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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs P from New Jersey

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

7

Excursions taken

0

My Apr 2021 trip

Namibia between 14 Apr 2021 and 30 Apr 2021

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had an excellent trip to Namibia with the assistance of Expert Africa.

We were fortunate to time our trip right in the middle of COVID waves and found Namibia to be operating largely as normal. Cities such as Swakop were quite strict on safety protocols. The remote camps were a bit more lax. But we found a self drive as a great way to vacation during the pandemic and were lucky to have many of the camps to ourselves with a full staff serving us.

Many thanks to Maruska for her excellent recommendations and her flexibility in dealing with passport issues - she truly went above and beyond. The highlight of our trip was the drive from Swakop up to Damaraland and through the Skeleton Coast park.

Self driving is an absolute must in Namibia!"

Arranged By Maruska Adye-Rowe


Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

"Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch review"

1 night Arrived 17 Apr 2021
"We stayed 1 night at Bagatelle on our way to Sesriem, and Bagatelle was our least favorite lodge of our trip through Namibia. This is a good, non-luxury stop if you are transiting through the area but wouldn't recommend it for more than one night maximum.

The chalet rooms have great deck views overlooking the red Kalahari dunes and a small manmade watering hole. The atmosphere is very casual and relaxed. However the room interiors are very basically equipped and in need of renovation (e.g., mosquito nets do not cover the bed, shower tile grout is almost black with age, window screens had holes).

The main building and attached boma/breakfast patio is very nicely decorated and it is easy to walk unaccompanied between the main building and chalet rooms at all hours of the day. Golf carts are available if needed. Hand sanitizer stations were positioned through the main building during our stay in April 2021, but Covid protocols were very relaxed and not enforced despite "wear masks inside" signs being posted on lobby doors. Most guests ignored any mask-wearing or social distancing guidelines. Dinner was plated and average-to-good quality, served at isolated tables in the main building's boma. Breakfast was buffet with optional hot menu options (eggs, sausage, etc) to order. For those needing to stay connected: there is spotty MTC mobile connectivity in the rooms but no wifi. Wifi is available but extremely slow in the main building only.

The staff and family/owners were all exceptionally friendly and accommodating. The ranch is a family-run establishment and while it houses a lot of different animals (horses, cheetah, 2 white rhino, sable antelope, wildebeest, oryx, giraffe, eland), the ranch feels more like a petting zoo than a conservation reserve. We paid the separate charge upon arrival for a sunset game, which was a shared vehicle with another couple. Most of it was spent driving around the fenced property with the guide calling out the prices paid for each animal. Enjoyable for sundowners but felt like a zoo, which was disappointing.

Overall we did not find Bagatelle to be a good value. It underwhelmed in many areas (room interiors, food, zoo atmosphere) to justify the room rates compared to other lodges throughout Namibia. Will look to stay elsewhere if we return to the area."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Dead Valley Lodge

Dead Valley Lodge

"Dead Valley Lodge review"

1 night Arrived 18 Apr 2021
"Dead Valley Lodge was (unexpectedly!) one of our favorite lodges of our trip through Namibia. This is an excellent pit stop for Sossusvlei with the lodge's convenient location inside the Sesriem Gate, which afforded us early morning access to climb Big Daddy and photograph Deadvlei at sunrise. We stayed 1 night on our way from Kalahari to NamibRand Reserve. Looking back, we should have stayed longer at Dead Valley to explore the Sesriem/Sossusvlei area and cut back our 3-4 days in NamibRand. This location and landscape is more stunning.

We were greeted upon arrival by staff wearing masks and check-in was quick and seamless. The staff were very friendly and helpful in arranging "to-go" packed lunches for our early morning drive into Sossusvlei. Dinner was a braai of salad and multiple game meats (oryx, zebra, blue wildebeest, etc.), served buffet-style in the main building. Masks were not worn by staff or guests at dinner, and tables were arranged very close together--which was the only time we felt possibly exposed to Covid during our stay.

We were most impressed with the tented rooms at Dead Valley, which are luxury by Namibia standards. They look very underwhelming from the outside, but they are well-appointed inside with separate bedroom/bathroom tents and a beautiful design that incorporates natural desert wood elements throughout the space. Wifi is available in both the rooms and main building (the fastest we encountered outside Swakopmund) but connectivity can be spotty at times, based on weather or approaching storms.

Overall we were impressed with Dead Valley, especially for its convenient location, well-appointed rooms, and wifi connection. Would absolutely recommend and stay again next time we are in the area!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Kwessi Dunes

Kwessi Dunes

"Kwessi Dunes review"

2 nights Arrived 19 Apr 2021
"Excellent camp - great service and food. Quad biking through the dunes a highlight. Team was eager to please.

Rooms a bit too polished for our liking but sparkling clean and new.

2 nights was perfect."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Strand Hotel

Strand Hotel

"Strand Hotel review"

2 nights Arrived 21 Apr 2021
"Great stay to break up time in the bush.

Hotel has all the creature comforts and lightning fast wifi.

Staff were great, restaurants very good."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Damaraland Camp

Damaraland Camp

"Damaraland Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 23 Apr 2021
"We had a good stay at Damaraland camp.

The location is stunning. Rooms very basic.

Food was a lowlight.

Boma setting was exceptional but food quality for really all of the meals fell short. Guiding very good.

Staff very friendly and personable."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Poor
Facilities
Good
Hoanib Valley Camp

Hoanib Valley Camp

"Hoanib Valley Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 25 Apr 2021
"Absolutely spectacular setting - this camp is very unique.

Staff were outstanding. Food was good, not great.

Rooms closer together than expected - recommend requesting a room far away from the generator and mess tent.

This is a really special place."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Safarihoek Lodge

Safarihoek Lodge

"Safarihoek Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 28 Apr 2021
"Staff were the highlight here. Guiding was by far the best we had in Namibia.

Very convenient location and great view from rooms overlooking watering hole. Good value property though the rooms and main lodge felt quite sterile.

Some outstanding Rhino viewing very close to the lodge.

Etosha heights is not the greatest landscape but allows for excellent game viewing."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Average
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Average

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