Desert Rhino Camp

Reviews of Desert Rhino Camp

Excellent(96%) From 50 travellers
Excellent
41
Good
8
Average
0
Poor
1
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 50 of our travellers who have visited Desert Rhino Camp, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Ms K. from Alberta
Arrived on: 26-May-2015 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Desert Rhino Camp review

This is a very special place. We really liked the fact that the lodge had partnered so effectively with the Rhino Trust to use tourism to help support rhino conservation and research.

The staff was delightful. We were greeted with a song and there was more singing and dancing one night at dinner. It was also the site of the longest game drive - ever! So much enthusiasm and a small number of guests resulted in a delightful stay.

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Mr MW and Mr M from France
Arrived on: 23-Apr-2015 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Well worth the effort

This was probably our favourite place on the whole trip and I'm so glad we went there. It's not easy (unless you fly in) to get to but definitely worth the effort. We loved the whole landscape of Damaraland. It takes your breath away at every turn. The scale is epic and everywhere you are reminded that nothing much has changed here for tens of millions of years.

I say it every time because it's true that the staff are the highlight of the trip. They are always so friendly, warm, welcoming and fun. Here in particular they make an effort to learn your name and use it. And this was the only place on this trip that had communal dining. I am extremely shy so it is something that initially I find difficult but I also have to say that those places where we've experienced it have very often been the most pleasant stays.

If we had one gripe - and again, it's only a small one - it's that the food could have been better. Some of it was just fine but some was not so good. It was a real shame because, as it's such a small team, you meet the food and beverage manager as well as the rest of the staff and she was a lovely person and you don't want this to be a personal criticism.

The management overall was excellent and you got the impression that although this is a very small team, a team it is, and everyone went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable. Such lovely people.

We would recommend this place to anyone and would go back here at the drop of a hat, if only it weren't so far away.

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Dr L from London
Arrived on: 19-Dec-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Desert Rhino Camp - the highlight of our stay

We went here to trek black Rhino, but this camp offers much more than just that. The camp is expertly managed by Elfrieda, this is reflected in every detail, from room service to restaurant and kitchen staff. Our guide Johann stood out as well, as did the guided tours.

We were surprised about the abundant wildlife with plenty desert adapted elephant, hundreds of mountain zebra galloping over rocky plains between Arizona-like table mountains, and all the antelopes, several hyenas and jackals, and roaring lions at night, making it an unexpected complete safari. It is so pitch black and clear at night that we could even distinguish 2 distant galaxies among the stars.

We stayed here three nights, and recommend this as a minimum as every walk and drive was different. A unique experience and one of the highlights of out stay.

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Mr and Mrs H - Essex
Arrived on: 1-Nov-2014 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Outstanding - highlight of the trip

From start to finish all the staff worked as a team to ensure that this was the most memorable of our stays in Namibia. They were full of fun and vitality. Great setting - "remote real Africa" - and not manicured in any way. Committed guide who enjoyed guiding as much as we enjoyed viewing a wide selection of game.

Really excited when Sheila spotted a leopard on our departure trip to Palmveg.

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Mr M & Mrs S - Edinburgh
Arrived on: 28-Sep-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Desrt Rhino Camp review

This camp is a gem and all the staff were excellent, with Lillian {the housekeeping manager} being one of the most impressive people we met on the tour. The camp's small size and very remote location gives it a real old style safari feel that we certainly appreciated.

We stayed three nights so had two separate rhino excursions. Depending on where the rhino are browsing, the walk in to see them can be over tricky terrain but that only added to the excitement and the trackers from Save the Rhino Trust provided plenty of specialist information to add to that of our excellent and enthusiastic guide Johann.

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Nick and Kate - London and West Sussex
Arrived on: 23-Sep-2014 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Good
Good

Desert Rhino Camp review

After a fantastic flight from Sossuvlei over the dunes and then up the coast over shipwrecks, seal colonies and flamingos, then Swarkopmund, we landed in the middle of the rocky desert of Damaraland, with a herd of desert elephants patrolling the airstrip. We were driven to the camp, which is pleasantly designed. The rooms are large and very comfortable, with good mosquito precautions (even though there were no insects during our stay in September).

Dining is communal, but very atmospheric, with staff singing to you and dancing at the end of the meal (this is more fun than it might sound, trust me). Dining outside and drinks at the campfire are both magical, although the indoor dining area is less successful. Johann’s tour of the night-sky is unmissable. Food is adequate without being interesting. Drinks are charged extra, and dining is communal. There is no waterhole at the camp.

The rhino tracking on foot is a bit of a lottery. The park is divided into 4 zones, and no zone is visited on two consecutive days, to avoid any chance of the rhino becoming stressed by too much human contact. While this makes sense, it also means that your chances of seeing rhino are dependent on which zone you get (some are far better than others). The trackers set off ahead of you, and then you drive around looking at what little game there might be, until the call comes that rhino have been found. Then you drive to join them and walk (usually a short way) to view the rhino from 200 metres away or so, for 15-20 minutes.

Try to arrange two morning treks to maximise your chance of seeing rhino in a good zone. We spent six hours on our first trek without sighting rhino, and then the camp messed up our onward flight the next day and couldn’t fit us in for a second trek. Luckily, we had a truly amazing encounter with an adult male rhino on our short sundowner drive, at much closer quarters and for far longer (an hour) than would have happened on foot, so it didn’t matter all that much. We also saw the elephants and a pack of 13 hyena after a kill. This makes the park sound packed with game, but it isn’t).

Staff are lovely, although there was clear evidence of tension between members of the management team, and indeed between guides and the rhino trackers. The camp is now on the New York Times list of The Top 10 Places in the World to Visit, so expect long waiting lists.

