Grootberg Lodge is a landmark in Namibia for the tourism industry as it is the first middle-market establishment in the country that is 100% owned by the conservancy. The European Union funded the project through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's Development Programme with a donation of N$4.5 million to develop the 12-room Lodge.
At the same time, the private sector has been called in to supply the training and management skills until the community becomes self-sustainable.
The purpose of the Grootberg Lodge is not only to offer a professional service, great surroundings, extremely good food, well-trained guides and exceptionally good local management but, at the same time, to benefit the local community thanks to the revenues generated by the Lodge.
While sustainability of the Conservancy is a primary objective which the Lodge would contribute towards, there are additional benefits such as increasing direct job opportunities in a poorly developed area supporting marginal people with projects such as building schools, clinics, creating a community kitchen for the elderly and vulnerable groups and award bursaries to promising pupils with the proceeds of the lodge.
Another important aim of the Lodge is to reduce the animal/human conflict in this community so that the locals will be more tolerant of the lions, cheetahs and elephants and give them a value from a tourism perspective. The success of the lodge is critical to demonstrate the value of the land-use which the conservancy is promoting. The exclusive development area needs to show the value in setting aside \core" areas for tourism and biodiversity conservation.
Guided walks on top of the plateau
After a scrumptious breakfast on the veranda of the restaurant with the Black Eagles hovering around the cliffs, the guests who prefer an early start to the day will depart at around 7.30am for a 3 hour walk on top of the plateau. Our knowledgeable guide will enable guests to enjoy the local flora, the amazing rock formations of the Etendeka Mountains and the shy wild animals, long inhabitants of this plateau.
This is one of our most popular activities. A guide with a tracker will take you out into the surrounding farms in search of the elusive desert elephants, giving one also the opportunity to appreciate the life style of the local people. Lunch takes place in the shade of a tree in the remote wilderness of Damaraland Departure at around 7.30am and back at the lodge in the early afternoon. Damaraland is one of the few last places where the wildlife roams freely thus we cannot guarantee sightings.
Departure is at 6.00am after an early breakfast at the lodge. The guide, along with the game trackers will take the guests in an open 4x4 game vehicle down to the Klip River. Part of the tracking will take place on foot, with the possibility of between 1 to 3 hours walk at the most. At lunchtime there will be a stop near the springs where people can enjoy some refreshments. It's almost a full day activity going along bumpy roads and walking in rocky terrain, so not advisable for the faint-hearted. Damaraland is one of the few last places where the wildlife roams freely thus we cannot guarantee sightings.
Come and visit one of the last most traditional peoples of Namibia in a small settlement near Palmfontein surrounded by makalani palms and dry river beds. These friendly people, closely related to the Herero, are herdsmen, breeding mainly cattle and goats while leading a semi-nomadic life. Learn how the proud Himba women spend many hours on beauty care and clean themselves with herbal steam baths. See their homesteads, cone shaped structures made from palm leaves, mud and cattle dung. Due to their lifestyle the trip cannot be guaranteed all year round.
Scenic drives down the Klip River
The lodge offers scenic drives down to the Klip River Valley where permanent springs provide water for the local population of zebras, antelopes and occasionally elephants, lions and black rhinos. Springboks, kudu and oryx are a permanent fixture and even the nervous and shy klipspringers are sometimes seen leaping about on the steep cliffs of the mountain as if they were flying. The morning drive starts after breakfast and takes between 3-4 hours, the afternoon drive is shorter, leaving after tea and coffee at the lodge for a 2-3 hours drive.
Meander through the mopane savanna on a shiny steed and enjoy the view of this beautiful landscape, with the possibility of a close up encounter with the general game of the area. The guide will stop for a sundowner for you to appreciate the pristine wilderness of the plateau while sipping a cold drink. Beginners are welcome. 23km Transfer from the lodge, Winter-time departure = 14h00, Summer-time departure = 15h00. Back at lodge just after sun-set.
Horse back safaris
For the keen horse riders the Grootberg Lodge also offers horse back safaris. This takes you on a longer journey through the surrounding mountains of Damaraland, camping out every night under the stars and cooking on the fire. The guests will see how the locals live, track desert elephant and spend quite a bit of time in the saddle, up to 8 hours. It is backed up, luxury camping with not too much hardship involved, long drop loo, hot shower, stretchers, linen, dome tents and cold gin and tonics. The terrain is varied with dry river beds, open plains with big lead woods, mopane bush and even some makalani groves. The rate is inclusive of drinks, meals, activities and accommodation, exclusive of phone calls and curios.