Nowadays, we need options to refresh ourselves as the summer heat intensifies and tests our tolerance. A cold drink can only suffice as long as the last drop rolls down your throat.
Namibia has an average of 300 days of sunshine annually and two seasons: summer (wet season) and winter (dry season). The Namibian Weather page is a very resourceful link. It provides a thorough insight into the climate and it has more than 10 weather stations as well as radar and satellite images. In addition to the weather reports, there are also live images of webcams installed throughout the country where you can peek through some of the Gondwana properties and even catch wildlife drinking at a waterhole! So you can always do your research in order to avoid overpacking clothes for your destination.
The summer temperatures in Namibia can reach as high as 40 degrees Celsius and lucky are those who own a pool (can we be friends?). But for those who just need a getaway from the heat, there’s hope. If you enjoy road trips and exploring along the way, you should consider driving to Damara Mopane Lodge “where our guests become our neighbours”.
The excursion’s time depends on your driving speed (safety first, please be alert and careful if you need to overtake) and the number of stops required for you and the passenger(s). Just to give you an idea, the drive from Windhoek should take around four hours but for me and my fellow travelling companions, including one hyperactive puppy, it took seven hours! Yes, SEVEN hours. But, I must say trips are so much easier and fun when you have great company as this fills the time with laughter. Maybe the snoozing in the car and trying to make our four-legged friend sit still also distracted me from keeping track of time. So choose your travel buddies wisely!
Namibia was recently blessed with rain so when you leave town you can notice that the landscape has changed from the usual dry dusty sands to beautiful shades of green. If you are already amazed by these views, wait until you get to the lodge. Damara Mopane Lodge is surrounded by mopane trees and each bungalow has its own vegetable garden, just like a little neighbourhood. Then, there is the pool. This is the biggest pool I’ve seen so far at a lodge and it’s perfect for those who like to do a few laps. Not to mention that it’s the best place to cool down and escape the heat! You can order a drink from the bar just a few steps away and lounge on the sun beds to relax.
After you have freshened up from the long day by the pool, you can hike up to the viewing platform above the hills for a sundowner. You can skip the hiking trails and be lazy by the pool but DO NOT leave the lodge without watching the sunset on the deck. Trust me, you will regret it. From a distance, it seems like a hard walk to get there but once you start on the path that’s paved all the way to the top, you will realise that it’s much easier than you thought. Actually, you will feel like a champion once you reach the platform (couch potatoes, we made it, high five!).
Prepare yourself to have your breath taken away. There’s a bar from which to order your sundowner drink and when you turn around you see the lodge snuggled in the immense mopane forest. During the dryer season, you can easily see the lodge as it stands out like an oasis but due to the recent rainfall, it was a sea of green with hills in the far background. You can witness the sun as it slowly sets and kisses the woodland with its last rays. The barman leaves with the last spectators but some guests like going back on their own later in the evening to watch the stars in the quietness. Just advise the reception staff if you plan to do so.
For dinner, if you like your greens, there is a huge selection of vegetables at the salad bar. Most of the items were harvested from the gardens on the property so they’re all fresh. In addition, there are several options of oils, vinegars and dressings to season your salad. My favourite was the truffle oil and the balsamic vinegar.
The lodge also has bookshelves where people donate their books. You can find books from different genres and languages and read them on the perfectly comfortable chairs as they have the right amount of pillows.
So once you are all relaxed it’s time to leave. You can continue exploring Namibia and head to Twyfelfontein to witness the engravings, go back to where you departed from, or head to other destinations. Damara Mopane Lodge is a nice stopover and getaway. It provides that sense of community shared with the Damara people and we hope that’s the feeling you left with.
Have you been to Damara Mopane Lodge? Share with us which Gondwana lodge you would like to visit for a weekend!
Author – I’m Dani, a Chinese-Brazilian who is retiring her sea legs and has an obsession with Namibia. I love camping and I’m trying to make the most of this journey we call life.