(c) September 2010 Oliver Bonten
Hammerstein Lodge was the big disappointment on this tour. Not really a bad place, but we had high expectations based on reports from another person, and it did not live up to these high expectations. Hammerstein ist a very big, simple lodge, which is typically frequented by large tour busses; it has capacity for several of them. The beer is good, the food simple but reasonable. Dinner is served in a big hall with many tables, with some bad singing from the staff
On the first day, we had breakfast at around 8:30 but at 7:20, staff already wanted to clean my hut! Most visitors leave early in the morning; Hammerstein is a cheap base to explore the Sossusvlei, only a two hours' drive by bus (this is very close in Namibian terms). So we were about the last people to get up and have breakfast. We went for a game drive into the veldt. There were not a lot of animals but the landscape was nice. In the end we were chased by a friendly giraffe, Stoffel, who liked people but couldn't properly judge his strenght when hugging them. The car was not overly reliable and tended to stop (and not start again), so this was a bit adventurous, but Stoffel got no opportunity to hug us
There was a tame Zebra named Hans. Unlike the cats, Hans was not fenced in but fenced out. But he liked the proximity of people, and the food that may come with it, especially carrots. There also was a duck named Aqua (which lived in the pool), and a goat named Daisy which liked to poke female vistors into their backsides with its horns.
Hammerstein Lodge has a couple of big and not so big cats, and this was the reason the lodge was recommended to us. However, the animals were kept in small cages (small meaning something between 1/2 and 1 football field, but that is not a large area, in particular for cheetahs).
Judging from the behaviour of the staff, the typical visitors were afraid of cheetahs! Besides Cheetahs, there were three caracals (a kind of Spock-eared lynx) and a sad leopard.
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