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xxx Dec 8th, 2002 05:05 AM

Have you been to Namibia? What did you do, where did you go, how did you get around, etc? What would you recommend for a first timer to Africa (on a budget but don't want to camp)? Is crime a big problem there? Would you feel comfortable driving yourself around the country? Thanks!

Penelope Dec 10th, 2002 02:20 PM

My husband and I were in Namibia in November, 2000, traveling on our own. We had friends in Windhoek who took us around some there, but, then, we signed on to a small group tour (about six of us) from Windhoek to Swakopmund via Sossusvlei. From Swakopmund, we took the public bus back to Windhoek. It was all very satisfactory. A lot of tourists do drive themselves, but I don't know how feasible it is because, for example, at Sossusvlei, only four-wheel drive vehicles can go into the dune area. Related to this, we did really enjoy a flight over Sossusvlei from Swakopmund. My chief advice to you is to save Namibia for after you have been many other places in Africa and in the world. Unless you are into sand dunes and mile-after-mile of scrub brush, you will have forfeited what could be a truly spectatular trip to such nations as South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, or Tanzania. Re-think this. P

xxx Dec 11th, 2002 12:23 AM

That's interesting. What about the Etosha area? Isn't it on par with the best of South Africa or Botswana?

kavey Dec 11th, 2002 01:47 AM

I wouldn't say Etosha is on par with best of South Africa or Botswanain terms of overall experience - because it's accessible by road there are more visitors to share it's delights with and one is also not allowed to drive off road.<BR>But I understand (from lots of reading and talking with others) that the game viewing itself is very good - there are high numbers of animals and so most visitors are happy with what they see.<BR>So in terms of animals it's meant to be very good - in terms of overall experience - I can understand that it can't really compare with a remote and luxurious camp in the middle of nowhere in Botswana or South Africa shared only with a handful of other visitors.<BR>The other advantage of the lodges of Botswana and South Africa is the expertise of the guides who take you out on game drives...<BR>So if you can afford to go to those kinds of places then definitely give Etosha a miss. If not then it still holds a lot of attraction.<BR>Of course, another completely different option is to opt for East Africa instead of Southern, which I understand is still a little cheaper and thereby get the guided drive experience and animal viewing.<BR>Regarding Sossusvlei - regular cars can drive pretty far into the Tsuachab river valley but not right through at the end to the vlei itself - but many tour companies don't drive to the end anyway - they park the vehicule in the area provided and walk into and out of the vlei area. I recall the walk is a couple of hours each way or so and anyone with reasonable fitness is encouraged to take this option. My fitness wasn't remotely up to it so we took a drive in tour.<BR>South Africa certainly seems to have huge amounts going for it - and which country you choose depends on your own preferences and budget. There are beautiful coastal areas, the wine and garden route, the wildlife parks and so on. Botswana too has much to see but I feel it's a country best appreciated with a higher budget - though it can be seen without one, of course.<BR>Are you intending to JUST see Namibia or to combine it with time in Botswana or South Africa?<BR>Kavey

xxx Dec 11th, 2002 02:08 AM

Probably just 2 weeks driving in Namibia, to Wolwedans, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Etosha. We're also considering South Africa with a week in Capetown and a week in Kruger (probably not a private, luxurious lodge). I thought Namibia sounded more interesting, less visited and safer. Does Etosha compare to Kruger? Can't really afford the fly-in luxury trip to Botswana and at this point we aren't interested in east Africa.

evelyntrav Dec 11th, 2002 07:13 AM

On our tour, we drove through Etosha Park in one full day. As previously mentioned, this is a government park, with well-paved roads, specific parking areas with many cars, and open during daylight hours only (perhaps 9 to 5:30). While we did see a good deal of wildlife (mostly at man-made waterholes), it wasn't the same as going off-road at a private reserve and getting very close to the animals. You might consider a night or two at Ongava Lodge or Ongava Camp (both Wilderness properties) as they have excellent guides and can take you onto the private areas. These facilities are not remote so you can drive to them, plus are close to the entrance to Etosha so you would be able to do both types of drives. Actually, there are holes cut in the fence separating Etosha from these areas so the cats can have a broader area to roam.

carina Dec 27th, 2002 03:19 PM

We just got back from a month in Africa. Went to Cape Town for 3 days then flew to namibia for a week, back to Cape Town thru the Garden Route, flew from PE to Durban, drove thru Swazi to Kruger (3 nights in the park), 2 nights at a fantastic private lodge outside or Kruger, on to Pretoria, flew to Vic Falls (left early as it is crazy there now), 2 nights in Joburg and home.<BR><BR>I found Namibia was fantastic. We rented a car from Avis and drove to Sossusvlei wich was well worth the long long drive. We stayed at a place called the Desert Homestead and loved it, much cheaper than all of the others in the area I found. We rented a regular sedan as 4x4 were lots and lots more money. If you are going to the dunes just park in the regular car park and there is a shuttle that will drive you to the dunes (about CAD 15.00 per person if I remember correctly).<BR><BR>Etosha was fantastic. Cheap but very basic accommodation. We saw everything except leopard. We spent one night in each of the camps and if we go again I would probably spend 2 nights in Halali or the first one (starts with an O). The manmade waterholes at the camps are what are really great at Etosha. After driving around all day spotting game wait until late (after the loud rude people go to bed) and go sit at the water hole. We was elephant, lion and lots more just doing that.You are not able to do this in Kruger.<BR><BR>My husband and I felt very safe and met many nice, friendly, helpful people, This was our first trip to Africa but we will be back

kavey Dec 27th, 2002 03:34 PM

Carina<BR>Sounds wonderful...<BR>I'd be really interested in your full trip report. Are you intending to post in a separate thread to let us know all about the rest of the trip?<BR>Pretty please?<BR>:)<BR>Kavey

Carina Dec 28th, 2002 04:13 AM

Kavey,<BR><BR>I would be thrilled to share my trip. I am however a net idiot....can you tell me how ?<BR><BR>Cheers,<BR>Carina

kavey Dec 28th, 2002 07:40 AM

What I would do is just write it up in your normal word processing application (MS Word for Windows?) and then post it here in one thread.<BR><BR>Make a new thread by clicking on the &quot;Post a new message&quot; link.<BR><BR>Enter a title and if your trip took in a number of countries you might choose from the country list the General Interest option at the bottom.<BR><BR>Select the first section of your trip report (I think the forum doesnt cope with really long posts - maybe 500 words or so would be OK) and use edit copy. Come into your new message and edit paste that section in.<BR><BR>Then click on &quot;Post my reply&quot;.<BR><BR>To continue with the rest of the report just reply to your own initial message (same as you used to reply to this one) and post subsequent sections).<BR><BR>If this is too much of a hassle please feel free to email me your whole report once written (to above email address) and I would be happy to post it here for you under your own name.<BR><BR>Kavey

kavey Dec 28th, 2002 07:40 AM

Duh!<BR><BR>[email protected]

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