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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr B & Mrs E from Surrey

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

18

Excursions taken

1

Just as enjoyable as our first visit

Namibia between 4 Oct 2015 and 24 Oct 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had previously visited Namibia in August 2008 (with Expert Africa of course) and wanted to return. By limiting our geographic coverage to the northern part of the country this time we had a more relaxing three week trip and were able to devote more time to each place.

We can thoroughly recommend all the locations that Sabina helped us choose, though please read our note on Onguma.

There appear to be many more visitors around the country now, but it's big enough to absorb the tourists, even when there are 50+ vehicles at Sossusvlei for example. At most waterholes we had less than 6 other vehicles and often we were totally alone for long periods.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

We would be happy to expand on anything we have written.

Keep up the good work, we look forward to our 4th trip with you, SOON.

Thanks for everything"

Arranged By Sabina Hekandjo


Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Good enough for a Prince"

1 night Arrived 4 Oct 2015
"We had room 6 for a single night, apparently Prince Harry had room 8 in July. Good enough recommendation for anyone??

Our second visit (7 years on) was just as enjoyable as the first time. Friendly efficient service, great food and comfortable rooms.

The staff were extremely helpful, including assisting with our hire car delivery problems (see above), being very concerned about service levels they expect for their guests! Thanks to all"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Onguma Bush Camp

Onguma Bush Camp

"Good in parts"

3 nights Arrived 5 Oct 2015
"Spent 3 nights here, so had a chance to really test the place. Overall the stay was good, the waterhole view rondavel was very spacious and comfortable. The food was excellent, with just enough choice to ensure quality. The waterhole was well-used by animals and the elevated hide is very useful.

Some observations though:

(1) the Camp appears to concentrate on German tourists (we only met 3 Brits and 2 Dutch people). This can mean that some staff have only a smattering of English, which can lead to confusion.

(2) we only met one female member of staff the whole time - a lady from the kitchen - on one occasion Elizabeth had a problem getting service from the barman, who seemed reluctant to serve a woman.

(3) related to (1) I think, we asked about a good place to view the Pan which the resort abuts and were told to use the main road into the resort area. On the way there we were told by one guide to stick to the main roads, even if other tracks were available. Fine, wouldn't want to get lost! Then when taking pictures from the car another vehicle stopped and told us that we were not allowed to use our own car at all - we had to go out on organised trips only, and should return to the Bush Camp immediately. Having a huge resort area is therefore almost useless unless one pays for each trip. This would make three days very expensive."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Poor
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Halali Camp

Halali Camp

"Good central location for Etosha"

4 nights Arrived 8 Oct 2015
"Much better than we expected. The bush chalets are very spacious and conveniently located for the main facilities, which were very good. The food was fine and we didn't mind the buffet style because it allowed us free choice. The buffet was restocked continuously, so there were no shortages.

The waterhole is a little remote from the chalets (unlike Okaukuejo!) and we saw little wildlife. Others reported a small herd of black rhino one morning, but we saw only birds, a jackel and a hanging bat.

There are, though, some great waterholes to visit. Chodop (nearer Namutoni) was absolutely full - 20+ giraffe, 6 elephants, a hyena and loads of zebra when we went."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Highlight of the trip"

6 nights Arrived 12 Oct 2015
"Our second visit here after a gap of 7 years. We preferred the Bush Chalet to the Waterhole room we had last time. Just like Halali, with much more space and only a minutes walk to the waterhole which was fairly heavily used, by Elephants, Rhinos and a group of three lions most nights. The restaurant had largely moved outside (not sure if this is year-round?) which is much more comfortable and less noisy than eating indoors.

Good base for exploring the western part of the National Park, where we found some great waterholes, especially:
Okondeka - vast herds of zebra, kudu, wildebeest, oryx and springbok plus flocks of birds including 7 vultures together
Ozonjultj m Bari - even more of all above, plus warthogs, giraffe, a Bateleur Eagle and several storks
Aus - again the usual herds including Red Hartebeest and Black-Faced Impala, plus ducks, geese and a leopard!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Image alt

Central Guest House, Namibia (this camp has since closed)

"Well situated for the town centre"

3 nights Arrived 18 Oct 2015
"A warm welcome after a rather long drive from Etosha was much appreciated. The Central is very comfortable, pleasant rooms and a great breakfast choice. The secure parking is very useful, we left quite a lot of stuff in the car throughout.

