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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs R from Berkeley

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

12

Excursions taken

2

What a wonderful country

Namibia between 27 Jul 2010 and 23 Aug 2010

Trip rating: Excellent
"We loved it, with very few exceptions. It was a joy to discover that we could drive ourselves around this huge African Country and feel safe, and welcome everywhere.

The scenary is just vast, diverse, unspoilt and stunning. Wildlife abounds and offers exceptional viewing. We saw many animals that we hoped to see as well as an amazing variety of birds.

The accomodation was generally of an excellent standard which considering the remoteness of some lodges was a credit to all concerned.

The staff on the whole were friendly and helpful .

The locals were friendly and didn't hassle us - do wave at them as you go by! We did give some people lifts but there is conflicting advice about this. The Bradt guide suggests that it is normal and very much appreciated but written advice from the car hire company suggests that this is a dangerous practice and should not happen.

Don't underestimate distances nor the quality of some of the roads which both can make journeys very tiring.

Internet and mobile phone access was patchy to say the least so don't expect to be able to communicate home etc. We also posted letters etc most of which have yet to arrive home after well over a month!

Our actual itinerary seemed to work well with 2/3 nights at each place, as you need to have some "down" time from driving and to enjoy relaxing at the lodges etc. If we had to do the same again we would have three nights at Canyon Lodge, only two nights in Swakopmund and three nights at Okonjima. We may also have decided to drive from Okonjima to the airport for an afternoon flight - thus missing out Windhoek altogether.

We hope to return.....the Caprivi Strip beckons plus a return visit to Okonjima!

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

We have found Expert Africa very professional and very helpful. The website is simply excellent and even this feedback form impressive.
We strongly recommend that Tracey or someone visits Camp Kipwe and Mushara Bush Camp (we don't believe you have been to these places) to see for yourselves how lovely these places are.

Keep up the excellent work and we will highly recommend you to anyone we know wishing to visit Africa. We know who to turn to for our next African trip!

Thanks."

Feedback response

We pride ourselves on the fact we have visited pretty much all lodges that we sell, however sometimes, with new lodges, it can take a bit of time before we have someone travelling through the area.

Chris McIntyre briefly visited Mushara Bush Camp at the end of last year, and agrees that it is a super little lodge. Also two of our Namibia specialists will be staying at Mushara Bush Camp this autumn, one of whom will also be staying at Camp Kipwe.

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

"Great introduction to Namibia"

2 nights Arrived 28 Jul 2010
"Plus; - Where else can you sit around the pool in the heat of the afternoon with a tame springbok nibbling grass right beside you!
Lovely ranch. Dune chalet really nice with a fabulous view across the dunes and the waterhole.

Excellent game drive into the local reserve.

Negatives: - As a first stop from the airport (midday landing), it is a long way and we only just made it before sundown. If there had been delays we would have had a problem driving in the dark on strange roads in a strange car. The location itself is lovely.

Cheetah drive takes you inside the enclosure which is only metres from the ranch. We were only "inside" for 10 minutes and saw little more than through the wire fence. At £15 each - not very good value."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Average
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Canyon Lodge

Canyon Lodge

"Impressive lodge design in stunning location"

2 nights Arrived 30 Jul 2010
"A real oasis after a long hot dusty drive - our first real introduction to gravel roads. The "garden" is lovely. Friendly "happy" staff, excellent food - straight from their farm - very impressed (especially the grapefruit juice - delicious!).

Extraordinary setting amongst the boulders with chalets built ingeniously around the rocks. Fabulous views at sunset both from the lodge and the swimming pool.

Fish River Canyon fantastic and easily accessible from the lodge. Would recommend that three nights would allow time to visit the Canyon, the farm and Ai-Ais in the south without lots of difficult driving. We stayed two nights and wished we had stayed a third as we had to miss out the farm visit.

We didn't use any activities organised by the lodge e.g. Canyon Visit, horse riding etc."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Desert Horse Inn

Desert Horse Inn

"Wild West Movie Set!"

