Reviews of Nhoma Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Our stay here at Nhoma Camp was very special. The chance to accompany the Bushmen hunting and gathering was a unique experience. The traditional Bushman way of life cannot continue in the modern world. We felt so fortunate to have the opportunity to see it before it's gone forever. In fact I don't believe the Bushmen in this little village would do much hunting if there were no tourists there to pay for the experience.
We enjoyed our conversations with the owner, Arno. He is an intelligent and charming fellow. He is selling the business to another person but I think it will be a smooth transition. The manager for the new owner was there to learn from Arno and he seemed very enthusiastic.
Nhoma Camp review
It is a long drive from the Grootfontein area, so worth checking times of any organized activities. When we arrived we were the only guests in the camp, so this did not matter. We went out late afternoon to go and pump water for the elephants! The waterhole was drying out, it was the end of dry season. It was quite fun, but we wre expecting more bushman activities
The camp itself was nice, the tents basic but perfectly acceptable and with all the facilities. Food was overall good, although the fish was rubbery ad overcooked and puddings after dinner only appeared for 1 out of 3 days..
The next day we went out on a long walk with the owner Arno and a couple of very knowledgeable bushmen. They showed us where to find food & water, and how to trap animals and make arrows etc. This was very interesting. Arno was very helpful and translated and answered any questions we had, and encouraged the bushman to show us things.
The next day we to the Nye Nye nature reserve to look at water birds and plants. This was also interesting, we saw lots of storks and flamingos etc.. Arno's skill in the 4x4 is good - He knows exactly where the car can and can't go...
When we left , Arno was kind enough to sell us 20 litres of petrol, so we did not have to divert back to Grootfontein - much appreciated!
A related note:
Half way between the junction of the C44 & B8, and Nhoma is a very interesting "Living Medicine project which also has bushmen demonstrating their life skills. http://www.lcfn.info/juhoansi/home. They are not allowed to go hunting, but we thought they it was a interesting and informative project with and a much higher spec than most village tours. It is a German Namibia co-operation project. For some tourists, this village may be all they need to get an authentic experience of bushmen life.
A stand out experience
We loved this part of the trip. Mine host and his wife went out of there way to ensure that all was OK. Got stuck trying to get up the hill to the lodge and had to be towed out and leave the car at the bottom of the hill. Visit to the water hole to fix the water pump was an unexpected delight at dusk - so we enjoyed watching the five bull elephants whilst the pump was fixed.
The bush walk with the bush men was also a delight and thoroughly captivating. We learnt a lot and fell in love with them and all the people in the village. We felt very privileged to be able to share a part of their life.
A must visit.
I left Okonjima late and had to search for a SD card for my camera. I had equipment problems at Okonjima which put me on the road to Nhoma at night which is not a good idea. From Michigan, I had experience driving in snow but no experience driving on Namibia's dirt roads. I spun into a ditch and flatten my tire, at night. I was rescued by locals who were fantastic. I tip them and took their picture.
Tourism is Namibia's 2nd industry and they handle it well. Namibia is very tourist friendly and supportive. I shared the Nhoma camp with a National Geographic film crew. They told me to not drive at night. I told them that I got this chance to see everything and will depend on the power of God.
Hiking with the Bushmen, watching them start fires with sticks, filming the women dancing etc. was unbelievable. I had a lot of "one on one" time with my Bushmen guides. I asked Estelle, the manger at Nhoma, to write a book, it would not be possible to describe the village and people in a few words. Words from people that see my pictures are "once in a life time" but I refuse to believe that.
Just loved it
We felt so privileged to have stayed here - a very memorable experience.
The family loved the walks with the Bushmen - what a privilege to spend time with these gentle men, observing them hunt and track animals, and learning bush skills (my niece apparently built a Spring Hare trap in their garden to catch the dog last weekend!)
We felt less comfortable in the village (felt like we were intruding a little) - but the children had a fantastic time playing with the local kids.
Nhoma camp is amazing - very relaxed, fantastic food,, and good accommodation. Arno is a great host - very entertaining stories around the camp fire. His views are pretty forthright, but thought provoking.
We were slightly disappointed with Nhoma, possibly for not properly analyzing what might actually be on offer.
The visit to the village was fascinating but really only holds the attention for a couple of hours unless one is a photographer - and one visit was enough. My wife is a photographer and came away with lots of amazing pictures - the best of the holiday!
The hunting walk wasn't really hunting, it seemed to be a predetermined walk where the bushmen could show how they would prepare snares etc. which is amazing, but there really didn't seem to be any chance of anything being caught - particularly when there are ten people tramping along!
The camp is comfortable but there is no "Charisma".
Nhoma - there is no experience like it!
Spending three days with Arno and Estelle at Nhoma Camp is something we will never forget!
They are both full of information, which they are more than happy to share sitting around the camp fire at night and driving around the area. It was a privilege to stay in the camp and to experience the lives of the Bushmen. Three days was just right - anything shorter wouldn't have been long enough.
We would love to go back.
Great experience at Nhoma
We had a really good time at Nhoma.
It was a unique experience to visit the village and meet the lovely people. Although they didn't speak English this didn't matter, they were very friendly and the local man who took us from our camp to visit did so we could ask questions.
Arno also gave us the background to the Bushmen and how the relationship with tourists works for them. Worth the drive there!!
Stay with the local expert
We had a very nice stay for 2 nights at Nhoma camp. These are simple tent rooms with wood floors and tent ceiling and walls. Furniture is simple and functional. The bathroom is connected. The first night porcupines ate the water line so there was no water for showers in the morning.
The toilet kept malfunctioning....but this is the place to stay to be close to Arno who I esteem was the resident expert. He was more chipper in the morning and gruffer as the evening went on. His frustrations with Namibia, the government, NGO's, and the bushmen were palpable ...and understandable. I think he is a realist and unfortunately a little miserable. I appreciated very much his expertise and his honesty. I think some others in the camp did not. I found his discussions eye opening.
Don't drive that last little bit to this lodge without a 4 wheel drive. The sand is steep and deep. The lodge is within walking distance of a Bushman village. The visits were genuine and not fake. They were and were not as I expected. Overall a very very nice stay. I recommend a 2 night stay to be able to visit the village and go on a Bush man hunt. Ours was long and very hot. Be prepared.
One of the highlights, if not the highlight of our trip.
Both the experience with the bushman and the personal interactions with Arno and Estelle are exceptional.