Only a few minutes walk from the town centre with its good shopping and about 15 minutes to the coastal promenade."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Hoodia Desert Lodge

Hoodia Desert Lodge

"The highlight of our trip"

2 nights Arrived 21 Oct 2015
"Arrived at 2pm after a rather dusty journey from Swakopmund to be greeted with cold towels and a refreshing drink. The 12 bungalows are well spaced in two groups around the central facilities and have a huge bedroom, a twin bowl bathroom and inside/outside showers to take in the views.

Invited to take the sundowner at 6pm, which was the best we have ever had. Only 10-15 minutes traveling to a hilltop overlooking the Lodge about 2 kms away and the desert ahead, clear to the horizon. A table had been set up for just us two with a snack and drinks to which we could help ourselves because the driver, Jonathan, left us to our own devices for an hour-and-a-half of watching a blazing sun set. Absolutely great!

Collected and delivered back for dinner - main course one of the best steaks we have ever had and super service all round.

Next day we went to Sossusvlei and Sessriem again with Jonathan who is a real fount of knowledge, not just about the place itself which is magical, but also the wildlife. We dug up spiders and tracked all sorts of lizards etc across the sands. An excellent lunch was served under a shady tree far from the crowds which were much larger than on our previous visit.

Special thanks to Victoria who looked after us so well, but also to the whole Hoodia team."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Elegant Guesthouse

Elegant Guesthouse

"Cosy and friendly"

1 night Arrived 23 Oct 2015
"Only a small guesthouse, but just what we needed. Matilda looked after all our needs and cooked a fine breakfast as well.

a taxi was arranged to take us to Joe's Beerhouse a few minutes away and to bring us back. Don't miss it for a really different environment, we have never seen anything like it, outside or in. The interior/exterior designers must have scoured every flea market / junkshop / skip in southern Africa to get all the items with which the place is adorned. The food and beer were great and the service was better than expected, but......

Do the staff enjoy working there? Smiles were not very frequent anywhere!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

Almost the trip of a lifetime .......

Namibia between 6 Aug 2008 and 29 Aug 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"We have to give ExpertAfrica full marks for helping us get the trip together. Initially Maruska, and this year Gwynneth and Sabina, were great organisers and first rate communicators who understood our wants and did a grand job. Thank you all very much.

All that went well was all down to you and the few things that left something to be desired were other peoples' responsibility entirely.

We had a superb time overall, the good things heavily outweighed the not-so-good and the total impression was really positive. Like Zambia and Botswana 2 years ago, we did things we had never done before - dune climbing, kayaking, tracking animals on foot, dining on a Tug - and would really like to do them another time.

We look forward to another visit to Namibia in the future, it would be fascinating to see how the tourism business develops and how the country makes the most of its tremendous resources to delight its visitors.

Thanks again to all the team.

We can hardly wait for our next adventure with you"

Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Thoroughly recommended"

1 night Arrived 7 Aug 2008
"Olive Grove is a super place for a short stay, eg on arrival in Windhoek before setting out on a long journey. Very relaxing garden and the garden rooms are fine. A very quiet location within easy travelling of the town centre. A nice splash pool which we didn't use - it was not that warm!

The staff were very helpful and the service was excellent.

We had some difficulty finding the place with satnav because the road is split into two quite separate lengths with a large gap in between - presumable the road was cut by the "new" Robert Mugabe Avenue, leaving only one part directly accessed, and not the part where Olive Grove is!!!

Going south we visited Hardap Dam, but were very disappointed. The acquariums appear to have burnt down completely - there are just great brown patches of grass around large holes in the ground. The map in Chris' book suggests that it is possible to cross the dam to see the facilities on the other side. This is not the case! Even if one ignores the road signs and drives across the dam from the entrance end, there is a padlocked gate preventing any further progress. We tried to drive round the lake - the long way - but the road was so poor that we doubted our 2 wheel drive car would have made it, so we came back after about an hours' fretting!

Not the best way to spend time or N$200ish"
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

"Rooms with a view"

2 nights Arrived 8 Aug 2008
"We had "dune chalets" which were super - views across the site one way and across the open plains to the other.

Silas and the team really made us welcome and we had lots of fun. Other guests we met were delightful and helpful, especially those that had been in country for much longer so had good advice to offer.

The activities were good, although the visit to the cheetahs was rather artificial - three young males just around the corner and a female in a cage.

Our only real disappointment was not seeing the meercats - perhaps they were on holiday?

