Is this too much? Should I cut Namib Desert?

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Apr 28th, 2005, 07:35 AM
  #1
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Is this too much? Should I cut Namib Desert?

I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on my itinerary. I thought first about splitting my 2-wk trip up between Cape Town (4 nts), Garden Route (5 nts), Joburg (1 nt) and Londolozi (4 nts). Then after diving into the incredible amount of information on this board, I decided (1) we might not enjoy the Garden Route b/c of the time of year we'd be traveling (August), (2) we really had to see Victoria Falls, and (3) the Namib Desert sounded really cool! I tried to rearrange my trip so that our 5 Garden Route nights would be split between Vic Falls (2 nights) and Sossusvlei Lodge (3 nights), but with the flight schedules I haven't found any way to avoid overnighting in Windhoek. Thus, this is what I'm thinking:

8/7 -- Arrive Cape Town;
8/8 -- Cape Town;
8/9 -- Cape Town;
8/10 -- Cape Town;
8/11 -- Fly up to Vic Falls; arrive noontime; see Falls in p.m.;
8/12 -- See falls in a.m.; fly to Windhoek at 2:30pm, arriving 5:30pm; overnight there;
8/13 -- Fly to Sossusvlei 9:00am
8/14 -- Sossusvlei/Namib Desert
8/15 -- Sossusvlei/Namib Desert
8/16 -- Fly to Joburg; overnight there;
8/17 -- Fly to Londolozi
8/18 -- Londolozi
8/19 -- Londolozi
8/20 -- Londolozi
8/21 -- Back to U.S.A.

Is this too much traveling? That is my fear, and I wonder if we should ditch the Namib Desert and stay somewhere else that we can get to quickly from either Cape Town or Vic Falls.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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I adore the Namib Desert so it's hard for me to consider dropping it... I'd drop something else... BUT that IS down to my personal preferences and if you're thinking of dropping something that could be it.

An alternative with slightly less travel time could be somewhere like Jack's Camp in the Kalahari which is a different kind of desert environment.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 11:00 AM
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I like it. With the exception of Vic Falls for 1-nts, all the other stops are 3 or 4 nts which is good. As far as the overnight in Windhoek, you have to remember (as no doubt you've already found out) few flights to some destinations. Besides, Windhoek is a small city, with some charming hotels and great restauants. Do it.

May I make a suggestion - that you keep all your posts regarding your trip on the same thread - easier for you to find and others to respond.

Happy travels.
 
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Apr 28th, 2005, 11:52 AM
  #4
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Thanks Kavey and Sandi. The flight schedules are driving me nuts! As soon as I think I’ve discovered a brilliant solution where everything fits together perfectly, it’s always “oops, no one flies there that day”! Aarrrgh!

One thing I could do (although I know Selwyn wouldn't be happy with me) is cut a night in Cape Town. Two and a half days there would allow us to do a day trip to the winelands, a day trip to the Nature Reserve, and a short tour of the city, and give us an extra night in Vic Falls. That way our trip would look like this:

Cape Town (3)
Vic Falls (2)
Windhoek (1)
Sossusvlei (3)
Joburg (1)
Londolozi (4)

My preference would be to cut a night at Londolozi rather than Cape Town, but that would mean flying from Vic Falls to Windhoek on 8/13 (my birthday!), and “oops, no one flies there that day”.

Kavey – How long did you stay in the Namib Desert? Do you think the average person would be bored staying there for three nights?

The more I think about it, the more I think I'd prefer a fourth night in Cape Town to a second night at Vic Falls. Us seeing the falls will just be like the Griswolds when they see the Grand Canyon in "Vacation". Pause for a second, nod head a few times, then scram-bola!
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Apr 28th, 2005, 12:36 PM
  #5
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If I had to take from any of these places it would be Vic Falls - depending on when you arrive which would allow for an afternoon Falls Tour.

But the original itinerary you posted looks good. Is there something I wasn't getting about it? I'm assuming that with what you listed that the planes fly those days at those times? If so, no changes are necessary.

While I haven't been to the Namib, with early flight from Windhoek and the same on the return, you get two full days there. If you want an extra day in the Namib and flight schedules work, take the day from Londolozi. But it's your choice.
 
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Apr 28th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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In an itinerary where every single night is precious I would definitely cut Sossusvlei to 2 nights.

On our first visit we flew internationally via South Africa to Windhoek and immediately out and on down to Namib Rand Nature Reserve (Wolwedans). We were there just 2 nights before moving to Sossusvlei for 2 nights (we would have been satisfied with just 1) and then on up to Damaraland before going to Botswana.

On our latest trip we spent 5 weeks in South Africa, 2.5 weeks in Botswana and then we flew in from Bots to Windhoek, spent one night there and then spent 4 nights at Wolwedans, where we renewed our vows.

So clearly, I personally don't feel 3 nights is too much.

However, I also would say that two nights can be enough if the circumstance is that you're tight on total number of nights overall, as you are.

If you don't NEED an overnight in Windhoek for reasons of scheduling of flights I'd skip it and take an onward flight straight to your chosen destination in the desert. Then you can spend 3 nights in the desert and keep your Cape Town nights intact.

Those 3 nights (assuming you are able to drop Windhoek) could either all be in one place or split, say 2 in Wolwedans and 1 in Sossusvlei.

Windhoek is not an interesting town and whilst there are nice hotels and restaurants to keep you occupied it's not a particularly fascinating place... just a regular town. DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER HERE.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 08:30 PM
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Is this a "once in a lifetime (or decade)" Southern Africa trip, or do you think you may be able to return sometime soon?

