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Your Comments on this Namibia Itinerary...

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Hello! I had posted this under a different title, and realized that my title may not elicit too many responses...Thanks again! :)

Message: Hi there!

I am currently researching a trip to Namibia for next July or August.

I would like to stay at Sossusvlei Mountain lodge for 3-4 nights, and was wondering if anyone has stayed, knows someone who has, and what your review of it would be.

Also, I am trying to put together an itinerary. We have two weeks - coming from New York. Can you please provide any comments on it and/or advice?

Days 1-4 Windhoek - Hotel Furstenhof
Days 4-8 Sossusvlei - Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge?
Days 8-11 Etosha - either Ongava Lodge or Etosha Aoba Lodge
Days 11-14 Swakopmund - Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Center
Day 15 Depart

Does this itinerary sound like it will give us "The Best of Namibia"? Thank You!! :)

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    About your itinerary:
    I don't know anything abut Windhoek as I had no interest in being in a city while I was in Namibia.

    At Sossusvlei, I stayed at Sossusvlei Wilderness Lodge which was just delightful. We spent two nights there, visited the Dunes one morning, a balloon ride the next morning and game drives in the afternoons. There is not a lot of game in the area and we thought that the two days were sufficient.

    Stayed at Ongava Lodge. The accommodations and food were wonderful. I preferred the Ongava Reserve to Etosha Park as it was not subject to the rules and regulations of a national park. Also, at the park there were several other cars at each water hole while at Ongava our vehicle was alone. There is a good deal of wildlife at both the park and the private reserve.

    I understand that Darmaland and the Skeleton coast are great. Did you consider these areas. It depends on what you want from this trip... cities, scenery, or wildlife.

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    We were at the Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge at the end of May and LOVED it. We made a special trip from a SA vacation just to go to the lodge and to see the dunes. While I can't compare the lodges, I think Soss. Wilderness LOdge is owned/operated by the same people and older/not as nice. I heard Wolweduns Lodge was nice, but didn't really see it. Soss. Mtn. Lodge was wonderufl, though. I would go back in a second. The rooms are great (fireplace a necessity in the desert winter), ask for a room farther from the lodge because of the noise of the generator. It's not the end of the world, but you're there for the lack of civilization. The food was nice, and the staff great! Vincent, a visiting ranger was truly wonderful. Silke was great, too. They are all full of such excitment. I would skip the balloon ride next time though, a little overpriced for what it is. It's neat, but I'll probably only do it once in my lifetime. You'll defiantely go to the dunes one day, an absolutely AMAZING experience. And I don't know if other lodges have this , but SML has all-terrain vehicles for guests to use as a morning or afternoon activity. You don't see many animals this way (the noise scares them off) but you do get the rush of riding up the dunes, etc. And altohugh you don't see big game, the Oryx and springbok are plentiful, and the guides excite in showing you the smaller things. and those stars...

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    Maria
    I don't want to comment too closely on your itinerary as I don't know what you want from the trip and your preferences.
    I can tell you a little more about my trip to Namibia last year though.
    (I did start to write up a report but never finished it. I have my journal but not online anywhere).

    We flew into Jo'burg and then on into Windhoek and finally took a tiny Cessna to Wolwedans Dune Lodge in the NamibRand Reserve.

    This is about 50 miles south of Sesriem (the area where most hotels sited for visiting Sossusvlei are located) and in a private reserve.

    The Lodge is up on the dunes themselves and is beautiful. The quiet and peacefulness is inspiring. The setting is just stunning and leaving the back canvas wall of our tent open to the night, the view we woke up to was one of the best of the trip. The food here was the best of our whole trip. The full day drive into the reserve was wonderful. We stayed here 2 nights, arriving the first day at about 4.30 in time for an afternoon drive and sundowner drink, and left on the second morning.

    Our second stop was the Movenpick Sossusvlei lodge, a poor choice, based on recommendation (not a travel agent boo boo). We were here two night also. We had a job booking a trip into Sossusvlei as the hotel said all its guides/ trips were full, and had to ring the agents for the trip who were able to find us a guide. (In other camps, all excursions were included). We didn't like the hotel, too large, too many guests, poorer food. (Decent enough buffet the night the hotel was full but almost an insult the night when it was only a 3rd or so full).

    We enjoyed our trip into Sossusvlei immensely, but felt since we arrived at lunch time on the first day that we should have done an excursion that same afternoon, spent only one night here, and moved on.

    Although I am sure the better camps and lodges (I have heard great feedback on teh Wilderness Safaris one) would offer enough to stay longer, I didnt feel that this destination merited as much time as other places. Certainly not more than 2 nights, in my own opinion.

    As for ballooning, instead when we booked the private charter cessna to the next camp, we asked for a scenic tour over the sossusvlei and surrounding area at the start, and infact teh whole trip was a tour, the pilot took us out to see the wrecks and old mines in the dunes near the atlantic, we flew over seal colonies and flamingo flocks.

    Our next stop was 2 nights in Damaraland, which we really enjoyed, the scenery was a contrast to the desert, we were lucky to see 17 desert elephants, one at much too close quarters for comfort, and we thought the little pool area at the Damaraland Camp (another wilderness property) was wonderful.

    After this we went on to Botswana for 4 nights at Little Mombo, 2 at Little Vumbura and 2 at Chitabe Trails.

    We plan to return to Namibia in 2004. We will try and return to Wolwedans (though since we aren't intending to return to Sossusvlei we have to calculate how much a flight in and out of the area will add to the trip. We would also like to visit the Skeleton Coast, and possibly return to Damaraland.

    We're also contemplating the Fish River Canyon in the south and the kalahari desert.

    The second trip will also include Botswana again, Mombo for definite, another water camp (we loved LV but would like to try another) and perhaps Jacks Camp out in the Makgadikgadi pans.

    I don't know if my ramblings have helped an iota but I sure enjoyed reliving the memories...

    Kavey

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