a couple of Namibia questions
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jan 11, 2011 5:24 AM Last Post By: braaiseason
Dec 26, 2010 11:18 AM
a couple of Namibia questionsHello, friends
I have a few questions about our next trip to Namibia in April 2011 (before Easter)
We will be in Namibia for 3 weeks and have a rental car. The main things we want to see: Windhoek, Waterberg Plateau Park, Etosha NP, Twyfelfontein and Sossusvlei.
We would like to spend quite a few days in Etosha. Do you recommend staying 2 nights at each camp? (Okaukuejo, Halali and Namutoni)? Or should we stay longer at one camp and perhaps skip one of them?
Also, we are planning to camp quite often (will bring tent), but would like to stay in one of those luxury cabins for a couple of nights. Which of those 3 camps do you recommend we splash out on?
Also, do you recommend staying IN the park itself or outside it? I will book the accommodation in Etosha in advance. Should we also reserve accommodation outside the park?
Any other suggestions or recommendations are highly welcome :-)
Thanks a lot!
Dec 26, 2010 3:55 PM
1I did two nights in Etosha at different camps, sorry can't remember names. I found that one night at each was enough. Would recommend camping while in Etosha because you can hear the lions and hyenas all night which is an amazing experience. If you can bring binoculars do, very handy on safari. The night vision ones are great for watching at the watering holes at night. Watch out for the jackals while camping, they'll steal stuff from right under your nose, don't leave anything outside tent at night. Soussuvlei is the most amazing place I've ever been, enjoy!
Dec 27, 2010 2:41 PM
2Hi Moni foto,
We have traveled all around southern africa and Etosha is still one of our favourites - we have spent a total of 4 weeks there over the last three years.
The rest camps are a little disappointing in term of staff, accommodation and food. They are also relatively expensive - even to camp. The value of them - in my view - is:
a) their location - gate times in Etosha are essentially sunrise and sunset - staying in camp gives you precious extra minutes at the magical times of dawn and dusk.
b) Okakeujo and Halai have waterholes on site. This means you can take a bottle of wine and a blanket (in the cooler months) and watch the action unfold. Last time we were at Halali there we spent literally all day and most of the night at the waterhole. We saw herds of elephant, a group of 4 rhino, hyenas taunting the rhino, a leopard and more.
c) the opportunity to do a genuine night drive. Not that many "public" reserves offer night drives and those that do usually end by 8 o'clock or so. At Etosha you can do a drive that starts at 8 and ends at 11 - and have a good chance of seeing some really interesting night action. It is contraversial - some experts think it disrupts nocturnal animals behaviour - but is an amazing opportunity for wild-life enthusiasts.
I would stay at Okakeujo and Halali. Namutoni doesn't have a waterhole. Re the "splashing out" my honest opinion is that none of it will really wow you for the money. You'd probably be as happy camping but if you're keen on a roof and four walls I'd suggest Okakuejo which has better facilities and accomodation around the waterhole. If you really want to treat yourself (and this is in a totally different league) check out the new luxury camp Onkoshi. I have seen some good deals on this so you may want to try your luck and see what you can get. It's in a little visited but fabulous area of the park.
At the eastern end of the park we always stay at Onguma outside the park. Though it is hard to find on their website they have a great campsite - six "sites" all with private bathrooms and you can eat in the Bush Camp restaurant which is lovely.
When you stop off to get your permit ask to see the sightings book - it will give you a good idea of current hotspots. My favourite waterholes, west to east, are Nebrowni (regular lion and old bull elephants), Gemsbokvlate (huge numbers of plains game and often predators), Olifantsbad (elephants), Kalkheuwel (anything), Chudob ( anything), Andoni ( an amazing area of the park - make the effort to get here). Don't rush in and out or you will miss stuff. We have sat watching lions stalking a waterhole with loads of cars driving in and out because they don't spot anything on the first glance. We have even seen people get out the car metres away from a lion they haven't spotted. Pick two or three waterholes for the day and take your time.
Re booking you will probably be fine , certainly with camping, at that time. But you can also usually book and pay a small deposit (10%) if you want a bit of certainty.
If you want to whet your appetite check out some of our pictures under Namibia at www.off2africa.synthasite.com.
Dec 27, 2010 10:06 PM
3For Etosha, I believe Okaukuejo Camp is the main camp with the best water hole. There are luxury cabin there, supposedly you can ask them to wake up if certain animal of your request show up at the water hole at night. Namutoni Camp attract far fewer animals to it water hole than Okaukuejo but it has more birds.
It probably good to stay at 2 different camps as during day you'll be driving around looking for lions, leopards, and cheetahs. It doesn't make sense to go all the way back to the original camp if you're going to end up close to the other camp. As mentioned, you must be back at the camp or out of the park by sunset or they'll fine you (believe R$7K).
Sossusvlei is truly spectacular. Find a good guide who can give you an overview of the desert life.
Most campsites in Namibia has a swimming pool and a pub, so it is almost like going to a resort.
In Windhoek, go to Joe's (in the suburb) and have someone order kudu steak (Zebra steak is also very good). Namibian oysters are extremely good so don't miss it. And Windhoek lager is excellent.
If you come to Namibia from South Africa, you can bring your SA rand with you. It is accepted as local currency. And before you leave Namibia, use all your Namibian rands or exchange before you leave. It is unlikely you'll find anyone wants it outside of Namibia.
Have fun! It is a great place for photos.
Dec 27, 2010 10:25 PM
4I agree with above. (Namutoni does have a waterhole with a nice viewing hide but it is not visited by animals in the same numbers as the other two camps.) I would also stay at Onguma rather than Namutoni. We have camped there and the facilities are great but we last stayed in the Onguma Bush Lodge which is reasonably priced and enjoyed it very much. For a first visit to Etosha I would stay at Okaukeujo in chalets (the camp ground is dry and dusty) - you will love the waterhole experience at night. If you choose to stay outside the park on this side I recommend Etosha Safari Lodge. It is well priced and the food, accommodation and service are very good. Halali is quite nice to camp at. Honey badgers can be a problem at night in the campground - don't leave ANYTHING on the ground and DO NOT confront a honey badger! I agree that spending time at Halali's waterhole is definately worthwhile! Be prepared to stock up before you enter the park - the camp shops are fairly hopeless. Food and service in the park is also quite underwhelming as mentioned above - much better to cater for yourself. An exception re service was the night drive from Halali. A fantastic experience, the guide was very informative and we saw some unique sightings. I thought the drive was conducted in a quite sensitive manner towards the wildlife in contrast to the fairly intrusive drives I had experienced in Kruger NP. Binoculars are essential in my opinion.
Dec 28, 2010 8:02 AM
Jan 2, 2011 4:31 AM
6I stayed at Halali for four nights - the watering hole viewing was amazing and well worth spending time waiting for it to unfold. I would really splash out on any of the accommodation - in my view it's overpriced and does not really offer the 4star value you might be thinking of. The Honey Badgers are for real- you can hear them about the camp at night sniffing around for scraps and the sounds of the wildlife off in the distance really leave you with an impression of the place so in my view camping will offer you another dimension to your experience. I agree with GetYoung wholeheartedly - Sossusvlei is incredible, especially if you can pull yourself out of bed pre-dawn to watch the sun rise over the dunes. Get to the gate early - there will be a line of cars waiting to get in - and pack a picnic breakfast to enjoy on the dunes!
Jan 11, 2011 5:24 AM
Cape TownBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$17.17 per night
Cape TownBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$13.95 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$114.36 per night