Travel reviews

Travel reviews by Ms Q & Mr B from USA


Everything we hoped for and more in Namibia

On this trip, I visited Namibia between 4-Oct-2016 and 4-Nov-2016 and I travelled with 1 other person.

Overall my trip experience was:

ExcellentExcellent

We had been planning a comprehensive self drive tour of Namibia for a couple years and were completely frustrated by our own inability to make key reservations with the national parks. We reluctantly called in the help of Expert Africa and were pleasantly surprised at how competley helpful and indispenable Maruska was in making all our arrangements while keeping the costs lower then we had expected. Everything over the course of our month log visit, encompassing over 18 lodgings, worked out smoothly.

We had a very helpful assist from Wilderness Safaris staff who met us at the airport and helped us get a burner phone and deal with a slightly troublesome initial car rental interaction. We are ow sure that we could not have done the arrangements on our own with out significant hassles and problems and our very happy that we put our trust in Expert Africa.

We saw numerous independent travellers at the national park Lodgings who thought they had successfully made reservations to find that the parks had no record of them or places for them to stay. Not clear how these were ever resolved but it never impacted us! Maruska's printed material that she sent us had incredibly useful advice on everything form what to look for in car rentals to how to greet people in shops and restaurants. We saw many abrupt tourists getting a cold shoulder from staff that turned around and treated us very warmly because we had been told to do a full on relaxed greeting, asking about how they are and wording the questions in a more polite manner then most European and US travellers would normally use.

Namibia itself was a dream come true visit to Africa. We knew we would see all the major animals (rhinos, elephants, giraffes, ostrich, wildebeest,kudu, oryx,lions, eland, hartebeest, springbok) but we had no idea we would see as many as we did in such high concentrations. Unfortunately the drought is probably responsible for this, pushing all the animals to the waterholes just to survive. We saw 33 species of mammals and over 200 species of birds and most of them from the rental car.

Maruska's advice on several places was spot on. She had gently warned of some dropping standards at a couple places which turned out to be true, while encouraging us to do the kayaking with the seals trip and the 4X4 sand dunes drive to Sandwich Harbor. The latter was a true highlight, and it might not be as fabulous with a guide other then Bruno Nebar, but I am sure it still would be enjoyable. We were quite lucky to spend that day with two of Expert Africa's people, a complete coincidence, but they were both very interesting and helped in drawing out so much information form Bruno while having interesting stories of their own. We usually do not like travelling in guided tours but this was a fabulous day with great company.

Namibia is barely dealing with the tourist influx from Germany and the rest of Europe, and are not prepared to deal with the kind of influx Americans will contribute once Americans realize what a fabulous destination Namibia is. i am telling our friends and family to go now and to use Expert Africa to make their arrangements! We met only 2 Americans and had many more meaningful encounters with local Damara people including valiant efforts to teach us some click language words! But this will not last long.

Feedback response


1) I am not sure how we would have handled any type of car problems (flat tires or broken windshields sound common but we managed to avoid that). Also, we lucky to not be stranded by the lack of gas at Okuakuejo camp. I think we would have called the people we met from Wilderness Africa if something had arisne, but not clear if that was legitimate or would be taking advantage of things. Maybe Expert Africa could be quite explicit up front about that. I think WS are listed as emergency contacts but just not quite sure these issues would have been the intent of that support.

2) While most European cell phones seem to work in Namibia, none of our American services did. If Americans do start increasing visits to namibia, you might want to consider including instructions about how to buy burner phone and minutes minutes and how program the phones to enter those minutes. We ended up having to rely on the helpful mercy of a teenager at a convenience store in Luderitz to help us load minutes on our burner phone.

3) I think we had very rewarding interactions with local people but of course would have liked more. However, we observed a lot of other tourists who seemed to just treat locals like help and therey limiting there interactions. Everyone presumed we were German when we first met, but seemed to be thrilled to find out we spoke English and were from the US. I am not sure how much of this is the colonial era feelings or just the novelty of it. I do think this opened many doors for us in having more meaningful conversations with local people as we were always so appreciative at what polygolts they are and what unique encounters these were for us. I am not sure they felt that sort of respect from most of the European tourists, maybe because this is a much more routine thing for Europeans. At least it did not seem clear to me that most of the other tourists appreciated how amazing it is for us to be there experiencing this and meeting the people there. Our most rewarding interactions felt more like we were in small town rural US then big city Europe, Asia or US. and i think many of the other tourists acted like they were in Paris or London or NYC. I think if you can try to capture more of that more intimate kind of approach in your instructions on how to talk with local Namibians, the tourists will be rewarded. We do not like the "visiting villages" approach to traveling but felt like we had lots of insights from local guides and staff about their families, schooling and careers by treating them like people we meet in smaller towns in our own locale.

I stayed at and have reviewed:

Place Overall rating
Lake Oanob Resort
4-Oct-2016 review: Lake Oanob Resort review
GoodGood
Quivertree Forest Restcamp
5-Oct-2016 review: Quivertree Forest Restcamp review
GoodGood
Norotshama River Resort
6-Oct-2016 review: Norotshama River Resort review
GoodGood
Nest Hotel, Namibia
7-Oct-2016 review: Nest Hotel review
GoodGood
Namtib Desert Lodge, Namibia
9-Oct-2016 review: Namtib Desert Lodge review
ExcellentExcellent
Agama River Camp
10-Oct-2016 review: Agama River Camp review
AverageAverage
Lagoon Lodge, Namibia
12-Oct-2016 review: Lagoon Lodge review
AverageAverage
Cape Cross Lodge, Namibia
15-Oct-2016 review: Cape Cross Lodge review
AverageAverage
Terrace Bay, Namibia
16-Oct-2016 review: intersting but is it worth the drive?
PoorPoor
Huab Lodge, Namibia
17-Oct-2016 review: Huab Lodge review
AverageAverage
Etosha Safari Camp, Namibia
19-Oct-2016 review: Etosha Safari Camp review
AverageAverage
Namutoni Camp, Namibia
20-Oct-2016 review: Namutoni Camp review
AverageAverage
Halali Camp, Namibia
22-Oct-2016 review: fabulous waterhole, standard NP camp
ExcellentExcellent
Dolomite Camp, Namibia
25-Oct-2016 review: Dolomite Camp review
PoorPoor
Okaukuejo Camp, Namibia
27-Oct-2016 review: Okaukuejo Camp review
AverageAverage
Waterberg Camp, Namibia
30-Oct-2016 review: Lovely setting with Baboon issues
AverageAverage
Erongo Wilderness Lodge, Namibia
1-Nov-2016 review: Beautiful setting, knowlegable guides
ExcellentExcellent
Villa Violet, Namibia
3-Nov-2016 review: A nice oasis in Windhoek on way to airport
GoodGood