Dolomite Camp

Dolomite Camp: Our full report

Rooms
20 chalets
Traveller's rating
Good (86%) From 86 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
All year

Nestled amongst dolomite outcrops near the Dolomietpunt waterhole, the aptly named Dolomite Camp was opened in 2011 – and was the first camp to be built in the far west of Namibia’s Etosha National Park. From its vantage point on top of the ridge, the camp has fine views over the plains below and a saltpan in the distance, and gives access to an area that was previously off limits to the public.

Dolomite is owned and run by the parastatal Namibia Wildlife Resorts, who own a number of lodges in parks throughout Namibia including Okaukuejo Camp, Halali Camp, Namutoni Camp and Onkoshi Camp within Etosha.

When Dolomite Camp was first opened, guests here were the only people allowed to use the Galton Gate into western Etosha, allowing them to access areas that others couldn’t. Since 2014, however, this gate has been open to the public, so the area isn't quite as exclusive as it once was. That said, a large proportion of visitors still heads directly to Etosha’s southern Andersson Gate, so the western side of the park remains quieter than the south and east.

Vegetation in this hilly western side of the park differs from the areas to the east. A mixture of scrub mopane woodland and sandy acacia shrubland, it features 15 waterholes in the area around Dolomite Camp.

Sadly, although the camp is close to a waterhole, it has been designed in such as way that only a few rooms – largely the ‘deluxe’ rooms at the far end of the camp – have even a partial view. It cannot be seen from the main areas, which in our opinion is a real waste.

There are 20 thached chalets at Dolomite, including three ‘deluxe’ chalets. These are elevated on wooden decks and perched around the edges of the undulating ridge. Constructed of canvas and wood, all have wooden floors and are decorated in neutral tones.

Inside, each chalet is kitted out with mosquito nets draped over the beds, tea- and coffee-making facilities, an electronic safe, hairdryer, mini fridge and a wardrobe with extra blankets and hot-water bottles. The en-suite bathrooms have a shower rather than a bath, and include a small supply of toiletries – although on our visit, the bathroom in our chalet was less than spotless.

  • 17 of the chalets are distinguished by their aspect. Twelve of these are west-facing, giving superb sunset views, while the other five face east and enjoy the sunrise.

    Considering the space that the builders had available to them, these chalets feel a little cramped. Tall, quite narrow, four-panel concertina doors open up onto a fairly small private balcony with two chairs. (Don't close these when you're outside, as we did on one of our visits; there are no handles to open them so it can be a bit tricky!)

  • The three deluxe chalets are all east-facing. Their design is very similar to the other chalets, but these three boast an additional outdoor area with sunloungers and a private plunge pool. We reckon that number 13, where we were lucky enough to stay on our most recent visit in November 2016, has the best views as it’s one of the few chalets to overlook the waterhole – where we saw giraffe, lion and rhino.
The main complex at Dolomite Camp includes two dining areas, two lounges and a bar. While the staff were friendly during our most recent visit in November 2016, they were overstretched – as on our previous visits – and the camp is certainly not as efficient as it could be. Indeed, the service at times – especially during dinner – was pretty poor, even if the food was very good when it came.

Outside there is a sunset deck with an infinity pool overlooking the plains below; the views from here are stunning! With a steep drop-off on the infinity side, and deep water, it's not an ideal pool for younger children, and the camp doesn't allow children under 14 to use the pool without adult supervision.

The central area is linked to the chalets by a sometimes steep wooden walkway and narrow, stony paths, If your chalet is at the far end of the walkway, getting between the two can become quite strenuous: sturdy shoes are a must. The walkways are poorly lit and signed, too, so after dark – as the camp is unfenced and you're in a national park with dangerous game – you should either be escorted between the main area and your chalet or use the camp’s golf buggy.

That said, demand for the golf buggy can be high and waits can be frustratingly long. It also takes up much of the walkway – which can be inconvenient for those trying to use it on foot at the same time.

The buggy is also supposed to help transfer guests and their luggage to the camp from the parking area (where you asked to honk your horn to get the staff to come and help). However, on our last stay after several attempts and much waiting we gave up and walked. Furthermore, on a previous visit the buggy was out of order, so we know from experience that walking around the lodge is tiring and that you shouldn’t rely wholly on the shuttle service!

