The original farmhouse
was a small basic yet functional building owned by the family Neu-Onis. Made up of 3 rooms, along with a small living room, kitchen and a basic stone veranda, this area and guest rooms no.1 and 2 fit to the earliest stone structures of the original 3 rooms. The small living room has been incorporated into the current lounge area and the basic stone veranda, now enclosed, makes up the current foyer and reception area.
Sold to policeman from Walvis Bay
The farmer retired and Zebra River Farm was sold, the Neu-Onis family remained important neighbors in the area and today the 4th generation of the family owns and manages the nearby water plant which sources and bottles the spring water we serve here at the lodge.
The farmstead was bought by a policeman from Walvis Bay. Uninterested in living on the land or farming it, his sole motive for the purchase was to have a place where he could indulge in his love for hunting. Living in Walvis Bay and frequenting the farmstead only for his shooting hobby, the once successful fruit orchard fell into disrepair and the trees withered and died. After a while even the abundance of game dwindled until animals became scarce because of the frequent hunting.
First use as lodge
Rob and Marianne Field bought the Zebra River farm and later also purchased the neighboring farm, Lichtenberg, thus extending the farmstead to 12 600 hectares. It was their ambition to turn the original farmhouse into a lodge in order to share this spectacular location with visitors.
They started by converting the original 3 rooms from the farmhouse into the present office and guestrooms nr.1 and 2. Adding onto the original farmhouse, they built and changed another 4 rooms for guests and themselves. Enclosing the original veranda into a foyer type reception, they added steps and a small outside veranda in front of the present day office and in front of the guest rooms.
Following this they decided to develop the mountain side behind the main lodge building into more guest rooms, which is now rooms’ nr.8 and 9.
The manager’s house was built, back then, over to the right from room nr.5, and an additional room was added which is now guest room nr.6. The manager’s house was converted later on into guestrooms nr.7 and 7(a).
The original fruit orchard was tuned into the present day landing strip, therefore opening the lodge up to guests which prefer to arrive by air.
Peter and Elke Young bought the lodge from Rob and Marianne (they went back to ZA and opened a guesthouse in the eastern cape Panorama Guest House). Their love for the countryside and the desert brought them out of the city of Windhoek leaving their secretary, Olivia, to manage their beautiful hotel Casa Blanca, to this remote and breathtaking destination. Bringing with them over 20 years of hospitality experience, they set about modernizing and updating Zebra River Lodge, but ensuring at the same time that the infinite charm and quirky appeal of the place was not lost.
Renovating existing rooms, electricity supply and refurnishing, created a more airy and brighter atmosphere perfectly reflecting the outside ambience. An extension on the side of the main building has allowed for a much bigger indoor dining area and the extended veranda, perfectly in keeping with the original building, provides an exquisite place for sundowners in the evening or for candlelit outside dining at night. The garden, which had previously been left to its own devices and was overgrown, has now been cleared and grass seeds have been sown and a rich variety of flowers generously planted around the area.
A large and varied vegetable and herb garden has been planted providing fresh produce for the kitchen to use in their meal preparation.
A large swimming pool was installed offering ultimate reprieve for those returning from hiking adventures or those preferring to relax and enjoy the wonderful Namibian sunshine.
Four new rooms were built, rooms (no.10, 11, 12 and 13), all with their own personal verandas and they are all positioned with beautiful views for a picture perfect vista. Designed with flag stone floors and stone facades, the rooms are in keeping with the rest of Zebra River Lodge and are spacious, modern and comfortable. Rooms no.10 and 11 are also family rooms and easily accommodate 3 people each.
Lodge sold again
to Louis Fourie and Thomas Ehbert.
New ownerhship and management
the lodge changed owners again when Jean-Pierre Rambert, a citizen of Mauritius, bought Zebra River Lodge.
New rooms no.14, 15, 17 and 18 were built.
The kitchen was renovated, expanded and modernized. The original swimming pool proven to be extremely unpractical and difficult to maintain in these surroundings. A smaller, more practical, swimming pool was installed.
The cottage was renovated for Jean-Pierre’s own personal use when he came to visit the lodge. A new solar system and cold storage was introduced and installed.
Kudu Wild Camp
Henk built a campsite with a bathroom and a toilet, braaiplace and water from an existing borehole, just added a solar pump. Lots of wildlife there!