Namibia Game Plan

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Aug 3rd, 2003, 07:48 PM
  #1
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Namibia Game Plan

Here is my final plan for Namibia with CC Africa arranged by Pulse Africa (they have been great by the way=D> )

DAY 1 : Windhoek and Heinitzburg Hotel
DAY 2 & 3 : Eastern Etosha. Mushara Lodge
DAY 4 : Western Etosha. Ongava
DAY 5 & 6 : Central Damaraland. Etendeka Camp
DAY 7: Southern Damaraland. Mowani Mountain Camp
DAY 8: Swakopmund. Swakopmund Hotel
DAY 9 & 10: Namib Desert. Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge
DAY 11: Windhoek Heinitzburg Hotel
Day 12: home. Sniff sniff #39;(

I looked up most of the places on the net and they looked pretty nice. We?ll be driving from place to place ? in one way I wish we were flying to get some aerial views and just get to places quicker, but yet I like the idea of seeing things along the way ? mixed emotions. Is the hot air balloon ride worth it? It will be a small group too ? less than 10!

Now I am working on the time with my friend in South Africa. We are looking at going to Kruger or going down to Cape Town or both. Somewhere I read about some private game reserves instead of Kruger but I can?t find that posting. Any suggestions? I have to go get some travel books now that I know where I am going.

A few other questions:
1. My family requested that I get an international cell phone before I go. Would it be worth the expense/hassle? Would there be any reception? Should I get it before I go or get one when I land in JNB?


I had a bunch others but I fergit! ?Nite nite for now!

Kim

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Aug 3rd, 2003, 08:54 PM
  #2
DJE
 
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Kkimkim,

Hope you have a great time in Namibia. On our recent trip we stayed at the Heinitzburg and really enjoyed the hotel & it's location. They have a great dining room with a young chef from Germany. Had a number of very good meals there.

I am sure you will enjoy the Namib Desert and the Sossusvlei area. The dunes are quite stunning as is the whole region. If you have time the Hot Air Balloon ride is well worth doing.
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Aug 4th, 2003, 10:14 AM
  #3
owl
 
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Hello. A couple quick ideas: we just got back from Namibia. The driving portion was the most stressful stretch for me. Bad roads from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei. Much better, newly graded roads from Sossusvlei to Windhoek. Remember to drive slowly. We had one tire blow-out and had to buy a spare in Solitaire (a little town). Avis tried to slap on all kinds of charges. Definitely get an extra spare (or two!). Everyone gets blow-outs. Also, check with your credit card company before you go--use their car rental insurance, but you have to follow everything to a T or else they won't cover you. Your credit card company covers tires, but the rental companies don't. Plan well so that you're not driving in the dark (like we did after the blow-out incident). ALthough we liked the flexibility of driving ourselves, in the end it cost more than hiring a driver and car. And now we have to fight Avis for all the extras they charged. And all we had was ONE tire blow-out!

The food at the Heinitzburg Hotel is reasonably good, but overpriced. We much prefered La Marmite. And we heard that The Kings is a great place. Joe's Beerhouse was way too touristy for my taste--like the Hard Rock. Thought the food there was the worst of our trip. Also, the locals think of it as a racist Afrikaaner hangout and some refuse to patronize the place as a result.

The BEST hotel was the Desert Homestead in Sossusvlei. Wonderful rooms, fantastic food, good location, wonderful horseback riding. This the place where wealthy people from Windhoek who are "in the know" stay while on vacation (we met some of them). It opened two years ago and is not yet in some guidebooks.

Another WONDERFUL hotel was Seabreeze Guesthouse in Swakopmund. Spotlessly clean, wonderfully friendly, and one of the best breakfasts around. I can't imagine finding a better place in the area.

We normally stay in five star hotels in the US and we felt that the service and food at Desert Homestead and Seabreeze were top-notch.

Enjoy your trip! By the way, we thought that Dead Vlei was actually more interesting than Sossusvlei, so if you want to avoid the crowds, head there for sunrise.
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Aug 4th, 2003, 12:53 PM
  #4
sandi
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Kim - Sorry about that, hit the wrong key!!!

You'll be traveling with a group right? So you won't be doing the driving. You'll have a driver/guide.

The itinerary is the same as I indicated in previous post, from the Safari operator I've used. Did they hit you with a single supplement or are you sharing?

The Mushara Lodge had a/c; At Ongava are you staying at the tents or the individual a/c cabins? The Etendeka Camp is rustic, no a/c, but out there in the wilderness; other posters have indicated that Mowani was the nicest they stayed at (but don't recall the rest of their accomm); The Swakopmund Hotel is a/c as is the Mountain Lodge in Sossusvlei (voted best by Conde Nast Traveler mag)

I forgot, but what time of the year are you going? December? Yes? Then it will be like June in US - real hot! But I'm sure that the places that don't have a/c will have ceiling or floor fans and the nights do tend to cool down.

