Reviews of Nhoma Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great experience to visit the bushmen
Arno has done a great job creating the camp and cultivating the relationship with the local village. Seeing the bushmen in the village and out on their 'hunt' was really interesting especially as we expect their lifestyle will not last very much longer. It is clear they rely now on tourism rather than having to hunt and live nomadically. The main bushmen we saw, the chief and other relatives of guide Freddie, made a real effort to be informative and friendly.
It does seem a little too much like a 'human zoo' in the village when you start with the 'shop' selling their handmade articrafts followed by arranged dances and demonstrations of arrow making etc. On the walk the bushmen clearly weren't needing to hunt and it felt the walk was a bit of a tourist occasion.
Arno was informative and attentive, clearly is core to the camp and is looking to sell the camp if possible. The camp is comfortable but basic with simpler meals than at other camps.
We also suffered because of the drought and a recent bush fire in the area which meant there was little game and no elephant locally.
It is a long drive out to Nhoma which ensures you realise how remote you are (and the effort Arno has to go to get supplies from 4 hours drive away). The last 20 kilometres of the road has a lot of deep sand in places and a 4x4 is essential for getting through to the camp.
Overall, well worth the visit to a remote location to see a life which if likely to end soon, but not as authentic experience as hoped.
Nhoma Camp review
Long way to go and definitely interestingRead more about the whole safari
Nhoma with the Bushmen
Great experience here, felt a little strange at first but after two trips into the bush, felt more natural but still a sort of living museum of bushmen. It is a long gravel road to get there, followed by a long sandy road, - our 2wd got stuck in sand, but we were rescued with rope.
Camp is pretty basic compared to others we stayed out. Food not so good for example but it is all relative and the real reason for staying here is to share the bushmen environment.
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.