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Frans Indongo Lodge

Frans Indongo Lodge

Frans Indongo Lodge in the Waterberg area of northern Namibia is named after its owner, Dr. Frans Indongo. Dr. Indongo’s story is quite exceptional. He rose from tending livestock as the son of a subsistence farmer in Ovamboland to becoming one the wealthiest men in Namibia . . . and all despite Apartheid.

His lodge is extremely beautiful and manages to combine comfort and style, while modeled after a traditional Ovambo homestead. Tall, pointed stakes hewn from the local trees form a palisade that encircles the lodge, mimicking that of the traditional “kraal” and bringing with it feelings of security and permanence. Beautiful palisades separate the restaurant and swimming pool area from the guest chalets.

The traditional yet contemporary theme continues through the use of natural building materials including stone, wood, and reed. A further tribute to the Ovambo homestead are the traditional items that have been used to enhance the décor. Earthenware pots, huge storage baskets, and authentic carved wooden figures add enormous charm to the lodge.

Accommodation is offered in two double rooms, two family units, and eight spacious chalets, all of which have amenities appropriate to a lodge of this quality. Lush green gardens with an artificial stream and tall shady trees attract many birds such as the Shaft-tailed Whydah, crimson-breasted Shrike, and Pied Barbet. A lighted waterhole affords sightings of the rare nyala, black springbok, white blesbok, sable, and roan.

The hosts at Frans Indongo Lodge are Astrid and Alf Walter, who gained experience managing hotels in Germany and Switzerland before coming to Namibia. Astrid is a Namibian, born on a farm in the vicinity of Kamanjab. Alf is a restaurant specialist and comes from Dresden in eastern Germany. Under his influence, the lodge has a gourmet kitchen that serves excellent meals such as a variety of venison dishes served with farm-fresh vegetables and salads.

The lodge is set in the heart of a 66-square-mile farm, although only a small part of the farm is still actively farmed. The focus of the farm has changed to caring for game. Oryx, zebra, kudu, springbok, eland, impala, black wildebeest, and white and black rhino inhabit the area. Two-hour game drives in open off-road vehicles offer plenty of opportunities to see the game.

This is beautiful countryside, and, for those who like to walk, there are three trails of differing length to choose from. The word waterberg means “water mountain,” and so walks will include hilly terrain with wonderful views from the top. And it is not unusual to come across game during these walks.

Another worthwhile activity is a visit to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in nearby Otjiwarongo. The cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal, has become a highly endangered species. With about 2,500 animals, Namibia has the largest cheetah population on earth. At the CCF, cheetah that can no longer be released into the wild (for various reasons) are kept in large enclosures. Apart from the stunning photo opportunities, you will learn about the animal and the CCF’s conservation efforts.

The Cape vulture is an endangered species in Namibia, and sadly only one colony of eleven Cape vultures remains in the cliffs of Waterberg. In order to study the birds, the Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST) set up a vulture “restaurant” with an observation screen. Carrion is regularly laid out at the restaurant, and it attracts Cape vultures and hundreds of White-backed and Lappet-faced vultures.

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