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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs M from Chiswick

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

7

Excursions taken

0

Amazing country, excellent holiday

Namibia between 27 Mar 2017 and 12 Apr 2017

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had long wanted to visit Namibia, and it exceeded all our expectations. The tourism offer is really strong and the people we met at all our destinations were friendly and charming, as well as the people we encountered in the wider community. It rivals Costa Rica as one of the friendliest countries we have ever visited. The wildlife (we are close to safari novices) was all that we hoped for, and our three children (aged 13, 9 and 3) really enjoyed their encounters too, and exploring the camps we stayed at. Our children are well travelled and survived the long drives largely - but not always - in good humour. We met other families with younger children who also seemed to be coping, and frankly Namibia is only going to attract those families who have already travelled fairly widely anyway.
Expert Africa organised a great itinerary for us in the time available (we booked with only 2 months to go and should have booked earlier), and we met a safari travel industry consultant whilst in Namibia who only had words of praise for the company, and in particular its commercial independence compared with many operators, who are often incentivised to recommend some destinations over others. This was very good to hear, as the travel industry is opaque and it is often impossible for clients to tell which agency has incentives with which locations, and therefore may be making recommendations more in their own interest than in those of the client. The level of detailed information provided on the Expert Africa website is also extremely helpful in terms of making choices.
We would recommend Namibia to anyone who will listen. For those who are widely travelled, this is a destination that will surprise and delight, especially if you love wide open, remote and stunning deserts and mountains, and don't mind driving 4-6 hours each time you relocate. (If you don't have time for such journeys you better fly but you will miss out on the sense of vastness that driving provides.)
Next time we would want to explore up into the far north west to see the Skeleton Coast sand dunes in all their glory.
Finally, we mislaid a couple of items during the trip and the London team were helpful in contacting camps to see if our possessions could be relocated. In the end the camps themselves located them and we hope our missing items will arrive shortly!"

Arranged By Tom Morris


Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Plains Camp

"Wonderful place to see wild cats"

2 nights Arrived 27 Mar 2017
"Staff are charming and the accommodation was super comfortable, large and airy. Would recommend two or three nights, depending on how fast you like to see things before moving on - there's a good pool area and you might want to relax a bit, especially if it is the first or last stop before Windhoek. We loved seeing the cats and in particular tracking and finding the leopards.
However we came away with a big question: does the 'business model' here actually work? We were told that they had lost 12 of 15 cheetahs last year, most of them to leopards. If this is the case, then clearly leopards and cheetahs can't and don't co-exist. So what is the point of attempting to rehabilitate cheetahs if they then become leopard food? We were told that it had proved difficult to relocate animals of either species and this really did lave us wondering if the whole thesis of the camp was badly founded - much as we loved it, we didn't feel like contributing extra money because it seemed to us that the rehabilitation work simply wasn't working. We were told that attempts had been made to neuter female leopards in order to reduce their estimated population of around 35 - but the male leopards had then killed the two neutered female, for reasons unclear. We heard that the next plan was to clear two thirds of the reserve in order to create a landscape more suitable for cheetahs - but we couldn't help wondering if this would work, and if it doesn't - what then?"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Mushara Bush Camp

Mushara Bush Camp

"Comfortable stopover just outside Etosha"

2 nights Arrived 29 Mar 2017
"Mushara offers a lovely setting some 20km outside Etosha park, with a thatched main building and tented rooms lying off a path that meanders through the bush. There is a comfortable pool area for relaxing, and wild animals sometimes wander through the grounds.
However, unlike many camps, there are no views to be had. What's more the front desk service was so laid back as to be almost invisible. On arrival there was a gentle attempt to sell us a guided tour in the park, but we declined and were unsure whether in fact the camp would have provided it or contracted it out. Of the six camps we stayed at, this was one of the two that were least 'must do', simply because it lacks views or other activities. If I were going again, I would investigate alternatives that might have a bit more 'energy' and be closer to the Park itself, and that offer what looks like a convincing guided tour.
Chris' Bradt guide book says most people self-drive in the park but our experience was that it was hard to find animals after an unusually wet rainy season, and hard to spot them as we drove through; we wondered if in fact staying within the park (in order to be able to make an earlier start before the gates open) and using a guided tour would have been a better bet."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Image alt

Anderssons Camp, Namibia (this camp has since closed)

"Exceptional camp close to Etosha, loved it"

3 nights Arrived 31 Mar 2017
"Ongave Reserve, right outside the southern gate to Etosha, is something special. The staff at the Camp were all charming and the food, setting and ambience were excellent. We loved seeing the elephants, and the guided tour of the reserve his highly recommended. If you only have time for one tour, we would do the reserve instead of Etosha Park, as we saw more animals in less time.
The fact that the Camp is to close at the end of this year for remodelling into a higher luxury camp should not put anyone off - the staff were excited about the future plans of the owner and the camp continues to function at 100%.