3 nights Arrived 1 Aug 2010
"This is like a wild west movie set complete with the fantastic wild horses nearby. Three nights here were ideal, especially after the long drive from Fish River Canyon (Canyon lodge). We used the southern C13 route so that we could visit Ai-Ais en-route (Ai-Ais accomdation and campsite has largely been re-built recently) and for the dramatic scenery. However this route is long and in parts quite difficult, (if it wasn't for the clear directions in the Bradt guide it would have been easy to have taken a wrong turn - so well done Bradt guide!). Even so the decision to use the C13 route was well worth it.

Everyone very helpful and they make you feel at home, e.g allowed to use the internet which is not possible in most places. Standard rooms are spacious but functional at best.

Long awaited swimming pool is still not built.

First day there we relaxed and the farm dogs took us for a lovely walk!. Aus Visitor's Centre well worth a visit as were the wild desert horses (don't panic when they lick the flies off the front of your car!)

Second day we were booked onto the "Sedina" - a trip out of Luderitz to visit penguins, flamingos and seals. This trip is advertised widely as being a great experience. However, Gunther (page 228 Bradt Guide) no longer owns the Sedina and the trip was disappointing. It lasted only two hours with little commentary and served as little more than transport. At £30 each it was not good value.

Diaz Point near Ludertiz an interesting area (you can see the penguins, seals and flamingos without the £30 price tag!), but the remote cafe did not provide a wam welcome - owner a bit offhand."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Sossusvlei Lodge

Sossusvlei Lodge

"A Great Base for Sossusvlei"

1 night Arrived 4 Aug 2010
"A local mix-up over our booking at Desert Camp resulted in us being quickly and efficiently upgraded to one night at Sossusvlei Lodge and 2 nights at the sumptuous Little Kulala Lodge.

Sossusvlei Lodge is very well appointed with individual rooms overlooking the sand dunes and in some cases (ours included) the waterhole. The food was very good and plentiful with meat and fish grilled to your taste while you waited. There is a climbable tower with superb views over the whole area and as it is only a short distance to the entrance to the Namib- Naukluft Park it is very convenient for an early morning trip to Sossusvlei.

Overall the ambience and service at both lodges made our stay in the Sossusvlei area an unforgettable experience."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Little Kulala

Little Kulala

"Luxury in the desert"

2 nights Arrived 5 Aug 2010
"A local mix-up over our booking at Desert Camp resulted in us being quickly and efficiently upgraded to one night at Sossusvlei Lodge and 2 nights at the sumptuous Little Kulala Lodge.

Little Kulala is in another league in terms of luxury and service. There were 29 staff for 24 (max) guests. The rooms were simply superb with their own plunge pools and the facility to 'sleep under the stars' on the roof. Little Kulala also has it's own entrance to the park thus avoiding the need to travel 30 kms back to Sesriem Richard, our guide for the whole stay, couldn't have done more, but the same could be said for all the staff who took a real pride in their lodge. The sunset over the desert dunes was an image that will stay with us for a very long time. The food at LKL was well presented and delicious but without the level of choice that might have been expected at such a superb place. If you were full-board everything was included. If, like us you were half-board it was difficult to find out what was and was not included and nowhere were the prices for activities, drinks from the bar or other 'extras' written down......we guess that in such a lovely and expensive place it was assumed that no-one would need to ask. Even so, our stay at Little Kulala Lodge was an unforgettable experience.

Overall the ambience and service at both lodges made our stay in the Sossusvlei area an unforgettable experience."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Sam's Giardino

Sam's Giardino

"Beethoven - Public Relations Manager!"

3 nights Arrived 7 Aug 2010
"Nice B & B - very relaxing. Sam very helpful and likes to chat. Good food and wine makes for a relaxing "evening in". Beethoven - 9 month old "bear of a dog" squashes your feet, has a big doggy lean and likes walking boots!

We stayed three nights here however we felt Swakopmund only warrants a two night stay. We only stayed three nights to accomodate previously booked trips - only one of which we felt lived up to expectations. See later for detailed comments on these trips.