Going south from Bagatelle we stopped at both the Quivertree Forest and Giant's Playground, both worth the short diversion from the main road."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Canyon Lodge

Canyon Lodge

"It's a long way down"

2 nights Arrived 10 Aug 2008
"Because we had booked very late (having expected to be at Fish River Lodge) our rooms were almost at the end of the resort (nos 27 and 30 of 30). It was therefore a very long walk to and from the central facilities and a long haul with luggage.

The rooms were fine but not much space outside - rather cramped little pathways and no real terrace to sit out and look at the strange rock formations or watch the sunsets which were very impressive

We took the trip to the Canyon as a foursome which was OK, but rather expensive for what was on offer - the trip in an old vehicle and about an hour there, then a drive back.

Breakfasts were something of a trial as the staff did not seem to appreciate how much some people ate. Many items ran out very quickly and refilling did not seem to be a priority. As an example, the fresh fruit salad had all gone within a few minutes of service starting one morning and it took almost half an hour before a small bowl of tinned tomatoes replaced the salad! Not much good with Corn Flakes.

We took a walk around the site and found a substantial development project underway which looks as though it will significantly increase the size of the place and the numbers of people staying - we hope the central facilities are to be expanded accordingly."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Nest Hotel

Nest Hotel

"Why Luderitz?"

2 nights Arrived 12 Aug 2008
"The trip from Fish River Canyon was great, we took advice from a Swiss couple at Bagatelle and went via the Orange River - what a delightful drive along the valley, athough Rosh Pinah is not such a great stopping point afterwards!

It was a very long drive and unfortunately Luderitz was one of our disappointments. We arrived in the fog which started about 20kms out, spent a worrying night with the waves breaking onto our ground floor windows and awoke to a grey and dismal dawn which didn't change for the 40 odd hours we were there.

The hotel is fine for a short stay although the approach is rather unnerving. The sandy road down to The Nest is lined by derelict warehouses and an old power station. There's not one window intact in the whole street and we would not have dared to walk it after dark! As a consequence we only went into and through the town by car and ate in the hotel both evenings - the food was OK, but not very inspired.

After one day spent touring the peninsula, we left Luderitz in the pouring rain that lasted for 100kms, so didn't bother to try to find the wild horses.

The title reflects a profound question - we didn't understand including the place as a visitor attraction at that time of year. It may, of course, be a different proposition at other times - not sure we would easily be persuaded though!"
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Image alt

Sinclair Guest Farm, Namibia (this camp has since closed)

"Family members"

1 night Arrived 14 Aug 2008
"Please warn potential guests that there is no signboard for Sinclair when approaching from the south on C13, so it's easy to miss. Not a problem for us since we wanted to go into Helmeringhausen, further up the C13 anyway, to fill up the tank - bad move since there had been no unleaded fuel there for a week. The people in the petrol station / shop pointed us back the way we had come and, sure enough, there's a large sign to the farm from that direction.

We were the only 4 guests at Sinclair that day, so were really lucky to receive undivided attention - invited to eat with Hannelore for dinner and breakfast - we experienced the real family treatment. The food was really goodand the wine was a bargain, we especially enjoyed the home-made breakfast components . Hannelore tells us that she and Gunther (who we didn't meet) were concentrating on the farm and have handed over running the guest facilities to their daughter and son-in-law, but they were in Windhoek for a holiday.

The rooms are adequate for a single night's stay - not luxurious, but clean and well sized.

The remains of the copper mine are fascinating and Hannelore was a wealth of information about it's history. We have a few rock samples (taken with full permission) as reminders of our stay. We weren't able to try anything else."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Desert Homestead

Desert Homestead

"Home home on the plains"

2 nights Arrived 15 Aug 2008
"It's a very bumpy and dusty journey to Desert Homestead, but it's worth it.

We had the two bungalows furthest from the central facilities, so had a nice walk to and from each time. It was tremendously windy while we were there - some concerns that we would find our thatched roof missing in the mornings - but it was OK, the lashings held.

We were kept very busy it seemed, so had little time to relax. The sundowner trip was the best we had, a table laid by the guide with good snacks and a super sunset. The highlight was, of course, Sossusvlei with dune climbing, lots of picture taking and a champagne(ish) breakfast, etc etc to cap it all! Returning via Sesriem Canyon we were pretty tired when we got back.

The staff were super and we had a wonderful session of singing after dinner."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
The Stiltz

The Stiltz

"Where's the river?"

2 nights Arrived 17 Aug 2008
"Swapokmund and Walvis Bay together were another highlight.

The Stiltz is super, but we couldn't find the river - yes, we know, there's no water in it just now. The rooms were huge (although the space outside on Bungalows 1 & 2 was very limited and exposed to passersby), so we partied indoors. The explanation being that it was my birthday on the day we arrived so a few drinks were in order - Brian!

