(20 rooms and camping) PO Box 5955, Windhoek; tel: 061 234607/227845; fax: 061 234690; email: email@example.com; web: www.natron.net/okapuka
Okapuka has an imposing set of gates on the eastern side of the main B1 road, about 40km south of Okahandja and 30km north of Windhoek. Its 2.5km drive winds through 120km2 of well-stocked game ranch, protecting herds of sable, giraffe and blue wildebeest as well as gemsbok, kudu, ostrich and crocodile. The 120km self-drive game trail through the area is an attraction in its own right, as is the 3km2 enclosure containing a pride of lion, which are fed regularly for the benefit of observers. Here I'll ignore any discussion of the ethics of keeping, and breeding from, a pride of lion described by the owner as 'problem animals'. It's very sad, but unsurprising, to note that they recently killed one of the staff.
The lodge itself has been stylishly built on a rise above the surrounding country, and lavishly equipped with a sauna, tennis courts, and a chic swimming pool. Accommodation has been extended in recent years, with the lodge now catering on part of its site for conference guests, while independent visitors live in a separate area. Individual en-suite rooms are carpeted and comfortable, each boasting AC/heating, satellite TV, minibar, kettle and telephone, as well as a private terrace. The separate campsite, with its own pool, has both permanent luxury tents, with adjoining shower and toilet, and sites for caravans and visitors' own tents.
The large, thatched, bar/lounge area is beautiful, though more imposing than relaxing, and the sight of leopard and cheetah skins draped over the furniture isn't to everybody's taste. Alongside, the restaurant caters for both residents and day visitors. On Sundays, there is a three-course buffet for N$75 (children N$45) and excellent dinner for N$170 per person. At other times, the à la carte menu, focusing on game, is reasonably priced at N$22–30 for starters, or N$50–70 for main courses.
Okapuka encourages day visitors, offering daily 11/2-hour game drives at N$90, as well as lion feeding, helicopter flights, horseriding and other activities. There are also two walking trails. Note that the ranch regularly hosts guests from the Desert Express
train to watch a lion-feed, which inevitably brings the occasional influx of visitors.
In spite of the grand attractions of the place, it's a shame that the evident attention paid to detail doesn't extend to the rather curt style of management.Rates: N$580 single, N$820 per person sharing, including breakfast and lion-feeding tour. Dinner N$85, lunch and dinner N$150.