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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs L from Paris

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

3

Lodges stayed in

10

Excursions taken

0

Bushmen, Caprivi, Okavango & Vic Falls 2013

Namibia and 2 other countries between 15 Jul 2013 and 8 Aug 2013

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our first trip to Namibia (2010), covered central, north, northwest and coastal areas.

This trip (2013) was about 98% new locations covering central, north, northeast, Caprivi, Okavango and Vic Falls, Zimbabwe side.
The most noticeable differences in that span of time were the money exchange, electricity adaptor difference, more people riding bicycles, shopping modernization of cities, availability of 3G services (more mobile phones in daily use)

General travel tips
1. Before leaving Namibia, change your Namibian dollars to another currency: South African Rand, Botswana Pula, Euros, Dollars. They are no longer exchangeable at the Jo'berg airport nor in Paris.
2. The children in Namibia were usually asking for pens, whether or not we took photos. The supplement money for educational supplies in 2013 was used for election campaign spending.
3. Clothing is a great donation to leave with the lodges in the northeastern sector of Namibia and in Botswana. They distribute it to the villages or the lodge workers or in one case to the local churches.
4. Adaptors - Throughout Namibia and Botswana, the large 3-rounded prong South African adaptor is used. We purchased a smaller 3-rounded prong which only works in Zimbabwe. Bring your own charging strip/surge protector if you have multiple devices. Zimbabwe uses the small 3-rounded prong and British adaptors.
5. In your checked luggage through Jo'berg, pack nothing of value, other than clothing, ! It will disappear, guaranteed.
6. Reading material:
The Wildlife of Southern Africa is a definite plus to keep track of sightings (birds, mammals, insects, flowers, trees, etc.) (Vincent Carruthers) at the Windhoeker Buchhandlung across from the Hilton Hotel
"Namibian" daily newspaper - fantastic way to learn about modern Namibian culture and opinions of all ages.
"Zambezi Traveller" free newspaper in the Caprivi/Okavango (Lianshulu Lodge) - regional tips, ideas and covers a wide territory.
7. Pic n Pay grocery store (throughout Namibia) was our favorite, Super Spar is also good for finding lunch items (including an ice chest) when driving between destinations
8. Namibia has frequent, fairly well-maintained picnic spots (tree shade, concrete benches and table), which we used for lunches
9. Languages/Dialects: the smartphone "notes" application is a handy recording device to write down the courtesy words: hello, good morning, thank you, how are you, etc. We encountered 10 different languages/dialects or more over three and a half weeks. Asking a lodge staff member "how to say" is an ice breaker and opens a door to their culture.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Fantastic voyage!

The planning, Expert Africa contact, accommodations, expectations suited our needs to a tee. We made our own flight reservations, which worked out smoothly.

The Namibia/Chris McIntyre guide book was our bible. Thank you for supplying it.

On the review feedback, what does "facilities" include/mean?

We would highly recommend Expert Africa for any future voyages.

Obtaining visas before departure between countries was not totally clear.
The basic information about visas in the travel preparations could be much shorter (e.g., Visas are handled at each border control for Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Show your international driver license and passport at customs. The rental car agency provides you with all of the car details, including chassis number and motor number to fill in the paperwork.)

We paid for a permit into Botswana, but wonder if we could have given them the permit on the windshield. This was unclear in the instructions from Budget/Expert Africa whether to turn it in or buy a new one. This was the Chobe border. This was a more difficult and time consuming border post (a real hassle).

The Mohembo Border Post at Mahango was a breeze with both Namibia and Botswana."

Arranged By Tracy Lederer


Olive Grove

Olive Grove

"Olive Grove"

1 night Arrived 15 Jul 2013
"This upscale Bed & Breakfast is located in a suburb of Windhoek.
It is suitable for the first or last night of a trip across Namibia.

Rooms are clean and the premises are secure; friendly staff who can cook up some good food.
The location is conveniently close to downtown Windhoek which makes it easy to stock up on supplies if you are going on a road trip."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Erongo Wilderness Lodge

Erongo Wilderness Lodge

"Erongo Wilderness Lodge"

2 nights Arrived 16 Jul 2013
"Lodge with luxury tents, very similar in style and setting to other lodges like Kipwe and Mowani.
Excellent food.

