The Olive Exclusive ~ Ultra Luxury Windhoek
Journalist Penny Haw recently visited the Olive Exclusive and had this to say;
'NAMIBIA’s only city, Windhoek, is known for its ... Actually, I’m not sure Windhoek is known for anything. But it certainly isn’t known for its boutique hotels, unprecedented use of photography in interior design, or fine dining. This could change, though, with the recent opening of the Olive Exclusive, the city’s first ultra-luxurious, seven-suite boutique hotel, which features the talents of Cape Town photographer Micky Hoyle and Cape Town chef Jacques Erasmus.
The hotel, owned by Roger Fussell and Lindy van den Bosch of Big Sky Lodges, was built on the site of an old farmhouse, and overlooks hundreds of olive trees on a hillside in Promenaden Road, Klein Windhoek, within walking distance of the city centre.
Having observed the high demand for their existing guesthouse’s luxury Garden Suite, Fussell and Van den Bosch saw the value of adding an über-deluxe property to the mix. They bought the property next door and invited former business partner Mike Warren to oversee the project.
Hoyle’s photography of Namibia features prominently throughout. His prints are not only stretched across walls in communal areas, but also in each of the seven suites, which are themed according to various Namibian destinations, including Etosha, Kunene, the Namib Desert, Erongo, Otavi, Caprivi and the coast.
The photographer doubled as chief designer. Tasked with including as many natural Namibian products in the project as possible, he and Warren reassembled a tree in the restaurant and transported two three-ton slabs of white granite from Karibib. The taller slab of granite serves as the hotel’s reception desk and the other as a coffee table.
Erasmus developed the menu for the restaurant, which seats 24 inside and 12 on the outside terrace that overlooks the olive grove.
As a single, you’ll pay R3080 a night for a premier suite; this includes a four-course dinner with wine, breakfast, full use of the hotel and private access to a luxurious suite with all comforts and mod-cons, and your own plunge pool. In other words, you’ll probably leave the city knowing Windhoek for something rather exceptional.'
3 days at Erongo Wilderness Lodge
Location, as we are so often told, is everything and that has never been more relevant than on a self drive safari. Whilst air travel is very forgiving of isolated properties, the growing numbers of self drive tourists in Namibia are unlikely to travel the extra hour or three down a sandy road unless there is something very special at the end of it. Those facts established then, it is relatively easy to argue that Erongo Wilderness Lodge is not just in an ideal location but that the destination itself is well worth a couple of nights on any free-wheeling itinerary. The lodge and surrounding mountains are the geographical centerpiece to Namibia's diverse attractions and can be included in a journey without needing to deviate from the logical route or compromise on experiences. You can easily include the lodge in routes to and from Etosha, the Kunene Region, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei and importantly, you can use it is a last night stop before heading to the airport in Windhoek. Just contact me if you would like the fine print on how to make all of this happen. In the meantime, lets look at what you can do whilst you are at the lodge with a theoretical 2 night stay.
14h00/16h00 – Mid afternoon arrival having spent a few days tracking desert adapted elephant in Damaraland. You can't miss the lodge thanks to the huge outcrops of granite that serve as a signpost. Driving yourself up the short access road is all part of the experience for those in a 4wd, otherwise you will be collected in the lower car park. If you are inclined, this will be the last time you see a vehicle for the next couple of days.
16h00 – Tea, coffee and cake in the lounge with views across to the natural amphitheater of rock which shields the lodge from the world.
18h00 – Guided sun downer walk which winds up a goat trail to reveal wonderful views of the surrounding region. This only takes 20 minutes and always results in ice cold drinks and fresh local biltong.
20h00 – Dinner on the lodge deck with a fire burning and a few thousand stars overhead.
07h00 – Tea, coffee, biscuits and rusks before selecting from a number of different hiking options.
07h30 - As large as some of the mountains appear, there are very easy trails to the top of most and good level walking for anyone afraid of heights. Exploring Namibia by foot is a key reason to spend time at the lodge. The 200,000 hectare nature conservancy is very safe for walking and resident wildlife includes many of the mountain adapted species like klipspringers, dassies, mountain zebra and colorful agamas. The guides are there to introduce you to this natural habitat and not compete with Etosha (which you thoroughly enjoyed 4 days ago).
10h00 – Brunch.
11h00 - 15h30 – Relax on your spacious private deck, swim, or explore on your own.
16h00 – Iced tea, coffee and savory pancakes.
16h30 – Nature drive, although I told you this is all about walking, the rock art at Paula's Cave is the one exception to my rule. I suggest driving out to explore the fascinating cave paintings, followed by a sun downer on top of the small mountain and a short night drive home. You will have visited the well known petroglyph site at Twyfelfonteine on your way to Erongo, but the paintings here depict complex human activity rather than the simple animal prints further north.
20h00 – Dinner under thatch which is likely to include locally reared game steak and vegetables with good South African wine.
07h00 – Tea, coffee, biscuits, rusks
07h30 – Early morning walk to identify some of the avian residents for which the lodge is famed. There are 50 species around the lodge alone and numerous Namibian and South African endemics such as Redbilled Francolin, Hartlaub's Francolin, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Ruppell's Parrot, Rosyfaced Lovebird, Monteiro's Hornbill, Carp's Tit, Short-toed Rock Thrush, Damara Rockrunner, Pririt Batis, Whitetailed Shrike, Palewinged Starling, Violet-eared Waxbill, Redheaded Finch, and the Yellow Canary. I could go on but you get the general idea.
09h30 – Brunch with a birdbook and binoculars on the table.
11h00 – Depart thoroughly relaxed and ready for the short drive to the coast or the international airport. You can be at either in around 3 hours.You may want to take a while to explore the arts and culture-oriented town of Omaruru on your way out.
Praise for Erongo Wilderness Lodge from one of Namibia's best travelled consultants at a leading DMC (you know the one), 'I really like the new tents – stylish and much more spacious. The additions definitely did make the rooms a bit cooler and the fan, with the minibar, made chilling in the tents very comfortable (and your minibar price list is the first realistic list I have found in a lodge/hotel – what a joy that the beers didn't for once cost N$35 per bottle)... really like the new deck at the main area as well, it was nice to have dinner each night on the outside deck. The breakfast brunch after the walk, watching the many birds, dassies etc is just the coolest, most relaxed experience out there. All in all, still one of my favourite places in Namibia!'
The Olive in Travel and Leisure's IT List
The high-gloss Travel and Leisure 'It List' has just been released and Windhoek's Olive Boutique Hotel is already at number 16 of 52! This is what Sophy Roberts wrote, "Long known as a hasty post-safari stopover from Namibia's national parks, Windhoek had little in the way of stylish sanctuaries for weary travelers. Enter the Olive Exclusive, the city's first contemporary boutique hotel, designed by South African photographer Micky Hoyle, in a quiet residential neighborhood a five-minute drive from the urban center. Each of the seven suites is inspired by a different Namibian region. Ample modern conveniences—in-room laptops; deep soaking tubs—are all the more appreciated after a long stretch in the wilderness. You can see the feature here.
- Sophie Roberts writes up Skeleton Coast Safaris for PORT Magazine
- Naturally Namibia Road Trip pt.1
- Feathers & Finalists
- Erongo - first shots of new tents
- The Accessible Skeleton Coast
- Christmas and Conservation
- VILLA MARGHERITA JOINS NATURALLY NAMIBIA
- Okonjima Reserve Goes Live!
- Okonjima Nominated in the Responsible Travel Awards
- The Sheltering Desert & Fairy Shrimps