Honeymoon in Namibia - are we crazy?

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May 10th, 2004, 07:13 AM
  #1
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Honeymoon in Namibia - are we crazy?

Hello Africa board,
I'm hoping some of you knowledgeable experts will be able to help me.

I started to devise an itinerary to Namibia about a year ago, as I was hoping at the time to visit the country in September 2004 with my mother and BF. Well, work got in the way and that trip went out the window

However, my BF and I have since got engaged, and we are now seriously considering Namibia for our honeymoon (also considering Malaysia and posted on the Asia board a while ago... still can't make our minds up!). We'd want to spend around 2 weeks overall (including travel from the UK), at the end of May/beginnning of June 2005.

We're looking to 'get away from it all' but still enjoy a good level of comfort. I'm usually happy to rough it a bit, but this *is* our honeymoon, so luxury is more important this time than it might usually be. Great wildlife viewing and scenery are other important factors.

At the moment, my tentative itinerary includes:

2 or 3 nights at Little Kulala (for some reason, this place appeals to me most out of all the Namib/Sossusvlei possibilities - but happy to consider other lodges in the area if they come highly recommended!)
1 night at Okonjima
2 or 3 nights at Ongava or Little Ongava
1 or 2 nights staying at one of the Etosha restcamps (mainly for the nighttime game viewing)
2 or 3 nights at Lianshulu Lodge in the Caprivi strip.

What I'm finding hardest to work out is the transportation side. Obviously, it's our honeymoon so we don't want to spend our entire time in a car driving manically from point A to B to C. We'd prefer to break up the trip with extra stops than drive long distances every other day.

Would it be completely illogical to drive from Windhoek to Little Kulala and back, and then Windhoek to Etosha via Okonjima? Looking at my roadmap of Namibia, it seems feasible. We'd then try and get a flight to the Caprivi area from Windhoek with Air Namibia rather than driving all the way there.

Any help, tips, anecdotes, recommendations, critiques, stories, experiences, good jokes, etc. much appreciated
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May 10th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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Its very easy to fly in and out of Sossosvlei, which is what we did to avoid a long drive. And the road between Windhoek and Etosha is great, so we drove that leg.

We stayed at Ongava (very nice but the game viewing was not as great as within Etosha), and we really liked Okakuejo (a restcamp in Etosha), with an amazing waterhole.
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May 10th, 2004, 11:30 AM
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Peep
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I just wanted to say that you might consider adding some nights at Mowani in Damaraland. It's such a nice place!!
 
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May 11th, 2004, 02:32 AM
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My running partner just returned from a self-drive safari and loved it. She did forward her itinerary posted below (as my husband & I were thinking of doing the same after her reviews).

Day1 - Arrive Windhoek, mid-day. Overnight Hilltop House

Day 2 - Depart for Sossusvlei. Overnight Kulala Tented Camp near Sossusvlei. Drive time 6 hours

Day 3 - Early morning trip to the sand-dunes, visit Dune 45, Sossusvlei, Hiddenvlei etc. Would recommend a guided desert walk here. Evening sundowners Overnight Kulala Tented Camp

Day 4 - From Sossusvlei drive north through the central Namib towards Omaruru. Overnight at Erongo Wilderness Lodge. Drive time 6 hours

Day 5 - Early morning guided walk at Erongo Wilderness Lodge and then after breakfast. Visit Twyfelfontein, Burnt Mountain, Organ Pipes. Overnight at Mowani Lodge. Drive time 3 hours -

Day 6 - Early morning guided walk at Mowani and then after breakfast head to Etosha Park. Overnight Ongava Lodge. Drive time 4 hours

Day 7 - Game drives in Etosha and guided walks on the private Ongava Game Reserve. Overnight Ongava Lodge

Day 8 - Leave Etosha and head to Okonjima, evening activity at Okonjima. Overnight at Okonjima Bush Camp. Drive time 3 hours

Day 9 - Full day of activities at Okonjima. Then return to Windhoek for flight (departing at 18:50). Drive time 4 hours

They favored the tented camping far above the lodges.
She put the entire trip together herself using the Namibia Cardboard Travel Shop
www.namibian.org
She found the staff very competent.

Among the animals she saw were leopards, a cheetah and a pride of 13 lions.
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May 11th, 2004, 05:48 AM
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Thit_cho: Thanks for your suggestions. The idea of flying into Sossusvlei hadn't even occurred to me, but it's definitely something I'll look into.

Peep: I'll certainly look into adding a couple of nights in Mowani seeing as it comes so highly recommended!