Ideal for 2 nights on a trip between Windhoek and Etosha national park.
Make sure you do the morning walk and the nature drive with the sun downer.
Knowledgeable local guides who can tell you all about plants, birds and animals.
Beautiful views from the rocks. Great location for birders.

Galecious was a our knowledgeable morning and a sundowner guide. Ask him anything; he loves to answer curiosity questions, which is how we found about the toothbrush made from a small tree branch. It all began with why some bark had been freshly scraped by the kudo's horn....He is a superb bird guide!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Onguma Tented Camp

Onguma Tented Camp

"Onguma Tented Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 18 Jul 2013
"Designer camp on the Onguma reserve next to Etosha.
On the positive side, the tents are great and you see wildlife both at the private water hole and while driving to Etosha.

However we were not impressed by the food, which tries to be pretentious but lacks quality.

Also note that this one out of several Onguma franchises, which means that you will not get the personal touch of a smaller camp nor the intense interaction with other guests at an owner-run camp.

Reasons to stay here: be close to Etosha and wildlife.
We were in Tent 5"
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Nhoma Camp

Nhoma Camp

"Nhoma Camp review"

4 nights Arrived 21 Jul 2013
"Exceptional place for several reasons.
1. Only place worldwide where you (as a tourist) can get a true understanding of the Bushman culture
2. Interesting discussions with Arno (the camp owner)
3. Communal tables which is good for interaction with other guests
We stayed here for 4 nights and this was the cultural highlight of our trip through southern Africa.
4. Home cooking
5. Whatever activity they offer, including visiting the reservoir at Oliphant's Water (animals) or Tsumkwe (lots of Baobab, animals, anecdotes), the walks, village visit, do it all.
6. Bring a power strip and adaptors in case there is a full camp using the charging station (and mark your smartphone cable to avoid mix ups and don't forget it!)
Film crew was there and used up the solar power for WiFi quickly.
7. Bertus is a very knowledgeable guide who answers all of your questions.
8. Our tent was the farthest out - great for morning sunrises"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Hakusembe River Lodge

Hakusembe River Lodge

"Hakusembe Lodge review"

1 night Arrived 25 Jul 2013
"Good stopover on the way to the Caprivi region.
Typical stay is one night.
Nice setting on the Okavango river looking over the Angolan side and the sunset.
Geographically, it was interesting to be at the beginning of our Okavango water experience after all the sand.

I recommend the sunset boat trip and a visit to the local living museum village (Mbunza).
Very close to Rhundu if you need to buy provisions for a road trip.

We were given the villa instead of a bungalow - nice and roomy - closet was upstairs so we used the banister and chair downstairs. Television didn't work - villa interior was a bizarre set up."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Ndhovu Safari Lodge

Ndhovu Safari Lodge

"Ndhovu Safari Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 26 Jul 2013
"Simple but friendly tent camp right on the Okavango river at the beginning of the delta. Great nature sounds: hippos, elephants and birds. This place has the atmosphere of a typical owner-run camp, with communal dining and good talks among guests.

Good sunset boat trip among hippos and easy 15 minute drive to nearby Mahango NP.

I wish I had taken my camera to bed with me, which I use to record video and sounds. The morning and evening sounds while lying in the tent are extraordinary!

Bring ear plugs, but value these sounds. We did not hear them like this again on our trip. It was too cold and I was too lazy to get up for my sound recording!

Wonderful, varied conversation around table and on deck morning and evening. Tent 9.

Driving into the camp on the dirt road, the village, villagers, kids playing, families collecting water, the churches ... morning views from the tent of the elephants across the channel and peaks at the hippos and the crocs.

Jost, Monica and Johannes were very active with the guests."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Nxamaseri Lodge

Nxamaseri Lodge

"Nxamaseri Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 28 Jul 2013
"Fantastic location on an island in the Okavango panhandle. The trip from the tar road to the camp is even scenic and interesting.

We liked having a personal guide (Phoraki Ngoro "Mr. P") for the 3 days we spent here. If you missed a photo from the right angle with the right lighting (eagle plucking up a fish, for example), he will ensure that you get a second chance at the shot, including finding another fish! Great guide!

No big animals here, but plenty of birds, crocs and fish.

