Reviews of Doro Nawas
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Unusual, in a positive way. Stunning setting
Staff were proud of their culture and wanted to share it.
Brilliant elephant safari. Unusual lodge resembling a fortress in great scenery.
Very spacious chalets. Good food - sensible portions!
Lightning at Doro Nawas
We chose a strange time to visit Doro Nawas. We arrived in torrential rain. As we were checking in, lightning struck the lodge and the thatch in one of the chalets caught fire. The way the staff reacted to the drama was most impressive.
It was the birthday of one of the guests and all the staff sang a number of songs. They provided a cake which they shared with all the guests. The staff made it a wonderful evening.
The rain was the first for 2/3 years.
One improvement would be to provide mosquito nets. Although it is a low risk malaria area there were lots of creepy crawlies and nets would have helped in ensuring a good night's sleep.
Doro Nawas review
See earlier review - some nice touches like we had the same room - and the same guide picked us up from the air strip. We had time to drive ourselves to Twyfelfontein so could visit in a more relaxed way which was a good start to being back from the very rarefied context of the Skeleton Coast.
Made use of the pool and found a few (but not many) other guests now at the lodge.
as we were in transit, harder to judge
First, a minor point: the directions in Expert Africa's material was rather unclear. The camp is not marked on the printed map, and the directions were fairly vague about exactly where the camp was. Distances on the gravel roads are deceptive. There were other places marked but not Doro Namas. We spend a long time wondering if we had missed it and drove for a good way past where we thought it was suggested the turning to the camp was, and were starting to wonder if we'd missed the turn and whether we should go back - but then we found it. So maybe a ball park figure for the kilometres from the last turning or similar would be helpful.
By now we had stayed in five different camps/lodges and were getting familiar with the setup. So although the staff were as pleasant as anywhere we'd stayed and nothing was too much trouble and there were few other guests etc, Doro Nawas seems to lack a particular identity of its own. Maybe a lot of people, like us, use it as a transport interchange, or are just passing through. We went on a trip to Twyfelfontein which turned out to include a visit to the Damaraland living village which was surprisingly good with a very talented young man as the lead guide. Obviously we used a guide from the site at Twyfelfontein - which is fascinating and with a good museum - as outlined in the book. ( We returned to it ourselves when we stayed on the way back from the Skeleton Coast). However on the guided trip we didn't really have enough time and ended up keeping the young site guide until after closing time and not seeing the display/museum. It could have been better managed as an overall outing. The drive back to the lodge is quite rocky and by this time we were pretty tired. The room was large and airy but putting the bed out on the veranda not realistic as much too windy. We had our first experience of getting the menu in both English and the Damara/click language from charming waiter which was nice.
So overall, we felt a bit 'neutral' about the lodge although there was nothing in particular that was negative.
Doro Nawas review
The most wonderful camp - absolutely marvelousRead more about the whole safari
Doro Nawas review
Not quite what one expects from a lodge run by Wilderness safaris. If you plan a stop in Northern Damaraland, there is little point staying here, unless one is specifically interested in geology, rock art and local history, for which it makes a reasonable starting point (there are other more conveniently located lodges) . Don't go here expecting wildlife or birds. Although the camp runs a guided safari, even the tour guide did not want to sell this: Southern Damaraland is surprisingly void of birds and animals.
The advantage is that it is mosquito-free and virtually free of flies too, allowing you to sleep without mosquito net outside on the terrace of your tented room, under the stars, which is the great attraction of the place. The common areas and rooms are great, with beautiful vistas, or when too windy, dinner around the campfire in the more secluded patio. There is also a great pool. It is the food, and to a lesser extent the staff that lets it down.
Wines are stored non-climate controlled and were acidic or corked, all butter was rancid and this affected other food taste too (we pointed this out, but it's all they had), the quality of produce and choice of dinners a huge let down, and frankly unacceptable. The staff was generally inattentive and did not appreciate our polite critique. The place was just not professionally run, and the staff immediately and openly read our feedback in front of us which made us feel quite uncomfortable.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa are sorry that these travellers were disappointed with their stay at Doro Nawas. Densities of animals and birds in this semi-desert area are low, but they’re not absent. Many find the animals and birds which have adapted to survive here fascinating – for example really enjoying the chance to track desert-adapted elephants.
Unfortunately, during the rains the elephants can be harder to find as they move out of the dry riverbeds, and into the mountains. Certainly Damaraland’s scenery and history is as much an attraction as its sparse wildlife. We are very sorry if we weren’t clearer about the focus of the experience at Doro Nawas.
Wilderness Safaris has responded to the above feedback, and addressed the issues regarding their dissatisfaction with the food at Doro Nawas. They have had in-depth discussions with the kitchen and serving staff regarding the quality of the food, some inadequacies have been identified, and these problem areas will be rectified.
Wilderness Safari’s commented to us that “Camp Management are the only staff members permitted to read guests feedback forms, and they try to do this whilst the guests are still in camp so if any issues arise they are able to get more details and information to improve on the matter with immediate effect.” They were very sorry to hear this made these travellers feel uncomfortable.
Excellent location/setting. Comfortable rooms - very spacious with large bathroom/shower area. Can slide back the folding doors and move bed to large veranda to sleep under the stars if one chooses. First night - we had dinner on the building roof by candlelight and kerosene lamps. Beautiful but a tad chilly - blankets were provided. BBQ - choice of fish/beef steak/sausage accompanied by polenta porridge (?) or rice - fairly unappetising. 1 desert.
Went elephant trekking (07.30 to 12.30) - some very rough tracks. Also living museum but too hot to continue to rock engravings.
2nd hottest place we stayed - temp c. 33 -35 degrees - just too hot to bear in mid-afternoon.
A great spot with a fantastic vantage point
We enjoyed our time here, and particularly the trip to the Desert Elephants. For those who have their own transport, we would recommend making your own way to the rock engravings and Organ Pipes/Burnt mountain as there is no real added value in taking the lodge trip, which works out more expensively. Although not offered by the Lodge, we would strongly recommend a trip to the Petrified forest, which we found really interesting.
The staff were friendly and welcoming, particularly the manager Alvin, although I wished he hadn't laboured the dangers of snakes and scorpions as much as he did, as this meant I was particularly on edge throughout the two nights of our stay (unnecessarily it transpired).
Sleeping under the stars
Doro Nawas was a revelation. Being able to wheel our huge bed out onto the balcony and sleep under the stars was an incredible experience not to be missed.
The excursion down the dry riverbed in a four wheel drive landrover was an adventure in itself and finding elephants was the icing on the cake. We would have liked another night here.
Scenic location, dry, hot and windy
Twyfelfontein engravings worth the visit but maybe stay for one night onlyRead more about the whole safari