Travel reviews

Travel reviews by Mrs. K - Toro


The Bateleur safari: highlights and tips

On this trip, I visited Namibia between 5-Oct-2007 and 14-Oct-2007 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

Excellent! In addition to the highlights mentioned under each camp, one of the highlights of the whole trip was the day we transferred from Sossusvlei to Damaraland. Firstly, an absolutely unforgettable flight at low altitude over the red sand dunes, and then along the coastline to Walvis Bay. Aquanaut Tours took us on the boat ride out to Pelican Point - over 20,000 Cape Fur Seals. On the way, Pelicans and other seabirds followed us; a pair of Dolphins leaped and played around the boat, and several times, a seal jumped right up onto the deck. The captain assured us they were not aggressive, though they do bark loudly asking for a attention. He threw a fish overboard each time, too encourage the seal to jump off.

An amazing sight was the wreck of an old Russian cargo vessell which is now colonized by hundreds of Cormorants. They sit lined up in rows all along the spars and masts and every other available surface.

After the boat trip we drove towards Swakopmund, with sand dunes on the right and the sea on the left. We saw flocks of Flamingoes in the lagoons, as well as people dune-boarding and ballooning. When we stopped, it was to enjoy a seafood picnic on the beach, under canvas - fresh-shucked oysters (very sweet tasting), calamari, hake, salads, wine.

Mid-afternoon, after a short visit in town, we took off for Damaraland, now flying over entirely different scenery - wild and mountainous, the airstrip looking like a thin white line in the middle of utter wilderness.

This was a truly memorable day.

I should also like to mention Etango Guest Ranch. We booked a day room here, with transfers, as it is just a few minutes from the airport. Units are very comfortable and well-equipped, and are air-conditioned, so we were well rested for the long trek home. Just before we left in the evening, Carmen thoughtfully sent over a complimentary snack of cold cuts and cheese. There was already a coffee/tea tray in the room.

This is a fine place to start or end a safari, and we would not hesitate to do so again. However, in terms of longer stays it should be noted that the majority of guests at this Ranch are Afrikaans-speaking, or German/Dutch tourists, and that it also serves as a base for Hunting Safaris.

Final comments: Our luggage, including hand luggage was well within the 12kg. restriction. This was no problem as laundry service at all 3 camps was excellent, being picked up during breakfast and delivered back during dinner the same day. We had, as you advised, sweaters and windproof jackets for the chilly mornings and nights. Unfortunately, we had a freak cold front with bitter winds while at Sossusvlei, and these garments were not nearly enough. I surely regretted not packing my warm longjohns and vest. It should be stressed that normal weather patterns can no longer be relied on, anywhere in the world, including Africa - leave out something else if you have to, but pack plenty of layers. I ended up buying a fleece vest at the Camp. I don't suppose I'll ever wear it again, but It makes a nice souvenir of the trip.

I think I've said it all! I feel the information you give, both in your brochure and on the webiste, is the most honest and most balanced of any of the Tour Operators we have dealt with. Wish we could plan another trip with you, but Namibia - alas- is our last safari. All best wishes for your continued success.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Olive Grove, Namibia
6-Oct-2007 review: Lovely stay at Olive Grove
ExcellentExcellent
Mountain Homestead, Namibia (this camp has since closed)
7-Oct-2007 review: Dramatic Dunes at Sossuvlei Wilderness Camp
GoodGood
Damaraland Camp, Namibia
9-Oct-2007 review: Fun Staff at Damaraland Camp
GoodGood
Ongava Tented Camp, Namibia
11-Oct-2007 review: Surrounded at Ongava Tented Camp
ExcellentExcellent