Situated some 85km north east of Windhoek and about 70km from the Hosea Kutako International Airport in the Okahandja District, Midgard Country Estate is indeed a gem in an African bushveld.
The beauty of this place was eminent from the time we turned off into the gravel road from the Okahandja main road. A stretch of mountains, rivers and newly blooming trees signalling the start of the rains is just the beginning of a wonderful weekend at the resort.
An hour later after a somewhat bumpy, dusty, but pleasant drive, we turned right into the gates of Midgard Country Estate. With horse stables on the left and an old church on the right, scepticism struck as I wondered if this was the right place. As we drove on, however, we wound up in the parking bay, were a staff member was waiting to take us to the reception - in a golf cart.
The drive from the parking area leading to the reception was enough to change my previous perception. With the name ‘Midgard’ prominently engraved on a wall overlooking the reception entrance, five granite pillars on both sides standing in fish ponds, the luxury of the resort seemed to be unfolding.
Upon entering the reception, a waitress quickly brought damp, scented face towels- quite a relief, considering our dusty journey.
A touch of class and elegance is eminently clear in the reception area. It’s maroon leather chairs match the front of the counter and the wooden tiles on the floor blending in with all the furniture. Overall the reception has a clean, smooth, polished modern look with beautiful traditional artwork.
Officially opened two years ago after having closed down following the death of owner Karl Werner List in 2002, the 16 000 hectare estate is a blend of old German- inspired design and mature, modern luxury.
Once a farm, Midgard houses about 102 people at a time with a combination of 36 standard rooms, 5 family rooms, 4 deluxe rooms and 1 honeymoon suite.
Decorated elegantly with dark grey curtains which match the dark wood hues of the floor tiles, closet and balcony rails, the rooms provide a homely feel which immediately puts one at ease.
The List family have done a great job of preserving their history over the years; with all the attractions, I felt like I had gone back in time.
As part of the history, Midgard has a car museum which is home to a 1970 Ford Galaxy which was the owner’s wedding car and is surprisingly still in running condition.
The main restaurant serves a simple la carte menu offering International cuisine which has an African touch to it. Occasionally they have a traditional African grill cuisine where they have a bon fire and all the food is either grilled or cooked in cast iron pots.
Apart from these luxuries on offer is a wide range of activities for the whole family which include swimming, tennis, outdoor chess, beach volleyball, gym and a children’s playground. Midgard also has indoor and outdoor conference facilities including an amphitheatre for entertainment use during company retreats.
After a very eventful Friday, Saturday had its own share of adventures as we were scheduled to go for a game drive.
The drive into the bush in the late hours of the day was relatively quiet as Jackson, our tour guide, instructed everyone to be quiet so as not to chase the animals away.
Game in the area is shy and scattered but our guide’s tactical skills and sharp eye paid off. His expertise on the different animals and birds was incredible.
Our first sightings were of the baboons high up in the mountains, which the tour guide explained always move in groups.
“Baboons are always in a group of about 150, but with only one male to protect the babies and the females. When provoked, the male baboon is so dangerous it can even kill a lion,” Jackson told us.
As we proceed, Jackson occasionally stopped to assess the ground for paw prints and to see which direction the animals were. Sightings of kudus, red hartebeest, giraffes and the blue and black wildebeests put smiles on the my van mates’ faces, but I was burning for a leopard sighting which unfortunately never happened.
Bird lovers also had an eventful day as we saw different types of birds from the Blacksmith Plover to the rare Lilac Breasted Roller, a bird of breathtaking beauty that has 16 colours with 9 of them being different shades of blue.
A few hours into the drive, we spotted a Black Wildebeest and our tour guide decided to give us a better view by driving closer to where it was standing.
Without flinching, the animal stood still, but began to slowly circle its territory as we approached. My heart literally popped out of my chest, as I feared for our safety; the guide had parked only a few metres away from the animal.
Marking its territory, the animal defecated to show us that we were not welcome. Still, my photographer asked if it was possible for her to get out of the car to take a close-up, which the guide advised strongly against.
“Black Wildebeests are territorial and very aggressive, so it is not advisable to go near it,” he warned, as he reversed the vehicle slowly, away from the moody animal.
After we had exhausted the whole bush looking for animals, the guide proceeded through to the viewpoint, where we would experience the beautiful sunset. Reaching the heights of the spectacular natural beauty overlooking the panoramic views of mountains and trees, we enjoyed the view with sundowners and snacks. Exploding with beautiful scenery, Midgard Country Estate is indeed the epitome of luxury, offering a relaxing, refreshing and peaceful atmosphere.
Like a flower’s petals, Midgard unfolded right in front of my eyes, from the time we entered the first gate to the time we left, revealing all the history and vision that Carl List had when he built the place. PF