Reviews of Doro Nawas
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Stunning location, cool flannel welcome
One of our favourites, welcomed by one of the staff with lovely cold flannels, stylish interior despite its austere external appearance, incredible views out over the desert. Extremely spacious thatched roofed rooms and being able to sleep outside was something special. The staff were charming and Elaine did a marvellous job of finding the desert elephants, particularly enjoyed the baby elephant spraying himself with his mother's wee!
Easy to drive yourself to Twyfelfontein and the Organ Pipes. Don't miss out on enjoying a cool beer and listening to the juke box at the Push and Pull Tyre Repair and General Dealer store on the main road near the entrance to Doro Nawas.
This is the place the locals hitch a ride from and they will appreciate you offering as there is no bus service. You do need to remember that offering lifts to strangers has an associated risk and would not be advised in or near to larger towns.
A brilliant stay
After Kulala what a difference! Apart from the structure itself which was not to our taste, we could not fault our stay at Doro Nawas.
They had clearly received the dietary list and meals were no longer an issue. In fact nothing was too much trouble and Doro Nawas clearly benefitted from being properly managed. To cap it all we also had our sundowner watching a herd of 11 desert elephants in the Huab river valley. Thank you!
Doro Nawas review
Friendly welcome, and friendly service throughout our stay.
Our chalet was very spacious and enjoyable, though the bucket in the shower puzzled us for some time until we realised that it was to collect the drips! We especially enjoyed the alignment of the chalets which meant that no chalet was overlooked by another. For such a well-equipped chalet, it was strange to find we had no shelves or drawers in which to store our belongings. The canvas walls made the chalet colder at night than we had expected.
One unexpected feature was the climb up to the main building - every journey to any other part of the site meant climbing the hill, which could be a trial when the heat is on (40 degrees centigrade on the day we arrived) or if you had contracted a cough (as we both did) on arriving in Namibia.
Our game drive to see the desert elephants was a delight - excellent guide, excellent elephants, stunning landscape.
We greatly enjoyed our stay here, and would unhesitatingly recommend it to others - but we would have liked more clarity as to what is and what is not included in the prices - for instance our room booklet implied that house wine was included in the price - but we found it was not; lunch was included in the game drive price, but we did not know this and had not therefore planned to take lunch; after arrival, we found that the elephant game drive was available in the afternoon as well as in the morning, something not apparent from the website and therefore ignored in our planning. None of these was crucial for us, but we were left with a lingering uncertainty about what else we had missed. We feel that better and clearer information is needed - in advance of booking.
Doro Nawas review
Doro Nawas was another excellent camp. We were given what was essentially a small , stand-alone house, an enormous room in which our double bed was almost lost. It had large sliding doors opening out onto the open wilderness of the desert. The welcome was, as at the other Wilderness Safari camp, very personal, and indeed all the staff visibly made it their business to see that we were well looked after.
Meals were in the main building, from outside looking rather grim but inside very attractive. Food again was good. The staff put on a performance of traditional singing after dinner, which was very enjoyable and gave us a taste of the local culture.
After dinner we were invited to go up onto the roof to look at the stars. A guide using a laser pointer helped us identify some of the main stars/constellations of the southern sky and a telescope set up to look at the moon was fascinating.
We booked another landrover trip the next day to look for desert elephants with Elaine as our guide. We soon saw our first eleven. Elaine then started to take us, cross country, to Twyfelfontein but we shortly ran into another herd of 12 elephants which we were able to watch this time at very close quarters for quite a long time. We returned for lunch and then afterwards we set off again with her to Twyfelfontein for a very quick visit. On the way back we came across yet another two elephants, again at close quarters. These had been very successful and most enjoyable outings.
After leaving Doro Nawas after our second night we were able to drive to the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain, and then to the Petrified Forest, before journeying on to the Grootberg Lodge.
Doro Nawas Review
Whilst perhaps not quite so friendly as Kulala, absoutely no complaints. We wanted to see in particular the desert adapted elephants and did so.
Initially I thought we were going to be disappointed because the guide could not locate the elephants despite his very best efforts. I have to say he tried extremely hard to do so and ultimateley, after a long search he was able to find them and we were treated to a real spectacle. There were eleven elephants in the group including a nine day old calf and we were able to be within a few feet of them. Brilliant work and driving over difficult terrain by the guide who again showed great enthusiasm and knowledge.
We took ourselves to the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. Amazing and fascinating but really very very hot. Take lots of water and go slowly. Even the guide felt the heat on the day we were there.
Doro Nawas review
I was sick here from eating a piece of fish. The Manageress implied that it was my fault for drinking the local water or too much wine. I don't drink alcohol and I only drank bottled water! The lady in charge of the Restaurant was much more synpathetic and tried to help me with some bland food. I was not too impressed with the way I was treated.
