Honeymoon in Namibia - are we crazy?

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Oct 6th, 2004, 06:16 AM
  #21
 
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Thanks Kavey-
Were the three managers all from the Lodge? How many managers are there total? Is Mr. Bruckner a manager? What about the Chef? Trying to see the impact.
Could you briefly hit on what you did in Windhoek and the rest of Namibia and maybe gloss over a little of the detail? On the other hand I would like to know how the restaurants were. Sigh.
Perhaps the managers at the other Wolwedans camps too are leaving? i.e., the Tented and Private Camps. So many questions, so little time..........
Have a nice time in France. Liz
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Oct 6th, 2004, 06:19 AM
  #22
 
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Thank you Oipuka: Very good information. Are you saying that if one doesn't go further North than Etosha you don't need malaria meds? When is the mosquito season? How bad is it there? It is horrible around the Delta until it gets cold enough to break the cycle with them. I figured there wasn't enough water in Namibia to have many around.
Aren't the most popular spots from Etosha south? You can tell I have some work to do here. Liz
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Oct 6th, 2004, 07:59 AM
  #23
 
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Stephan Bruckner is the director of the company that runs the Wolwedans concession. It was his father who first bought a few farms in the area and then initiated the creation of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, persuading other local farmers and investors to join him.

Who is leaving?

Ralph Herrgott (I think I have that right). When we went originally in 2001 he was the chef and was training the others to meet the standards he was introducing. On our recent visit he was Operations Manager for Wolwedans and no longer involved in cooking. He didn't need to be - the kitchen team at the Dune Lodge had taken on board all he had taught them and delighted our taste buds every day.

Louise Clapham was, I think manager of guides and also of conservation. She has been there a long time and was there when the lodge and camp were built, I think. Guides currently in place seem good. I think the choice of replacement will certainly influence the standard of guiding in future.

The other person leaving whose name and title I can't remember was essentially in charge of maintainence and I'm sure they will be able to replace that role.

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Oct 6th, 2004, 12:52 PM
  #24
 
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Thanks for the explanation, Kavey. It will surely have a significant impact. It might improve a lot of places around there, if they hire their chefs from this new cooking school. I will be waiting to read of all the wonderful meals you had there as well as in Windhoek. Liz
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Oct 6th, 2004, 01:51 PM
  #25
 
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Liz
That's what they are hoping.
I think they are calling the place NICE and I have completely forgotten what the initials stand for now.
Ralph is an excellent chef and he's really developed the Wolwedans kitchen superbly and he and Bruckner felt that Namibia could really benefit from a school to train other chefs.

BTW the one night we were in Windhoek we ate at Joe's Beerhouse. We enjoyed our meal and the setting itself but were both ill as dogs next day BUT we're almost sure that this was down to the tap water in Windhoek and not the food at Joe's. We didn't eat the same thing AND the timing of when it came on matched the different times we both first had tap water as opposed to bottled drinks.
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Oct 6th, 2004, 02:16 PM
  #26
 
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Kavey- Ouch! How unfortunate for you guys. I too would guess the water, but I don't think I'd go back there. I really have mixed feelings about Joe's Beerhouse anyway. One report says its a smoky room packed full of loud hunters, and others say its an experience not to be missed. I read about the Castle on the hill (Heidenbertz?) and both their dining room and the wine cellar promise untold culinary treasures, then there's the Beerhouse. What to do?
The more I read about Namibia, the more intrigued I become. Liz
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Oct 6th, 2004, 02:31 PM
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I can't say Joe's Beerhouse "isn't to be missed" as it's really just an interesting local restaurant.

The decor and setting is kind of fun and I did enjoy looking at the galler of Joe's photographs on sale next door - very talented photographer.

The food was nice enough but nothing special (and didn't hold a candle to the food at Wolwedans).

