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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs S from Leicester

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

9

Excursions taken

3

My May 2009 trip

Namibia between 22 May 2009 and 11 Jun 2009

Trip rating: Excellent
"This was very much a 'trip of a lifetime' for us and we certainly weren't disappointed. With the benefit of hindsight it might have been better to visit fewer places and have more time at each, but, the downside is that we wouldn't have seen the range of landscapes etc that we did. Nevertheless, the high mileages we necessarily clocked up meant that what appears on the schedule as 2 or 3 nights, in reality, translates into only 1 or 2 days and we hadn't really factored that in.

With a trip such as this there were 'highlights' just about everyday (which itself tells it's own story) but, that said there was, of course, still a personal 'pecking order' which for us would be this: spending 3 nights/2 full days with Bruno Nebe at Mundulea was, quite simply, a dellight and a real priviledge and was, by a long way, the best highlight for us.

Next would be Zebra River Lodge which was so relaxing and where the welcome and hospitality from our (stand-in hosts) Merle and Thom oozed genuinenss and care (something we found rather llacking at most of the 'up-market' lodges where it felt like everything was done to a standard format of 'one size fits all' mentality rather than looking at the requirements of the individual guest.

Joint 3rd would be our day spent with Allie and the trackers at Desert Rhino Camp and with Wayne, Alexandra and Heidi on the Sandwich Harbour trip. Finally our very sincere thanks to Maruska who organised every part of our trip from start to finish with both professionalism and great proficiency and, at at all times a really friendly disposition - even in the face of my multiple e-mail enquiries and on the occasion when I answered her call on my mobille with a greeting of "Hi babes!" (mistakenly thinking it was my wife Joy calling!!). She was even kind enough to say that it made her day!

On that note thanks once again to Maruska, Chris and all the staff at Expert Africa for masterminding such a wonderful holiday. We are now saving our pennies so that hopefully we can undertake another big trip in the not too distant future"

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


Zebra River Lodge

Zebra River Lodge

"Zebra River Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 23 May 2009
"Thi s was an excellent place to start our holiday. Merle and Thom (the stand-in managers for Rob and Marriane) were wonderful hosts, warm, friendly and helpful but never intrusive. Our 'honeymoon' room (No.9) had stunning views (including from in bed!) and we liked the open-plan layout. We appreciated the self-guided walks but also found the facility to be driven out to the start-point for the walk to the springs was really useful. Justus, the guide who took us out, was very informative and pointed out a Kudu and rock-jessies on the drive.

The Namibian staff were all very friendly and we enjoyed having the opportunity to chat to them often at meal times. The food was excellent and we enjoyed our communal meals and chatting with the other guests but were also able to have 'own-time' together usually accompanied by a bottle of excellent South African wine!

Overall, this was our second favourite stop (only bettered by the jewel in the crown of our trip which was the unsurpassable Mundulea and Bruno Nebe). We would definitely like to return here in the future and would probably stop for at least 3 full days to facilitate doing more walks including including a guided one with Justus."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Sossus Dune Lodge

Sossus Dune Lodge

"Sossus Dune Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 26 May 2009
"Overall this stay was a little disappointing. Whilst the location is very beautiful and being inside the park gate is a plus we felt that the accommodation was almost over-the-top luxurious (does a bathroom really need matching his and hers washbasins?). Also, we felt that the staff were also almost trying trying too hard (in a rather formulaic way rather than naturally wanting to please) to be a sophisticated, up-market lodge and somehow it didn't quite work.

On arrival we were greeted not once, but three times! First by someone with a posh tray with two damp face-cloths, rapidly followed by someone-else with two small soft drinks followed by a third person with a tray with two glasses of sherry which hardly seemed appropriate after a 4/5 hour drive from our last stop.

We were then 'checked-in' by Engelbert (one of the managers) who wasted no time in trying to sell us their N$500 sunrise trip to the Sossusvlei dunes which we always intended to do under our own steam. We did do the sunrise ballooning trip on our final morning which was a marvellous experience although it didn't quite have the 'wow factor' that I 'd anticipated. The breakfast on landing was a super experience being in such beautiful and remote surroundings (although the 'champagne' was, in fact, sparkling wine) which, with the trip costing about £300 person seemed a tad naughty."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Sam's Giardino

Sam's Giardino

"Sam's Giardino review"

2 nights Arrived 28 May 2009
"This was a very pleasant stay and Sam was a likeable, attentive and helpful host and an interesting person to chat to. The food was first-rate although the evening meals felt slightly formal and therefore not quite as relaxed as we would have preferred. That said, we would certainly recommend Sam's to others.