Hotel setting was nice, rooms were good, again service was a little hit and miss. The entertainment after dinner by the restaurant staff was excellent, local songs and transalation of the menu into the local click language was very interesting to listen to.
Doro Nawas review
Difficult to fault this well run establishment with excellent food and well motivated and helpful staff. The 360 degree view from the roof is just perfect for a sundowner drink, for watching the night sky, or for sunrise.Read more about the whole safari
Memorable stay in an amazing location
This is an amazing place. When you first set eyes on it, its somewhat foreboding appearance makes you wonder what you are going to but, again, the welcome we were given and the standard of the facilities immediately dispels any doubts.
The highlight of our stay here was the whole morning drive spent tracking the desert elephants - the excitement and anticipation built up until we were very fortunate and found so many of these wonderful animals. Our guide was brilliant and impressive in his knowledge and passion for the area and its nature. We benefitted further from this when we went on the evening walk with him and the day was rounded off superbly with the night-time spent star gazing and having the stars etc. explained to us.Some of our party took this further, rolling their beds out and sleeping under the stars.
The location's proximity to Twyfelfontein and the length of the tour to see the rock art was confirmed to us, making it an easy trip prior to going on to Etosha (We found the Bradt guide's comment about Twyfelfontein a little inaccurate as it gave the impression that it took a long time to see the art - "several hours"- and also gave the wrong D road number - stated that you take the D3254 off the C39 whereas it is actually the D2612)
All the staff here were excellent and we, again, enjoyed the singing by everyone at the end of our evening meal.
A Curate's Egg
On the whole I think we enjoyed Doro Nawas, but it was a very mixed experience. There were some great bits and some real disappointments.
The rooms were the largest on the whole trip, although we didn't try taking the bed outside to sleep under the stars! Nor did we shower in the open air - it was a little chilly for that! So much so that we had hot waterbottles put in our beds by the turn-down service (without having to ask!)
We appreciate that the operation is run by your agents in Namibia, so criticisms may be difficult to manage, but ...................
The staff try very hard to please, but some elements need attention. The bar operation is not very slick, so there can be long waits for service and the measures seem somewhat light, leading to only tonic tasting G&Ts! Breakfast is self-service and when things run out it seems to take too long to replenish. Clearly, the lack of electricity is a major hinderance and affects several service functions - like checking out which relies on a satellite phone that requires the generator to be operating (and wasn't turned on when we tried to leave, costing us an hour altogether!) The after dinner singing and dancing by the staff was the best of our trip, they really enjoyed themselves and so did we!
I don't claim to be a hospitality expert (although I'm an experienced consumer), but the major problem appears to be with management - we met or saw a number of "managers", probably 4 or 5 over the two days, but they were not very effective and tended to react badly to any adverse comments. Message - don't ask "How was your day / excursion?" if you want an honest response to something that was not too good.
Our first excursion - searching for desert-adapted elephants - was made by finding a herd of a dozen females, juveniles and babies as a result of an encounter with a vehicle from Twyfelfontein Lodge who told us where to go. Fantastic scenes and photos, followed by a very good sundowner.
The other two activities - the rock carvings and the petrified forest - were real disappointments, with the latter being a disaster! The rock carving trip took all morning as we vainly searched for the elephants again, without success, so had only about half-an-hour or so at Twyfelfontain before we had to return to Doro Nawas for lunch. The meal itself was very poor and the limited amount of food on offer became even more obvious when, after waiting for ages to get a cup of coffee, we saw the serving points being re-stocked with a much better selection to feed the staff in full public view, with the "managers" going first.
The petrified forest trip was terrible! 40+kms in a very slow, open vehicle down the gravel road stopping frequently to allow other vehicles to pass us in either direction so that we didn't suffocate in the dust, that took over an hour: 20 minutes looking at 3 bits of petrified tree and the return journey on the same road as we had come, doing our stop-start bit, followed by a very poor pre-ordered sundowner (in my case, half a glass of red wine from an opened bottle) at the side of the road, in full view of Doro Nawas a mile or so away, where we could have drunk our drinks in some comfort.
What really pained us, however, was the pricing - the afternoon trips (with a sundowner) at N$550 per person and the morning trip (with lunch) at N$950 per person. Given that we had 7 or 8 people in each vehicle on each trip, there must be a big profit here somewhere!
We spoke with an Austrian family who were on a "fully-inclusive" deal and they were horrified to hear how much we had paid for the activities, they of course didn't know what it had cost them in their price, but said they would have warned us off the petrified forest trip, no matter how little it might have cost!
Spectacular lodge with amazing elephants
Another place we really wish we had had more time at. It was lovely, both in terms of the accommodation, the location, the staff and the trips on offer.
One night was very definitely not enough, although we managed to get there in time to go on the afternoon drive to find the desert elephants – one of the best wildlife drives of the trip, largely due to the brilliant guide, Lister, who tracked a large herd of elephants with amazing skill, and effortlessly followed them across very rough country with some amazing Landrover driving.