Reviews of Terrace Bay
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Now for something completely different
Terrace Bay half way up the Skeleton Coast is vastly different from the inland locations we had left only a few hours before. It is a cool, sometimes foggy location with Atlantic rollers breaking 100m from the bungalows which comprise the accommodation. The settlement is tiny and quite bleak but with a unique and memorable character, with high yellow sand dunes behind it.
The restaurant is on a hill above the chalet bungalows (which are kind of "UK seaside 1950s" for want of a better description - not specially tasteful or luxurious but certainly adequate). As the heading suggests this was certainly completely different but pleasingly interesting for that. Food was plainer than in some places, but with reasonable choice a la carte and very acceptable.
Visitors needs to know that in early 2014 if approaching the Skeleton Coast Park from the East on the C39 (as we did) you needed to reach the park gate by 17:00 (when it closes) but if approaching from the South on the C34 we believe the gate for northbound traffic closes at 15:00 - worth checking if likely to be arriving late afternoon!
Terrace Bay is different!
The isolation of Terrace Bay was a bit of a shock, luckily it was mild, and the sun shone. However, the wind blew too!
It was good to be so close to the sea.
Rooms are very basic, (It is really a place for fishermen to stay), but are comfortable, and surprisingly warm.
For the most part staff were friendly.
Food was average.
We were all glad we went, but would not feel we had to return. Some of the comments in the visitors book were unnecessarily rude.
Terrace Bay - not applicable
We changed our itinerary and did not stay at Terrace Bay.
Completely Out of the Beaten Path
The drive towards Terrace Bay feels like you are on the moon. It is a very unusual landscape with it's particular charms. Staff was friendly and the rooms have a lovely view of the ocean. Dinner was good although it was uncomfortable to have smokers in the same room.
Unfortunately, when we walked into the bathroom we noticed that the outside of the toilet was stained with stool. It was extremely unpleasant and disgusting! We informed the staff and they handled the matter efficiently switching to another room. They were very apologetic and seemed to have call many staff members who came to inspect the room.
Terrace Bay is a genuine outpost
Given that every serious visitor to Namibia should drive up the Skeleton Coast at least once, Terrace Bay is the only option for overnight stops. This is an interesting camp in an isolated, coastal location. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Whilst the chalets and dining room are not luxurious they are perfectly adequate- and a definite improvement from when we visited in 2003. The food was fine.
A word of caution- the last 50kms of the road to Terrace Bay are not very good with several stretches of soft sand; definitely not suitable for ordinary cars. We managed, just, in our 2x4 Nissan X-Trail but a 4x4 vehicle should be considered. However a great experience and not to be missed. The drive along the deserted road north from Cape Cross with the sea on one side and the dunes on the other feels like a real adventure.
Terrace Bay review
After a long drive from Swakopmunc, staff did everything they could to make our one stay comfortable at this remote camp. Mended our first puncture and enjoyed watching the local women fishingRead more about the whole trip
Terrace Bay review
Although the staff were friendly & concerned at making one as comfortable as possible, the amenities were- I am sorry to say- very close to appalling. The rooms reminded me of an old Second World War Army Camp I spent ten days at in the Combined Cadet Force when at school. Indeed, if anythig, the Army Camp was more comfortable in that during the one night (thank God!) of our stay at Terrace Bay there developed a leak from the ceiling in the bathroom causing it to become awash & dangerously slippery.
This situation somewhat exascerbated a bout of D&V which Carol suffered during the night there when she seems to have had food poisoning although my having eaten the same food caused me no apparent harm!
Unless one is keen on fishing (which judging by reports declined) I can see no particular advantage in venturing this far up the Skeleton Coast.
Terrace Bay review
If you want to drive the entire Skeleton Coast, Terrace Bay is the only place to stay aside from camping. The facilities are a bit dated, but adequate.
The receptionist was very pleasant and the service overall was fine.
lovely place, terrible journey
Under no circumstances should this trip (after the park entrance) be attempted in a car as even 4WD vehicles get in to difficulties frequently.
Make sure any future gusts are aware the the Ugab river checkpoint closes at 15.00. After that you will simply be turned away and we just made it in with minutes to spare as we were expecting the gate to be open until 17.00. This info is in the guidebook but as it is such an early closure it should be on the client information sent out by EA.
The lodge itself was great, very friendly and no need to worry about inventories or key deposits.
Expert Africa comments
The drive from Swakopmund to Terrace Bay is very long: about 340km. We advise that it’s a good six-hour drive. We usually advise a 4WD during the rainy season and like these travellers, some will prefer one during the dry season. We’ve driven this trip ourselves, several times in recent years, in 2WD saloon cars.
This comment on timings is a very pertinent one; we’d always advise our travellers to start off early in the morning, and reach the Ugab River well before the gate there closes at 15:00. This is included in the guide book, but from now on we’ll further highlight this in a letter that we send out before such a trip.
Terrace Bay is basic and has a time warp quality but that said the rooms were extremely comfortable and we had everything we needed.
Once again we were at the mercy of the wind and sand storms, made me so happy I had never got wrecked on the Skeleton Coast. But I would not have missed going to Terrace Bay, I think everyone should go there once at least.