Day trip to coast south of Swakopmund - This was a really memorable trip for a number of reasons. Firstly, our guide Wayne was extremely knowledgeable and had a passion and enthusiasm about the environment that was infectious and provided a real insight into the many environmental and other issues affecting not just this fragile dune environment but also wider issues facing Namibia as a whole . Our enjoyment of he trip was further enhanced by tthe company of Alexanra Fuller, a novelist/writer who was undertaking research for an article she it write for National Geographic magazine and Heidi (didn't catch her surname) who worked for one of the Namibian Government Environmental Protection agencies so we were the beneficiaries of some extremely well informed discussion on a whole range of issues, all of which was punctuated and lightened by a stream of amusing anecdotes from Alexandra from her child-hood days in Zambia and Africa!

Research of previous reader's reviews for the trip had led us to anticipate an excellent lunch and we most certainly weren't disappointed. Home-made lasagne, pate, salad and garlic bread followed by apple pie were consumed in a sheltered spot in the dunes (it was a very windy day). Yummee! Last ,but not least was, the rugged beauty of the dune system and coastline and fragile ecosystems of Sandwich Bay and the splendid panoramic views we had once we had climbed to the top of the dunes above Sandwich Harbour. I would thoroughly recommend this trip (which is organised byBruno Nebe's company Turnstone Tours) and would like to do it again if get to return to Namibia.

Kayaking Walvis Bay Lagoon - We had originally wanted to do the longer (all morning) trip but, because of a shortage of time because of long drive up to Doro Nawas meant that we onld had time for 2 hour trip. Neverthess, this was very pleasant and relaxing experience with our guide Francois who we found easy to chat to about various issues Namibian. Unfortunately, we couldn't get as close to the flamingoes as we would have liked but, all in all, atrip to be recommended."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Ballooning in the Namib Desert

Ballooning in the Namib Desert

"Ballooning in the Namib Desert"

28 May 2009 • Morning excursion

Prior to our trip to Namibia I had anticipated that this would be one of the main highlights and have to say that I personally was a shade disappointed. It was cerrtainly a great experience but I'd expected more of a 'wow' factor which didn't quite happen for me although my wife did consider it pretty special. The breafast on landing was a lovely spread and delightful to enjoy in such beautiful surroundings. One small complaint is that it is advertised as a 'champagne' breakfast when, in fact, it was sparkling wine that was served with the meal which, given that the trip costs around £300 per head is rather naughty I felt. Whilst I wouldn't wish to put anyone off doing this trip I would suggest that if your budget is limited then that amount of money might be better spent on other things (e.g. probably about 3 nights full board at a guest farm such as Zebra River Lodge).
Excellent
Coast and Sandwich Harbour

Coast and Sandwich Harbour

"Coast and Sandwich Harbour"

29 May 2009 • All-day excursion

This was a really memorable trip for a number of reasons. Firstly, our guide Wayne was extremely knowledgeable and had a passion and enthusiasm about the environment that was infectious and provided a real insight into the many environmental and other issues affecting not just this fragile dune environment but also wider issues facing Namibia as a whole . Our enjoyment of he trip was further enhanced by tthe company of Alexanra Fuller, a novelist/writer who was undertaking research for an article she it write for National Geographic magazine and Heidi (didn't catch her surname) who worked for one of the Namibian Government Environmental Protection agencies so we were the beneficiaries of some extremely well informed discussion on a whole range of issues, all of which was punctuated and lightened by a stream of amusing anecdotes from Alexandra from her child-hood days in Zambia and Africa! Research of previous reader's reviews for the trip had led us to anticipate an excellent lunch and we most certainly weren't disappointed. Home-made lasagne, pate, salad and garlic bread followed by apple pie were consumed in a sheltered spot in the dunes (it was a very windy day). Yummee! Last ,but not least was, the rugged beauty of the dune system and coastline and fragile ecosystems of Sandwich Bay and the splendid panoramic views we had once we had climbed to the top of the dunes above Sandwich Harbour. I would thoroughly recommend this trip (which is organised byBruno Nebe's company Turnstone Tours) and would like to do it again if get to return to Namibia.
Excellent
Doro Nawas

Doro Nawas

"Doro Nawas review"

1 night Arrived 30 May 2009
"We only stayed one night at Doro Nawas, essentially as a stop-over on the long journey between Swakopmund and Desert Rhino Camp so we did'nt have time to do any walks, drives or activities. The location, on a hill with 360 degree views is certainly spectacular. Had a very similar feel to Sossus Dune Lodge (see our review) with the same downsides. Not a place we would personally go to again."
Average
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

"Kayaking with seals"

30 May 2009 • Morning excursion

We had originally wanted to do the longer (all morning) trip but, because of a shortage of time because of long drive up to Doro Nawas meant that we onld had time for 2 hour trip. Neverthess, this was very pleasant and relaxing experience with our guide Francois who we found easy to chat to about various issues Namibian. Unfortunately, we couldn't get as close to the flamingoes as we would have liked but, all in all, atrip to be recommended.
Desert Rhino Camp

Desert Rhino Camp

"Desert Rhino Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 31 May 2009
"This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of our trip. The game-drives both in and out of the camp were memorable with sightings of a young giraffe, lots of zebra and, at a distance, a pair of cheetah sat in the shade of a bush. Our driver/guide Ally was extremely knowedgeable and enthusiastic and made many stops to point out various birds, fauna and flora which he illustrated to us with field guide books that he carried (at his own expense he later told us, likewise the guides have to provide their own binoculars, or do without).

