“The best of conversation and conservation at an award-winning lodge, with family-friendly bungalows, in the Huab Private Reserve”
Guests stay in one of 8 stone and thatch bungalows, which stretch out to the west along the banks of the Huab river (expect it to be dry unless you are here between February and March). The sinuous form of their thatched roofs and the use of natural stone has ensured the buildings feel in synch with their natural setting, a sensation enhanced by their glass frontages that bring the beauty of the surrounding mopane savannah in to meet you.
The decorative style echoes that of the main lodge: chunky pole furniture of Rhodesian teak, bold earthy-coloured patterns on bedspreads and curtains, vibrant colours inspired by nature's bounty, polished stone floors and stacks of objets like Herero dolls, watercolours and chunky lamps, as well as collections of river pebbles. The vibe is both homespun and homely and each bungalow has space aplenty for twin queensize beds, a writing table and a pair of planter-style chairs. All have a big sweep of private river-facing terrace where you'll find wooden chairs and a table.
There are ceiling fans to cool you, nets to protect you from mosquitos and for romance (this is a malaria-free zone), handy luggage racks and plenty of hanging space in the fitted wardrobes. And on return to your bungalow you'll find a thermos of boiling water next to your tea- and coffee-making gear.
Bathrooms feel a whole lot less 'bush' and their floor-to-ceiling white ceramic tiling imparts a rather clinical look. But you do benefit from twin sinks, loads of surface space and invigorating water pressure in your gas-heated shower which has valley views. Expect plenty of terracotta-coloured towels, bathrobes, a hairdryer and a full range of soaps, gels and shampoos as well as a bag for your laundry.
In addition to the 8 bungalows there's a Hide for honeymooners further up the hill. Built on 3 different levels, it has masses of additional living space and the added elevation means you're treated to a panoramic view out over the surrounding mopane woodlands and ephemeral river bed.
Huab's single dining table - which comfortably seats up to 22 - is what defines the character of life at the lodge. Your hosts make it their business to get to know each of their guest's names and to introduce everyone. Listening to their tales of the creation of the Nature Reserve gives a fascinating insight into the country and its wildlife management.
All dining is buffet style and begins with a big, hearty breakfast spread at 8am (by which time you may already have been out on a nature walk). Guests are treated to 4 types of homemade bread and muffins in addition to fresh fruit salad, freshly squeezed orange juice, cereals, porridge, cold meats and cheeses, a choice of yoghurts, some kind of salad like sliced avocados and tomatoes, and eggs and bacon to order.
Light and delicious lunches also tend to be eaten at the lodge. Expect plenty of salad accompanied by pasta, chicken or fish and a homemade dessert. Lunchpacks can also be arranged for the day of departure. A tea and filter coffee bar is permanently set up with a biscuit selection if you're feeling peckish at any point.
Dinners, which normally kick off with drinks round the bar, follow a similar formula, though once the candles are lit along the table, the mood feels more celebratory. Your hosts introduce the excellent wines for the evening which, along with soft drinks and beer, are included in the room rate. There is a white, a rosé and a red from lesser well-known estates in South Africa which are ceremoniously presented in Huab tradition and served à volonté. After hors d'oeuvres have been served, the cook is introduced and runs through what's on offer that evening in the local Damara-Nama language, with its four different click sounds. This is translated by a waitress into whatever languages are spoken at the table as far as possible.
Help yourself to your main course. You'll be offered a choice between some kind of game meat like oryx, kudu or zebra or best Namibian steak or lamb, or a homemade oxtail or a delicious stew, and a white meat dish which might be pork or chicken, or fish. This is accompanied by a choice of 3 different types of veg, a salad, and rice or potatoes.
Children are welcome at Huab (no liability is accepted for them) and the absence of malaria and big cats in the forest surrounding the lodge means you'd feel relaxed about bringing younger members of your family here. With such a wealth of inspiring wildlife around you, not to mention distinguished and entertaining guides, outdoors-loving children will be captivated.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
All 8 bungalows have 2 queen sized beds and space for an extra bed or cot (bring a travel cot if needed), so you can sleep up to 5, depending on whether 2 children will be happy to share a double bed. All have a shower, not bath.
Free babysitting is available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
All meals can be tailored to children's tastes. There's a special kids menu and half portions of adult mains are available; you can also eat out nearby or ask for an early tea when necessary. Meals are normally taken together around a communal table.
There are no shops nearby. There are unprotected drops and an unfenced pool.