Reviews of Doro Nawas
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Doro Nawas review
Here again everything we could ask for was provided for us from quite excellent elephant sightings to birthday cakes, wonderful singing and ... hot water bottles!
The breakfasts were the best throughout our trip but it was really the knowledgable guide (Lister) and the warmth and charm of Florentia (the Assistant Manager) who made our stay the truely memorable and wonderful experience that it was.
Again the rooms were very comfortable and it was great to be able to sleep out under the stars (having enjoyed stargazing on the roof of the main building helped by the very powerful telescope and a knowledgeable guide - Lister again!)
Fantastic stay at Doro Nawas
This was the hottest part of our trip. We spent 3 nights here and spent quite a lot of time lounging around on the beautiful balconies to recover from exertions on the earlier part of our trip.
The room was vast and very comfortable. The location was fantastic with endless views over plains and hills. On the first morning, we went out on our own to see the rock paintings which was interesting, if not compelling - far greater paintings in Kakadu in Australia!
We went on 2 fantastic guided trips, both with Gabriel, on both occasions we were on our own. the first was by LandRover to find elephants, and he found 2 herds for excellent close-up views, as well as loads of birds. The second was an early morning walk through the scrub, and we really appreciated the amazing efforts of explorers like Livingstone who walked (for years) in the bush.
All the staff were fantastic and very professional, especially Florentia, with whom we talked for hours.
Doro Nawas review
Excellent! One of the highlights of the holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for staff, food was very good and the atmosphere wonderfull.
With Elaine as our guide we went for an early morning trip to see wild desert elephants and were rewarded with an extremely close encounter from the magnificent beasts!! Don't miss it.
Great views, forbidding architecture
We only used this camp as a staging point. Externally the main building appears to have been designed in the style of a second world war gun emplacement complete with camouflage, but is internally delightful with central courtyard and a roof platform allowing extensive views over the region by day and star sightings through a telescope by night.
A larger camp than many and felt a bit less personal, though maybe that was just because we only had a short stay. Rooms large and comfortable, offering choice of inside or outdoor shower. Food good. Advised not to walk on local trails without guide owing to presence of local predators, so cooled off in swimming pool.
Advised not to drink local water, but lodge did not provide bottled water in room and it had to be purchased; a curious omission.
Doro Nawas review
Doro Nawas was a wonderful place - the staff here were the best we met. Friendly, efficient, helpful, and excellent management. Some of us took a trip to find the desert elephants - successfully.
The place looks rather like a desert fort and the views from the lodge are world-beaters. Sunset is a magic show.
One of our party had a birthday here - the breakfast staff (who saw the cards being opened) sang Happy Birthday in the local click language, with descants and other extras that I have never heard in the song before. Extremely well managed place. At Doro Nawas, as at most of the places where we stayed, it was good to see so many Namibian women in management posts.
Our visit to Twyfelfontein was excellent - we drove ourselves and there is no need to take the offered trip there.
Doro Nawas review
Another stunning lodge. The Bradt guide describes the place totally accurately!!
The location is wonderful, the design unique, the chalets superbly designed, and the hilltop location and design of the "castle" also wonderful. The guide was excellent in finding the elephants and then allowing us lots of time to just sit and watch them. Although the lodge was busy, the food was excellent and individually served.
The staff here were particularly friendly and a very happy bunch!!!
We drove to the bushmen paintings ourselves, and thought that the price the lodge charged was very expensive with little more to offer than what you could achieve on your own, with a guide at Twyfelfontein.
Desert elephants and rock art
Nice relaxed ambience and excellent accommodation.
Great outing to see desert adapted elephants and rock art - although guide did have to be encouraged to spend more time on the nature rather than taking us to the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain, which we could easily do ourselves in our car.
The short 'sundowner' drive we were encouraged to go on after arrival proved rather expensive for what it was, although very pleasant. Overall, a very fine place.
Hard to fault, but hard to enthuse about
We probably didn't get the best out of Doro Nawas as we only spent one night there. It was very polished and professional - possibly just a bit too much so for our liking. It seemed a much bigger place than anywhere we had stayed hitherto on the trip, and everything seemed like it was available for a price - nothing was free (contrast Etendeka Mountain Lodge). Specifically, to be informed you couldn't drink the water from the tap but not to have any bottled water freely available in your room just seems a bit un-Namibian!
The pool area was small given the number of guests it can accommodate and the game drive seemed pricey.