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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by J&J from Plockton

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

12

Excursions taken

1

Good introduction to Namibia

Namibia between 4 Oct 2019 and 29 Oct 2019

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had an excellent trip. But, like a previous reviewer, we would have enjoyed it more with a better vehicle. EA recommend a Renault Duster as being 4-wheel drive and adequate for the Namibian roads. While 4-wheel drive is occasionally useful, the Duster has standard tyres and in some places more rubber is definitely needed. The roads round Sesriem and in Damaraland are considerably worse than in other parts we visited and we would recommend anyone visiting these areas to pick a Toyota hi-lux. See our comments on Bidvest for more details.

Our second disappointment was the amount of electric light we experienced. Nearly every lodge had path lights which stayed on all night, ruining the view of the sky, and in some cases our sleep. We were used to little light and Tilley lamps on previous visits to Africa and this came as a shock. Tok Tokkie and Mundulea were a relief from this. In some places the lights were behind the tent/room but at Erongo we had to resort to removing lightbulbs from the path outside to allow us to sleep. At Ongava, the waterhole light shone directly into our room. We are very saddened that lodges feel this amount of light is necessary.

EA often states that when on half board “drinks are extra”. Most of the lodges we stayed on half board included 2 large glasses of house wine per person each night. Sundowners were extra.

We stayed at 3 Wilderness Safaris lodges and got to know their dining style. Everywhere else game was often the meat provided, at Wilderness it was regularly basic beef, pork or chicken which was quite uninteresting. They also had an obsession with hot plates, which at 30C seemed unnecessary.

It was very nice to receive a recent copy of the Namibia guidebook in August. This was hardly opened before our trip and still fell apart before we got to Etosha. A large number of pages fell out somewhere which meant that we didn't have the information about Etosha that we wanted. We also had with us a 30 year old bird book with all its pages intact. It's a shame Bradt can't make their books a little more robust.

We were told that using toilets at petrol stations could not be recommended. We carefully took a trowel and a roll of paper with us. This was completely unnecessary as every toilet we visited was spotless."

Feedback response

We are sorry these travellers felt they would have enjoyed their trip more in a 'better' vehicle. This vehicle group is by far the most popular amongst our travellers to Namibia, but we alway offer upgrade options and would encourage all travellers to fully consider these prior to booking.

We have passed the comments on electrical lighting to the suppliers in Africa. In general the lighting is switched off after the last guests have gone to bed, although there are sometimes exceptions to this.


Eningu Clayhouse

Eningu Clayhouse

"Delightful place to start our Namibian Trip"

1 night Arrived 5 Oct 2019
"Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Pool was welcome, if a bit chilly. The walks are a pleasant way to spend some time, although we didn't see very much. We had better luck after dark, from the hide, where we saw a pair of steenbok visiting the waterhole.

Bettina is a charming host, and was happy to chat and talk about the farm. Food was excellent."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge

Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge

"Pleasant for a stop-over"

1 night Arrived 6 Oct 2019
"Chalets are very comfortable, particularly as we were upgraded to the "honeymoon suite". This comes with its own private pool, which caused us some angst considering the prevalent drought conditions, but not enough to stop us enjoying it. The chalets are well spaced, which gives good privacy, but be prepared for quite a long walk to the central dining area.

When we arrived we were told that the evening drives were already full. This wasn't really an issue for us, but corroborates EA comments on the site. Instead, we chose to follow the 1 hour ("Red Dam") walk, where we saw Wildebeest, Zebra and Oryx at the dam. In places the trail was not well marked, and we ended up navigating by dead reckoning.

The staff are very pleasant, but slightly less personal than at some of the smaller lodges we stayed at later. Food was very good, with a good wine list. Overall, a pleasant place to spend a night, but with a rather artificial feel, not a lodge that we would want to stay longer at."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Poor
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Tok Tokkie Trails

Tok Tokkie Trails

"Superb nights under the stars"

2 nights Arrived 7 Oct 2019
"The experience starts with a trip to the NADEET centre, which provides an interesting and thought-provoking view of the environmental footprint that it is possible to live on. After that, the first days walk was about 1.5 hours of easy uphill going, to a camp set-up amongst the dunes. Beautiful sun-downer view to the east, followed by a superb meal created by cook, Belinda, and general helper, Willie.