If the former, then you can make it work with the comments above. But if you think you might be returning to Southern AFrica, I would think about what area you would postpone. For example, if you are in Namibia, it's a shame not to also do Etosha, or if possible, the Skeleton Coast. If you ever plan a trip to Botswana or Zambia, Vic Falls is an easy add on. My problem with an itinerary like this, is that while it gives you a tiny tast of each country, but leaves so much untouched, that when you return to the region, you are tempted to do the same type of hopscotch around several countries again to see stuff you didn't see on the first trip!
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Apr 28th, 2005, 09:05 PM
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Last time (May 04) when I went to Namibia, I spent two nights in Wolwedans Camp and two nigths in Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge. Wolwedans is a wonderful place to stay. I can see sunrise and lots of stars while lying on the bed. The only drawback is it is far away from Sossuslvei. SML is also very nice and their quad bike is cool!

3 nights in Sossusvlei should be ok. 2 nights seems a bit rush.
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Apr 29th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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Thanks for your help everyone! As usual your thoughts and comments have been extremely helpful.

I hope this trip is just the first of several to Africa, so I take tashak's (and others') point very well that since that is the case, we should focus on fewer places and save a few destinations for next time.

I think I am coming to the conclusion, therefore, that Namibia definitely has other areas we want to see, so we'll save the Namib Desert for the next trip. Because Vic Falls is an easy add-on for us with no overnight necessary, we'll keep that portion of our trip, spend an extra night there, and split the remaining three nights either at a lodge nearby to Vic Falls (maybe Sandibe) or on the Rovos train (Cape Town -> Joburg or Vic Falls -> Pretoria).

I'm sad to postpone the Namib Desert, but this will pretty much guarantee that I'll return to the continent sooner rather than later.
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Apr 29th, 2005, 10:00 AM
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Namibia defintely has lots to see, I've been twice (though the second visit was just a one destination add-on) and there's LOTS AND LOTS I haven't seen yet and want to see.

You could certainly increase number of nights in Cape Town to 5 nights and still not be bored given that you have the peninsula itself, Cape Town itself, the winelands - there is SO much to see.

You might also consider visiting Jack's Camp which will give you a chance to see the Kalahari Desert.
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Apr 29th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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Does Jack's camp have a website? I poked around on Google but couldn't find one.
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Apr 29th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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Do a search both on Unchartered Africa (the company owned by Ralph Bousfield, Jack's son) and also on Wilderness Safaris who now market it and manage reservations.
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Apr 29th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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Good Plan. Yes, it's hard to do the self-discipline thing when planning trips!
Namibia is definitely worth an extended trip.

And I do adore Jacks Camp (www.wilderness-safaris.com as it is now in the WS fold). But actually, that would be your only destination in Botswana. If you plan a future Botswana trip and you like deserts, definitely do that!

I also agree that 5 days in the Capetown are is not too much. I did 5 days, and wished I had more.
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Apr 29th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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Tashak I know it would be the only destination in Bots but... it's kind of geographically between Victorial Falls and South Africa anyways... so I thought it might work out as feasible on the transport side... BUT I'm just guesing on that front...
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Apr 29th, 2005, 12:41 PM
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Thanks again! Jack's Camp looks fabulous!

I thought about a fifth night in Cape Town, but decided it's too much of a risk with the weather that time of year (August).
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May 2nd, 2005, 06:11 AM
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Well, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime/decade trip after all. I was describing my itinerary for my mother this weekend, telling her that we were probably going to save the Namib Desert for a separate all-Namibia trip. She was not happy. She told me that my wife and I needed to stop taking these big trips every year and start giving her grandchildren!

Sigh. Anybody here chosen going to Africa over having kids? =-)
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May 2nd, 2005, 07:46 AM
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zpenci,

Africa and my 10 dogs win by a longshot over children for my wife and I (grandchildren for my in-laws and parents).

When I feel any pressure at all about having children from my mother-in-law, I jokingly remind her that she already has TEN (four-legged) grandchildren, and that promptly puts an end to the discussion!

My wife and I still have another few years to have children but so far, we are 95% sure that we do not want to go that route. When, and if we ever do, it will be because WE want children, not because others want us to have children. And it is not just parents, but there is also peer pressure from friends, but I honestly think that this is just to provide THEM with validation that THEY did the right thing by having children!
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May 2nd, 2005, 08:53 AM
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Not meaning any disrespect to your mother but I do find parents who try to dictate their kids priorities in life annoying. I'm sure your mum's words were simply a way of expressing her opinion on what she thinks you ought to be doing with your life at this point rather than an actual attempt to bully you into following those plans but... that generation often find it hard to understand that having children is no longer the only reason to get married or the be all and end all for many people.

I love kids but I don't feel any desire to have any of my own. I don't feel that my future will be empty or meaningless without them. I don't feel an urge to pass on my genetic code. I take great pleasure in the children of my friends and of my sisters-in-law but am happy with my decision on what I want out of life.

Travelling is a big part of that!
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May 2nd, 2005, 09:45 AM
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Yeah, I love seeing friend's kids and playing with them, but for me the best part of that is when I get to give the kids back! Usually hopped up on sugar because of all the candy I've given them!

And yes, when I tell my mom she should be happy with the two fish we have for her grandchildren, she usually hits me with a shoe.

If we do decide to procreate (and believe me, it will be a decision independent from parental influence), it's likely that it will be a while before we're back to Africa. Are there any spots that you've been to that you think will be different (in a bad way) in 10 years or so because of overdevelopment?
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