Namibia & Botswana trip report

Oct 11th, 2010, 03:44 PM
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Namibia & Botswana trip report

Sept 8 - Oct 1 tour of Namibia's scenic outposts and 3 lodges in Botswana. Many thanks to all who posted over the past year. Your responses were very helpful.
Our journey started with two days in London at Claridges where we were upgraded to a suite and where we had the best meal of our lives at The Ledbury.
We used Wilderness Safaris for all our Namibia/Botswana arrangements.
First stop Windhoek to Sossusvlei where we stayed at Kalala Desert Lodge. It was hotter than a pistol in Sossusvlei - The first morning we went hot air ballooning & loved every minute - so serene. We climbed Big Daddy, walked in the Sesreim Canyon and drank in the sunsets over the dunes. From Sossusvlei we took the scenic flight over the dunes to the coast flying over abandoned diamond mines set in improbable locales and refueled in Swakopmund. We flew inland to drop passengers at Damaraland, then on to our next stop - Serra Cafema. The Hartman Valley is gorgeous! Serra Cafema was delightful - brown hyena, desert fox, Hartman Zebra, Baboons, Nile Crocodile, Oryx and several encampments of Himba tribespeople. We hiked, drove, boated and used the quad bikes to see the area. As posted by others, the quads stick to a designated trail, follow one after the other, and make every effor to minimize their environmental impact.
Our next stop was Skeleton Coast Camp - conditions were harsh. We went to this area because it is so remote, desolate, and purportedly beautiful. It was all of those things, in addition to being cold. The wind was unrelenting. It is impossible to describe driving for hours over one steep dune after another. Its otherwordly. We visited the seal colonies where we saw hyena and black back jackals and shipwreck sites. We surf fished and walked the beach. We drove inland through a canyon to see desert elephants and lions. It was a remarkable part of our trip, but may not be everyone's cup of tea.
From Skeleton coast we flew back to Windhoek and on to Joberg for a night. I must say it was nice to have hot water and to be able to eat in the bar.
The next morning we flew to Maun and on to Little Vambura. What a gorgeous friendly camp. We had such a great time there. The first morning our guide located a pack of wild dogs - 8 adults and 8 pups. They'd just finished hunting - bellies extended and sound asleep. We also saw lions, sable, leopard and the ever present elephants, mongoose, giraffe, a herd of 1000 buffalo, striped hyena, crocks, and many other animals. I'd recommend this camp to everyone. We went out in the boats the first night we arrived, but opted out of a mokoro ride because we preferred land based drives.
From Little Vambura we went to Savuti Camp. For those who have not been, Savuti Camp is a more wooded terrain than the area of the Delta we visited. Our "tent" was situated looking out on the water filled channel. The rooms are beautiful as is the entire camp. We had a remarkable game experience at Savuti as we lucked into a vehicle by ourselves w/Kanie who is a spectacular tracker. We spent 1 1/2 days w/the Savuti lions picking them up when their kill was stolen by a pack of hyena, seeing a face down w/the hyena, and then tracking them while they stalked buffalo. We left the lions, a mom and 2 "teenage" boys the next day at noon still having been unsuccessful in obtaining food. We experienced one negative at this camp - its infested w/ants - walking across the floor of the bath area was like walking on coffee grounds, and I was not thrilled to have my face covered with ants after using my towel. Apparently the camp is built on a giant anthill.
From Savuti Camp we drove to Zarafa - what a beautiful place! Its only 4 tents and quite luxurious. The managers - Tessa and Stuart are delightful and make this a place you never want to leave. The Selinda Reserve is huge! We saw wild dogs, lions, leopards, hippos, a black mamba, and of course ellies, giraffe, & buffalo. We were spellbound watching a pride of lions numbering 9 as they spied a herd of elephants headed their way. The ellies included a small guy who was cavorting about learning to manuever his trunk, flap his ears and trumpet loudly. He was likely a month or two old. The elephants saw the lions when the groups were about 25 yards apart, and adeptly signaled the baby to retreat behind them. Realizing they would not be able to penetrate the herd, the lions backed off. We spent our last evening enjoying sundowners on the camp boat out on a large lagoon listening to the resident hippos.
kathy501 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2010, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Sounds like a greatt trip. Which agent did you use to book with Wilderness? I'm considering a trip to Namibia using Wilderness camps.

Where (in Namibia) did you see the most elephants?

How/why did you decide to leave out Etosha?

Were those temperatures typical for that time of year at Skeleton Coast camp?

Thanks for posting.
Femi is offline  
Oct 11th, 2010, 07:18 PM
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Sounds like a fantastic trip. Will you be posting photos anywhere? Would love to see some of the country in Namibia.
twaffle is offline  
Oct 11th, 2010, 11:44 PM
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Ditto what Twaffle says ..... would love to see photos. Glad you had a fabulous trip!!!
HariS is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 09:05 AM
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Photos - I'll work on it, but it may take a bit.
Etosha - We planned on spending all of our time in Botswana viewing the wildlife, so opted not to visit Etosha and to spend the time in Namibia elsewhere. The desert elephants we saw were in a beautiful area around Purros - which was accessed from Skeleton Coast Camp. My impression of the weather at skeleton coast is that it is unpredictable - Sometimes the wind blows, and often its chilly in the evening and morning.
kathy501 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 11:23 AM
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Femi - where are you located? I know many of the Wilderness network agents in the USA and Canada and maybe I can recommend one you can meet face to face. If you are American and you get on their web site you will be referred to a US based agent but they may not always be the closest one.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
Safari_Craig is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 01:06 PM
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Femi - sorry I failed to respond to your question regarding our agent - as Craig noted we were assigned an agent - and luckily she was nearby and did a great job - Sandra at Africa
kathy501 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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Africa Dynamics is a really good company based in the Seattle area. I am not sure if Sandra has an office or works out of her home, but typically if that is the case the agent will meet you somewhere. Her email is [email protected]

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
Safari_Craig is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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Thank you both for the info.
Femi is offline  
Oct 12th, 2010, 09:31 PM
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You saw so much in the diverse environments, even brown hyena. Way to go!
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 09:18 PM
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The Namibia's skeleton coast is one of the beautiful place of the planet. Yes we can see elephants, oryx, springbok, giraffe, ostrich, brown hyaena, jackal and other smaller mammals. Camping in Namibia is a true wilderness experience.
alexsom is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 01:32 PM
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HI Kathy - did the Savuti staff know of such a severe ant problem? Am considering staying there next year. I wouldn't NOT go because of this, but does sound a bit much even for the wild
Cateyes555 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 03:04 PM
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Great report Kathy. I am with HariS and Twaffle, would love to see the photos.
scruffypuma is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 06:35 AM
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I once stayed in the honeymoon suite of a remote Wilderness camp, and found ants all over it.

They offered to put down poison to kill them, but I didn't feel this sat well with their claimed eco-friendly credentials.

The exasperated manager asked what solutions would I like? I thought a resident aardvark would not only be sustainable and eco-friendly, but a great photo opportunity too!

Great report, kathy, thanks.
mcwomble is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 11:55 AM
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Bring on the aardvark! Sheer genius, Mcwomble!
atravelynn is offline  

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