Omaanda

Windhoek East Namibia Book from Book from £350 per night

A luxury lodge overlooking a boundless savannah with just 10 impeccable rooms, outstanding food and the best pool in Namibia
Just a half hour drive from Windhoek's tiny international airport, this 10-room luxury lodge couldn't feel further from civilisation. The setting is stunning: expansive bush plains stretching out to distant mountains, all framed under extraordinary skies. Traditional yet dreamy huts naturally blend into the epic surroundings, with hand-thatched roofs, private terraces and soaking tubs which look out over breathless panoramas. It's a wildly romantic affair.

French hotelier Arnaud Zannier created this place following a chance encounter with Angelina Jolie in Cambodia. The actress suggested he purchase this 9,000-hectare reserve and join forces with the remarkable N/a’an ku sê Conservation Foundation. A beautiful partnership was born. Yet Omaanda isn’t just a place for game drives. The foundation’s work can be witnessed through inspirational excursions, from walking with cheetahs, visiting the animal sanctuary or learning the ways of the local San bushmen.

In the heat of the day, we watched wild game saunter by a waterhole from the comfort of Omaanda’s sensational infinity pool. Service was impeccable, the cuisine perfectly judged and, if you need more, the small spa will take you closer to heaven. We stayed just 2 days at the end of our trip but wished it could have been 2 weeks.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • The astounding location. It's easy to get here yet still feels utterly remote. (We met families who 'flew and flopped' for a week.)
  • Beautifully designed yet authentic and captures a 'sense of place'
  • The best swimming pool in Namibia, with warm water, showstopping views and a gin bar at one end
  • Delicious food that's perfectly judged - we loved the super fresh mezze-style lunches
  • Omaanda's connection with the neighbouring N/a’an ku sê Foundation means there are lots of incredible wildlife and cultural experiences on offer

Lows

  • Not cheap. Still, when you consider what's included, plus the stunning setting and service, it gives excellent value
  • If you don't lift a finger, you might struggle to take enough exercise to burn off the calories
  • This is a recently created private reserve, so don't expect drives to be teaming with game (you won't tick off the 'Big 5' at every turn), it's more of an animal sanctuary, but we relished everything we saw, from rhino to meerkats.

Best time to go

June to July are the driest months with the biggest drop in temperature at night, while Jan to March has the highest rainfall - but it never rains for long and average daily temperatures always range from 20-35C. You'll be very unlucky to miss a day because of rain. We visited in February - it was stunning and we didn't see a drop.

Our top tips

Try and stay for as long as possible. Even without the excursions, we thought Omaanda was the perfect "fly-and-flop". Don't miss the unique experiences on offer, especially the neighbouring Shiloh animal sanctuary. It's unforgettable.

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Safari Lodge
  • 10 huts (for 2-4)
  • Full-board or All-inclusive stays
  • 6-12 year olds welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

The 10 huts stretch out along a walkway raised above the ground and lit at night. Not much separates the rooms apart from layout: the Two-Bedroom Huts are ideal for families; the One-Bedroom Huts perfect for couples. All are thatched in traditional Namibian Ovamba style, and well sealed. Rooms are definitely on the luxe scale but understatedly so - rounded corners, earthy tones, warm colours. Each is built using natural clay over sand sacks in keeping with ancestral methods. The polished floors curve up to blend into the walls, so it avoids you worrying about anything lurking in the corners.

You'll find African knick-knacks, antiques, carpets, and if it gets chilly at night, there's a cosy fireplace. You get bags of living space plus your own private viewing terrace for gazing out to the distant hills.

Other touches we liked included the dark bathroom taps, taupe bathrobes and ample wardrobe space. All rooms are well-equipped with top gear, from torches and Nespresso machines to soundbars and fully integrated TVs. As for the beds, ours was wonderfully comfy, and not much help for those early morning game drives. In fact, our only niggle with these beautiful rooms was not having enough time to be in them.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Nespresso
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Eating at Omaanda is a real delight. The gorgeous open air restaurant offers healthy, delicious and perfectly judged dishes served with great charm.

For breakfast they'll hit you with a zingy fresh health shot (maybe ginger, pineapple, kiwi or moranga) then a selection of plates to order, all served on rustic ceramic. Pastries, waffles and Milet Pati (a local semolina staple) are melt-in-your-mouth moorish.

Lunches are perfect for the midday heat. We had an outstanding set of Mezze dishes ranging from sesame tuna, guacamole, trout, lamb ball kefla, carrots in cumin and freshly made falafels and flatbread rotis.

Dinner is generally a 3-course affair with simple yet delicious starters (think roasted tomato soup with pesto and croutons) and a choice of fish, meat or vegetarian mains that change daily. Our filet of Orynx was the tenderest imaginable and its accompanying mushroom risotto was superb. But it was the "chocolate pie" that stole the show, a cross between a meringue and a brownie. Utterly outstanding.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Savannah sunrise and sunset game drives: as a young reserve they're finding the right balance of flora and fauna. You'll never get stuck in traffic but don't expect a 'Big 5' experience at every turn. You'll have to track and spot the bigger game but what we saw was awesome (from rhino to adorable meerkats and much in between). Sundowners were unforgettable.

  • Their partnership with N/a’an ku sê means conservation is at the heart of what they do. You can take in experiences with trusted guides, such as walking with cheetahs (over 12s), feeding carnivores, learning bushcraft from the local San tribe, and getting to know all about their vital anti-poaching work.

  • Visit the animal sanctuary to get close to the most adorable creatures - many of them orphans

  • Lounge by the best swimming pool in Namibia, read in the shade, or simply gaze out to the Savannah - all day long

  • Take a pew in the picturesque gin shack for your nightly aperitif. It was the best G&T experience of our lives.

  • luxuriate then exfoliate: the professional spa teatments will send you into a state of bliss

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Private guided tours
    • Safaris
    • Swimming
    • Traditional cultures
    • Trekking
    • Well being
    • Wildlife
  • Kids

    6-12 year olds welcome.

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The Two-Bedroom huts have 2 kingsize/twin beds, each with an ensuite bathroom (shower and tub), and shared living area with fireplace.

    Families Should Know:

    On-foot activities such as tracking are not suitable for children under 16

    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Omaanda is set on the 9,000-hectare private Zannier Reserve, on the Ondekaremba land east of Windhoek.

    By Air:
    Fly into Windhoek Hosea Kutako airport (international and domestic flights) or Windhoek Eros airport (domestic flights only). From the former it's a 30-minute drive to the lodge, from the latter it's 1 hour). Transfers are included to/from the international airport if you're staying on an All-Inclusive basis; if not, or if you wish to be collected from Eros airport, ask for a transfer or hire a car.

    Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

    Airports:

    • Windhoek Hosea Kutako 31.0 km WDH
    • Windhoek Eros 51.0 km ERS

    Other:

    • Beach 0.0 km
    • Shops 0.0 km
    • Restaurant 0.0 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

    9/10
    Room
    9/10
    Food
    9/10
    Service
    9/10
    Value
    9/10
    Overall

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