If you were traveling on your own, the ideal thing would be to fly from SWA to SOS to WDH, but since you're not doing the driving, then someone else is.

I'll be thinking of you (an almost trip I almost did this year); you'll have to tell us all about it on your return.
Happy and safe travels.


 
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Aug 4th, 2003, 01:13 PM
  #5
sandi
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Kim -

Re Cellphone - we had inquired if we could pick-up at WDH airport, but never got a reply.

However, suggest you contact VODAPHONE. They have a website - you want Vodaphone SA (they are a worldwide company). There is a booth at the JNB Int'l Terminal where we saw lots of businessmen picking up their phones.

But you must check if and what kind of service they provide in Namibia. If I recall, the prices were very competitive. If they don't provide for Namibia, ask them who does - unless another poster has such information.

If you want a private reserve other than at Kruger, you might want to check out Phinda - but think you should compare prices. Not all private reserve camps in Kruger are expensive and you're likely to find Phinda in the same price range as some at Kruger.

Let's see what recommendations others might have.
 
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Aug 4th, 2003, 01:30 PM
  #6
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Thanks for all of the info!

At Ongava, the itin says chalets. I'll be going the last 1.5 weeks in Sept, and the first 1.5 weeks in October - spring time. So hopefully not too hot during the day and not too cool at night.

Sandi: Yup, I believe that I will be paying for the single supplement. If there are an odd number of travelers, do I still pay for the supplement? Currently there are 2 other couples on the tour plus me and they top it off at 6. I actually wouldn't mind paying to be on my own if there is a #6 because I am a light sleeper and don't take well to snorers! It is a Namibia in Style tour - is that a generic name used by a buch of different groups?

DJE: I will be with a group so I won't have to worry about changing tires! Yippee!

So now I am off and exploring things to do in Southh Africa with my friend. I am glad that the Namibia portion is handled. I can't wait!

Kim
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Aug 4th, 2003, 01:52 PM
  #7
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Do I want my seat on the upper or lower deck? I am flying SAS a 747-400? Somebody told me and I can't remember what they told me!

Thanks,
Kim
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Aug 4th, 2003, 03:35 PM
  #8
DJE
 
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Another option to the Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge you might want to look into is the Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp. It's is a lovely location IMO located up on a hillside.

The camp which is more like a lodge is very well run and each of the individual bungalows (9) are nicely appointed with a pool on your deck area and all are overlooking the desert and mountainous area in the surrounding region.

The main lodge area is very nice with a large deck area ( great Vistas ) as well as a very comfortable lounge and eating area inside. Food was good and the staff were very pleasant and conscientious.

Also had a look at Kulala and Little Kuala which was quite new. Altho the rooms etc. were lovely, the resorts could not compare to the location of SWC and views from this spot.
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Aug 5th, 2003, 05:01 AM
  #9
sandi
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Kim -

Yes, the tour name is Namibia in Style. Happy to hear you'll be in the Ongava Lodge Cabins - understand these are really nice and the service is excellent.

DJEs suggestion for Wilderness Camp in Sos is great, but with a scheduled tour, it's not a choice, especially since Wilderness and Mountain Lodge aren't anywhere near one another. The Mountain Lodge is rather modern, but is a/c, have their "star gazing" telescope atop roof and this is part of night activities. Everything is included except imported wines.

You've got a good combinations of accommodations, luxury, canvas (great to sleep under canvas), rustic, modern. It's a great itinerary. And so few people. Good deal!

As to upper or lower deck on the B 744- go for the upper deck. Only about 12 rows and while our flight was crowded, we felt we actually had more room then we would have had on lower deck. They didn't prohibit us from walking around, food service was quick and generally felt more comfortable. And both of us actually did sleep about 6-hrs.

We were on lower deck on return flight, but flight wasn't crowded till passengers boarded at Isle de Sol - up to then we had plenty of room to spread out and sleep.
 
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Aug 5th, 2003, 07:54 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I rented a satellite phone for my recent trip to southern Africa. I'm pretty sure we went through vodaphone. The actual dealer we worked with was Cellcity in Johannesburg. They actually delivered the phone to us. I'm not sure I would do it again. This was my first experience with a satellite phone and I expected to have great reception everywhere, but this was not the case. Signals were weak and reception sporadic. It did, however, come in very handy. We were flying ourselves and once had to turn around because of bad weather. We'd just left a dirt landing strip in the middle of nowhere, so we used the phone to get in touch with the lodge to send someone come back to pick us up. Rates were $10/day rental (including insurance) and $2/minute.
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