The Tug was our venue for dinner both nights (yes it was that good - they have even listened to Chris' criticism of the wine, which is now excellent - and very reasonably priced), although a bit cramped in the no smoking area, with tables crammed in, it was very cosy.

We went kayaking on the first day - see below - the rest of our time there was spent visiting the town for some retail therapy for the ladies and siteseeing a very pretty little town. Some very attractive buildings and a comfortable feel."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

"All at sea(ls and dolphins), whales ahoy"

18 Aug 2008 • Morning excursion

Great thrill. One of the things to do before you die .................

Jeanne is a first rate operator. We really, really, really enjoyed the morning in Walvis Bay. We got absolutely soaked despite all the wet weather gear because of our incompetence, but we laughed so much that we soon dried off. We didn't stop talking about it for days after.

The trip was superb, well organised, very safe (despite several members of our party being very apprehensive rght up to launch time) and great fun. The fact that Hazel, one of Jeanne's team, bought her 2 year old with her gave some confidence to the doubters. The seals were a delight, the small dolphins (Benguelas?) came almost on board and we saw bottle-nosed dolphins and whales from a respectful distance - just as well for some of our number, given their size and the speed they were travelling at! The dolphins and whales I mean, not our team - they were appallingly slow most of the time and absolutely lacking in sea skills, unlike the bay's natural inhabitants.

The kayaks were very easy to drive (?) despite our total absence of experience - we did plan to take lessons before we went, just in case, but you know how time flies when you don't really want to do something ................... Glad we didn't bother with training, it was much better to go out on the water without a clue what we were doing. We would have forgotten anything we learned anyway in all the excitement.

Don't let any of your clients pass up the opportunity to try the experience, they wouldn't know what they had missed
Excellent
Doro Nawas

Doro Nawas

"A Curate's Egg"

2 nights Arrived 19 Aug 2008
"On the whole I think we enjoyed Doro Nawas, but it was a very mixed experience. There were some great bits and some real disappointments.

The rooms were the largest on the whole trip, although we didn't try taking the bed outside to sleep under the stars! Nor did we shower in the open air - it was a little chilly for that! So much so that we had hot waterbottles put in our beds by the turn-down service (without having to ask!)

We appreciate that the operation is run by your agents in Namibia, so criticisms may be difficult to manage, but ...................

The staff try very hard to please, but some elements need attention. The bar operation is not very slick, so there can be long waits for service and the measures seem somewhat light, leading to only tonic tasting G&Ts! Breakfast is self-service and when things run out it seems to take too long to replenish. Clearly, the lack of electricity is a major hinderance and affects several service functions - like checking out which relies on a satellite phone that requires the generator to be operating (and wasn't turned on when we tried to leave, costing us an hour altogether!) The after dinner singing and dancing by the staff was the best of our trip, they really enjoyed themselves and so did we!

I don't claim to be a hospitality expert (although I'm an experienced consumer), but the major problem appears to be with management - we met or saw a number of "managers", probably 4 or 5 over the two days, but they were not very effective and tended to react badly to any adverse comments. Message - don't ask "How was your day / excursion?" if you want an honest response to something that was not too good.

Our first excursion - searching for desert-adapted elephants - was made by finding a herd of a dozen females, juveniles and babies as a result of an encounter with a vehicle from Twyfelfontein Lodge who told us where to go. Fantastic scenes and photos, followed by a very good sundowner.

The other two activities - the rock carvings and the petrified forest - were real disappointments, with the latter being a disaster! The rock carving trip took all morning as we vainly searched for the elephants again, without success, so had only about half-an-hour or so at Twyfelfontain before we had to return to Doro Nawas for lunch. The meal itself was very poor and the limited amount of food on offer became even more obvious when, after waiting for ages to get a cup of coffee, we saw the serving points being re-stocked with a much better selection to feed the staff in full public view, with the "managers" going first.

The petrified forest trip was terrible! 40+kms in a very slow, open vehicle down the gravel road stopping frequently to allow other vehicles to pass us in either direction so that we didn't suffocate in the dust, that took over an hour: 20 minutes looking at 3 bits of petrified tree and the return journey on the same road as we had come, doing our stop-start bit, followed by a very poor pre-ordered sundowner (in my case, half a glass of red wine from an opened bottle) at the side of the road, in full view of Doro Nawas a mile or so away, where we could have drunk our drinks in some comfort.