We were unfortunate to be caught in a sandstorm when leaving Swakopmund which is not a pleasant experience and it damaged our windscreen. Thank goodness we took Expert Africa's advice and took out the comprehensive insurance (we also had to buy a new tyre as well as a new windscreen - total cost £650).

If you wish to eat out in Swakopmund please note that the much mentioned "The Tug" and "The Lighthouse" seem to be booked up weeks ahead, but there are good alternatives: e.g try "Platform One" at the Old Station for an excellent buffet."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Average
Food
Good
Coast and Sandwich Harbour

Coast and Sandwich Harbour

"Disappointing"

8 Aug 2010 • All-day excursion

One of the few poor experiences of our trip. Disappointing after all the postive comments we had read. We booked this through Expert Africa at a cost of (we think) £90 EACH and it was definitely not worth this.

The trip runs from 8.30am until approx 5.00pm and is dependant on the tide to get in and out of Sandwich Harbour safely. With this in mind we ended up with only 10 mins at Sandwich Harbour - only just making it back before the tide cut us off - scarey. Why could we have not left earlier or gone to the Harbour later in the afternoon tide to avoid this problem. After, we felt the guide (a part time locum) didn't know what else to do with us as we had an overlong lunch to use up time and then a trip to Pelican Point which was exactly where we were to go the following day for kayaking. Surely something else could have been arranged involving the desert/dunes as this is what we thought the trip was all about. Alternatively they could have bought us back early and offered a part refund. In short our £180 bought 10 minutes at Sandwich bay and an expensive lunch. Not good.
Poor
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

"A Namibian highlight"

9 Aug 2010 • Morning excursion

Nothing could fault this truely unique and excellent experience.

Jeanne was very well organised and very professional. Her knowledge and enthusiasm were excellent. She seemed to know the thousand odd seals, pelicans and cormorants personally not to mention the odd dolphin for good measure!
The kayaking was safe even for novices and we were all very well looked after.

Interaction with the seals just an amazing experience. If you only have one full day in Swakopmund (plenty) then do this activity - you won't regret it. Photos are taken by Jeanne and emailed to you so a nice keepsake of the day, which also means that you don't have to juggle with the camera whilst kayaking!
Excellent
Camp Kipwe

Camp Kipwe

"Excellence in the making"

2 nights Arrived 10 Aug 2010
"One of the best places we stayed in. Lovely setting amongst the "boulders". Rooms very spacious with outdoor bathrooms - great view from the loo! Hot water via individual wood burners lit for you each evening and morning. Rock pool and sun lounge area very peaceful. Lovely place for honeymooners with special "rooms" and private candlelit dinners. Staff very friendly with huge smiles - especially Jefferey at the gate. They really went the extra mile to make you feel welcome. However this is a new lodge (opened August 2009), and Adrian the manager is still training the staff but they have made huge progress. Adrian has a pet wild cat kitten who is a "character"!

Can recommend the drive to see the Desert Elephants, but sighting is not guaranteed. We were lucky and spent an hour with a family group but it took a 6 hour expedition to find them but this was worth the effort.

If you want to go to Twflefontein to see the rock carvings it is easy to do this yourself. The visitor centre had no refreshment facilities and poor toilets, both of which would have been welcome on a hot day."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Etendeka Mountain Camp

Etendeka Mountain Camp

"The "Boni" show"

3 nights Arrived 12 Aug 2010
"This was a very different experience to anywhere else we stayed and impossible to compare. Remote location that requires you to leave your car at Palmwag - 18 kilometers away and use the lodge's 4x4 transport to reach Etendeka. Exciting in itself as we saw lots of wildlife on the way. Cautionary note - try not to get to Palmwag too early (currently 3.30pm pick-uo) as there is NOTHING apart from a shop/shack for a drink and a packet of crisps! Extra time really spent waiting in your car in the heat.

We found the camp a wonderful place to relax and there was plenty of time in between the morning walks and afternoon drives to do so.