Activities at Dolomite Camp focus firmly on game drives in this remote western side of Etosha National Park. With 15 waterholes in the surrounding area there are good opportunities to view game. The area boasts good numbers of plains game, such as giraffe, zebra, springbok and black-faced impala, as well as elephant, lion and both black and white rhino. That said, wildlife viewing can be a little hit or miss, perhaps because the more vegetated nature of this side of Etosha makes it harder to spot. On our most recent visit, although it was far from wall-to-wall game, our sightings included lion, rhino and elephant, but on previous visits, in May 2013 and June 2014, the game viewing was a little disappointing. On the plus side, the relative lack of vehicles in this part of the park means that when you do have a good sighting, you are likely to have it to yourself – which is a rare thing in more popular parts of Etosha.

As elsewhere in Etosha, you can, of course, drive yourself around, taking your time and lingering as long as you like at a sighting. However it may be worth taking at least one game drive with a resident guide who can show you around this part of the park. Note, too, that there is no fuel station at either Dolomite Camp or at Galton Gate, so you need to ensure that you top up your tank prior to entering the park; if you're coming from Okaukuejo, you should certainly fill up there.

Our view

Dolomite Camp has opened up the western side of Etosha and provides a good stop to break a journey around northern Namibia. The game here can be good, if unpredictable, and the experience quite exclusive compared with the rest of Etosha. The camp itself has a stunning location, but getting around its long walkways, which are sometimes steep and poorly lit, can be an issue, especially for the less agile. While we found the staff friendly, at times the service was poor.

Geographics

Location: Etosha National Park, Namibia

Ideal length of stay: About 2 to 3 nights, at maximum, would be fine here.

Directions: Dolomite Camp is approximately 43km from Etosha's western Galton Gate, so is easily accessible from Damaraland and the Kaokoveld.

Accessible by: Self-drive

Key personnel

Owner: Namibia Wildlife Resorts

Food & drink

Usual board basis: B&B

Food quality: During our visits to Dolomite, most recently in November 2016, we thought the food was tasty, despite confused/disorderly service.

A buffet style breakfast consists of breads, cereals, juice, cold meat and yoghurt, with tea and coffee. A hot breakfast is available to order.

Lunch is a set menu, served in the restaurant from midday to 2.00pm. We did not have lunch here.

A three-course set dinner is served from 6.30pm and should be pre-booked. We had cream of carrot soup, followed by a choice of mains including pork chop, sirloin steak or kudu steak, all served with pasta or potatoes and mixed vegetables. Dessert was a sponge pudding with blueberry sauce.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £5-10

Drinks included: Drinks are not included, but prices are fairly reasonable. In November 2016, soft drinks cost from N$13 (£0.80/US$1), a beer from about N$22 (£1/US$2) and a bottle of wine from about N$100 (£6/US$8). The tap water at Dolomite is not suitable for human consumption, but bottled water can be bought at the camp as required.

Further dining info: There is no room service at Dolomite Camp

Children

Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Dolomite Camp.

Property’s age restrictions: None

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: Highchairs can be provided.

Notes: The terrain around Dolomite Camp is hilly and there are lots of sharp dolomite rocks around so children should be under adult supervision at all times. Furthermore the camp’s main pool is not for use by children under the age of 14 unless supervised.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Power supply notes: There are supposed to be two generators at Dolomite working alternate shifts to provide 24hr power, but on our last visit one of them was broken and power was limited to only 12 hours a day. We believe this isn’t an uncommon occurrence.

Communications: Free WiFi is available at reception, the lounge, bar and pool areas although it is often unreliable. There is limited cellphone reception.

TV & radio: There is a TV in the main bar area of the camp.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: All the chalets have hot and cold running water, plumbed showers and flush toilets.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The nearest clinic is in the town of Kamanjab, about an hour and a half's drive away. A basic first-aid kit is available at reception.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: None

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are strategically placed around the camp and provided at the entrance to each chalet.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Laundry services can be provided at an extra charge.

Money: Each chalet is fitted with an electronic safe. The camp does not offer any currency exchange.

Accepted payment on location: Visa and Mastercard are accepted, as is cash in South African rand or Namibian dollars.

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