Ai‐Aiba ‐The Rock Painting Lodge is dramatically set against imposing granite boulders in the foothills of the Erongo Mountain range. Steeped in history these ancient rock formations are the eroded remains of a volcanic complex about 130 million years old.
Famous for its countless rock painting sites Ai‐Aiba is a mystical exploration of nature.
The lodge with its high thatched roof restaurant, lounge and pool is an oasis surrounded by tall palms and scenic vistas of magnificent rocky outcrops and bush savannah. Towering boulders form the backdrop to the mountain facing chalets with views that incorporate this rugged landscape.
Ai‐Aiba is a Khoekhoegowab word meaning `the person who walks in front to show the way`. Nature walks and drives led by knowledgeable guides bring this unique experience to life.
Trekking on foot through an incredible wilderness of rare adapted fauna and flora framed by precariously balanced boulders, is a reminder of the ancient relationship between man and nature. Rock paintings depict age‐old hunting rituals, human and animal life in this geologically rich and complex environment.
Ai‐Aiba is a part of the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, bringing together a group of private landowners in an effort to conserve this diverse area, its magnificent landscape and its plant, reptile, mammal and bird life, as well as its wealth of cultural heritage.
The Erongo Mountains have particular importance in Namibia, as they host a vast array of plant, reptile, mammal and bird species that are endemic or near endemic to Namibia. Some examples of these include the Black Mongoose, Angolan Dwarf Python, White Tailed Shrike, Hartlaub`s Francolin, Ruppell`s Parrot, Damara Rock Runner, and Hartmann`s Zebra.
There are also species that, although not endemic, are extremely rare and have found refuge in the Erongo Mountains, e.g. Peregrine Falcon and Booted Eagle, which are almost certainly breeding in the area. The striking Black Eagle can also be seen breeding in many parts of the Mountains. The area is fenced off and is home to numerous re-introduced endangered Black Rhino and the near-endemic Black-Faced Impala. Walking in the area is considered safe, however, there are some potentially dangerous animals such as Leopard and Baboon roaming the area, and guests are asked to take great care when walking beyond the perimeter of the lodge itself.
Accommodation consists of 10 thatch roofed chalets offering 20 luxurious twin rooms. Each with private patio, en-suite bathroom.
Luxurious twin room with private patio and an en-suite bathroom with shower. The rooms are tastefully furnished in African style with air-condition and a safe for valuables.
Luxurious Triple/Quadruple room with private patio and an en-suite bathroom with shower. The rooms are tastefully furnished in African style with air-conditioning and a safe for valuables.
Ai Aiba - The Rock Painting Lodge Activities:
Ai Aiba Lodge forms part of the 200 000 hectare Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy. This pristine wilderness area straddles the Erongo Mountains: a natural reserve within a vast volcanic crater complex, which boasts unparalleled biodiversity. At Ai Aiba Lodge, we like to encourage our guests to relax and take the time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the Erongo Mountains and the Bushveld. It is a perfect place to spend the day by the pool with a good book, or if the energy of the granite mountains inspire you, to take a walk or drive with one of our experienced guides through the mountains.
Nature Drive / Bushman rock art
This drive takes about 3 hours, through the scenically beautiful lodge property, with selected stops at sites to view and learn about bushman rock art. The drive will also include a stop for refreshments and snacks. A must-see for anyone visiting the area. This drive can be done both in the morning or the afternoon.
Morning drive – departs at 07h00 in Summer, and 07h30 in Winter. (Breakfast served from half an hour earlier.)
Afternoon drive – departs 17h00 in Summer, and 16h00 in Winter.
Rate: on request
Guided walks (Morning & Sundowner)
Walking the area surrounding the Lodge is highly encouraged and is an excellent way to experience the beauty of the Erongo Mountains. Our guides have been very well trained on the interesting Fauna and Flora of the area and are available to escort guests through the property.
1) Guided Morning walks:
Breakfast is available in the restaurant from 06h30 in Summer* and from 07h00 in Winter*. Your guide will take juice and snacks along for en-route. Please carry your own water.
Please ensure that you wear good walking shoes, and have adequate sun protection.
1.a) Ai Aiba Walk:
This walk is 2 – 3 hours in duration and can be of varying degrees of difficulty depending on your preference. It will include visits to certain rock art sites, and a focus on the smaller intricacies of nature.
Morning walk departs at 07h00 (Summer) and 07h30 (Winter), from the restaurant.
Rate: on request
1.b) Walk & Drive:
This activity starts from the lodge with a 10min drive to Moringa valley. From there guests hike to a number of different rock art sites, including some fantastic viewpoints along the way. Then another short drive (10-15min), followed by another hike through majestic landscape to view some more rock art sites and fantastic rock formations. A short 20min drive will then take you back to the lodge. Total duration is approximately 3 hours. Morning walk departs at 07h00 (Summer) and 07h30 (Winter), from the restaurant.
Rate: on request
1.c) Walk with visit to the San Living Museum:
This walk is approximately 3 hours. Our guides will walk with you to the San Living Museum, stopping at certain rock art sites en-route. Once at the Living Museum the bushman will take guests on a bushwalk, and then our guides will lead you back to the lodge again. Morning walk departs at 07h00 (Summer) and 07h30 (Winter), from the restaurant.
Rate: on request
2) Sundowner walk:
Very close to the lodge, you will be guided up a granite hill where you can relax and enjoy a cold ‘sundowner’ drink while watching the sun set over spectacular views of the Erongo Mountains. Sundowner walk departs at 18h30 (Summer) and 17h30 (Winter), from the restaurant
Rate: on request
Self - Guided Walking Trail
This trail takes about 1 hour, and is on the hill behind the lodge. It is marked by painted arrows. The trail goes past Rain Cloud Cave and Elephant Wall, both sites with bushman rock art. The trees along the route are tagged for identification – list available at Reception.
Rate: no charge
San Living Museum Tours – available from 08h00 to 15h30
Various tours are available, and can all be booked directly at the lodge. Times are flexible, and bookings can usually be made according to your requirement. Please ask at Reception for more information.
1) Bushwalk – approx. 2hours. Learn about hunting, snaring, tracking, lighting fire and collecting bush food.
2) Live in the village – approx. 2hours. Learn about singing and dancing, lighting a fire, making ropes and jewelry.
3) Combination (Action day) – approx. 4hours. A combination of the bushwalk and the “live in the village” tour.
Rates: on request
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Clothing & Accessories:
It is recommended to bring well 'walked-in' hiking boots/shoes (for participation in activities), hat and sunblock, camera and binoculars.