PLUS points: -
Tented accomodation - rustic but exciting in the wind!
Bucket showers - good fun and do the job!
Excellent home-cooked food - the best we had, some of which was cooked on the fire.
Boni the guide - really made the three days we had there very special. His knowledge, humour and personality made all the difference. He even introduced the evening meal in his own "click" langauge and took us on very interesting and informative walks into the bush. You felt it was a privilege to have met him. We learned so much (didn't know you could tell so much from dung!).
Game drives with Boni were again very interesting and succesful - we saw loads of wildlife and he pointed out to us fresh lion prints.

NEGATIVES - None - we loved it!, but it may not be for those who like their luxury or don't like walking."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Etosha Safari Lodge

Etosha Safari Lodge

"Large hotel/lodge - functional"

2 nights Arrived 15 Aug 2010
"Compared to the smaller lodges that we had stayed in, Etosha Safari Lodge struggled for the personal touch. We had a friendly welcome but the service from that point on became more functional and lacked attention to detail.

There are now 65 bedrooms so obviously a lot of people and therefore the restaurant gets crowded. Couple of examples of poor service were: - three separate waitresses asked whether we would like soup - but none brought it to us!. In our bedroom a light was broken on the first night but not replaced.

Small things but indicative of the general "slackness".

PLUS points - Three separate swimming pools - very nice. Spacious rooms with views across to Etosha and a nice lit walkway from distant rooms to main lodge.
Very convenient for entry into Etosha through the Anderson Gate but be prepared for a small delay to complete (unnecessary) paperwork to gain entry into the park.

Etosha is geared up for self-drive and we spent three days driving around with no or little problem. We saw as much if not more than we would of had we used the expensive guided trips from the lodge, as we could decide where to go and how long to stay at each waterhole."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Average
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Mushara Bush Camp

Mushara Bush Camp

"Kudu visits in the night"

2 nights Arrived 17 Aug 2010
"Like Camp Kipwe we really loved this place. Small, quiet, with friendly staff who gave provided excellent attention to detail. Nothing was too much trouble for them.

"Tented rooms" were superb with spacious dressing and bathroom area.
Large pool and excellent well furnished main lodge complete with indoor fire.
"Set" menu but will offer something else if you ask.

Animals roam around - especially at night. We were awoken by Kudu right outside our tent munching leaves from the bushes and then "relieving" themselves rather noisly - where could you get an opportunity like this in the UK! - we thought it was really funny!
Access to the eastern part of Etosha through the Von Lindequist gate very convenient.

Highly recommend this camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Plains Camp

"Walking with TV stars."

2 nights Arrived 19 Aug 2010
"Important to note that we stayed at Okonjima MAIN CAMP not the bush camp as stated above.
Another one of our favourites but more so because of the Africat work/experience.
Lovely lodge, people and excellent food.

There are ten new rooms called "View" rooms of which we had one. Massive rooms with a huge bed and a picture window overlooking the bush with oryx, warthog and zebra wandering around. (Warthog served as lawn mowers - interesting!) Lovely swimming pool. gardens and excellently furnished main lodge which has recently been extended.

The activies were everything and unique - - tracking leopard, nightdrives, tracking cheetah on foot, porcupine hide etc as well as the opportunity to find out about the Africat work.

We were very lucky to go out with excellent guides - Martin who perserved for hours and eventually found a male leopard feeding on a warthog in a tree, and then A.J who took us on foot tracking four cheetah. These four cheetah are shortly to be featured in an ITV series called Wild Cat Country which we believe starts on September 10th. Both of these activies were "once in a lifetime" wonderful experiences.

We don't think anyone should go to Namibia without visiting Okonjima. It was really special experience and two nights is the absolute minimum - three nights would be better."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Ideal last stop"

1 night Arrived 21 Aug 2010
"Unfair to comment as this was our last night and after Okonjima nothing would compare!

However this is a nice place to end the holiday, convenient for the airport and they serve dinner if you don't want to go into Windhoek. Excellent breakfast choice with selection of home made breads etc however dinner was slightly disappointing.

Olive Grove was a relaxing place and the staff were very helpful and friendly - they helped to confirm our flights etc."
Good
Location
Good
Service
Good
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good

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