Bagatelle Lodge is located in the middle of the impressive red Kalahari Desert. A luxury resort in the middle of nature with something for everyone: there are camping sites, different types of chalets, garden rooms, and a bit further a beautiful and luxurious farmhouse.
Tonight we stay in one of the luxury dune chalets with an amazing view over the dunes. We see several Oryxes, ostriches and springboks pass by. The private terrace with a jacuzzi makes the location very special for accommodation. An ideal place to unwind! The workaholic who wants to check his mail in between is forced to distance himself from this daily rush: fast WiFi is not available in all places here. Logical, as we are staying in the middle of the desert. However, with such a view, who would want to look at their screen at all?
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Exploration on horseback
A good way to get away from the daily ruts is an exploration on horseback. Even with no experience such a trip is possible, as we find out when we put it to the test ourselves. Although horse Stone clearly has its own will when it comes to the need to eat grass, with the help of the guide we manage to lead the sixteen-year-old stallion through the dunes. A very fun way to start your day.
At the end of the day, we travel with our guide, Panda, in a 4×4 through the private area of Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch. The area covers more than 10,000 hectares. The normally red sand dunes of the Kalahari are at this point completely overgrown with grass. “It’s been seven years since it was this green, but it has rained a lot here this year,” says Bagatelle. And so the bone-dry desert has temporarily turned into a green oasis. A unique experience in a green desert, although not all tourists can appreciate the wonderland. Some travelers complain to tour guides that they paid to see a dry desert, as we heard other tour guides sigh along the way through the desert.
Anyway. Our guide lets some air out of the car tires so we can tackle the green-covered sand dunes. While bumping and wobbling we explore the area: up sand dune, down sand dune. We soon encounter several springboks, wildebeests, giraffes, and birds.
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However, the highlight of the tour were the two white rhinos. The animals visibly enjoy the abundant grasslands. A unique thing in the desert. “Normally we feed an extra 50 kilos of hay daily, as otherwise there is not enough food available in the desert.” To protect the animals from poachers, they are always taken to other parts of the area, Panda says, “and there is a lot of patrolling.”
Refuge for Cheetahs
Not farther down the road, we visit the cheetahs that are fostered on the property to witness the feeding moment. The young orphans were brought here after their mothers were killed by farmers. “Cheetahs come onto the farms and sometimes slaughter up to 20 goats or sheep at once,” says caretaker Göran Lindström, “and so they get shot. A big problem. A hundred years ago a hundred thousand cheetahs were living here, now there are only 7200.” When in fact the solution is easy: a barking guard dog on the property is enough to scare the cheetahs away, according to our guide.
The young orphans would probably not survive alone in the wild, Göran explains: “cubs need protection from their mothers for the first two years. Even baboons can kill the young if they are alone.”
The animals have a distinct sense that it is time to eat. As soon as the gate opens, the cheetahs come running at full speed for their dinner: “meat from horses and donkeys.”
After the colorful sunset, we are welcomed into the ambient outdoor restaurant for our dinner. All tables are situated around the crackling campfire. Sushi chef Elias provides tonight’s appetizer: a salmon-filled California Sushi Roll. Chefs Josef, Abisai, and Teopoline then serve Oryx Kebab, fried green beans with flavorful basmati rice. Dessert is a poached pear with orange sauce. A must-try!
Review of Bagatelle Lodge
Location: Phenomenal views over the dunes of the Kalahari, the lodge is built in the middle of its own game park.
Service & Facilities: we found the service to be mediocre, but the facilities overall are great.
Rooms: very luxurious and clean.
Accessible for the disabled: no.
Staying at Bagatelle Game Ranch is possible from 140$ per night. You can book directly through their website. You can also book an overnight stay as part of your tour through Namibia at About Africa Safaris. Our stay was made possible by the Namibia Tourism Board and About Africa Safaris.