Queenie: Thanks for posting that itinerary. It sounds excellent - and very much the kind of thing that we're hoping to do. We could add on a fly-in visit to the Caprivi Strip and still be within our timeframe of 2 weeks.
We may well use the services of Cardboard Box, and I expect I'll contact them once we've got a more definite idea of our itinerary, budget and dates. Glad to hear they are competent.
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May 11th, 2004, 06:27 AM
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I also used Cardboard Box, and they really were great (I worked with Rachel and she was terrific). They managed to get me lodging at Ongava and at all three restcamps in Etosha when all others said everything was fully booked. Cardboard Box had good contacts and persevered and secured me the exact lodging on the exact dates I requested.
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May 11th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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I used Cardboard Box as well. They were extremely helpful. No problems whatsoever with them.
 
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Jun 13th, 2004, 07:01 AM
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Hello hani;

My family moved to Namibia a little over one year ago and have had the chance to travel around to see a bit of this great county. First of all there is a world of difference between Malaysia and Namibia. Much of Namibia is desert and rocky mountains near the coast and grasslands and semidesert in the interior. We love Namibia, but we like hiking and seeing barren rugged vistas that take your breath away. Although we live on the ocean it is too cold to swim, so it is very different from the beaches and tropics of Malaysia.

As far a driving in Namibia - overall it is no problem, if you take a few percautions (we have driven over 40,000 kilometers in the year since moving here with no problems). First of all there are some good highways (although they will be narrower than you are used to). However, many areas that you will drive to may be on gravel roads - such as going to Soussevlei. The percautions are to slow down, especially if you are not experienced on gravel roads (fortunately I grew up driving on them). Secondly do not plan to drive at night (on any road in the country). There is too much wildlife and the local drivers go little to fast on the open road.

Not sure that Namibia is the place to go for luxury. It is the place to go for wide open spaces, amazing skies at night, great wildlife, and an unique experience. The other advantage is that it is relatively safe hear. Some petty theft and normal safegaurds should be taken. But my family and I have been to several local villages to buy minerals and crystals and have not had any problems.

Another issue is the language. Although English is the official language, many people speak Afrikaans. You can get around with no problem with speaking English but you will impress the locals with a couple lines of Afrikaans. German is also widely spoken

Since it is your Honeymoon you are probably not worried about finances too much - but you may find that meals can be a little pricy at the lodges. We have started staying at places that we can "self-cater". Cooking our own meals over the "braai" (BBQ) is less expensive but also great fun.

I hope you have a great time where ever you go. Let me know if you have any other specific questions about Namibia.

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Jun 14th, 2004, 02:37 AM
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Hi Hanl,

I also live in Namibia and have been to all the lodges you mention - excellent choices!

I would definitely take thit_cho's advice and fly to Sossusvlei as you'll save quite a bit of time and it's really not that expensive because there are quite a few charter companies that fly that route regularly.

Okonjima is excellent and I would stay at the Bush Camp there. The activities for the Main Camp and the Bush Camp are the same, but the accomodation is much nicer at the Bush Camp.

Little Ongava is amazing - definitely a fabulous spot for a honeymoon.

As for staying in Etosha, I would recommend staying at Okaukuejo since it has the best waterhole. Try to get one of the bungalows in front of the waterhole and you can barbeque your dinner while watching the game - very cool.

You can also fly from Windhoek to Katima Mulilo to get to Lianshulu for around N$2200 to save a lot of time, rather than driving there because you don't need a car once you're there.

Let me know if you have any other questions and happy planning!
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Jun 14th, 2004, 04:45 AM
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Wow, thanks for the detailed and helpful replies! My fiancé and I have pretty much decided that wide open landscapes and lots of stars are what we want for our honeymoon, so we're pretty sure that Namibia will be our final choice.
Next stage is planning and booking... I'll probably be posting back with more questions soon!

PS When I say luxury, I mean not sharing a dormitory, taking bucket showers, eating cold beans out of a tin or having to carry a 30kg rucksack on and off a minibus! I don't care about satellite TV, Internet access, personal valets or hotel gift shops...
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Jun 14th, 2004, 04:46 AM
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Hi

How about flying to Little Kulala, which is a wonderful camp with very friendly staff. Fly from Little Kulala to Swakopmund. Rent a car in Swakopmund.
Maybe spend a day or two in Swakopmund/Walvis Bay (Flamingos). Drive to Erongo lodge (app 3 hours). stay 1 night. Drive to Little Ongava. Wonderful rooms, super guide/manager. I had the luxury of being the only guest in the safari vehicle. Spend 1 or 2 nights inside Etosha. Return to windhoek. Fly to Katima Mulilo and transfer to Lianshulu (you should consider Susuwe Island Lodge in the same area which is a wonderful camp). Fly to Victoria Falls.Finish the trip in Victoria Falls.
I did the trip last year in reverse order (though I did Impalila Island Lodge instead of Vic Falls) and I just loved it.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 03:50 AM
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Hello again,
After much umming and erring, and mostly thanks to Cardboard Box, we seem to have devised a basic itinerary for our honeymoon next May.