We found the camp beds and bed-rolls to be extremely comfortable and warm. We were woken at day-break with a welcome cup of tea/coffee (and offers to take photos) followed by substantial breakfast.

The second day started with a 4-5 hour walk over a hill pass (where it was nice to be walking on solid ground, not just sand) with stops to learn about the desert environment and small creatures, to finish at a desert shelter complete with social weavers, deck-chairs and lunch.

The afternoon was a 1.5 hour walk to the second camp amongst the dunes. The second evening was particularly convivial as we had got to know our companions and guide, Ricardo, better. The only down-side on our second night was the wind which had increased uncomfortably. However, it was still possible to hunker down in the bed-rolls to get to sleep. The sky was clear both nights, but due to a nearly full moon the stars were a bit obscured. It would have been better at new moon.

The final days walk was fairly short and somewhat anti-climatic, arriving back at the starting point at about 9.30.

Overall, this is a fantastic experience of the Namib desert, and certainly not to be missed if you enjoy walking and an outdoor experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Kulala Desert Lodge

Kulala Desert Lodge

"Excellent “Back Door” to Sossusvlei"

2 nights Arrived 9 Oct 2019
"The kulalas are well designed for the desert environment: the bathroom is a mud-brick building which absorbs the suns heat so well that it is still beautifully warm the following morning. Meanwhile the attached bedroom, in canvas, is light and breezy, which is fine except when there is a sand storm, as we found out on our first evening. This would not have been too bad, except that the beds had been "turned down" during dinner, at the height of the storm, and the window covers left open. The bedding was covered in a thin layer of dust, which we had to shake off and remake the beds; a bit more foresight by management might have avoided this.

The sand storm was still raging the following morning, but this then highlighted the advantage of staying at this lodge. Although we had booked the morning trip to Sossusvlei, we had been expecting that this might be cancelled. However, our guide, Alfred, assured us that it was "good to go". And so it was. Starting early, we made it to Deadvlei, which was quite an eerie experience in the storm. By the time we got back to Sossusvlei, the storm had worsened, and we learnt later that many tours had only got that far before turning back. For us, it was really worth staying at Kulala for its private gate. The only downside of the experience was that the zoom function of one of our compact cameras stopped working, because of sand in the mechanism - photographers beware!

The Sesriem Canyon trip, which we joined in the evening, was not really worth it. Alfred, our guide, was entertaining enough, but if you have your own vehicle, then it is easy to get there and you won't miss much by doing it yourself.

Food at Kulala was OK, but some of the meat courses unimaginative; vegetarian options rather better. The house wine (2 glasses included in D, B&B) was very reasonable.

Checkout was a somewhat chaotic affair, as we had to wait for bar accounts to be sorted; and the promised help with our luggage never materialised. Overall our impression was favourable, but with a few "niggles"."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Image alt

Own arrangements at Beach Lodge in Swakopmund

"Peaceful hotel with great restaurant "

3 nights Arrived 11 Oct 2019
"We booked a room at Beach Lodge ourselves as EA could not do so. This may have been because the only room available was a family room.

The room was on the ground floor, very comfortable with a sea view. The only issue was the bright lights in the hall and also outside the bathroom window. Because of glass in the doors this could have made sleeping difficult. We had to "block up" the bathroom window and turn off the hall light (which fortunately did not get turned back on).

We had dinner in the restaurant “The Wreck” on our first night and it was one of the best meals on our trip. I booked a couple of months before and we had a nice window table. The restaurant staff were very helpful in explaining the menu. Breakfast here was very good and on our last morning we ate while watching dolphins frolicking in he surf.

The bar & restaurant are closed on Sunday so stock up your in-room fridge if you want a drink that day."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Average
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Coast and Sandwich Harbour

Coast and Sandwich Harbour

"Adult Roller Coaster"

12 Oct 2019 • All-day excursion

We were collected from our hotel promptly at 8.30am. We were delayed getting to Walvis bay due to an election rally which was a shame. Having picked up other participants we headed out south of Walvis Bay.

