favorites were the amazing springbok pie (which we got to have twice!) and the delicious soups. To top it all off, at the end of dinner the staff members gather together in front of the guests to sing a few local songs, which they seemed to truly enjoy as much just as much as the guests did.
An Eco-Friendly Lodge
It may seem that placing a lodge in the middle of such fragile ecosystem like the Kalahari desert would be harmful to the habitat. The Anib Lodge takes responsibility and has taken measures to minimize its impact on the environment. These are some of the eco-friendly measures:
- Waste water is recycled to be used in the garden. The recycled water covers all the garden needs.
- Gardens are planted mainly with water-wise indigenous plants.
- Shower heads and toilets are designed for maximum water efficiency
- Kitchen waste is composted or fed to the pigs.
- Animal waste is used to fertilize the garden.
- Waste is sorted into paper, glass, plastic and metal recycling.
- Energy-saving bulbs.
- Air conditioners have a timer so the guests can choose not to use them all night.
- Gas stoves in the kitchen.
- Water heaters are equipped with timers to prevent continuous reheating.
Anib Lodge Campsite
Just before we left the Anib Lodge I wanted to check out the camping area. When we come back in the future we will likely take advantage of this option. At N$140 ( $17) per person, it is a little steep for a campsite but just check out what you get for your money.
The Anib Lodge offers three private campsites. And they come with all the amenities you would have when staying the main lodge including access to the swimming pool, restaurant, and bar. Each site has its own private bathroom and shower and a sheltered picnic table and a barbeque. Plus, by staying in your own tent, you get to enjoy the magical sound of the Kalahari nights. The yapping of a lone jackal, the hoot of an owl or the ‘barks’ of the barking geckos, replacing the small talk of other guests at the lodge.
If you think it cannot get better you just need to check out the view from the campsites. Your own Kalahari for the whole of your stay.
The Anib Lodge has quickly become one of our favorite places to stay in Namibia, for its convenient location, its warmth, the amazing views, and for the crystal clear swimming pool. Not to mention the horses and zebra foal. And that awesome sprinbgok pie!
To learn more about the Kalahari Anib Lodge and other Gondwana Collection accommodations, visit their website Gondwana Collection Namibia