Gondwana Collection Namibia has a City Collection that is hard to beat.
Starting from the coastal town Swakopmund, The Delight is a hotel like no other. Centrally positioned within walking distance of shops, restaurants and the beach, our modern foyer building reflects the historical buildings, which Swakopmund is famous for, through our welcoming transparent glass fronts.
The green feather in our logo represents everything that you will experience: it is simply delightful.
Opened in 2015, the hotel has now become a firm favorite amongst locals and tourists in the know. Upon entering the lobby, you will be absorbed by a fresh and airy feeling of happiness, and greetings with genuine smiles will make you feel at home instantly. The ostentatious use of lighthouse red and a strong turquoise blue chevron pattern might seem overwhelming at first but will be sure to put a smile on your face during your stay.
Walking into the secluded and sheltered courtyard, you enter a secret garden of palm trees, succulents, herbs and hanging flower gardens. You are completely sheltered from the sometimes-harsh elements brought in due to the cold Benguela current which makes you look forward to a cozy room.
Wooden elements are paired with soft textures of angora wool blankets and pencil thin side tables make sitting and reading a book in the white leather chaise a soulful activity. Red is the color that brightens up the room with all furniture and fittings such as the exposed wire lampshade, the open hanging closet, and the trendy fridge in plain sight. The turquoise blue walls make resting on your comfortable bed like floating in the clouds. The black and white, ceiling to floor, flamingo wall design will give you the perspective to zone out and just be.
This atmosphere of innocent quirkiness is imprinted on you when strolling back into the main building and must have been the influence on the products on offer in the small nook that is the souvenir shop.
A lovely mixture of the essentials such as caps or bucket hats, branded buffs and flamingo scarf are all on offer. A variety of marine plush toys such as the quirky penguin and the soulwarming seal entice little guest to support conservation along a collection of books about Namibia for their parents.
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Seamlessly moving into the lounge area of the bar, a cocktail is the best thing to celebrate my stay. Whether alcoholic or mocktail, I am going for the red cherry and the pink umbrella in my drink! With my new cool wide brim straw beach hat from the shop complimenting my outfit, I am ready to paint the town with my carefree mood.
After a memorable night in historic Swakopmund, I walk back to my room under the subtle guidance of a seemingly infinite and shimmering sky full of stars. The room has been prepped with subtle touches of turndown service such as a hot water bottle in my bed and a delightful sticky toffee named darling. This caring attention to detail is etched in my thoughts as I surrender to a bliss slumber.
The next day I have a light spring in my step as I cannot wait to experience the breakfast offering on the first floor. A burst of fresh and yummy smells conjures up great appetite and I am in doubt as to what to try first: fresh fruits and yoghurt, soft and fluffy brötchen with locally produced cheeses & cured charcuterie, or wait what about the sparkling wine paired with Lüderitz oysters? No matter what you choose, your choice can only be delightful.
If you are looking to do Africa in Style, Gondwana has you spoiled for choice in Windhoek and surroundings. The Weinberg hotel was added to the City Collection in 2022 and with its 48 rooms, Windhoek’s hospitality scene cannot be imagined without it anymore.
The location on Roman Hill dates to 1962 when the CMI of the Fathers of Tilburg in the Netherlands were requested by the cathedral parish in Windhoek to establish a Catholic (boys) school and hostel. The early presence of hot springs and fountains in those years allowed (the creation of) vineyards, gardens & orchards to be planted on these hills and the original farmhouse still forms part of the current development. The credo for private school St. Paul’s College remains Caritate Fundati or “founded in love” and still prides itself for becoming the first nonracial school in Windhoek in the year 1977, far before our countries’ independence.
With this history and heritage as the foundation, you will feel a sense of old-world splendor when pulling up to the Porte cochère. A stately descend passing large oil paintings by local artists Heidi Louw and John Simpson brings you towards the central courtyard and the reception area.
The architecture instantly transports you to being in Franschhoek at the time of the Huguenots. There are romantic courtyard rooms overlooking the fountains and the red heritage building where it all began.
Throughout the classic reception area with its heavy-set leather furniture upon check in as well as entering the classic but demure library lounge, you imagine how the French settlers in the 17th century lived their culture as scholars and philosophers by a crackling fire.
The iconic thread of white and black colours used throughout the hotel and into the rooms is a homage to these times in history. The rooms are sharp and fresh and have a tad Scandinavian feel to them with touches of grey thrown into the mix. They are comfortable and functional but very much exude a feeling of romanticism and love into the air. Sipping coffee complemented by your choice of a home baked pastry from the Deli, one cannot help but try some French words expressing one’s sense of happiness at this very moment.
