Namibia - Help Plan Trip ...Please!

Jan 17th, 2007, 12:02 PM
  #1  
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Namibia - Help Plan Trip ...Please!

Well after asking MANY questions on another thread and trying to decide where to go, we have decided on Namibia with South Africa.
For those of you who didn't see my initial thread, it HAS to be a malaria free trip with absolutely no malarial risk. Unfortunately that means ruling out Etosha but that just means that we will have to return to do it some day

We are planning on visiting sometime in June , July or August this year which I know are winter months but coming from Ireland we are used to the cold. I'm not sure how long we will have - it depends on the itinerary I suppose but we are probably looking at somewhere between 8 and 11 days (more if I can swing it with hubby!). Now here for the questions (which will be many!):

1. Is there a distinct advantage going one month over another?

2. Where can / should we include in our trip? in other words what are the malaria free areas that we can / should visit? I am having difficulty figuring out where we can and cant go.

3. Is Damarland / Twyfelfontein a malaria area?

3. Suggestions for accomodation which MUST be 'solid walled' - not tented nor tented with a solid roof. We're looking for places that won't necessarily break the bank (although we don't mind a little splurge if it's 'worth it') but are nice, have good food (had a bad experience last trip) and we won't get bored.

5. How many nights in each place?

We are looking at either starting or finishing in Sun City and including Madikwe as the SA part of the trip. Most likely we will fly into Johanesburg although we haven't booked anything yet. We don't want a trip where we will be constantly moving but don't want to get bored either and we definately want to see as much wildlife as possible without visiting Etosha.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Imelda
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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I haven't been yet so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

1. July 1st is when high season rates kick in for most accomodations. You could save some $ by going in June.

2. What are your interests? Have you ruled out Okonjima? Aside from Etosha, the "biggies" are probably Damaraland and Sossusvlei.

3. Don't think so but best not to rely on me.

4. Define "break the bank". It helps if we have a guideline as that can mean different things to different people. Places that come to mind with solid walls are Doro Nawas in Damaraland and Desert Homestead, Kulala Desert Lodge. Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge or Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp near Sossusvlei. The Cardboard box website has descriptions, photos and pricing.

5. I'd say minimum 2, maybe 3.

Good luck!
Patty is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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I highly recommend this one, you better check this site, www.whoisintown.com. You'll meet here your fellow travellers that could give you more tips and suggestions on your plan to travel. Have a safe and nice trip!
jonesther is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 09:17 PM
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Imelda: great idea to go to Namibia

We stayed at Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp and it was wonderful!! It is fully walled, intimate, great food, and we made friends there that joined us on our last safari. I can definitely recommend it.

I was told that Damaraland was malaria free, obviously you will want to verify that but you will want to visit there to see the desert elephant and the unique environment. I have heard good things about Mowani which I think is walled lodging and can drive to the elephant area. We stayed at Damarland Camp which is fantastic but is rustic canvas.

Cape Cross seal colony is great/although smelly!! to experience. There is an interesting looking lodge in that area too called Cape Cross Lodge but I didn't stay there. I haven't seen any reviews either but it may be worth looking into for a night to get a feel for the Skeleton Coast.

There are also a number of water and dune based activities in the Walvis Bay/Swakopmund area that may be of interest.

I'm sure others will chime in but that is the area that I have traveled south of Etosha.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 01:53 AM
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From the info I have the following areas have malaria in Namibia:

The northern regions, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa (along the border with Botswana), areas along the Kavango and Kunene rivers.

The scenery in Namibia is absolutely fantastic and I recommend the Sossuvlei area, Damaraland, Kaokoland and Skeleton coast for this.

Regarding wildlife - I have seen desert elephant, giraffe, oryx, springbok, zebra and black rhino in Damaraland/Kaokoland area but it can be very difficult and certainly not as easy to see wildlife as in Etosha.