We'd spend a night in Windhoek on arrival, then fly to Little Kulala for 2 nights, then return to Windhoek and pick up a rental car.We'd then drive up to Etosha, spending one night at Okonjima on the way, and then spend 2 nights in the park itself and one night at Ongava. We'd then drive to Huab Lodge for a further 2 nights, then return to Windhoek and overnight there. The next day we'd fly in to Lianshulu for 3 nights, and then back to Windhoek and fly home.

Are we trying to pack too much into our stay? I'm caught between wanting a relaxing honeymoon and wanting to make the most of our time in Namibia. We so want this to be an unforgettable trip...
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Sep 7th, 2004, 04:22 AM
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Hi Hanl,

Overall I'd say your trip looks very good. One thing I'd make sure of is that you stay at Okaukuejo when you stay in Etosha. Namutoni & Halali are ok, but the waterhole at Okaukuejo is by far one of the highlights of the park.

Also, I was just wondering why you chose Huab Lodge? Is there something special that you wanted to see there? I'm a tour operator here and most of our trips go through that area, but there are a few other lodges I'd recommend before that one. We sent some people there last year and they thought it was nice, but nothing 'wow'.

Unless you're looking to do something specific at Huab Lodge, what I would maybe recommend instead is to spend two nights at Okonjima (there's enough to see there and it's really a fantastic lodge - again I highly recommend the Bush Camp). And then I would also add 1 night more to Lianshulu. They have a deal with Kwando Lagoon & Lebala lodges so you can spend 1 night at Lianshulu, then transfer to the Botswana lodge, spend 1-2 nights there, and then transfer back to Lianshulu. Another thing you can do from Lianshulu is a day trip to Vic Falls, which is definitely something memorable for a honeymoon.

Just my 2 cents....
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Sep 10th, 2004, 08:55 AM
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Sounds great and congrats!
I adore Wolwedans Dune Lodge (we liked it so much in 2001 that we returned this year and held our wedding renewal there) but I won't go on about it here as I've certainly posted about it before.
However if you find you have 2 nights to spare for any reason, do consider adding a couple of nights in this place.
Kavey
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Oct 3rd, 2004, 09:31 AM
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Thanks Kavey and "Oipuka" for your input

Honeymoon plans had taken a back seat recently due to work commitments (*sigh*)... But we've finally booked our flights (hurrah!!) and will start nailing down the itinerary soon. I like the suggestion of spending longer at Okonjima and Lianshulu and am going to look into it further.

Kavey, we have been wavering between the Wolwedans Dune Lodge and Little Kulala since we started to plan this trip. Still might change our mind yet!!
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Oct 3rd, 2004, 03:26 PM
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Oipuka and NamibiaBR and anyone else who knows...
What is the best time of year to visit Namibia? Birdwise, weather wise, mozzie wise, general comfort? May/June? Later in the year? Thanks for any input from those aspects.
Hanl- I think Huab Lodge looks great from their website, but of course that isn't the way to judge a place. Just the whole relaxation and location thing sounds good to me. Liz
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Oct 4th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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Kavey- I can't find your report about Namibia for this year. I want to hear about the restaurants in Windhoek and Wolwedans four years later. Have you posted it? Would you be so kind as to top it for me? Thanks.
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Oct 5th, 2004, 10:27 PM
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Hi Liz, About your question about what time of year to visit Namibia, it depends on what you want to see. The rainy season is generally from Dec thru April, so although it never rains all day, it is much hotter at that time of year, and the bush is thicker so it can be more difficult to see game. Having said that however, we and many other people have still seen lots of game in Etosha at that time of the year. Further north of Etosha though(ie along the Angolan border)you should also take malaria precautions at that time of year. If Etosha is as far north as you plan to go however, I would have no problem recommending to someone to travel here during the rainy season. It is the best time of the year to be at the coast (Walvis Bay & Swakopmund). For Sossusvlei and farther south though, it can be unbearably hot at that time of year (ie 40+ C), and there are only 2 lodges that I'm aware of with air conditioning: Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge (CC Africa) and Le Mirage (Leading Lodges of Africa).

The most popular time to travel here is from June through October, and I would try to avoid August if possible because it is the busiest month of the year.

Hope that helps...
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Oct 6th, 2004, 01:41 AM
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Liz
No I gave up actually as it was time consuming and I felt I was imposing it on the board.
I'm off to France in a day or two but will resume it when I get back.
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Oct 6th, 2004, 02:52 AM
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PS We did have an even more magical stay at Wolwedans 3 years on and it was one of the highlights of our trip.

However it's worth noting that 3 of the managers there were actually leaving towards end of this year and so it may be quite different in the future, depending on whether Stephan Bruckner finds new managers as good as those. They weren't leaving because of any problems... one is moving on to start a new cookery school venture in Windhoek with Mr Bruckner, one is finally coming back home to the UK and one had been intending to move on to somewhere and something new for ages and finally decided to do it.
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