A year ago today, I was in Singapore with my partner as we evaluated what we naively thought would only be an inconvenient month or so. LOL, right? As we navigated the restrictions of each country we went to, we got caught in the midst of a pandemic that brought the world to a standstill not seen since World War 2.
With each trip home to Namibia since then, I’ve witnessed the most remarkable domestic tourism marketing campaigns and O&L Leisure came to the party in style.
My partner, Mads and I visited all four of the featured hotels and lodges owned by O&L Leisure, and we enjoyed the finest of Namibian hospitality in all its glory.
From the most secluded to the most thriving locations in Namibia, O&L Leisure offers idyllic locations that appeal to a mix of business travellers and Leisure seekers, with high international standards combined with gracious Namibian hospitality.
Chobe Water Villas
This remarkably special corner in the African wilderness is worth visiting for its fairytale views alone, but it’s the picturesque riverside location (at the very tip of Namibia’s Zambezi region) that steals the show.
Besides its sweeping water views, the elegance of our suite not only mirrored the natural splendour of the region but also offered unsurpassed luxury and relaxation.
Tranquil and secluded, Chobe Water Villas is the ultimate spot for relaxation and waking up overlooking the Chobe River to the magical sounds of Fish Eagle calling, was one of many high points of our stay.
Rivers are often overlooked in favour of coastal escapes, which sadly means missing out on a place like this.
On your next waterfront getaway, why not skip the beach and stay at O&L Leisure’s beautiful riverside retreat instead?
Located at the confluence of the legendary Chobe and mighty Zambezi rivers where the borders of four countries meet (Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe), this unique boutique lodge, is only accessible by boat through the river borders.
A mere stone throw from the Von Lindequist Gate grants Mokuti Lodge the proud and prominent title of the lodge closest to Etosha National Park.
Mokuti is an idyllic holiday haven in a tranquil location on the eastern doorstep of a salt pan so large, it can be seen from space.
Now I’m going to admit something no self-respecting Namibian domestic tourist should ever say publicly...this was my first trip to Etosha! Little did I know it would lead me to the location of the Terrestrial Paradise known as the Garden of Eden.
The beautifully well maintained and manicured lawns made me feel like I was at a sprawling garden resort in Mauritius or Bali, without the beach.
The Omulilo Spa was the first spa I’ve visited “in the bush” and it perfectly combined my Etosha Safari experience with wellness.
My massage was so good, I felt it in the depths of my soul and I would drive to Etosha from Windhoek for the spa alone if there was no lodge.
Mokuti Lodge did not just turn out to be better than I expected but was an oasis where the main focus is to relax and revive the senses.
Strand Hotel Swakopmund
Every element of Strand Hotel – rooms, food, spa, staff and grounds – is in perfect harmony and that is what makes it one of my favourite hotels anywhere in the world.
It’s been a struggle to find the words to aptly describe our glorious stay, but I will start with this: it’s rare for a hotel room to feel like a destination in itself, but Strand Hotel Swakopmund is special enough to evoke this feeling in a wide-eyed traveller.
Strand Hotel is as impressive as it’s location as it sits right on the water’s edge and comes in for me as Namibia’s premier beachfront hideaway.
O&L Leisure went for the “go big or go home” approach when building its first seaside property five years ago and made sure to make it as chic as its ultra-hip clientele.
The Seaside Spa, with its impressive range of signature massages and treatments, has a straight forward goal: to enrich the guests with a unique and unforgettable experience (my massage was so good, I refused to leave!).
I always meet and bump into the most amazing people here, oftentimes with their kids, and my experience here with my son makes Strand Hotel a shining example of how luxury and family-friendliness need not be mutually exclusive.
Midgard Country Estate
Hidden away on a lush farm, this sprawling estate is purpose-built for a good time and there is plenty to do for young, old, and everyone in between.
Whether you would like to relax, hike, ride horses, swim, play on a giant garden chess set, go bowling, play tennis or visit a vintage car museum, they have something to nourish your body, mind and soul.
There’s never a bad time to get the whole clan together for a weekend escape and Midgard Country Estate offered us a fantastic family-friendly stay and we all had so much fun, especially my 12-year-old boy, Sheya.
The first thing that stares you in the face at Midgard is the well-organised formula O&L Leisure has down to the T, the service was incredible.
Certain areas of Midgard are currently being renovated and it’s clear that perfection and fun are under construction.
All of O&L Leisure’s properties have the most generous spread of breakfast with smoked meats and cheeses, cereals, croissants and pains au chocolate, prepared fresh fruit (because peeling is just so déclassé!), yoghurt and juices, tea and fresh coffee.
All the properties are Covid-19 safe on the basis of a range of parameters that can ensure a comfortable, hygienic, safe and extremely satisfying staying experience.
I have officially run out of superlatives (and word count) describing the pleasure, that is O&L Leisure!