The camp itself was wonderful in all respects and its utter remoteness only served to emphasise its beauty and tranquility. On our only full day there we were the only guests so we had Ally and three trackers all to ourselves! However, try as hard as they most certailny did (and we were out from 6.30a.m. to 5.30p.m. with light fading fast) not a rhino was to be found. It mattered little though since we saw lots of other game, zebra, ostrich, vultures, eagles, a chameleon and the largest herd of springbok we saw on the whole of our trip (250-300 we'd estimate).

We also had a lovely lunch in the shade of a large acacia tree accompanied by a cool beer. Magical! Also worth mentioning that the staff here (all black Namibians during our stop) seemed to make much more genuine effort to engage with us than at some of the other 'up-market' lodges. Our schedule involved rather a lot of driving so we only had an evening and the one full day and we would recommend having at least two full days 'cos it would have been nice to do some guided walks as well as the rhino-tracking drives."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

"Okaukuejo Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 2 Jun 2009
"The bush-chalet accommodation was better than we had anticipated and certainly more than just functional. Slight downside was the amount of 'hard' surfacing everywhere compared to Halali where the bush-chalets are much more informal in a natural, bush/scrub setting. We only used the restaurant for breakfast which was of a good standard. Both evenings we used the BBQ cooking meat ( frozen) which we bought at the 'Tourist shop'. Very limited choice of vegetables or fruit but its amazing how many different salads can be concocted from one large white cabbage with a bit of imagination!

BBQing was a nice change after being fully catered for elsewhere. However, Okaukuejo does have a serious problem with jackals roaming the site scavenging for food. They are certainly not timid and one even jumped up onto our BBQ while it was alight. We felt it was potentially an accident waiting to happen insofar as the possibility of someone (particulary a child) being bitten. The floodlit waterholei s obviously brilliant for viewing game although it does have a somewhat unnatural unreal feel to it with such a large human audience but, on balance, still a definite plus point."
Good
Location
Average
Food
Good
Rooms
Good
Facilities
Average
Halali Camp

Halali Camp

"Halali Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 4 Jun 2009
"We much preferred Halali to Okaukejo overall. It's setting had a much more intimate feel to it and the natural setting of the bush-chalets in scrub and grass was much nicer and had the added benefit that there was a considerable amount of bird activity including a variety of hornbills which we were able to watch as we barbequed our oryx steaks (highly recommended). As at Okaukejo food supplies at the shop were very limited as was the choice of wine. The rooms were lovely and the kitchen and bathroom more than adequate. The floodlit water hole is about a 10 minute stroll away and, whilst not attracting the volume of game we saw at Okaukejo for us had a more natural feel to it and we were lucky enough to see 4 black rhino on our second/final evening.."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Mundulea Reserve

Mundulea Reserve

"The 'Jewel in the Crown' of our Namibian trip"

3 nights Arrived 6 Jun 2009
"Our stay at Mundulea was the 'jewel in the crown' of our wonderful stay in Namibia. It is hard to find words that do full justice to the truly unique experience of spending time there with Bruno Nebe whose deep and wide-ranging knowledge of so many aspects of Namibian culture and every aspect of wildlife preservation and conservation was astonishing.

The newly built camp has a wonderfully rustic charm in complete harmony with its beautiful surroundings and lacked for nothing in necessary facilities. Particulary impressive was the environmentally sustainable showers whiich Bruno had constructed using former gas cylinders which enabled the shower water to be heated by burning wood 'harvested' from scrub clearance. Just one more example of Bruno's many skills.

We were particularly fortunate that we were the sole guests at the camp during our stay so had lot of quality time to discuss a whole range of subjects with Bruno. The two walks we did were full of fascinating insights into so many different elements of the behaviour of game in a natural setting and was a massive contrast from Etosha where the game have become immune to the presence of humans. Relatively close encounters with kudu, a family of warthogs and wild cattle were electrifying.

Breakfast and evening meals were a delight with excellent and interesting meals cooked by Bruno over a wood fire. Sundowners with our host at a hide overlooking a waterhole were also a delight. Our only regret was that our stay had to come to an end but, hopefully we will get to return one day."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Erongo Wilderness Lodge

Erongo Wilderness Lodge

"Erongo Wilderness Lodge review"

1 night Arrived 9 Jun 2009
"Because of Namibian Airways terminating our originally booked return flight to Gatwick we ended up only having one night here instead of the two we intended and one night was certainly not enough. We really liked the location and the rooms and food and service were all excellent.

Because of our shortage of time we weren't able to do any of the guided or self-guided walks which we would have liked to do and which were included in the cost of our stay. We would certainly recommend this Lodge to others especially if you enjoy self-guided walks and would suggest 3 nights would not be too long if it fitted one's schedule."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

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