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“Mixed feelings”

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Harnas Wildlife Foundation and Guest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 2, 2014

This is a very nice place if you like wild life. We did a game drive where we saw beautiful animals and got a good explanation from the ranger. Also the rooms are nice and spacious. However the emphasis here is to be a wild life sanctuary and not a hotel. You see that in the restaurant. At the breakfast there was not enough food. The lunch and dinner was twice cold. A good place to visit once, but not twice.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank WillemHWindhoek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (93)
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59 - 65 of 93 reviews

Reviewed February 24, 2014

I have been working with Harnas for a few months trying to book a trip. They have been difficult and unclear to communicate and deal with. In the end I had to cancel my trip and was entitled to an 80% refund. They decided to keep my money not following their own refund policies. As far as I cam concerned this is a questionable company that is not worth doing business with. They robbed me and I'll never say anything good about them.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled solo
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19  Thank Jeffemro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

Harnas offers what I call a "pay to experience/volunteer" opportunity. I stayed just under two weeks and had the time of my life. I felt that I almost died a couple of times as these are truly wild animals but I'm alive thank God. Had tons of bonding time with cheetahs, lion cubs, baby baboons, and so forth. It is truly hard work...you wake up super early (to a big lion's roar from afar...it was awesome although scary as it sounds like it's right outside of your cabin). Work all day in the heat and sun but plenty of time to play with the animals. Food was blah but after a hard day of working you will probably eat whatever they gave you. Plenty of beverages for purchase including soft drinks and beer.

I recommend this but at the same time, just be careful. They make you sign a bunch of waivers (naturally). Some people were injured while I was there...nothing life threatening but it can be very scary at times. The volunteers are unsupervised and you're basically left to fend for yourself in these giant enclosures with wild animals. They are usually fine but some can be very aggressive so just be careful and use your brain!

Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
17  Thank StilaTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Must be done. I was there for a month and did not want to leave. The rooms were comfortable but basic and slept 4 people. The food was basic but you cant expect anymore. I would strongly recommend taking food with you.
The time with the animals is what its all about and you wont be disapointed. Hands on experience at its best.
I cant speak more highly. If your thinking about it, just do it

  • Stayed: December 2011
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6  Thank GinK81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2011

The igloo bungalows are spacious and comfortable, service and food is very good but it is a set menu.
We were disappointed about the fact that they do not really release animals except for a few cheetahs, it is more like a big zoo. We did the morning drive and enjoyed it but again, animals are not free, some are injured and need care but this is not the majority. It is just not what we expected.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank marinesab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2011

I went to Harnas for 4 weeks from May to June 2010 as a working volunteer. It was the experience of a lifetime for me, especially since it was my first time travelling alone.

Most people arrive a day early, stay in a hostel for one night in Windhoek, then get picked up by the Harnas bus the next day. They might come early or late in the day, so be patient - they will pick you up!

This is a place meant for people who are not afraid to get dirty, work hard, and enjoy the outdoors. All meals are eaten outside, mostly at the volunteer village at picnic tables. You get three meals a day as well as the opportunity to buy pop, juice, chocolate and chips from the store. The food is pretty good for the most part, but you have to go in with an open attitude. Bathrooms are outdoor stalls but they are flushing toilets. Showers are spacious enough, but they operate on wood-heated water heaters, soo... be sure to time your showers to avoid having an ice-cold shower! The cabins each house 4 people. The beds are comfortable enough, but a word of warning: if you are going in the African winter months, bring WARM clothes and a WARM sleeping bag. It gets COLD at night (and I'm from Canada, so trust me when I say cold).

The work itself though, is amazing. You will get assigned to a group and that group has a set of animals that they are responsible for feeding, caring for and cleaning up after. The animals are all rescues, orphans, or problem animals and they range from a herd of mongooses, young and teenage baboons, young and mature lions, the sweetest cheetahs ever, macaws, chickens, horses, giraffes, antelope, cats, dogs, etc. You will get assigned a different task most days either feeding, cleaning, walking/exercising animals, farmwork, feeding animals on the tour, or babysitting baboons.

Occasionally there will be games played, or a bushwalk or Frikkie might send the volunteers off into the middle of nowhere as a test. At night there will usually be a bonfire and you can sit and chat with your fellow volunteers. Saturday's are a special barbecue with stick bread and its absolutely delicious!

Basically, if you're prepared to withstand some dirt, some bugs, some chilly nights, a few scratches and maybe a few animal bites, you will fall in love with the magic of the African desert. It really is a beautiful place and the trip was well worth it for me.

Room Tip: You can also stay as a guest to only see animals.
  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled solo
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22  Thank WorldOfGoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago
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  • Stayed: August 2017, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Harnas Wildlife Foundation and Guest Lodge

Address: Gobabis, Namibia
Location: Namibia > Omaheke Region > Gobabis
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Gobabis
Price Range: $129 - $223 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Harnas Wildlife Foundation and Guest Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Join Harnas in experiencing unforgettable moments at one of the most renowned African Wildlife Destinations in Namibia. Superb facilities in spectacular bush settings designed in true African style and spirit. Enjoy our comfortable lounge, bar, restaurant and relaxing swimming pool. Harnas offers ample entertainment which includes exciting feeding tours, lion roar sundowners and more. ... more   less 
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