The trip was exhilarating both on the outward journey and the return, driving between the dunes and the sea. The skill shown by our driver, Rudi, was impressive. Sadly, due to the tides, we only had a very brief time at the mouth of Sandwich Harbour. I would have loved longer, and time to walk further into the Harbour, as the views were beautiful. Rudi made up for this by a roller-coaster trip through the dunes on the return. We stopped both ways to admire the wildlife; flamingos, pelicans, terns, jackals, lizards, seals, and numerous other birds.

We returned to the first part of the trip (not requiring 4 wheel drive skills) the following day to enjoy the bird watching again.

We would thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone visiting Swakopmund/Walvis Bay.
Excellent
Doro Nawas

Doro Nawas

"Good Damaraland base"

2 nights Arrived 14 Oct 2019
"We arrived quite late owing to a flat tyre, and check-in was slightly haphazard, with a wait while staff were assembled to welcome us. All we really wanted was a cold beer! Nonetheless, staff were extremely friendly and helpful.

The lodge is in a spectacular setting, and the individual chalets are spacious and comfortable, although the dark wall finish gives them a sombre feeling which may not be to everyones's taste. The central dining/seating area is well designed so that even though it can be quite windy there is always somewhere sheltered.

The "bush dinner" on the first night was perhaps a bit of a strained affair. This was the only place, apart from Halali, where we encountered a large tour group which resulted in a small arbitrary choice of dinner companions. It seems that this event is a regular occurrence, which again may not be to everyone's preference. The meal itself, and the more conventional arrangement the following night, were however perfectly good.

On our morning game drive we found several groups of desert-adapted elephants, and were able to spend a good amount of time with them. Other sightings include giraffe and oryx. This was a very worthwhile activity, and a highlight of our stay here.

As we needed to get a new tyre, we did not participate in any other organised activity, but just managed to get enough time to visit the Twyfelfontein archaeological site - worth it, but very crowded.

Overall a very pleasant stay, with great staff."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Desert Rhino Camp

Desert Rhino Camp

"Remote comfort"

3 nights Arrived 16 Oct 2019
"This camp, of all the places we stayed in Namibia, has a truly remote feeling, which was one of its major highlights. At no point during our stay and activities, did we see any other sign of human occupation. Which makes it all the more sad that path lights are on all night, and we also had to ask for the electrical generator to be turned off on the first night. At least we could then hear the hyenas calling outside the tent later that night! Another highlight.

Another highlight is of course the rhino-tracking. We had had previous experience of tracking black rhino on foot some 30 years earlier, but it was still thrilling to have the opportunity once again, even though this time it was a much more organised, almost choreographed, encounter. As we were staying two days we had two Rhino hunts, and were successful on both occasions. However, it was sad to see Rhinos dehorned for their own protection. Something that not all Namibian guides appear to agree with.

There was a water shortage during our stay, and water was actually being brought in by tanker. We are unhappy that camps in such dry places feel it necessary to have flush toilets.

The camp itself is well laid out, with comfortable tents, and a pleasant central eating/sitting area. The staff were all extremely friendly and helpful, and gave us a great sung farewell when we left."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Ongava Lodge

Ongava Lodge

"Good Lodge with superb staff"

2 nights Arrived 19 Oct 2019
"The best thing about this lodge was the manager we met - Adriano. He advised us not to do their own morning tour into Etosha but to drive ourselves. He was right, and it was refreshing to meet someone who wanted us to enjoy our stay and not ensure that we spent more. For that reason alone I would recommend Ongava. It is a very upmarket lodge, directly outside Andersson gate, which makes access very easy. As recommended we drove ourselves into Etosha and had a fabulous morning.

In the evening we did the local Ongava game drive. They obviously know where the game is and we saw the local lion pride and several white rhinos.

The food was excellent. At dinner they were good at handling my lactose free needs.

The rooms were very comfortable and the wildlife walks past your balcony.

They insist on walking you to your room at night, but our guide said he’d never used the gun he carried.