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Expert Africa comments

We were delighted to ready that overall these travellers had a super stay here and managed to have a close encounter with a rhino.

There were issues with the timing of their onward flight which Expert Africa rectified (at our cost) for these travellers. Flight time changes led to a misunderstanding about their departure time, and the option of rhino-tracking on their final morning was offered but as something of an afterthought. This led to these travellers missing that activity, for which we gave them a refund.

Mrs & Mr O - California
Arrived on: 16-Aug-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Marvelous Fabulous Desert Rhino Camp

Bons, our guide, and our experience at Desert Rhino Camp 'set-the-bar' so high, it would continue to be unattainable by any other camp. I hope Wilderness Safaris appreciates the gold mine they have in Bons. He is a boundless source of energy, a team player who when not out on safari was helping anyone and everyone in camp. He has great organizational skills, is excellent at prioritizing, a good mechanic (recognizing immediately what was wrong when another vehicle broke down), understands what makes for a good photograph, is sensitive to the wildlife and capable of getting into good photographic positions without causing them to move off, and he listened to what we desired, thought about it, then offered us many outstanding opportunities. Bons could be very patient, but he also knew when to hurry. Bons grew up locally, sharing a great love and respect for his community, with absolutely nothing artificial in his feelings for preserving, promoting, and improving the viability of the ecology in and around Desert Rhino Camp.

We were pleasantly surprised at Desert Rhino Camp with the variety and abundance of wildlife. Remaining on road, at most camps means photographs with little specks of wildlife or the back-ends of wildlife. Despite this restriction (other than for rhinos and lion kills), somehow Bons was not only able to get us close to the animals but also with them well-lit. The rocks, the geology, and the plant life in this harsh environment, make for a dramatic back-drop for wildlife photography. Stunning!

Sunsets were surreal. Temperature inversions caused the oddest phenomena I've ever seen, a step-shaped 'lantern' mirage sun.

The highlight of our stay at Desert Rhino Camp was, of course, tracking rhino. I was totally unprepared for our first encounter, when rather than running away, the curious rhino girls came closer and closer. Orders were given, 'Stop the cameras,'--silence--was followed closely by, 'Lie down!' One woman was overheard to say, 'There are worse ways to die.' Quite an exciting introduction. Our second day wasn't bad, but with a fairly large group, the rhinos startled off without too close or long an experience. We discussed with Bons how difficult it is to keep a large group of people close together, smooth, and quiet.

On our third morning, we knew from the trackers the approximate whereabouts of the day's selected rhino. I saw fresh scrapings and dung-flinging, so I knew a rhino had been near recently. But when Bons said let's go for a little walk, I didn't know we'd be in for an immediate sighting. I thought this was preliminary to the trackers and other guests gathering. Wrong! We were quite near as the rhino, Don't Worry, climbed the river's embankment. He was in shadow, but it was still a good sighting. But, Bons took advantage of a wind-shift and we moved quickly, as quietly as we could, from clump-to-clump of vegetation. We'd take a few photos, before moving forward and around time and again, until we were alongside and looking up to the horizon at one very large male rhino, and then the sun came out from behind the clouds, brilliantly lighting our subject. We were so near--my heart was pounding and palpitating--yet I was feeling relatively safe as a charge down the steep rocky embankment/cliff would be unlikely; the option of fleeing across the open plain would be much easier for the rhino.

After taking our images, with no more than a flicker or two of the rhino's ears, we snuck off until safely out of range, when we could freely converse again. Marvelous. Fabulous. Bons' intuition and ability to think like a rhino, and a photographer, were outstanding.

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Mr D & Ms S - Buckinghamshire
Arrived on: 12-Aug-2014 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Very remote but worth the long drive

We loved Desert Rhino camp for its remoteness. We had an unforgettable stay. It is a long drive to the camp but you learn so much about the desert animals and vegetation from fantastic guides. Our guide Bons was a delight to be with over the 2 days. So knowledgable and such fun. We successfully tracked 2 rhinos on foot which was thrilling. The trackers from Save the Rhino were v efficient and lovely people. We thoroughly enjoyed our day with them.

It is worth noting that the pick up point for Desert Rhino camp is not at the Palmwag Lodge entrance, but another 3 Kms further along the road. It has it's own sign. The lodge is very comfortable but very open to the elements so v cold at night. Hot water bottles and rugs were very welcome!

The food was v good and they were excellent in providing alternatives for my son who has food allergies.

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Mr & Mrs B from Bath
Arrived on: 23-Jul-2014 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Average
Average

Desert Rhino Camp review

We added Desert Rhino Camp to our itinerary at short notice but the camp was very accommodating and welcoming. Our prime reason for coming here was to track black rhino on foot. it is a great experience, exciting and exhilarating but can also be hard work. We traversed a big distance and across a very rocky area which was not a problem for us but would be if you were less fit or able. For us it was worth the effort and we got to within 75m of a rhino and saw 3 others at a greater distance.

The camp is not a premier camp so it is more basic than say Little Kulala or Serra Cafema but is perfectly adequate. Ditto the food and service - wholesome but not haut cuisine.

It is always pot luck in terms of the guide you are allocated. Unfortunately our guide had only a basic grasp of English and was new to the camp. he managed to get lost and had no conversation or rapport with guests - not of the standard you would expect of Wilderness Safari camps.

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Mr & Mrs H - Cardiff
Arrived on: 25-Jun-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Desert Rhino Camp review

Another great camp in a brilliant location with spectacular landscapes. Very comfortable - loved the hot water bottles for cold early mornings and evenings out driving as well as for bed warmers.

The rhino tracking was amazing - the briefing before we went was iinstructive and the work being done with the RCT is impressive. We also really enjoyed seeing both desert lions and elephants.

Food was excellent and our evening at the camp fire in the desert was a highlight.

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