Communal dining makes it easy to talk to other guests, however the lodge owner does not live on site, so you have to interact with managers who tend to have a "commercial" attitude. The day trip to the Tsodilo hills was expensive and disappointing: the rock paintings are not as good as in e.g. Namibia, the bushman village is a disaster and the drive takes forever.

Nxamaseri is still an excellent place to get a feel for the Okavango delta while easily accessible by car.

We were very fortunate to meet and speak with Brad Bestling whose family retook ownership of the lodge. He is a diver and at the time was working with a film crew. A three-year research is underway studying crocodiles; it was a wonderful experience to hear tidbits about the work. You can watch a video about the research online: "Sixty Minutes: Deadly Encounter
Monday, July 16, 2012; interviewer: Liz Hayes""
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Lianshulu Lodge

Lianshulu Lodge

"Lianshulu Lodge review"

2 nights Arrived 31 Jul 2013
"Very nice setting on the Kwando river on the eastern side of the Okavango panhandle.

The chalets all have a view on the river and the hippos. Good boat trips with plenty of hippos, elephants and crocs. Also possible to do game drives in the park, either guided or using your own car.

This lodge reopened in Oct 2012 and is in recovery mode. Note that it is not owner-run, which means individual tables and limited interaction with other guests. Suitable as a 2 night river stopover if you are travelling through the Caprivi.

We were in the "accessible" bungalow, large and comfortable. Our double bathroom sinks looked out over the river and each morning our view was of the hippos on the land across the channel. Toilet separate from bath - Big plus!! (This was unusual for all the lodges) If the lights suddenly go out, it may be the 12v battery died.

We went on the sundowner cruise both evenings - different territory - different viewing experiences."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Muchenje Safari Lodge

Muchenje Safari Lodge

"Muchenje Safari Lodge review"

3 nights Arrived 2 Aug 2013
"Fantastic view over the Chobe river flood plain One of the best views of southern Africa: each chalet overlooks the Chobe flood plain, where from your private terrace you can see the wild animals in the distance: zebras, wildebeests, springboks, etc.

Although the owner does not permanently live on site, this lodge has a nice atmosphere with a very interesting and friendly management & staff.

The best activity on offer is the whole-day Chobe boat tour + game drive: top notch for game viewing. We also appreciated the formula with 'everything included' (even drinks).

They encourage you to go on the activities. Communal dining between two long tables, which after a drive or two with the other guests, you begin to mingle much more. We went on almost every morning and afternoon/evening drive; village visit to a family. No time for the walk.
Very friendly, guides were knowledgable and Nick was determined to find that leopard! He did.

Beware of the Botswana border disease control lady.
If you are bringing in baskets and wood decorations from outside Botswana, think twice about her warnings that they are subject to confiscation and/or fine. She is flogging her own and her friend's souvenirs, which are nice by the way. You can bring in your baskets and wood souvenirs, just be discreet in your revelations."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls Hotel

"Victoria Falls Hotel review"

3 nights Arrived 5 Aug 2013
"An attraction in itself
This vintage hotel is part of a true Vic Falls experience (if you can afford it). We stayed 3 nights and savored every moment: the convenient location, the view over the bridge, the spray clouds from the falls in the distance, the colonial feel, the service, the food, the pool, and the drinks! It was a perfect place to relax after 3 weeks in the bush ;-) We were in Room 69

The peddlers are harmless. All their uncles carved the big 5 figurines. They are all hungry and feeding a wife and children. Talk to them long enough and you can get a feel for their work ethic. Tourist police escorted us several times between the hotel and the Falls, which was a nice change for a regular chat.

We used Wildlife Safaris (Ilala Lodge and the Rest Camp) for our sundowner cruise. Recommend the long helicopter ride (expensive but it was our only time).

We visited the falls our first afternoon just by accident - so many activities to choose from, we made a simple choice and asked ourselves: "what are we here for?" $US30 each person, each entry - plan on dropping a lot of cash in Vic Falls - We were able to return the morning of our departure because it is so spectacular. No rainbow this time (afternoon has rainbow)

Souvenir tee shirts of your trip at Rest Camp. Ask for Oscar who will come to the camp, take your order preferences, and deliver it to your hotel. Saw a couple at a Botswana border post with their version.

You can walk easily to town from the hotel (especially nice through the rail station and along the rails).
The bar does not sell cigars, so bring your own.
Too bad they haven't designed the bar as a gathering place for travelers."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

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