Reviews of Serra Cafema
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Serra Cafema has so much more to offer
For our preferences, Serra Cafema placed too much value on food and drink. Yes, it was thoughtful to be met at the airstrip with champagne, but we would have preferred exploring and photographing the landscape on the drive to camp. While we very much appreciate quality food, not when it is taking time away from the river, sand dunes, rock, wildlife, canyons and mountains we'd come so far to see. Serra Cafema has an environment unlike anywhere else in the world, so why spend so much of the day hurrying back to camp for yet another meal or snack? We'd much preferred to take bagged meals and stay out all-day, but our guide wanted to show us "the Serra Cafema way . . ."
Even on our 'all-day' outing to visit the Himba and the Marienfluss Valley, we had to wait through a sit-down breakfast, but then were in too big a hurry for 'the long-drive ahead' to stop for photographs of landscapes and birds leaving camp. Until our guide realized he'd forgotten our lunches, then we waited for someone on a quad to make the delivery, despite our protestations we could easily survive without a meal.
Unbelievably, we had a cheetah lope across the riverbed in front of us, and rather than stopping to watch and enjoy this incredible sighting, our guide gave chase--needless to say, the cheetah won, disappearing up and over a ridge.
Our visit with the Himba was an incredible experience; their care for clothing and appearances is extraordinary, as they live very simply under the harshest of conditions. We would have loved to have talked with and asked about their lives, instead we were severely limited as our guide used a little translational dictionary to look up the most basic of words. So rewarding, and yet so disappointing at the same time.
The importance of a sit-down lunch? Only to speed down the road--braced above the seat to save my back--the moonscape quilt of colors--rocks, vegetation, mountains, erosion--blurred as we flew back to camp. What was the hurry? So we could watch as our guide covered his turnaround tracks from the morning? (Especially when there are quad tracks leading and circling everywhere!) Or to spend time waiting in our room?
Serra Cafema is an older camp. Beautiful plate-glass windows and deck overlooking the river, but not maintained with the attention to detail we've become accustomed to in most camps. Our room had a cracked mirror, spiders and cobwebs occupied corners, trash remained below the deck for duration, broken chain left without repair; in the dining area bits of vegetation remained on the floor, toothpicks and other small trash not picked up. Nothing horrible, but I felt a sense of pride was missing. While at Desert Rhino Camp it was difficult to carry our own bags--someone was always offering, literally removing from our hands--here at Serra Cafema, after much lingering and awkwardness, the offer would come half-heartedly. I felt most individuals, especially dining and serving staff, wanted to do well, but there was a rigidity obstructing a relaxed pleasant atmosphere.
Serra Cafema review
Serra Cafema is in the far north of Namibia, set on the banks of the Kunene River and on the border with Angola. The flight to its airstrip is spectacular, particularly if you fly over the Skeleton Coast. The airstrip is a long way from the camp but the journey is again spectacular and full of photographic opportunities. The welcome at the airstrip was exceptionally good.
The camp is approached along a board walk and hugs the river bank. It is very spacious and comfortable with plenty of different dining areas both inside and outdoors. We ate at a different location for each lunch and evening meal - the camp goes to a lot of trouble to look after you and give you surprises and the menus and hospitality are excellent.
Activities include trips into the desert, walks, visiting a Himba village, boat trips on the river , quad biking etc. Everything is very photogenic and tailored tp your requirements.
Individual lodges are spacious and well equipped.
My only disappointment with the camp is that the diesel generator used first thing in the morning and in the evening is noisy and intrusive to the rooms closest to it. This would be rooms 1 and 2, we were in 1, and if we return (likely) i would insist on a room further away. The camp manager altered the start time for the generator from 0500 to 0600 but for a camp of this quality, the generator should be further away and better sound proofed.
Overall though an exceptional camp and a great experience, particularly the interaction with the Himba people, the quad biking and the breath taking scenery.