What really pained us, however, was the pricing - the afternoon trips (with a sundowner) at N$550 per person and the morning trip (with lunch) at N$950 per person. Given that we had 7 or 8 people in each vehicle on each trip, there must be a big profit here somewhere!

We spoke with an Austrian family who were on a "fully-inclusive" deal and they were horrified to hear how much we had paid for the activities, they of course didn't know what it had cost them in their price, but said they would have warned us off the petrified forest trip, no matter how little it might have cost!"
Poor
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Terrible
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Poor
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Animals galore"

3 nights Arrived 21 Aug 2008
"There are two sorts of waterhole room at the Camp - those close to the front, which are two storey arrangements with a verandah and a second row further back which are on a single level. We had the latter which were comfortable, but rather small. We would advise you that great care is needed in recommending which room to book, even some of the front row rooms have no view of the animals because of the trees between them and the waterhole! The whole camp (like the other 2 in Etosha) was overhauled in 2007 so is in great condition.

The waterhole was fantastic with large numbers of visitors by dawn, day, dusk and night - so it was great value being close by just to pop down to see what was happening and who needed a drink.

Some very noisy jackels seemed to live in the camp, despite warning signs about them - they obviously don't read well!

The camp is quite large but even though it was full when we were there, it didn't seem too crowded, although meal times could be somewhat frustrating with the numbers of people being serviced. All meals are buffets and this can lead to long queues throughout the meal periods as some seem to go back 2 or 3 times! The dining room and its outside extension are very large and can get incredibly noisy, but there is a small "a la carte" room alongside which provides a quieter area but with the same buffet arrangements and no extra charge! A good alternative if one knows about it, we were lucky to be told on our second day and used it for 2 nights.

Although it's at the western end of Etosha, Okaukuejo is a good base for the park and seems better than Namutoni which feels very small in comparison. A very helpful petrol station that quickly fixed a tyre punctured by a large nail obviously picked up nearby.

One comment - on Page 365, Chris' book suggests that camp accommodation fees include the park entrance charge. This is NOT the case - a car and 4 adults costs N$330 per day in addition - so needs to be added the budget."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Mushara Outpost

Mushara Outpost

"Absolute luxury"

2 nights Arrived 24 Aug 2008
"A fantastic place to stay, 8 double tents with wooden front doors on a raised deck and 2 "pilot's rooms". The central facility is superb, with inside and outside dining and a wood-fired boma for a pre-dinner drinks. Life is really tough! We were unable to make full use of all the facilities because we were so busy, but the pool looked super. There is a bird-watching "hide" near a small waterhole in the grounds, but a very long lens is needed for photos - 400mm isn't enough, even with a 1.6x sensor factor!

Dinner is a set meal, served to us at a set time so is very different to elsewhere on our trip, but nonetheless excellent food, beautifully prepared and served. On one evening we had a singing session with what appeared to be every member of staff involved - thoroughly enjoyable.

Another really nice feature was that when we enquired about activities, we were told that they recommended us to do our "own thing" rather than be tied to the fairly limited offers from Mushara Lodge that we could have joined in with.

Also, within a day or so of our return we has an e-mail "thank you" for our compliments to the staff on the visitor survey form - a very nice, thoughtful touch that shows they care about their customers - just like ExpertAfrica!!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Okonjima Bush Camp

Okonjima Bush Camp

"You must stay 2 days"

2 nights Arrived 26 Aug 2008
"The best experience of all, for us.

Given that we went to Okonjima last, we think we did the right thing - those that go round Namibia anti-clockwise are doing it wrong, especially if they don't come here!

Despite the animals being "in captivity" - we saw cheetah, leopard, wild dog, hyena, etc etc - it remains somehow a real wild experience which the staff contribute to in full measure. We really enjoyed the "tracking" elements, both in vehicle and on foot. They enabled us to believe we were doing what we have done on safari elsewhere in Africa - looking for animals in their native environment. Dean and Sunday were our main guides and super guys they were - clearly there's not much about the place they don't know and their enthusiasm is so infectious, even the cynical would be won over.

The bungalows were great, comfortable amd roomy, with Bungalows 1 & 2 very special. We loved watching the birds feeding, drinking and washing in our private viewing area, even though some take advantage and come indoors to get more food from the tin, causing chaos.

We were told that there is to be a huge expansion to the Okonjima area shortly which, if properly managed, could make it a place to stay for even more than 2 nights.

The food was great and it was nice to be served with dinner and the hot breakfast at the table. It was also good that the guides joined us for dinner - just like Botswana in 2006"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

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