The horizon was liquid with heat and dust. In the mirage appeared a flat red-roofed building, the Cañon Roadhouse. With cactus garden and antique cars, arriving is like stepping into a Wild West movie set. Even the southern Namibia landscape surrounding the lodge – flat rocky hills and sparse vegetation – is that of an outback town.
Cañon Roadhouse is part of the Gondwana Collection portfolio, and is a good base from which to explore the 25km-long Fish River Canyon, visit Ai Ais’ thermal baths, or do some hiking in the area. Stay here when on the Cape Town-Windhoek road; it is worth the slight detour.
The main reception area is a huge hall with remodeled vintage cars and a central bar adorned with vehicular memorabilia. Even the breakfast buffet is served on top of and inside the bonnets (hoods) of some of these interesting machines. There is free Wi-Fi, an interesting curio shop, an ATM and an in-house restaurant serving a good selection of traditional and international dishes – game meats, pastas, salads and vegetarian options. The wine list is good, but expensive.
The 24 rooms are set around two courtyards on either side of the restaurant-reception area. Unpretentious yet practical rooms with pine furniture, twin beds, and en suite bathrooms provide comfortable accommodation. Only room 8 (the honeymoon suite) has a double bed. There are some triple rooms, and one room sleeping four guests. Each room has a safe, air-conditioning, a modest coffee/tea tray.
A sparkling swimming pool is refreshing in the extreme summer heat and is available to both lodge guests and campers, while the small hills behind the lodge provide an easy scramble to watch the sun set (or rise). Cañon Roadhouse is the closest lodge accommodation (on the eastern side) to the canyon, but the government-run Hobas campsite is about 10km from the viewpoint.
Cañon Roadhouse will appeal to travelers with a sense of fun and provide comfortable accommodation and various amenities close to Fish River Canyon. An overnight stay is sufficient, providing it leaves time to experience the canyon in the early morning/late afternoon when the light is optimal.
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