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If you ask me about my favorite lodges in the world, I could probably count them with just one hand. The Kalahari Anib lodge is one of them. The beautiful setting in the Namibian Kalahari, the fantastic service, the affordability of the rooms, and the cozy lodge makes the Anib one of our favorite lodges in Namibia. When you start planning your Namibian safari, make sure to add this one as one of your stops!

The lodge is conveniently located 30km northeast of the town of Mariental, in the Namibian Kalahari. In 2016 the lodge was given a facelift and we were excited to see how the lodge looked. And it didn’t disappoint!  If you are doing a big self drive safari and are on route to Etosha NP from the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park, then this is a perfect stop. It is only a four hour drive from the Mata-Mata entry gate in the Kgalagadi. That gives you time to do a short morning drive to look for hyenas and cheetahs in the park and still make it in time for lunch at the Kalahari Anib Lodge. Which is what we do every time we stay there.

The bar and restaurant area

A visitor at the lodge

Staying at the Kalahari Anib Lodge

When you arrive at the lodge you are with welcomed with a cold refreshment. You will be then given a tour of the lodge and escorted to your room. This is also the perfect time to arrange your activities (check for rates on their site or when you get here).

Past the restaurant and the bar, you’ll arrive at a beautiful courtyard with a swimming pool. The lodge’s 30 standard rooms are arranged around this courtyard. Continue down the path and you’ll find the 21 freestanding chalets that have been converted to the lovely comfort rooms, both double- and family-units. The comfort rooms overlook the Kalahari savannah and watering hole, which is lit throughout the night. Do you know what I love the most about the new decor? The lamps resemble ostrich eggs!

Lodge grounds

Courtyard, swimming pool, and the standard rooms.

Bar area at the Anib lodge

Bar area with one of the pools and Kalahari savannah in the background

The comfort rooms with an outside patio overlooking the Kalahari

A room at the Kalahari Anib Lodge

Our beautiful room at the Anib

Our bedroom at the Anib

Our bedroom at the Anib

The beautiful bed with a mosquito net

Kalahari view from the room. During the rainy season this will be a green grass view.

 

These 21 rooms are set slightly apart from the standard rooms have a separate swimming pool and incredible savannah views. The local local herd of eland are also frequent visitors of the pool area as they are fed and watered right in front of it. Did you know that eland is the largest antelope in Africa?

Swimming pool at the Anib lodge

Watch eland while taking a break in the independent traveler pool

 Click here for prices & availability at the Kalahari Anib Lodge

Activities at the Lodge

One of the reasons we love the Anib is that you can either sit back and relax or you can join their activities that could keep you busy all day! Here is what you can do while at the lodge:

  • Sunrise drive
  • Sundowner drive
  • Electric fat tire bike self-guided adventure
  • Relax at the pool
  • Self guided nature trail (free of charge)

Game Drives and the Shy Five

Each morning and evening the lodge organizes a game drive through the property. We strongly recommend you take both. Remember that no drive is the same and you will also experience different light. While sunset light is magical, there is nothing like a good Kalahari sunrise! And one of the secrets of the lodge? You can see some of the Shy Five!

Sunset drive at the lodge

Who are the shy five?

Not as famous as the Big 5, the Shy Five are the five animals that are difficult to spot during a safari as they are very secretive. The Shy Five are the meerkat, the bat-eared fox, the aardwolf, the porcupine, and the aardvark.

We have been successful and have seen a few of these at the lodge. It was here where we had one of our best bat-eared fox sightings we’ve ever had. We were taking a sunrise drive when we encountered a bat-eared fox that was very busy feeding without being disturbed by us. It was also here where we saw not just one aardwolf, but two aardwolves! We had seen an aardwolf before while visiting the Central Kalahari years ago and we couldn’t be more excited to see this pair! Unfortunately, they got spooked when they saw us and the sighting only lasted a few seconds. With all the excitement all we could get was a very blurry photo!

When you see an aardwolf you know you had a good day, no matter how blurry your photo is!

Bat-eared fox

Bat-eared fox during a sunrise drive

It does not matter how many wildlife drives you go on, there is always something new to learn. We learned about the geology of the Kalahari and the different types of sand found in this desert. We did also learn why pigmy falcons nest on a sociable weaver colony, and about nest sharing in ostriches. On one of our drives we stopped by an abandoned ostrich nest and  our guide showed us how strong the eggs are. He stood on top of the eggs and they didn’t crack. Did you know that ostrich eggs are the biggest eggs in the world?

Sundowner drive on our Namibian Safari

Sundowner drive at the Kalahari Anib Lodge during our Namibian safari in April

An abandoned ostrich egg

An abandoned ostrich egg

One of our wildlife surprises during one of our drives was to find a large group of marabou storks at the lodge’s natural waterhole. We have never seen so many of these wading birds hanging out together. Marabu storks are one of the animals that together with wildebeest, warthog, vulture, and hyena form the Ugly Five. I don’t think any of these deserve to be in this group, but there you go! When we visited during April the waterhole was pretty full as it was during the rainy season but when we visited in January, the natural waterhole had disappeared. I would expect this waterhole to start filing up by February, depending on when the rains arrive.

 

Marabou storks at the Kalahari Anib Lodge waterhole

Marabou storks at the Kalahari Anib Lodge waterhole

Other wildlife we spotted during our Namibian safari at the Anib was zebra, springbok, wildebeest, steenbok, giraffes, gemsbok, scrub hare, and even a pearl spotted owlet! The lodge property does not have any big predators, but remember that leopards do go everywhere. You never know who has jumped the fence that night and who you might see on your drive. This would be a fantastic place to re introduce cheetahs as without other predators I bet they would do extremely well here. We were told they have no plans on introducing predators because  they would have to fence the lodge for safety issues.

