Reviews of Desert Rhino Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Desert Rhino Camp review
In a holiday full of superlatives this camp stood out as the most beautiful, remote and peaceful place we have ever been to. The guides were the very best we have come across in about 6 trips to Africa. Gotlod (our guide) had a quite extraordinary and detailed knowledge of animals, plants, birds and local geology and the animals were always shown the proper level of respect.
The camp was most comfortable, the food was delicious and at all times we were made to feel at home. We especially enjoyed eating round a communal table and meeting round the camp fire before supper.
Whilst pretty much everywhere we stayed was "excellent" this place deserved a category all of its own!
Desert Rhino Camp review
The Meru-style tents had been renewed days before we arrived which was a nice surprise.
We saw a pride of eight lions, and four black Rhinos.
Palmwag Rhino Camp review
This was wonderful.The camp was in a fantastic location looking out at the mountains.
Tents were comfortable with flush loos and a bucket shower - a bit dribbly, but fine. Food here was excellent, and meals around a communal table, and drinks around the camp fire made it a sociable and entertaining place. Again, everyone was friendly and helpful. We only stayed for 2 nights and would have liked longer.
One of us wanted to go rhino tracking and one of us didn't! However, we both really enjoyed it. Our safety and the welfare of the rhino and her calf were well taken care of.
We highly recommend Palmwag Rhino Camp
Expert Africa comments
For info: This camp has been known as Palmwag Rhino Camp for many years now, but was re-named as the Desert Rhino Camp towards the end of 2007.
Palmwag Rhino Camp
We enjoyed the rhino tracking but were surprised to be in a group of 2 vehicles and 12 people.
Enjoyed the company of other guests at the camp - 2 parties were also with Expert Africa!
We did find Chris, the camp manager knowledgeable and a big personality but also over-bearing and too dominant.
Get close to the rhino
Palmwag Rhino Camp is in a great spot, far from anywhere, and allows visitors to really get close to nature. We heard that a lion pride had made a kill right outside the camp a few weeks before we arrived - visitors had ringside seats! The camp is very comfortable - it does get very cold at night they provide plenty of bedding and even hot water bottles.
The guides are excellent, very knowledgeable and friendly - happy to answer any questions. They were keen to emphasise that a rhino sighting isn't guaranteed but with trackers going out every day to find rhinos, in reality chances are pretty good.
We drove to about 1km from where a mother and baby were sleeping and then got out to walk to within 80m of them. Unfortunately they got wind of us within a few minutes and trotted away [after a split second where we wondered if they would charge].
We would recommend staying here for two full days [three nights] so that you can go out two days' running - this will improve your chances of seeing the rhino quite close and for longer periods of time.
The camp is doing great things to save the black rhino and protect them, it's worth visiting this camp if only to support their work and spread the word of what they're doing. At Etosha you'll see [white probably] rhino just as close [if not closer] but these ones were truly wild.
An exciting stay with rhino encounters on successive days and two excellent guided walks tailored to our needs.
Although generaly well organised the second rhino trekking experience proved somewhat unnerving when some members of the group felt that the guide did not have complete command of the situation (as far as this is possible) and some people lost confidence in him which detracted from the experience. There was arguably insufficient info given beforehand as to what people could expect so that one of the group complained at the amount of walking required and could not return to the vehicle by foot.
The whole group then had to wait in the open for a considerable period for the vehicles to come to us and again there was a general feeling that the situation was not under control with the guide eventually having to climb a hill to try and spot the vehicles and make contact with them. This is more about the perception of others rather than our own but it did make for a less than comfortable atmosphere at times because of the way the situation was seen to be (mis)handled.
In the camp itself the tents were attractively presented and equipped but were a little worse for wear in places and the 'housekeeping' was inconsistent with hot and cold water flasks not always topped up and eg hot water bottles provided on a warmer night and not when they were really needed when it was so cold people could hardly sleep! This was general concensus not just our opinion as was the fact that laundry wasn't returned until worryingly late in the day and that during 'siesta' time in the middle of the day no member of staff could be raised to request a shower, drinking water or water flasks despite the indication there was always someone around if needed.
2 out of three dinners were very good , the picnic lunches were excellent and breakfast was enjoyable though cooked orders were sometimes very late or forgotten altogether.
Our individual needs were catered for in terms of activities when we asked to do (longer) guided walks in place of the scheduled sundowner drives and these were very rewarding and informative. We realise lodges prefer to stick to certain regimes for all sorts of legitimate reasons but it IS worth asking for something which might suit you better. We would have been very frustrated physically if we had been confined to camp, in vehicles or on short nature walks for the 3 nights we were there.
Overall a very memorable and worthwhile experience but strange that in such an isolated place guests should be made to feel slightly 'neglected'.
Expert Africa comments
We were very disturbed to hear that these travellers felt even ‘slightly neglected' – as well as concerned about other aspects of this feedback.
We have copied sent these comments to the team that run Palmwag Rhino Camp, or ‘Desert Rhino Camp' as it is now known, and they replied commenting that they had “already taken action to rectify the lack of detail experienced by [our] guests in some areas of the service and activity delivery.”
They also said that they were “in the process of planning a comprehensive refurbishment of Desert Rhino Camp for 2008, without losing the rustic camp feel.”
On the activities, their manager had “received a report from the guide concerned and am satisfied that the tracking of rhinos during [our] guests’ stay was conducted professionally. However, communication between guide, trackers and guests seemed to have been insufficient when alternative plans had to be made. This has been taken up with the guide and camp management and I do apologise if it created uncertainty for some of the other guests.”
They added that they “would like to thank you again for your feedback and ask for your acceptance of my sincere apologies for some poor delivery of service, and misunderstandings that was encountered. The need for us to constantly improve on our offering is understood, and we will continue to strive towards a better and improved experience.”
Well worth the bumpy ride to get there!
A true wilderness experience!Read more about the whole safari
Ambition achieved - rhinos spotted!
Although we were anticipating two tents, on arrival we were informed a camp bed had been put into one tent, allowing us to stay together as a family.
The tents were well furnished and the static beds comfortable - a hot water bottle in the evening was welcome. The bucket shower was a new experience and, when required, hot water was provided. In the absence of running water, a flask each of cold and 'hot' water was placed at the sink. The hot water wasn't always.
Camp staff and guides were very attentive and we were particularly impressed by the waiting staff (female), who remembered from day to day what drinks we preferred! Our guide, Harry, was knowledgeable about the wildlife and plant life we encountered. We were delighted to observe a female rhino and her calf from a distance, having tracked a short distance on foot. One of our highlights and all credit to the trackers!
The dining tent was nicely set out in the evening and a single dining table ensured we mixed with other guests. The meals were good, although there was no choice young people.
We were able to take part in game drives in the morning and afternoon/early evening at which we saw a good selection of the wildlife and amazing scenery.
The vastness of the location is fabulous!
I would go to this camp again to experience the vastness of the area. Also to appreciate the incredible ability of species to survive in such an arid, inhospitable environment. Our guide was the best!
As for the black rhino... for understandable safety issues one can only catch a distant view. Since we were on foot on what seemed the surface of the moon I was happy not to get closer to this unpredictable animal.
More worthwhile was seeing the Desert Elephant, giraffe and many other animals who somehow survive there. For this camp you have to enjoy riding for bumpy hours in the vehicles!
Again this camp espouses to provide education to the area villagers and contribute financially to the Himba community. There was little evidence that this happens in actuality beyond the brochure.
They don't do washing here...but you can do your own - it dries is less than an hour!