Dolomite Camp is the only lodge in Western Etosha.
Dolomite Camp: Our full report
Nestled amongst dolomite outcrops, the aptly named Dolomite Camp (it was originally going to be called Dolomite Point, or ‘Dolomietpunt’) is the newest camp by Namibian Wildlife Resorts. This is the first camp to be built in the far west side of Etosha National Park, opening up an area that few people have accessed before.
None of the Expert Africa team have visited the camp yet, but it’s located near the Dolomietpunt waterhole. This camp gives access to a whole new section of the park which up until 2011 has been off limits to those without a permit. This western side of Etosha National Park has different vegetation to the rest of the park, being made up of a mixture of scrub mopane woodland and sandy acacia shrubland. Game viewing promises to be good here – as this hilly western area of Etosha is used by the wildlife as something of a retreat during the wet season.
When Dolomite Camp opened in May 2011, the Galton Gate also opened to the public, however only to those with a confirmed reservation at this camp. As a result of this, a stay at Dolomite Camp will mean that essentially you (plus a handful of other people) will be the only travellers to have access to this otherwise restricted western side of Etosha National Park.
(There is a rumour that this gate may open in 2014 to the general public. If this happens it will be great for people travelling from Damaraland and Kaokoland who can then access Etosha National Park from the C35 on the western border of the park and then drive across the whole park from west to east. Watch this space for future developments!)
Situated on top of a large dolomite ridge, the camp has a fine vantage point overlooking plains below and salt pan off in the distance. The main area houses a restaurant, lounge and bar. Outside there is a sunset deck and infinity swimming pool overlooking the plains below.
From this central area a walkway leads a distance northwards to the 20 thatched chalets, all elevated on wooden decks and perched around the edges of this dolomite ridge. There are:
- 12 west-facing chalets – each with adjacent twin beds and a “spectacular sunset view".
- Six east-facing chalets – each with adjacent twin beds and a “spectacular sunrise view".
- Two east-facing deluxe chalets – both with two double beds and its own private plunge pool, and “spectacular sunrise view".
The chalets are strung out along the ridge, which naturally undulates a fair amount. Thus moving between the chalets and the main area means negotiating steep, wooden walkways, sometimes for quite a long distance. These are relatively narrow paths and they have sharp corners. If you are in a room at the opposite end of the walkway to the restaurant area, the walk can end up being quite strenuous! Sturdy shoes are a must for walking around the camp.
The walkways do have lighting, although we now know that this is quite dim – a point of concern for some visitors. As is the ‘poor signage’. Consequently at times of low light (i.e. before breakfast and before dinner) we would advise all of our travellers to be exceedingly cautious, and to ensure that they have a good torch with them.
When walking around, remember that you’re in a national park with dangerous game and the camp is unfenced: you do need to be alert and take care. This is especially an issue after dark, when you should be escorted between the main area and your room.
There is a motorised ‘golf buggy’, designed to ferry guests with luggage to/from the car park, and to take them to/from the rooms at night. However, at time of writing we believe that there’s often something of a ‘wait’ for this to be available if others are using it.
Further, when used it takes up pretty much the whole width of the walkway – which causes considerable inconvenience to others on the walkways. We hope that these initial problems with the walkways and the buggy will be sorted out soon.
Activities at Dolomite Camp focus firmly on game drives in this remote western side of Etosha National Park. With 15 waterholes in the surrounding area there are good opportunities to view game as they come to drink as well as seeing them on the plain. There are good numbers of plains game, for example, giraffe, zebra, springbok and black-faced impala, as well as having elephant, lion and both black and white rhino in this area. Bear in mind that whilst the game here can be good, and the lack of vehicles a real bonus – it is also much less used to vehicles, and so can be very skittish compared to the rest of Etosha.
You can, of course, drive yourself around taking your time and lingering as long as you like at sighting – one of the great attractions of a self-drive in Etosha. However it may be worth taking at least one game drive with a knowledgeable guide who can show you around this part of the park, previously only known to conservationists.
As there is no petrol station at the Dolomite Point nor at Galton Gate, travelers need to ensure that they fill their vehicle with fuel prior to entering the park; if you’re coming from Okaukuejo, you should certainly fill up there.
Our viewDolomite Camp opens up an area of Etosha National Park that was previously restricted to visitors. The game here is good, if skittish, and the experience quite exclusive compared with the rest of Etosha. The camp itself has a stunning location, but getting around its long walkways, which are sometimes steep and poorly-lit, can be an issue, especially for the less agile.
Ideal length of stay: 2 to 3 nights
Owner: Namibian Wildlife Resorts
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Dolomite Camp.
Generally recommended for children: Although the camp doesn’t have any age restrictions, we feel that the steep, long walkways and unfenced nature of the camp make it unsuitable for young children. Hence we would only really recommend it for children aged 12 years and over.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is not included