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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Dr D from Suffolk

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

10

Excursions taken

0

General trip comments

Namibia between 20 Sep 2012 and 14 Oct 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"1. A few thoughts about the Nissan X-Trail

Almost all of the time this was an adequate and comfortable vehicle for touring Namibia. The ground clearance was quite good, the tyres were good, no punctures in 3710kms. The visibility for gameviewing and birdwatching was good. However we did take it to Terrace Bay and nearly lost traction in some of the stretches of soft sand in the final 50kms of the road up the Skeleton Coast on the way there; coming back we attacked the sand with a bit more speed and got through without a problem but we did bottom the vehicle fortunately without damage but the brakes did squeal until all the sand and gravel had worked their way out. Our advice would be not to attempt this final bit of road in anything less rugged than an X-Trail and even then care should be taken and the use of a 4x4 vehicle seriously considered.

Fuel economy was quite good and there was never a problem. We had had concerns about the lack of a fuel station at the Dolomite Camp in Western Etosha but this was not an issue. The tank capacity of an X-Trail is 65litres and we were using fuel at the rate of 1litre per 11kms, giving us a range of well over 600kms. After refuelling at Kamanjab the distnce to the Dolomite Camp was 110kms; during our two days of game viewing we travelled 259kms; the journey from Dolomite to Okaukuejo was 177kms. Thus we did 546kms before refuelling at Okaukuejo where we put 43.41litres into the tank meaning that we had at least 20litres left. We thought that this information may be of use to you if anyone else queries the range of an X-Trail and is worried about the lack of a fuel station in Western Etosha. Our opinion is that there should be no problems provided you have a good idea of the capacity and consumption of your vehicle and keep an eye on the distance you travel.

2. A few thoughts about our route.

We had a really good tour. As we had been before we had a good idea of what to expect with regard to road surfaces and the lack of other traffic, so that was fine. The distances we set ourselves to travel each day were not too far; our longest drives were from Swakopmund to Terrace Bay and from Onguma to Windhoek. Both of these were no problem after early morning starts, reaching our destinations well before 1600h. We deviated slightly from the route suggested by Sabina when we left the Damaraland Camp and went to Kamanjab on the C43 over the Grootberg Pass instead of on the C39 at the suggestion of the guides at Damaraland, they said it would be quicker, we're not sure about this but it certainly was an interesting drive. Some of the other drives we had were really spectacular.

3. The places we visited and the things we did.

Erongo was excellent, good walks, very interesting bird watching for us Europeans.
Swakopmundwe were not sure about; it has become a styllish resort which caters for a different type of holiday. We did the Welwitschia Drive and had a splendid day in the desert although it was a bit disturbing to see so much mining prospecting taking place and the transformation of Goanicontes into a camping resort is amazing. Swakopmund does now have some good shops to stock up for trips further north.
We have mentioned Terrace Bay, Damaraland and the camps in Etosha already. All gave us really memorable experiences. Overall our animal watching was very successful, We would have liked to have seen cheetahs in Etosha as we had done on our previous visits but the number of rhinos we saw and the splendid views of a leopard made up for it. We found some parts of Etosha a bit busy, particularly around Namutoni where there seemed to be quite a few large coaches making a lot of noise- not a good way to travel around Etosha and a bit disruptive for everyone else.
As well as the wildlife and rhe wonderful scenery our trip was made special by the warmth and friendliness of all the people we met. Even filling up the car becomes a social event!

And finally, of coursr, we have to thank Sabina and her colleagues for organising such a great trip. we are already our next one in our minds, maybe in 2014."

Arranged By Sabina Hekandjo


Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Olive Grove is a good convenient guest house"

1 night Arrived 21 Sep 2012
"A very good, easy to find guest house. Ideal for the first and last night of trips. Warm welcome, good food, comfortable rooms.

Rooms could benefit from upgrading safes to electronic digital locks."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Erongo Wilderness Lodge

Erongo Wilderness Lodge

"Erongo is a very good, well run camp"

2 nights Arrived 22 Sep 2012
"The Erongo Wilderness Camp is in a splendidly isolated situation. The accomodation is very good, we had chalet no. 10 with a great view back over the plain. All the staff were very friendly and helpful. We had a pleasant, guided early morning walk and spent the afternoon following the well marked trails around the area of the camp. We can recommend the "Eagle" path as this gives good views of the surrounding area. The bird watching was good, only a few animals but we will definitely visit this camp again"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Brigadoon

Brigadoon

"A convenient B&B in a central location"

2 nights Arrived 24 Sep 2012
"This is a small B&B within walking distance of the centre of Swakopmund. The rooms are quite good but we did not like the open plan shower and WC arrangement and the safe would benefit from being upgraded to a digital locking one. Although the breakfast was good we do have reservations about eating outside when there is a coastal fog and it is very cold and wet. It would be nice to be given the option of eating indoors.

The local restaurants are within easy access for evening meals. We went to the Lighthouse as it was the nearest and thought it served very good value meals- booking advisable.

This is a quite good, safe place to stay if you wish to visit Sandwich Harbour or do the Welwitschia Drive- both to be recommended."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Terrace Bay

Terrace Bay

"Terrace Bay is a genuine outpost"

1 night Arrived 26 Sep 2012
"Given that every serious visitor to Namibia should drive up the Skeleton Coast at least once, Terrace Bay is the only option for overnight stops. This is an interesting camp in an isolated, coastal location. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Whilst the chalets and dining room are not luxurious they are perfectly adequate- and a definite improvement from when we visited in 2003. The food was fine.

