Reviews of Sam's Giardino
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Sam's fine wine and dine
Sam was a great host and made us feel welcome, especially with his selection of red wines. Once again the food was of a very high standard and personally served.
Visitors should be aware of Beethoven the Bernese dog who is quite lively and slightly trained!! The room was clean and tidy and functional and the guest house was laid out with lots of information which we could use.
A different atmosphere to our previous experience.
Sam's Giardino review
Sam took time to chat with & welcome all of his guests, as well as insisting on checking us in for the kayaking trip we had booked of his own accord. Beethoven, the dog a great asset if you are missing your own dog - but beware if you have small children, as he can 'play rough - he can't help having a large mouth'!
Food was very nice - well-presented - but with nice flavours. Sam takes pride in his kitchen and in training up his staff.
It was a shame that we hit the 2 days when Sam's large garden pond was being renovated together with the house next door, as this did result in a seven o'clock wake-up call. Slightly strange to have bathroom windows adjacent to outside corridor - would have preferred some sort of blind even though windows were frosted!
Expert Africa arranged for these travellers to go Kayaking at Pelican Point. They commented:
Jeanne, who took us, was friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. She gave us a great experience - we all thoroughly enjoyed the ride across to Pelican Point (it's quite a long way on sand to get to where you can launch the kayaks - not just a nip across the bay, but it's interesting to see flamigoes and salt pans along the route!).
Don't miss this if you go to Swakopmund - kayaking and a baby seal allowing me to touch its whiskers, was for me personally, on a par with seeing rhinos at close quarters in Etosha!
Expert Africa comments
We have since been in touch with Sam Egger, the owner of Sam’s Giardino. He is very aware of the issue of privacy of the bathrooms and has already arranged for new wooden blinds to be installed over the next couple of weeks.
At Expert Africa we always try to flag up to our travellers when any building work is going at any of our lodges or hotels. Unfortunately we weren't aware of the work being done in the garden at Sam's.
Sam has confirmed to us that it's now completed, and they have a new pond with a small waterfall to show for it!
Beethoven - Public Relations Manager!
Nice B & B - very relaxing. Sam very helpful and likes to chat. Good food and wine makes for a relaxing "evening in". Beethoven - 9 month old "bear of a dog" squashes your feet, has a big doggy lean and likes walking boots!
We stayed three nights here however we felt Swakopmund only warrants a two night stay. We only stayed three nights to accomodate previously booked trips - only one of which we felt lived up to expectations. See later for detailed comments on these trips.
We were unfortunate to be caught in a sandstorm when leaving Swakopmund which is not a pleasant experience and it damaged our windscreen. Thank goodness we took Expert Africa's advice and took out the comprehensive insurance (we also had to buy a new tyre as well as a new windscreen - total cost £650).
If you wish to eat out in Swakopmund please note that the much mentioned "The Tug" and "The Lighthouse" seem to be booked up weeks ahead, but there are good alternatives: e.g try "Platform One" at the Old Station for an excellent buffet.
Comfortable and friendly
We had dinner at a local restaurant the Tug which was very good. Unfortunately for Sam's that night there was a power Cut in Swakopmund so Breakfast was a little difficult for him but it was still fine. First time we've had Breakfast by candlelight!
Would have been nice to have had a more central or seafront location.
There was no safe in the room.
Sam's Giardino review
Good small hotel to stay in Swakopmund. Can walk into town. Pleasant garden.
Excellent food and a nice wine tasting.
Nothing too much trouble
We stayed here for 3 nights. Nothing was too much trouble for Sam. He was happy to share any information we needed and was a wonderful host. We did do the 5 course meal 2 nights running; but by the third night decided it really was too much for us! Sam kindly did us some very fancy toasted sandwiches instead.
From here we did the Sandwich Harbour trip with Wayne; which was fantastic. The llunch in the desert was brilliant and driving up the dunes was a real adrenaline thrill! We also saw much wildlife including a 'fly-over of pelicans which was fantastic. AN EXCELLENT TRIP. WE ESPECIALLY ENJOYED ALL THE WILDLIFE- FLAMINGOS, PELICANS AND SEA BIRDS. WAYNE THE GUIDE WAS GREAT COMPANY AND VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE. WE SAW THE CARAPACE OF A SADLY LONG DEAD TURTLE, DISCOVERED THE ARCHEOLOGICAL REMAINS LEFT BY LONG AGO INHABITANTS, THE SHOVEL SNOUTED LIZARD AND LEARNED MUCH ABOUT THE DIFFERENT DUNES. THE LUNCH WAS EXCELLENT AND THE WHOLE DAY WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY. Thank you Wayne.
We also did the kayaking trip with the seals which was good; even for my non-swimming husband and Jean was especially helpful when we kept losing control of our Kayak. This was a great fun morning. We enjoyed the trip out to Pelican point as much as the kayaking itself. Despite my husband being a non-swimmer Jean had provided a double kayak and was very encoouraging. Although we had 'co-ordination challenges' in mastering the kayak and I managed to capsize it when getting out- Jean was lovely and very patient with us! The shipwrecks made lovely photo opportunities and to have been surrounded by all those baby seals and observe the flamingos was lovely. Jean kindly e-mailed us some pictures after our return which was very kind. The rolls and coffee were much appreciated and it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. Thank you Jean.
