Frans Indongo Lodge
Waterberg - Namibia
Frans Indongo Lodge is situated in the proximity of Waterberg Plateau Park, 44kms from Otjiwarongo. This is an ideal stopover between Etosha National Park, and Windhoek, and one of the most popular lodges in the viciinty of the Waterberg.
The lodge is situated on a large 17,000ha game farm which boasts an abundance of wild animals, including white and black rhino, black wildebeest and hartebeest. Walking trails have been laid out through the bush savannah several of these lead onto a hill with a magnificent look-out point.
The lodge complex has been modeled on traditional Ovambo homes, and inside the complex a palisade separates the restaurant and swimming pool area, from the guest chalets. A variety of local building materials, such as natural stone, wood and reed were used for the houses. Items of daily use - earthen pots, large storage baskets, and original wooden figures - serve as a reminder of the decoration used in the traditional Ovambo home, emphasizing the African theme.
Guests are welcome to enjoy an after dinner drink in the restaurant or thatched lounge where they will find comfortable armchairs and plump cushions. The inviting fireplace also doubles up as a meeting place, to share many a Namibian bush experience.
The Frans Indongo Lodge terrace is a perfect place to quench your thirst or watch the game coming to drink at the waterhole. It's wooden flooring and railings blend into the natural environment, and as it borders directly on the lodge's game area, oryx, black springbok, black wildebeest, eland and nyala are frequent visitors. The large wooden verandah at the bar, and the small observation tower are both fabulous places for watching the sun set and for observing the spotlit waterhole. Guests can take a dip, sunbathe, or relax in and around the large swimming pool, complete with shady umbrella's and sun loungers.
Their gourmet kitchen can serve up a variety of venison dishes, served with fresh farm vegetables and salads, seasoned with aromatic ingredients, grown in their very own herb garden.
The luxurious character of the lodge continues into the accommodation. There are:
- Chalets: 8 large chalets are equipped with an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning, fridge, hair-dryer, telephone, TV, an electric kettle and a tea/coffee station.
- Double Rooms: There are 2 double rooms with similar facilities to the chalets.
- Family Rooms: The 2 Family Rooms are for 2 adults and 1 child or 2 adults and 2 children. The facilities are similar to the chalets.
Activities include a game drive in an off-road vehicle, which offers plenty of opportunities to view and photograph the animals. There are 3 different walking trails to explore, with varying degrees of length and difficulty. Climbing the hilltop is well worth the effort, as the views stretch right across to the Waterberg. A botanist has taken the trouble to number many typical trees and shrubs, to be found along the way.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund Information Centre, (CCFIC) offers data and education on the natural habitat of the cheetah in the wild. The fastest animal on the planet has become a highly endangered species, and as they can no longer can be released into the wild, they are kept in large enclosures next to the centre. On certain days, visitors are also welcome to watch cheetah running at full speed during their sprint-training.
The Vulture Restaurant has been set up for observing and studying the endangered Cape Vulture.
- Game drives
- Frans Indongo Lodge is situated in the heart of a 17.000 ha (170 sq km) farm in the bush savannah. Only a small part of the farm is still utilised for agricultural purposes. The focus now is on caring for the game. Apart from Gemsbok, Zebra, Kudu and Springbok there are also rarer species like Eland, Sable and Roan Antelope, Impala and Black Wildebeest, as well as White and Black Rhino. A game drive in an open off-road vehicle (about two hours) offers plenty of opportunity to watch the animals and take pictures.
- Walking Trails
- Those who like to go exploring on foot, have three trails of differing length (1.5 to 4 hours) to choose from. Quite often antelope will cross your path. The effort of climbing the hilltop is rewarded with wonderful panoramic views of the vast bush savannah plains right across to Waterberg. Furthermore, there is much to learn about trees on the wayside. A botanist has numbered many typical trees and shrubs according to the 'Pocket List of Southern African Indigenous Trees'. These are standard numbers, used in any good guidebook on plants, so that you can read up on any tree or shrub bearing a number.
- Cheetah Conservation Fund
- The natural habitat of Cheetah in the wild has shrunk dramatically all over the world. Thus the fastest terrestrial animal on the planet has become a highly endangered species. With about 2,500 animals, Namibia boasts the largest Cheetah population on earth. In order to protect Cheetah in Namibia, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) was founded in 1990.
The CCF information centre is as entertaining as instructive and definitely worthwhile. Cheetah which no longer can be released into the wilds for various reasons, are kept in large enclosures next to the centre. You will be able to take stunning pictures of the big cats. On certain days visitors are also welcome to watch Cheetah at full speed during their sprint-training.
- Vulture Restaurant
- The Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST), established in 2000, is mainly concerned with protecting the Cape vulture which is an endangered species in Namibia. Once there were seven colonies of about 2,000 birds in the country. Now, only one colony of eleven Cape vultures remains in the cliffs of Waterberg. For observing and studying the birds, REST set up a vulture restaurant with an observation screen. Carrion is regularly laid out at the restaurant, which does attract Cape vultures and hundreds of White-backed and Lappet-faced vultures.
The screen is very suitable for taking good pictures. Visitors can also get acquainted with Nelson, a flightless vulture which is kept in a large aviary. A host of interesting facts about these useful scavengers can be learnt at REST's research and study centre.
- Waterberg Plateau
- Thanks to rich springs, the eastern cliffs of 'Water Mountain' are characterised by an almost subtropical abundance of flora. The plateau of this table mountain was proclaimed a nature reserve in 1972. Animal species in need of protection - such as Sable Antelope, Buffalo and Rhino - were resettled there. Furthermore, Rüppell's parrot and other rare types of birds can be spotted. From the semi-state rest camp a path leads up to the rocks at the edge of the plateau where Rock Hyrax and Klipspringer are found. The historic police station now houses a restaurant with numerous pictures from the olden days.
- OvaHerero cultural centre
- Farm Hamakari is situated east of Waterberg, close to the little town of Okakarara. At Hamakari OvaHerero fighters suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of German troops in 1904. At the historic site a cultural and tourism centre is now being established, which will house an exhibition on the history and culture of the Ovaherero people; local arts and crafts will also be sold there.
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