Reviews of Sam's Giardino
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
An interesting stay in an offbeat place!
Well Sam is a character - inherently world weary and cynical but, in many ways, well suited to Swakopmund - and to us! He has no hesitation sharing his views on a broad range of issues - and they are informative and insightful, even when it may reflect a different world view from one's own. He's also extremely helpful on the practical aspects of hosting, making tour arrangements, etc.
The inn itself is fine - the fairly standard rooms off a rather bland hallway addition don't really do justice to the overall setting - the garden is beautifully laid out and the main house is lovely.
Definitely worthwhile for dinner - food is fresh and quite good and the ambience is quite charming. In general, a stop in Swakopmund provides an important piece of the puzzle to understanding Namibia past and present - and a stay at Sam's fits in well with that whole experience.
An urban oasis
Sam's is an unusual but very pleasant place to stay. Sam is of Swiss origin and runs a very well managed hotel as might be expected. He has a restaurant and serves excellent food. The most memorable feature is the "Giardino" - a long narrow and lush garden with gurgling water features - huge koi carp in the pond and it attracts many birds including weaver birds who were fascinating to watch making beautifully woven spherical nests dangling from the ends of date palm fronds.
There is also Beethoven, Sam's huge friendly Bernese Mountain Dog - a species not normally found in Namibia - who wonders around in the Giardino. Sam's is about ten to fifteen minutes walk from the centre of Swakopmund with secure parking, which in an urban area is good.
There is much to see and do in and around Swakopmund. We went on two organised tours in 4x4 vehicles, one to Sandwich Bay and to explore the remote lagoon full of flamingoes and other interesting bird-life and also the giant sand dunes of the Namib coast with Turnstone Tours (pre booked with Expert Africa) and another Sam booked for us with "Living Desert Excursions" where we focussed more on interesting "minutiae" of the desert nearer to Swakopmund - creatures and plants adapted to the dunes.
Both trips were very well organised and of great interest with many photo opportunities.
Sam's Giardino review
Sams Giardino was a good base for exploring the area. The guesthouse had a lovely garden and a homely relaxed atmosphere.
We enjoyed the food and the wine tasting experience which Sam offered.
The room was spacious and comfortable.
after long drive ( nice views ) we arrived . These is something else we thought . By viewing the lodge the first impression was …. ok but its not like the tree other lodges .
Once we enter , there was nice little garden where to rest . Owner was very friendly and helpfull. ( looked for some stuff for us for instance SD -Card etc, Help by looking for replace our hired car ) So we didn't have to waste time to shop and could do our 2 trips . Room a bit older , but (as there it is only to sleep ) very clean.
And now the best : we are suprised ; he cook very WELL and have nice assortment off wine ! We loved to stay there in the evening , sitting with the owner at table to talk about ….. everything . He gave us some advice what to see for our next trip to the other lodge ( for ex Spitskopfe ). Thanks
Sam's Giardino review
The room was plain, nothing special. But it did open on to a very nice garden.
Sam is helpful, and has an excellent whisky selection. Food was very good.
Whilst in Swakopmund these travellers went kayaking and commented
Jeanne was very knowledgeable and helpful. The birds and seals were magnificent. Really special.
A highlight for Leah.
Sam's Giardino review
The highlight was Sam's evening meals - don't miss them !Read more about the whole trip
Simultaneously homely and luxurious
Sam was very friendly and helpfully gave us ample information about possible trips in the area. Breakfast was excellent as was the evening meal we took there on the second night - much better than the meal at "Cosmopolitan" on our first night which was disappointing by comparison. The ambience was very pleasant and relaxing. We liked the candlelight at breakfast (though weren't so sure about the schmaltzy music!).
We went to Bird Paradise just outside Walvis Bay where, unfortunately, the guide was on holiday but we still managed to see lots of birds. Strongly recommended.
We were given tea in the garden when we returned to base but had not expected to be charged for it. Not a big issue but we were a little surprised.
Lovely big room, luxurious bathroom and even a TV so that my husband could catch up with he Rugby World Cup.
Sam's Giardino review
it is an OK place for a short stay. The owner has an amazing Bernese mountain dog.
During their stay at Sam's, Expert Africa organised a Pelican Point Kayaking trip for these travellers. They commented:
Great activity to participate!
Can't imagine staying anywhere else in Swakopmund. The first and the best! Sam is a skilful and entertaining host who amused and informed us while never imposing himself. His staff are equally competent and welcoming. Food and wine are great - rather better than anywhere else we found in town. An easy 15 minute walk to the waterfront and town centre. We appreciated Sam spontaneously confirming our booked activities for us. Lovely tropical garden as well.
During their stay at Sam's, Expert Africa organised two activities for these travellers. Firstly, we organised a Pelican Point Kayaking trip. They commented:
Utterly delightful. A thoroughly enjoyable morning. Jeanne has this expedition organised to perfection and is a brilliant host and guide. Kayaking amongst the seals and flamingos is charming (and surprisingly comfortable and warm) and the environment around the lagoon is stunning.
These travellers also did the Day Trip to Sandwich Harbour, and commented:
Environment and adventure.
A fabulous day exploring the remote and inaccessible coastal environment south of Swakopmund. Berger was a great guide and fortunately, given the nature of the route, a great driver too!
The only positive we can say is that it had a pretty garden. the place was very cold and Sam put gas heaters all over the place to try and warm it. we found him very disinterested in us and quite rude, he had a strange habit of coming and sitting by us, but not saying anything until we did.Im afraid we thought he was past it.Read more about the whole trip
Expert Africa comments
Both Expert Africa and Sam were very sorry to hear that these travellers did not enjoy their stay. We sent the above comments to Sam the owner and he has addressed the issues raised.
When our travellers visited Sam’s Giardino it was towards the back end of the winter period (which generally lasts until the end of August). Sam has confirmed that they have two gas heaters in the restaurant that can be wheeled around to warm up the restaurant, creating a cosy atmosphere.
Sam’s Giardino is a small owner run guesthouse and Sam is a very hands-on owner. Sam always makes a point to stop by each table to chat to his guests and also give them a chance to ask him any questions. We are just sorry to hear that this approach did not quite work for these guests. Sam has lived in Namibia for the last 15 years and he is very knowledgeable about life in Namibia. We know that client relations are very important to him and we have every faith that Sam will endeavor to meet expectations in future.