(16 chalets) PO Box 24, Maltahöhoe; tel/fax: 063 293243; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opened in 2001, this new lodge, just 35km from Sesriem, is owned by the same group that had Hilltop House in Windhoek, and it shares the same high standards. Each of the tastefully appointed rock chalets has en-suite facilities, and offers a sweeping view of the distant Nubib Mountains. The décor hints at a bygone era of Namibian farm living, with enamel basins, brass taps and beautifully draped mosquito nets. Traditional farm-cooked meals are prepared with a modern twist using vegetables and herbs grown in the gardens. Meals are usually taken on the veranda, while light meals, snacks and other goodies may be purchased from the lodge's old-fashioned trading store. A swimming pool for guests and email facilities bring the picture up to date, while beyond is a well-situated waterhole frequented by the small herd of wild desert horses imported to the area from Garub during the drought of 1994.
The main activity here is horseriding – across grassy plains and along ancient watercourses. Guests planning to ride will need to have an intermediate level of riding experience, for the horses here range from Arabs to Hanoverians; they are not riding-school ponies. There are two excursions daily, when the air is coolest, and desert wildlife is at its most active: at sunrise, the trip culminates in a champagne breakfast, while sundowners are served on the sunset ride. For non-riding guests, there are guided walks (day or night) in Sossusvlei, and an evening sundowner drive.
Enthusiasts seeking more time in the saddle won't be disappointed, for the optimum opportunity is the 'sleep-out package'. On this, up to six riders start with an early-morning ride, followed by a 4WD excursion to Sossusvlei, then a longer horse ride. Stay overnight in the desert with a campfire, evening meal and hot bucket shower, then wake up to a second long ride. The day finishes with either a sundowner ride or a drive – depending on the level of enthusiasm remaining.