Red Sand Bliss: Kalahari Anib Lodge
I’m feeling quite good! I’m doing quite well! E-Bikes rock! I’m still having to work a little hard but overall, I’m back on my bike! The sound of stones crunching underneath my tires makes me excited and scared, I hope I don’t get a flat tire. I hope the bike doesn’t slide out under me but most importantly – are those lions I hear roaring?!
I skid to a halt and hear the breeze first, followed by the sound of a fly and then the moaning roar of a nearby lion. But how nearby? As in, Kalahari Anib Lodge nearby or the farm next door nearby? It didn’t say anything about predators on the website so it must be the farm next door – testament to how clear sound travels in the semi-desert.
This is the edge of the kalahari, an open expansive wilderness that’s home to all sorts of the typical African animals but my hopes are on giraffes. They’re a part of the Kalahari Anib Lodge and I’m hoping to get lucky and see them. What I didn’t realise is just how lucky we would get – more than a dozen beautiful, tall giraffes watching us as we descent the next hill, dust being kicked up by the sudden gallop away from us. This is perfection!
Don’t forget to check out my post on how to get discounts on Gondwana Collection Lodges!
Kalahari Anib Lodge Review
The vibrancy of the red sand is just too beautiful for words. The khaki vegetation, vibrant green lawns kept alive by borrowed water, deep blue skies and terracotta sand makes the Kalahari Anib Lodge one of the most beautiful Gondwana Collection Lodges – and a personal favourite of ours.
Located just 34 kilometers north of Mariental, the lodge includes both breakfast and dinner making it the perfect “real break” from long Namibian road trips. Whether the drive’s from Etosha or Cape Town, the two swimming pools and chic bar ensure visitors can wind down in style before continuing on their way.
Sitting on the swing chair of our room’s porch, a lonely wildebeest wanders into view to enjoy the sweet taste of the man-made watering hole. Having e-biked with giraffes earlier in the day, it’s surprising that the 52 roomed lodge is only a 2-star resort. With a fire pit and lush lawns for kids to stretch their legs, it really is a family’s paradise in central Namibia. (Children under 5 stay free and kids under 13 stay at 50% off!)
The eco-friendly, minimalistic finish and easily accessible roads made it a peaceful rest stop and one of our favourite Gondwana Collection Lodges.
Top Features of Kalahari Anib Lodge
- Beautiful, modern bar with steel fireplaces submerged in vibrant red Kalahari sand.
- Electronic bike rides among a dozen giraffes.
- Small waterhole outside the cottages that allow modest game viewing.
- Crystal clear skies with exquisite views of the milky way.
- Best food spread out of all of the collection.
Devil Thorn Paradise
There’s a watering hole in front of our room and the view from our porch is too inviting to stay in the swing chair. Pulling back on my “vellies” (leather shoes) I walk slowly towards the waterhole. My socks are starting to pierce me with tiny, spiky, soft thorns and my shoes are getting an extra layer of devil thorns under foot.
Once I make it to the waterhole I look around; this is Africa afterall and you just don’t know who’s coming to get you! The coast is clear so I can take a deeper look into the little pond. There’s not much to see, which is what makes it all the more impressive. A small pond with fresh water and the animals flock to the water mostly after dark. Life’s precious source.
Retreating to my room my shoes are chockablock with devil thorns! These vellies have really saved me, now to get them off my souls and not inside! Our comfortable twin room is no place for hard thorns in the already arid landscape.
Even though it’s not a Malaria zone, the folded mosquito nets around the bed were a welcome addition and guarded well against any bugs. The extra blanket was also handy.
Our room was very clean, however, the bathroom could have done with a slightly better scrub down. Dark tiles can often be overlooked if the light isn’t good while cleaning.
The bathroom was a decent size and included a loo, large counter, sink, mirror, towels and a shower. While I wasn’t “glamming” it up at the lodge, there was enough space to put on makeup and use toiletries comfortably. It was one of the more modern bathrooms which enhanced our stay.
We had 2 little bedside tables on each side of the bed, which was handy. Unfortunately, mosquito nets prohibited us from direct contact with our phones during the night. Realistically, there was low reception and no one was calling anyway! So it really wasn’t an issue in this instant.
The main reception areas are ok for internet reception, but if you have anything urgent to do, the town of Mariental is easily accessed with airtime available to be bought in store. Just make sure you buy enough to buy a package! (More tips about travelling in Namibia coming soon!)
The room also had some lovely soft furnishings like cushions on the porch bench and a lovely metal, cage swing chair out front. The carpet next to the bed was also a welcoming touch.
Unfortunately, the room did not include a fridge, which was a bit of a pity as a bottle of cold water never goes amiss.
Usual amenities like a hair dryer, kettle, tea and coffee options were available and the air conditioning worked very well.
Unlike Etosha Safari Lodge (which is also part of the premium collection), the Kalahari Anib Lodge provided a lovely welcome book with emergency numbers and information about the lodge. This is always useful, particular in a “low internet” location.
To Keep In Mind
Close your Curtains: It’s very dark out so any light allows anyone to see straight into the room if your curtains are open.
Adapters: Bring along your own mobile chargers and hair straighteners with adapters to use your appliances.
Close Your Windows at Dusk: The desert is very dark at night so insects are attracted to any light. Be sure to shut your bathroom and bedroom windows to avoid the creepy crawlies flying in.
Wear Sneakers for Bike Riding: While you will go over a number of different terrains from dried pans, rocky trails and sandy patches you may need to push your bike at some points. Keep your feet covered for greater protection from the elements.
Wear Shoes: There are some killer devil thorns outside the back porch. Pop your shoes on if you go exploring, leave them out back when you step inside to avoid dragging them in.
We were very disappointed when we had to redirect our self-drive Namibia route to exclude Swakopmund, but were most grateful when Gondwana was able to accommodate us at Kalahari Anib Lodge instead. What came of sadness ended up being one of the best places in the trip and on our adventure!
My absolute favourite part of the lodge was the inside “outside” bar, which featured a long wooden bar, 2 steel fireplaces sunk into red Kalahari sand (raked daily) and large sliding doors for inside-outside gin & tonic drinking! I’d absolutely love to return with friends to this venue.
It was an absolutely spectacular occasion to head out for some fresh air and exercise, only to run across these phenomenal animals. We kept our distance as we didn’t want one of these guys chasing us! But what an experience!
This is a MUST DO even if you are only there for one night! Make it happen for about R200 per person and can be booked at reception on-site, only.
Thank you to the Gondwana Collection for having us to stay.
We look forward to visiting again in the future!