A word of caution- the last 50kms of the road to Terrace Bay are not very good with several stretches of soft sand; definitely not suitable for ordinary cars. We managed, just, in our 2x4 Nissan X-Trail but a 4x4 vehicle should be considered. However a great experience and not to be missed. The drive along the deserted road north from Cape Cross with the sea on one side and the dunes on the other feels like a real adventure."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Damaraland Camp

Damaraland Camp

"This is a brilliant and beautiful camp"

3 nights Arrived 27 Sep 2012
"Everything about this camp was excellent. The drive from Terrace Bay on the C39 was interesting as rhe road climbs up from the coast. We arrived at the pick-up point on the C39 well before our arranged time but when the camp was told of our arrival we were picked up immediately. Our welcome was very warm and friendly. Our chalet was very comfortable with a good view down the valley ( we had no.9 ). We took the morning trip to look for the desert adapted elephants which may seem to be a bit expensive but we were out for seven hours and it was a worthwhile experience, although we only saw one bull. The early morning start in the Land Rover was a bit cold and the ponchos and hot-water bottles provided were greatly appreciated.

We stayed for three nights and on our second full day just relaxed and walked around the surrounding hills by ourselves in the morning before going for a guided walk in the afternoon after "tea and cake" time.

The evening meals taken "en famille" at a big table were very pleasant, with wine included. We had interesting discussions with Wayne and Anthony from the camp personnel as to the structure of the Manchester United football team and the merits of the VW Golf GTI. Some topics are universal!

Our overall impression was of a friendly, well-run camp. We had a lovely send-off from Erica, Maggie and Co. and we were deloghted with the present of the Wilderness book they gave us. Another place we will visit again and can recommend to anyone."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Dolomite Camp

Dolomite Camp

"Impressive new camp in Western Etosha"

3 nights Arrived 30 Sep 2012
"This new camp is in a beautiful location. Our chalet, no.6, was very good with views from the balcony over the plain looking west. We could see the animals moving to and from the camp water-hole.

The arrival procedure took some time as 4 or 5 vehicles arrived at about the same time and the "golf buggy" system become overloaded so we had quite a long wait, 50 minutes, with our lugggage in the car parking area. We were told that the problem was that they only had one operational buggy. However, the delay was compensated by the warmth and enthusiasm of the staff who were trying really hard to make things work. We felt that the system needed at least one more member of staff. This was also apparent in the "escorting" procedure for getting to and from the dining area after dark. We had a long wait on our first night before we were escorted from our chalet to the dining room simply because there was only one member of staff looking after 20 chalets. We avoided the problem on the next two evenings by making sure that we were in the dining room area before dark. Once in the dining room the food was very good.

We drove ourselves around the area making long game drives in the mornings and shorter ones later in the afternoon. Etosha is still suffering badly from the effects of bush fires and large areas are charred and devoid of wildlife. Several of the water-holes were closed but at those water-holes in areas that had escaped the flames we did see large numbers of animals, particularly at Renosterviel, Rateldraf and Klippan. We had several good sightings of lions, elephants, black rhino as well as the usual zebras (both species), giraffes, warthogs and a range of antelopes, including eland. Game watching was particularly enjoyable in this area of the park as we were usually the only vehicle at the water-hole- very rarely did we see another car on our drives.

The lack of a fuel station at Dolomite was not an issue after filling up at Kamanjab- see notes about Nissan X-Trail later.

The drive from Dolomite to Okaukuejo is quite long, not made more exciting by the destruction caused by the fires and was generally uneventful.

However, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this camp and will stay there again."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"This is a large but efficient camp"

3 nights Arrived 3 Oct 2012
"Okaukuejo is a good centre for visiting several good water-holes. Inevitably it feels different from smaller private camps but it certainly served us well. The reception desk was efficient, our chalet was fine and the self-service restaurant provided good meals. The serving of breakfast until 0930 allowed us to go out at first light for two hours before returning to the camp to eat.

The floodlit water-hole provides really good opportunities to see rhino, one evening we saw nine there at the same time. The resident pride of lions at Okondeka are not to be missed either.

Obviously the size of this camp makes it a little more impersonal but all the staff that we met were friendly and helpful."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Halali Camp

Halali Camp

"A quiet, smaller camp, quite peaceful"

3 nights Arrived 6 Oct 2012
"Another good centre for some good water-holes. Salvadora and Goas were good for lions, Nuamses and Rietfontein good for elephants, Black rhino visited the camp water-hole at night.

The staff here were, as usual, efficient but seemed to lack a degree of cheerfulness compared to our previous camps. We had no complaints but the atmosphere was slightly different.

The meals in the restaurant were fine, although we felt that the extra charge on the barbeque evening was not fully justified.

Our chalet, no. 56, was excellent and was the same one that we stayed in in 2008."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Onguma Bush Camp

Onguma Bush Camp

"A very attractive camp in a private reserve"

3 nights Arrived 9 Oct 2012
"Another small, very friendly, very efficient camp. We had the usual Namibian warm welcome. Our room was very comfortable, the food was excellent and the location of the dining area overlooking the water-hole was very attractive. The lounge was quite luxurious.

This camp is convenient for making trips into Etosha but one does lose about 45 minutes of game viewing at the beginning and end of each day due to the time it takes to drive from Onguma and Etosha and back. However we did find this camp to be a haven of peace and tranquility after the relatively busy Namutoni Area.

This was a good camp for us to stay at for our last two Etosha days as we had seen a great number of animals in the previous nine days and were getting more specific in looking for cheetahs and leopards but if it had been our only stay in Etosha we would have been disappointedas the number of animals in this part of Eastern Etosha was lower than we had seen from our previous camps further west. But we did see a leopard in a tree eating what appeared to be an impala- this was in the last hour of our last day in Etosha; so we had a good finale.

We can recommend this camp but bear in mind the location outside the main park."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Good, convenient guest house"

1 night Arrived 12 Oct 2012
"Our second stay at this guest house was as good as the first one. We will stay here again."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

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