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Separating the prodigious Kalahari with the rusty Namib sand dunes lie the Central Highlands with their undulating hills, tranquil lodges and camps lying snug in secluded valleys and pockets of exceptional biodiversity.
Conveniently located just over a two hour drive north-west of Windhoek, you’ll find the Erongo Mountains. Flanked by the Namib desert to the west and mixed woodland savannah to the east, the mountain is an eroded vestige of a volcano that has laid inactive for 150 million years. This rare union of ecosystems has resulted in a biodiverse haven with an impressive array of reptile, mammal and bird species including leopard, cheetah, rhino and oryx.
North east of Erongo, equidistant between Windhoek and Etosha lies the Okonjima Nature Reserve. Famed for its frequent predator sightings, wake early for a tracking experience on-foot, deep in the nature reserve. Offering a unique African safari to remember, finish your day off with an exciting game drive through the acacia thicket in search of leopards with a cold sundowner in hand before heading back to your lodge to tuck into a delectable alfresco dinner and sit around the campfire with a nightcap.
Continuing north east through the central highlands you’ll find Mundulea Nature Reserve within the Otavi mountain range. Having undergone an extensive rewilding project, this former cattle ranch now boasts thriving populations of game, including rare and endemic species such as roan antelope, tsessebe and black-faced antelope. Walk, with some of the best guides in Namibia, through the ancient landscape, riddled with deep gorges, caverns and underground lakes.
The best time to visit the Central Highlands are in May to September, during the dry season. During this time the bush is sparse and game viewing is optimized.
Set just 200km north of Windhoek, the central highlands are perfect for more than just a stopover en route to or from Etosha National Park and can be worked into any of our Namibian itineraries. Okonjima Plains Camp offers not only a friendly, slick experience to suit all types of travellers, but also a variety of safari activities. It is featured in our 'Namibia Self Drive Honeymoon', 'Northern Namibia Wildlife Safari' and on the way north in our 'Namibia, Chobe & Victoria Falls Family Holiday'.
For those who love their guided bush walks, the Mundulea Reserve should be top of your list, please speak to us for details about this special property.
Of the numerous accommodation options in the Central Highlands, one of our favourites is Erongo Wilderness Lodge. Secluded among a valley in the Erongo Mountains, the lodge consist of just 10 luxury tents and one two-tented suite, seemingly perched on the rocky hillside, each offers a slightly different perspective on the stunning surrounding landscape.
The focus here is on walking and as well as many self-guided walking trails, of varying degrees of difficulty, guided walks are included in the cost of your stay. So make the most of the local, knowledgeable guides, who we have always been really impressed with, to explore the area. Often visited at the beginning or the end of a trip around Namibia, you might prefer to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. The lodge’s main area is the perfect place for this, as well as to watch the many comings and goings from the bird bath, particularly popular with the local rosy-faced lovebirds.