My happiness is only prolonged by spotting the tiny but very stylish curio shop behind the reception desks. Whether the leather unisex charm bracelet with copper animal embellishment, a locally screen printed t-shirt or the specially designed denim style cap with leather logo, they are all must haves for sure. A definite favorite are the luxury hand woven towels from a womens’ group in Cape Town as they will seamlessly fit into my home décor, together with the wooden cheeseboard in the shape of The Weinberg's logo.
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The Weinberg would not be doing its heritage justice without a visit to The Sky Lounge during sunset. With a glass of wine in hand from the hotel’s extensive wine selection, you have a sweeping view over the entire valley of Klein Windhoek and the school grounds below. Partially shielded from the setting sun under pinstriped umbrellas, this is a super romantic spot and the memories you now make will stay with you for a long time forward.
The latest addition to the City Collection is the place with the biggest soul and sprawling location. Originally dating back to 1998, this much loved and cherished Okapuka Safari Lodge has been a top destination for all these years. Located a mere 30 km from The Weinberg and embraced by the impressive Otjihavera mountain range, it is the perfect city escape as it instantly transports you to the midst of the savannah.
Whilst the enormous thatch roof heralds your arrival at the Lodge from a distance, once you enter you have the feeling of entering a big bird’s nest. An impressive area is opened beneath, revealing many lovely nooks and crannies with historical details for you to explore. A strong feeling of nostalgia overcomes you whilst browsing through the perfectly integrated souvenir shop, with all its nods to African safaris of yesteryear. I immediately find a perfect cotton khaki dress and pair it with a square scarf depicting old Namibian stamps, which will make look the part on this afternoon’s game drive.
Tearing myself away from all the lovely souvenirs to be, I am welcomed at the reception with a glass of homemade lemonade and given a tour of the main area. Soft, warm rays of sunshine find their way in from all sides through the beautiful glass front porches and my eye catches a family of warthogs chasing across the immense lawn in front. The calming and demure colors of the interior with free use of many textures such as feathers as well as various grass lampshades in the center above an impressive slab of Namibian marble from the sleepy town of Karibib are absorbed into my soul and make me feel at home instantly.
Attention to comfort is found everywhere and with a smile I pass by the cozy sunken lounge where one can be on the Wi-Fi guilt free, surrounded between an array of scatter cushions, classic tapestry, and a fireplace for those chilly nights in the bush.
A lovely stroll towards my room brings me on a winding pathway past aged and massive camel thorn trees with their gnarly bark and I must almost duck as a Lilac breasted roller comes free diving straight over my head. The interior of my room is as welcoming and cozy as the main area yet has an incredible feature of specially designed wallpaper covering the entire wall above my headboard. Close-up scrutiny reveals a black and white drawing of the same railway line I passed to the Lodge, and to my big excitement also spot a rhino and a sable antelope in the design.
The impressive cupboard reveals an entire assortment of drinks, such as sherry and coffee and a selection of 5 Namibian loose teas for me to experience. I already spotted a lovely sitting area in the corner which lends itself exactly for this purpose and I am happy to have brought my sketchbook to capture this peaceful setting for posterity.
Although I cannot wait to envelop myself into the softness of the layered bed with the fluffiest blanket ever felt draped over it, I have reserved my spot on the game drive and subsequent sundowner in this ubiquitous “Out of Africa” scenery. On my way to the vehicle parked in front, I spotted a water flask with the same design as the wallpaper in the room. Feeling giddy I also grab the tote bag with the same design so that my sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses will not get lost if we do catch sight of the resident rhino and I freak out trying to take the perfect picture. Jumping onto the game drive vehicle greeting my fellow intrepid explorers, I cannot help but feel like Meryl Streep portraying Karen Blixen in the epic movie from 1985. Where is Robert Redford when you need him?
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The rest of the day goes by in a haze, and it almost feels like I am dreaming. Driving through dry riverbeds passing ancient trees with zebra, springbok and kudu grazing along, we consider ourselves so lucky for spotting white rhino and the regal sable antelope from the Lodge logo. The guide also refers to the meaning of the Herero word Okapuka and informs us that this means “the place of small animals or bugs.” I recall seeing an unbelievably cute t shirt with this reference in the shop and this tidbit of information brings it all together for me.
The light becomes softer as the day progresses until our friendly guide sets up snacks and glasses for our sundowner celebrations, saying goodbye to a perfect day. Returning to the Lodge we are guided by the soft lights and appeasing atmosphere in the restaurant. Choosing from the mouth-watering á la carte menu proves to be quite difficult as everything is so delectable and compliments the entire setting. After having enjoyed a delicious and peaceful dinner, I bid farewell to my hosts and walk back to my room via the swirly pathways. Before I close the door to my comfortable African abode, I give praise and thanks to the universe for granting me this perfect experience in Namibia, Africa.
Written by: Sonia Noirfalise-Corsini