Damaraland (now renamed Kunene) in northwest Namibia is a land of dry red stones and natural wonders. But the parched landscape can produce unexpected richness, as we discovered just east of Khorixas in when we visited Damara Mopane Lodge's edible gardens.
With all this on its doorstep, the lodge offers little in the way of organised activities. You can go on a self-guided one- to three-hour hike in the surrounding veld, cool off in the free-form pool, watch animals at the waterhole or take a walk to the sundowner deck built into the hillside above the lodge. From the deck you’ll get a broad view of the circular layout of the lodge and of the mopane woodland around it. And of course, you’ll get another of those matchless sunsets Namibia is famous for.
Everything is fertilised organically with manure. The water for the lodge comes from an underground borehole, and it’s recycled for use on the garden. It makes sense to recycle such a precious commodity in a water-poor environment.
In the evening the pool area was lit by green floodlights to guide us to the main building for our meal. Dinner was served on the long verandah, with a big fire raging for atmosphere, just far enough away not to warm us on an already hot evening.
It was such a thrill to know that the mixed veg (cauliflower, broccoli and carrots), the lettuce and tomato salad, the beetroot salad had all come from the lodge’s own gardens, probably freshly picked that day. Chef Maria Nangolo brought me a huge plate of kohlrabi cut like chips, with a little butter and a sprinkling of herbs. With the extra effort she’d gone to on my behalf, I was relieved that I liked it. How embarrassing it would have been if I’d gagged on it!
Note: I was a guest of Damara Mopane Lodge for one night, but I had free rein to write what I chose. I paid for meals, drinks and all travel costs.
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