I would recommend it but not in a "can't be missed" way.
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Oct 6th, 2004, 06:30 PM
  #28
DJE
 
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Liz,

The dining room in the Heinitzburg Hotel might be worth a visit for you. We stayed at the hotel and ate in this restaurant a few times and were not disappointed with our dining experience with the cuisine and service being very good. They also have a lovely view of the city below from their location on the hillside.
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Oct 7th, 2004, 05:03 AM
  #29
 
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Thanks DJE-Just exactly what I was hoping to hear. Did you eat at the dining room and the wine cellar? How long did you stay at the hotel? I'm real curious. I'll look back for your trip report. What was the dress code for evenings in the dining room? Thanks much.
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Oct 7th, 2004, 05:49 AM
  #30
 
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Incidentally, regarding accommodation we were very happy with our choice of Hilltop House.

Lovely rooms, thoughtfully furnished. Good breakfasts served to order in your room or outside in the garden. Friendly staff too. They even laid out two interlocked hearts on the bed cover, one in pink bouganvillea and one in a darker redder flower. Very sweet touch.

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Oct 7th, 2004, 10:26 PM
  #31
 
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Hi Liz, To answer your other questions about the mozzies in Namibia, no, you don't need malaria meds if you're not going any further north than Etosha. As you say, most of the 'popular' tourism destinations are south of there anyhow, but if you go anywhere along the Angolan border (ie Kunene River region or Caprivi) during the rainy season, then you would need them. We often send clients to Epupa Falls and/or the Kunene River region because it's where you can see the nomadic Himba people living in their own environment and also because it's really beautiful along the river. You need to either fly-in or travel by 4x4 and you can only go during the dry season (May-Nov) because often the roads are flooded during the rainy season, but it's definitely worth it. We've been there in July, Aug & Sept before and during those months we haven't even seen any mosquitos. You probably know that Namibia is known as the 'land of contrasts' and if you travel from the northern border to as far south as Sossusvlei, you will really be amazed at the different landscapes you see.

Regarding the restaurant in Windhoek discussion, I think Joe's Beerhouse has an african feel to it and is fun if you go with a group of people. There's no question though that if you're looking for a really great dining experience, you won't be disappointed with the Heinitzburg (part of Relais & Chateaux hotels) and their terrace is great for sundowners as you have a view of the city with the mountains in the background. There's also a new place, I believe it's called the Wine Bar, which all of the Windhoekers are saying is really nice. I'm on the coast, but I'll try to find out the details of that.

Let me know if you have any other questions & happy planning Kristin
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Oct 7th, 2004, 10:43 PM
  #32
DJE
 
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Hi Liz,

We spent 3 nights at the Hotel, one prior to our visit to Sossusvlei Wilderness camp and 2 nights after our desert visit. We only ate in the main dining room for dinners and I had read before our trip, somewhere here on fodors, that they would not allow anyone wearing sandals in the dining room. My husband only brought along his hiking boots and one pair of sandals for our entire trip and he wore the boots to dinner in the evenings and his tilley safari type clothes and this was not a problem. I wore a bit nicer casual attire ( as opposed to my safari clothes ) that I had taken along and felt very comfortable in this even though some of the other guests were a bit more dressed up

If you have a couple of nights in Windhoek I'm sure you would enjoy dining at the hotel and as mentioned there is that great view.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 06:42 AM
  #33
 
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Thank you all- Very good information and I appreciate your time and comments.
Kristin- I am in the very early stages of beginning this. Its kind of like if we can't find any problem with my traveling this distance now, then its a very likely prospect. It would be a slow and easy trip with very few real early mornings. More of a relaxing trip with stops of 2 or 3 days to see an area.
DJE- We'd probably stay at the Castle for 2 days. I've looked up your posts from your trip last year and printed them for my planning file.
Kavey- Was Wolwedans the only place you visited this time in Namibia? If we go we would have to stay at Wolwedans Dune Lodge a couple of nights. Gosh I looked up your beautiful comments from your earlier trip as you flew in from Windhoek and got your first glimpses of the area. Still very inspiring. I'm thinking Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge as a likely possibility for the Sossusvlei dunes area. Hopefully a hot air balloon ride there too.
I think we'd wait until 2006 to give us enough time to plan and give my back a year to see how safe I feel taking on such a trip now. Thanks all, I do appreciate your comments. Liz
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