Oasis in a landscape brimming with secrets
North-east of Swakopmund, just 25 km north of the small town of Usakos, is a stone lodge hunkered at the base of the Erongo Mountains, the eroded relic of a volcano that was active some 140 to 150 million years ago. Hohenstein Lodge, named for the highest peak of the mountains, is also the closest lodge to the famous Spitzkoppe mountains – so it's worth stopping here for a few days to hike the slopes, view the rock paintings (some are 2000-plus years old), explore the flora and fauna of the wide camelthorn-studded plains and revel in the intense sunsets.
At the lodge
Reception and the restaurant/bar/lounge area are located in the main building (wi-fi is available). During summer, a varied breakfast buffet is served on the terrace and dinners are served beneath the stars. Paved walkways lead to the swimming pool (essential for afternoon dips) and the bungalows. The surroundings are so silent and sense-numbing that it's wonderful to sit on the terrace, drink in hand, and lose yourself in the scenery – the wide valley, the camelthorn trees, the imposing massif and the waterhole and its visiting game and birds.
There are 14 private rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, and two twin-roomed/twin-bathroomed family suites. Some rooms are equipped with floor-flush toilets, barrier-free amenities and very spacious showers for visitors with physical challenges. The beds are large and comfortable and draped with mosquito nets, and the decor is simple but perfecly adequate. Outside each is a private, shaded porch from which to admire the views.
Hikes of varied duration and focus are offered. Explore the farm's well-maintained trails through dry riverbeds and past ancient camelthorn trees.Take a half-day mineralogical hike to see miners digging for tourmalines, aquamarines and other minerals. If you have the time, a must-do is the two-day Absolute Erongo adventure trail, with an overnight stay at romantic Etemba Wilderness Camp. Take game drives to see springbok, kudu, Hartmann's mountain zebra, rock hyrax and, if you're lucky, rhino.