We had a fantastic two day stay at Sophienhoff. There is so much to see and we were lucky that the owner and his son were there to show us around personally and share their knowledge about and passion for nature and wildlife. They were very keen on the well-being of the animals and respecting the ecological balance of the land (I believe the proper term is "land stewardship").
My overwhelming impression is that they love the land and the animals, and the lodge and guest houses are just an excuse to be living in Namibia enjoying it all! Their prices are extremely than reasonable, they didn't even count everything on our tab, offered us breakfast, suggested we use the gorgeous and private vanishing edge pool in front of the VIP house since no one was there... It really felt like visiting family.
We had two amazing game drives (we happened to be the only guests and got the "owner's tour") and saw so many beautiful animals and birds, up close and personal (though they are very respectful about keeping adequate distance and not stressing the animals). There are small herds of ruminants of all kinds (including sables!), plus giraffes and zebras, and they are healthy and thriving. On our second drive, they took us to see a viewpoint where cliffs overlook a stunning valley. Breathtaking. We exchanged stories and shared lots of laughs and learned tons about local fauna and flora and history. Our kids (11 and 15) agree these were among our best memories from our two weeks in Namibia.
These guys also invest in the local community and have created an extended family with the local employees (many of them live on their land with their own families). Among other things, they're involved in adult-literacy training and developing pre-school programs for the children of ranch employees, in association with national programs. Good people giving back to their community is the impression I am left with.
I'm not sure what issues the other reviewer had with "conservationism" at Sophienhoff - nor if they are very aware of the plight of the cheetah in Namibia and elsewhere and what usually happens to cheetahs who are caught by farmers! Caring for cheetahs is not an easy or inexpensive thing to do. Perhaps there is room for improvement, but the couple of euros charged to go visit the cats at feeding time would hardly offset the cost of feeding a cheetah for a day! It's entirely normal that places like this charge fees for activities they propose.
The grounds are impeccably clean and the bungalows are both fully-equipped and comfortable in addition to being lovely, with their traditional high thatched-roofs. Everything you need is provided, including great barbecue facilities (they even provided free wood for the braai), outdoor furniture, etc. You can self-cater or eat in the restaurant.
Breakfast and dinner are served family-style, with guests and owner and manager and whoever else is there. It begins by saying grace, as is tradition for them. I'm not a Christian, but hearing someone give a brief and very simple thanks to God (however they define "God") for a beautiful day, the bounty on the table and the pleasure of good company is by no means offensive. Both religious tolerance and gratitude are essential when traveling, no matter where you go and who you dine with, right? The prayer lasted about 5 seconds, everyone holding hands. Unless you are highly uncomfortable with all forms of religious expression, it's a non-issue.
So yes, I highly recommend the Sophienhoff lodge, it was a great experience all around, very reasonably priced, and totally unexpected... We saw an ad for the lodge on a tourist map, and stopped there on our way to Etosha. We were only going to stay one night, but ended up staying for two and were sorry to go!
The food was generous and prepared with care - if you enjoy game, let them know. Namibian cuisine is heavy on meat and sauces and light on fresh fruit and veggies, that is just the way it is. They also have a vegetable garden in season...
Lovely gardens and landscaping as well... There's a very nice campsite, although we did not try it this time around and there's a large hall and barbecue facilities for receptions and parties.
The bungalows are all quite nice - but I think a splurge for a couple of nights in the VIP house (I...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.