The only downside was the light illuminating the waterhole. This stayed on all night, and shone into our room which made sleeping difficult. It is a shame that they can't turn it off after guests have gone to bed."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Halali Camp

Halali Camp

"Surprisingly good"

1 night Arrived 21 Oct 2019
"We got the impression from EA that Halali was not of a standard that they would recommend. It was great. The cabin had a living room with kettle and sink, a good bathroom and a comfy bedroom.

It was excellent to be able to sit by a nearby waterhole until 6.30pm before getting back to the camp when the gates shut at 7pm.

The dinner in the only restaurant was one of the best we had on our trip. A starter of tasty little vegetable samosas with salad, followed by extremely tender springbok fillets. The cheerful chef was superb at cooking these to perfection.

We had breakfast at 6am, with omelettes cooked as requested, before checking out at 6.30am which was the earliest possible.

Check-in involved paying a deposit, which we were informed was “for the key”. It was returned immediately when we checked out. There was no suggestion of checking an inventory."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Average
Facilities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Mundulea Reserve

Mundulea Reserve

"Africa as we remember it"

3 nights Arrived 22 Oct 2019
"Mundulea is a bush camp from a classic mould - something that seems to be increasingly rare these days. No swimming pool, no electric path lights, no Wi-Fi, no sun-downer game drives - just a low impact camp nestled up to a waterhole. Nonetheless, the tents were as comfortable as any we stayed at; and Tommy’s bush kitchen served up meals just as good as any luxury lodge.

We were exceptionally privileged to be the only guests staying at Mundulea when we visited. Bruno is a quite fascinating host with seemingly several lifetime's wealth of experience, but it is perhaps his work at Mundulea that commands the most attention. As he will freely admit, the reserve is all about the wildlife and not the tourists. Appreciating this holds the key to enjoying one's stay. Nonetheless, when we expressed disappointment that we had not yet seen eland during our Namibia trip, Bruno was able to lead us on a walk, tracking a mother and calf to the point where we managed to get a good clear view.

Other walks covered all four compass points from the camp, during which we came to understand how the fundamental basis of the re-wilding project lies in restoring the balance of the vegetation in the reserve. A particularly enjoyable walk was to the top of nearby hills, from which it is possible to appreciate the true scale of the project that Bruno is undertaking. Evenings were spent in interesting and far-ranging conversation with Bruno.

If you like walking, and are happy that you may only glimpse wildlife while you are doing so, then walks with Bruno are fascinating and educational.

This was definitely the highlight of our Namibian trip."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Plains Camp

"Motel with leopards"

1 night Arrived 25 Oct 2019
"We only visited here as we could not go directly to our next destination.

Everything is on a grand scale; the rooms are huge, the dining room is huge, the distance between is huge - we had to drive between them.

The camp itself is in a central area within the reserve. The central area has some wildlife but nothing considered dangerous. It was nice to lie in bed with a view of animals from the picture window at the foot of the bed.

We went on a leopard viewing trip and did see a leopard. But, viewing a collared leopard in an enclosed reserve felt more like visiting a zoo."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Average
Activities
Average
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Average
Erongo Wilderness Lodge

Erongo Wilderness Lodge

"Nice place to wind down"

2 nights Arrived 26 Oct 2019
"This was one place we used 4 wheel drive. The car park below the lodge was totally deserted so there appeared to be no option. The staff rushed up at the top and apologised profusely, saying that someone should have been at the bottom. If you have 4 wheel drive it’s no problem going up and down.

We had the “honeymoon suite” which was the furthest tent from the main lodge, but came with a spectacular view down to the plains. The tents are very well laid out and the external bathroom is excellent.

The evening and morning walks, conducted by Deon and Cardo were easy and enjoyable. The small pool was enjoyable during the hot afternoon. The local walks are easy to do on your own and are very well signposted.

We were a bit unhappy to see the management (universally white) standing around while the workers (universally not) rushed about serving guests. This was made worse after our first dinner when we were asked by a manager how it was and I said that the meat was over cooked and dry. The following day several of the staff came to check that the menu was ok, and my food was ok. While I believe their concern was genuine, I also felt that they had been ticked off which made me very uncomfortable.
They were, however, excellent at handling my lactose intolerance.

The wine list was very good, and we had the nicest bottle all trip here."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Good

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