Serra Cafema review
Without doubt, our stay at Serra Cafema was the highlight of our trip. Not only is the location unrivaled, but also the guiding, the service and the ambiance.
Gert, our guide, deserves special mention, since he was a most professional, knowledgeable and kind, especially to our 12-year old son. We enjoyed all activities with him and learned much about the Himba culture, geogolgy and wildlife in the area.
Without exception, all the staff were excellent. We will remember their friendliness and smiling faces for many years to come. Clement, the deputy manager, is an fantastic host who made us feel most welcome.
The attention to detail is outstanding, so that even out in this remote wilderness, Easter was not forgotten. The surprises laid on by the camp ensure that no day is the same. The three days here went all too quickly!
Serra Cafema review
This place is amazing. It really is in the middle of nowhere and the setting is sensational.
Everything we did here was exciting from the scenic drive where we found a horned adder, to the quad biking which was fantastic. Who would think that quads would go up and down sand dunes as they did. This was the camp where we felt we would spend more time very happily.
The camp is so beatifully positioned and well run that time goes too quickly. It is very expensive and we ended up there courtesy of Wilderness Safari's generosity. We were unable to go to their Skeleton Coast camp as it did not open on time so happily accepted an upgrade to Serra Cafema. We were so glad we did.
Serra Cafema review
A wonderful place to finish our sightseeing trip. Once more we were given special treatment, champagne on arrival at the airstrip, the honeymoon suite, special private dinner in a pavilion, and more champagne at the end of the stay.
Such delightful people, especially our guide, Gheradus and our waitress, Gina. Gheradus made sure we saw as many birds as possible, all of which he knew at a glance, and took us for two exciting boat trips, one of which resulted in us seeing at very close hand, a crocodile take a cow from a group drinking in the river.
We were so pleased that Wilderness's CEO was staying there and we were able to express our appreciation for everyone's efforts and attentions, including our travel agent in London!
Serra Cafema review
The location, ambience, food and staff were all excellent.
The river trip and the visit to the Himba tribe were highlights.
You will be aware of the incident which occurred to the friends we were travelling with, which sadly curtailed their holiday.
Mr and Mrs G. Miss will have written separately about this.
Serra Cafema review
We had a very bad arrival experience here. We were not offered any activity for the afternoon and despite being told that our guide would introduce himself and advise us at dinner, neither he nor anyone else did. After an hour of pre dinner drinks we went in search of the manager! .
The first afternoon and evening definitely spoilt our visit, and although this is considered one of the best camps in Namibia, we found it the least friendly of all the places we visited.
Beautiful Serra Cafema
The scenery at Serra Cafema is unbelievable. The camp is very special in a great location.
We couldn't fault it and had a great time there as the food is very good and there are interesting activities. However, it was too luxurious for us as we prefer to be part of the bush a bit more and prefer a simpler African experience.
We also suffered with lack of hot water here too!
A wonderful camp in a wonderful location and good to have time to relax and appreciate our surroundings.
Interesting drives, walks and sundowners on the Angolan side whilst treating the crocodiles with respect.
Stunning scenery at Serra Cafema
This was undoubtedly the high point of our holiday as far as accommodation is concerned. The suites are huge and beautifully appointed, really luxurious. Then there is the huge deck looking directly over the river. And they provide hot water bottles - very welcome, the nights (and early mornings) were really cold.
Food and service were great too, after the first evening we were the only guests there (such a pity, it deserves to have more visitors) so we had really individual attention.
The activities here are rather different from other places we visited - again making it a rather special place. The river trips (we had two) showed us the wildlife of the river - stunning birds and of course the crocodiles. Perhaps the most stunning was the goliath heron, seeing it fly majestically over the river, just skimming the surface, was magical.
Then the visit to the Himba village was fascinating, our only regret was not being able to talk to them directly, but our guide, Franco, was great at translating and very knowledgeable on their way of life. He was also very kind and patient when he took us on a quad bike excursion, very gentle for the "mature".