The one thing that could be improved is the hide - the door is noisy and the floorboards of the seated area squeak loudly so it is impossible to enter or sits quietly without disturbing the animals at the waterhole just outside. Which of course negates the whole point. Recommend some early acton here to resolve this issue."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Doro Nawas

Doro Nawas

"What an amazing location"

2 nights Arrived 3 Apr 2017
"We've never stayed anywhere like this and may never again. An extraordinary location deep in the desert plains and mountains, far from anywhere, with stunning views and a real sense of being in another world. The rooms are comfortable and you can sleep out under the stars, though there are a few mosquitoes, whatever the staff might tell you that there are not! So slap on some mosquito cream before bed, and enjoy watching the Millky Way in all its glory. The staff were friendly and we loved the singing to welcome us and at the dinner that they do out in the bush - a real treat. The desert elephant viewing is also well worthwhile - best go for the morning one when the animals armoire curious - they came right up to our vehicle, trunks almost inside!
There are two routes to and from Swakop - we debated for a couple of days which to take and eventually opted for the longer Skeleton Coast route. If you go that way, be sure to turn right at the coast for a few miles just to make sure you go far enough to see the endless sand dunes. It's only about 10km to the end of the road, though we didn't go all the way - the park staff had told us the road was closed though we had decided to ignore their advice not to go that way. But make sure you feel comfortable with any sand you might encounter, don't take risks. There are NO dunes once you go south, it turns to (amazingly remote) endless gravel plains with distant mountains.
We were told the inland route between Swakop the Doro Nawas region is just as good, if you are short of time. the Skeleton Coast road took us nine hours including stops - not to be under-estimated. But worth it."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Strand Hotel

Strand Hotel

"An oasis of comfort - but lacking local feel"

3 nights Arrived 5 Apr 2017
"Arriving at the Hotel after a nine hour drive down the Skeleton Coast and 10 days in the bush was something of a shock - we walked dishevelled into an air-conditioned marble clad reception and suddenly found we were in an international standard hotel. And that's the problem - we didn't want to be in an international hotel, we wanted to continue to feel we were fully in Africa. So we would have preferred something more local and authentic. Having said that, reception sorted out a room problem and our rooms were very comfortable and the staff helpful and the breakfast excellent. Signage to the adjoins Ocean restaurant is inadequate - we wandered out of the hotel into the evening darkness and spent serval minutes trying to find it. A sign outside the door would have been helpful! Also there is no pool. unlike in all the camps we stayed in. And the wifi didn't work for most of our three night stay - bizarre given that it had worked better in some very remote places

We thought Swakop was well over-rated - examples of German colonial architecture are few and far between and otherwise it is simply an unremarkable, useful 'administrative' stop over - we had a camera that needed maintenance, an infected leg that needed a doctor, and a puncture to repair. But I would keep any stopover to two nights - enough to do the Walvis Bay tour and the quad biking / sandboarding adventure, which our kids loved - and then get back out into the real remote Namibia again."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Activities
Average
Desert Homestead Outpost

Desert Homestead Outpost

"Desert Homestead Outpost review"

2 nights Arrived 8 Apr 2017
"Another remote location with stunning views across the desert, though with binoculars you can pick out distant animals barely visible to the naked eye. the riding is good, though based at the Homestead Camp which is nearer to the road, so a 10 minute drive back down the track to get there. And having visited both sites, we preferred the great remoteness and better views of the Outpost. The Homestead has a large hill between you and the sunset, and on our visit seemed to be attracting larger minibus groups of clientele, compared with the family / couples clientele of the Outpost.
Sleeping out under the stars can be done on small platforms above the tented cabins, and the small pool area is comfortable and welcoming. Lovely spot."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

"Bit of a 'filler' in our itinerary "

2 nights Arrived 10 Apr 2017
"This was our lasts to and a bit of a filler in our itinerary, as we booked quite late and had been unable to get into another camp that we wanted to stay at. The staff were friendly but the young white woman who we took to be the owner - or at least was managing the staff - was only interested in them and not in any contact with the clientele, which seemed odd. What's more, while most of the staff were smartly dressed, an older white male, who seemed to function both as a guide and odd job man, was as scruffily dressed as you can imagine and definitely gave off a totally wrong image. Give the man a uniform and tell him to wear it! Another odd experience was that we booked a cheetah feeding tour (half an hour, two cheetahs and five minutes of action, not worth the money) but the guide wasn't around as we arrived too late! Went again the following night. So overall definitely a bit hit and miss on the staffing front, with more consistency needed
This part of the Kalahari seemed in no way like a desert during our visit, which was shortly after an unusually wet rainy season. It was more like prairie grassland. However the riding was excellent for the experienced riders in our family, and they were very happy with that.
Rooms are pretty basic and not up to the standard of other camps we stayed at. However the food, especially dinner, was excellent
to sum up. like the curate's egg, good in parts. But this isn't the most exciting part of Namibia we saw, and this location is probably best as an overnight stopover, or two nights at most."
Average
Location
Average
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good

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