Wildlife on the sundowner drive

Zebra on the sundowner drive

Gemsbok and calf

Gemsbok and calf

Pearl spotted owlet

Pearl spotted owlet during our drive

Sundowner drive

Watching giraffes during a sundowner drive

 

During the drives you are driven to the top of a red dune to have either morning coffee or sundowner drinks and watch the Kalahari sky change color. This is a perfect time to walk barefoot and feel the Kalahari sand between your toes!

Our Kalahari sunset view

Our Kalahari sunset view

 

Sundowner bar in the Kalahari

Sundowner bar in the Kalahari

 Kalahari sunset on a Namibian safari

Enjoying the Kalahari sunset

giraffe silhouette at sunset

Giraffe silhouette at sunset at the Kalahari Anib Lodge

Electric fat tire bike self-guided adventure

Watch for wildlife during your electric fat tire bike adventure in the Kalahari

The lodge has a few electric fat tire bikes available for guests. You are given a helmet, a small map of the property and off you go! The grounds just outside the lodge are a bit too gravelly and it feels a bit bumpy but once you get to the dunes, you are sailing! This is a great activity to get some exercise during your safari adventure as, even if it is an electric bike, you have to do some pedaling! But the views from atop of a red Kalahari dune are totally worth it!

Cruise down red Kalahari dunes on a bike

Relax at the Pool

After your fat tire bike adventure you won’t want to do anything else but to enjoy a dip in the pool while sipping a cold drink. And you deserve it! I am no joking when I say this is my favorite pool in the whole world.

The lodge pool

The individual traveler pool with Kalahari views (photo taken before the remodel, note the green grass during April!)

 

Self-guided Nature Trail

Grab your water bottle, hat, and sunglasses and head out on a self-guided nature trail to see and experience the Kalahari on foot. We recommend that during the summer months you do this right at sunrise.

The restaurant at the Kalahari Anib Lodge

The restaurant at the lodge has everything you need. Cozy ambiance, waterhole views, incredible food, and a beautiful tree that is lit at night. Breakfast and dinner are a self-serve buffet with a vast number of choices, cold and hot.

The fire pit and outdoor dining area at the Anib lodge

The fire pit and outdoor dining area

We loved the outdoor dining area. If you are lucky, the resident owl will be perched on a branch above you. This was one of the highlights of our dinner. It landed on one of the palm trees in the outdoor dining area and stayed with us for most of the meal. There is a small waterhole by the restaurant terrace which is lit at night so you can actually have a meal while watching the wild residents get a drink.

The outside dining area with Kalahari views

The outside dining area with Kalahari views

Cold and hot buffet at the restaurant

A Kalahari  Eco Lodge

It may seem that placing a lodge in the middle of such fragile ecosystem like the Kalahari desert would be harmful to the habitat. The Kalahari Anib Lodge takes responsibility and has taken measures to minimize its impact on the environment. These are some of the eco-friendly measures:

Water:

  • Waste water is recycled to be used in the garden. The recycled water covers all the garden needs.
  • Shower heads and toilets are designed for maximum water efficiency
  • Since the renovation, a water station has been added, so you can actually fill your water bottle with filtered water for a small fee. It encourages to reuse your bottles and not buying plastic bottles.

Waste:

  • Kitchen waste is composted or fed to the pigs.
  • Animal waste is used to fertilize the garden.
  • Waste is sorted into paper, glass, plastic and metal recycling.

Electricity:

  • Energy-saving bulbs.
  • Air conditioners have a timer so the guests can choose not to use them all night.
  • Gas stoves in the kitchen.
  • Water heaters are equipped with timers to prevent continuous reheating.

 

Zebra foal

This zebra foal also cares about the environment. His poop is used to fertilize the plants.

 

Camping at the Kalahari Anib Lodge

If you come from South Africa and the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park you might be familiar with the “luxury campsites” that are found in the region, such as the ones at Nossob or the ones at the Kgalagadi lodge. These might be “luxury” but they don’t have privacy, or a picnic table, or shade. Plus you don’t need a 4×4 to access the Kalahari Anib campsite, we drove in with our tiny rental!

The campsites at the Kalahari Anib lodge are, in my opinion, a true luxury Kalahari camping experience. Just check out what you get for your money.

The three private campsites come with all the amenities you would have when staying the main lodge including access to the swimming pool, restaurant, and bar. This is top Kalahari camping! Each site has its own private bathroom, shower, sheltered picnic table, and a brai. Plus, by staying in your own tent, you get to enjoy the magical sound of the Kalahari nights. The yapping of a lone jackal, the hoot of an owl, or the ‘barks’ of the barking geckos, replacing the small talk of other guests at the lodge.

Private campsite at the Anib Lodge

Private campsite at the Kalahari Anib Lodge

If you think it cannot get better you just need to check out the view from the campsites. Your own Kalahari for the whole of your stay (minus predators).

Your own Kalahari view

Your own private Kalahari view with no other campers in view

Our Verdict

The Kalahari Anib Lodge has quickly become one of our favorite places to stay in Namibia, for its convenient location, its warmth, the amazing views, and for the crystal clear swimming pool. Seriously, this is my favorite swimming pool in the whole world.

Sundowner in the Kalahari

Enjoy your stay at the Kalahari Anib Lodge!

 

To learn more about the Kalahari Anib Lodge and other Gondwana Collection accommodations, visit their website.


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Are you on an Africa overlanding tour? Then the Kalahari Anib lodge is a must stop over! Relax and get away from dusty roads in this beautiful lodge, sip a drink by the pool, go on a sundowner drive, and enjoy the delicous meals. This is the Kalahari at its best!