We ventured into Swakopmund a couple of times - once to the Kristall Gallerie which was lovely for buying pressies and another for a Sunday afernoon stroll. I recommend Sam's for pampering!
Sam's Giardino review
Here is the perfect respite from the brutal desert. Sam's place is cool, green, clean and comfortable.
In addition to Sam, an engaging Swiss gentleman, there is an exuberant and entertaining PR manager named Beethoven, a three-month-old Bernese mountain dog pup. Beethoven succeeds celebrated previous PR managers, Einstein and Ornella, who are sadly no longer with us.
Dine-in here. The five-course dinners are excellent as is, so I'm told, Sam's wine cellar.
Expert Africa organised a day-trip for this traveller to Sandwich Harbour; he commented:
This is a fascinating guided trip to an otherwise inaccessible area. Our guide, Wayne, was highly knowledgeable about the area's history, geology and its highly adapted flora and fauna. There is great beauty here: spectacular dune-top views of breakers meeting sand cliffs, countless flamingos gathered in shallow water. Wild and splendid!
Sam's Giardino review
Sam was a very hospitable and informative host. Provided great picnic lunch for our journey to Terrace Bay.
Could have stayed longer. Internet and Wifi access.
Perfect spot in Swakop
Sam's attention to detail and personal service mean this is an hotel where one lacks nothing - except perhaps for a pool - but not necessary in Swakop.
Rooms are very comfortable. Meals are excellent - so sample Sam's five course dinners at least once while you are there. He also keeps a good wine cellar. He is a fund of information about what to do and where to go in Swakopmund which helps make one's visit even more pleasurable.
Ask him to arrange a visit for you to Sandwich Harbour. It has to be a highlight. For those of us used to broadband, his PC is slow, so be patient.
Expert Africa comments
Whilst staying here, Expert Africa arraged a trip to Sandwich Harbor for thesetravellers. They wrote about the trip:
"Don't miss out on this visit.
Ernest is an extremely knowledgable and experienced guide and the picnic lunch he provided was excellent. I was impressed with his driving of the middle aged Landrover but most of all I was impressed with the outing. From the flaminoges on the Walvis Bay lagoon to the singing dunes. It was an amazing day out which I would recommend to anyone"
The Second of our disappointing stays in Namibia. I have been reading other “Expert Africa” travelers descriptions of this place and find it very difficult to understand where those nice rooms and “very good linen” and beds are. The bed we slept in was one of worst since I left student accommodation! It was so soft and we kept rolling in to the middle of the tiniest double bed ever or was it really a single bed!
The room we had was so gloomy that if you drew the curtains to get some light one had very little privacy as you were exposed to everyone from the “Sam's Bridged Giardino'!
When we arrived the most miserable receptionist I met throughout our trip in Africa greeted us. She greeted me as if I was trespassing rather than a guest coming to stay and asked my name and said “ ok, I'll try it once”. By the way my name isn't John Smith but it wasn't as difficult as Ozonjuitji m'Bari! She took us through the dining room bar area, pointed to the room, and said “if you are having dinner here I need to know by 5pm”. It was about 4.50pm then and we had driven for 6 hours to get here. At least she might have said “How about some refreshments and why not to think it over and let me know in a while?”
Sam is an amicable person who will try to talk to you and help you out. I believe that he trained his staff but I am afraid I found it very difficult to understand when the very basics of the hospitality trade: 'to be pleasant and courteous to guests', was not always evident with the receptionist. The other staff seemed to perform tasks rather than provide a more attentive service.
We never had dinner there but went out to eat. They serve an extensive breakfast with a variety of bread and cereals.
During our stay we walked to the town and back most of the time and felt very safe.
Expert Africa comments
Sam of Sam’s Giardino was dismayed to hear that these travellers did not enjoy their stay at the guest house. He was surprised to hear that they had not slept well during their stay and comments that the double beds are 200x153cm with a Sealy posturpedic mattress and made up with good quality white linen cotton percale sheets imported from South Africa. Should guests prefer separate beds it is possible to request a twin-bedded room for a stay at Sam’s Giardino. It is also possible for guests to request a change of rooms during their stay if they are not completely satisfied with the room allocated to them.
Sam is sorry that the guests found the room dark. Since receiving this feedback, the plants outside the window have been cut back creating more light.
Sam explains that newly arrived guests are greeted at reception and checked in. They are then guided to their room and shown the facilities on offer at the guesthouse. After settling in, the guests are invited to the bar where they are offered a map of Swakopmund and can discuss the attractions, activities and restaurants available to them. It is also possible to enjoy a 5-course dinner at the guesthouse. The reason dinner reservations must be made by 5pm is because the chef only cooks with fresh produce and the quantity available is arranged according to the demand.
Sam apologises to these guests and says he is sorry that they felt they didn’t receive a welcoming arrival nor the proper attention they should be offered. As the guests noted, Sam trains his own staff and so quality of service is even more important to him. Expert Africa is sure that this feedback will only serve to help Sam ensure friendly and professional service for future guests.