If you want to see Cheetah (albeit mostly collared) try Okonjima and the Africat Foundation. You might also see Leopard.
Lynneb is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 02:13 AM
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Patty - VERY good point about going in June! I was actually thinking in terms of low / high season as is in SA and not Namibia. Do you have any idea on tepms. in Namibia that time of year?Okonjima is most likely not going to be a goer but I'm afraid I'm still wrestling with it a little. After quite a bit of searching on their website I found a reference to the baiting (it was more or less an 'aside') and here's what it says ....

OKONJIMA can honestly say that we have had NO problems with baboons or other wild animals, scavenging for food around our lodges. All kitchen ‘left-overs’ are offered to nocturnal animals such as porcupine and honey-badgers at our night hide. These animals are NOT dependent on this food, but see this as an ‘easy meal’. As a traveller in Namibia you do not often have the opportunity to see nocturnal animals, but you are under no obligation to join this activity.


.... how they know they aren't dependent I don't know?!!

Anyways Patty, sorry for diverging ... wildlife is important to us along with a 'nice' lodge and a good guide which brings me nicely on to budget. By 'blow the bank' I mean the likes of Mateya at around $750 per night for the room although, I have to say Deck and I have been known to completely ignore budgets from time to time so I suppose what I should have said was 'value for money' lodges as really, if it is totally and utterly worth it, we are inclined to give in ... and bear in mind that this is supposed to be our last splurge so I have a little more leeway

Pred, Yes, it was a great idea to go to Namibia ... wonder how I thought of it !

Sossusvlei is a MUST and I have been looking at Sossuslvlei Wilderness Camp too ... it looks fab and seems to have all good reports. It is probably a 'little' on the high end of our 'budget' but then again I'm not sure about lodge pricing in Namibia (yet!) and it might not be much more than a 'lesser' lodge (???) - how many nights would you recommend there?... I suppose what I'm trying to say is that our budget is going to be relative to price range and we're 'probably' (note how I use the term 'probably' ) going to be opting for mid-range properties.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Damarland is malaria free as, being an Ellie person, would really like to see the desert Ellies and that scenery looks spectacular. I would also love to see the rock etchings if possible.
I'm not too sure on the water based activities - we're not very sporty when it comes to it but the seal colony might be interesting ... I will have to look into it.
.. looks like I have a LOT of work to do

Imelda
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 05:31 AM
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Imelda
You make a good point about Okonjima. I'd say half of our group (of 10) enjoyed it there and half didn't. I prefer to track animals 'naturally' rather than track using the collars. It does give you an opportunity to get up close to the cheetahs though.
Lynneb is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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Great choice. But I won't be able to help with recommendations since I have only been to Etosha and Sossosvlei (which is a must-see, but where I stayed in a canvas-sided room, which was sturdy, but not a solid wall).

You'll have a great trip, even without Etosha, but you won't see the great diversity and numbers of animals that you'd get in Etosha, so you'll need to get your primary safari in South Africa.
thit_cho is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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My research on the CDC website gave me the same information as Lynneb re only the northern areas and the Caprivi strip of Namibia are considered malaria areas.

Namibia is a fabulous country, and I'm sure you're going to love it. In addition to Sossulvlei and Etosha,be sure to include a day or two in Swakopmund and a trip to the Cape Cross seal colony.
safarilover is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Don't know the temp range in June. July & August are supposed to be the coolest months. There have been a few reports from June. Try the Southern Africa index http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34858382 or search for Namibia trip report.

I'm pretty sure that Mowani is also tented. They have one suite which may or may not be tented but is partially open air. Would that be a bigger problem than tented?

Rates for the Sossusvlei lodges I mentioned -

Desert Homestead N$1200 B&B
Kulala Desert Lodge N$3360 DBB/N$5830 FI (high) or N$2370 DBB/N$4590 FI (low)
Sossusvlei Mountain N$7700 FI (high) or N$4200 FI (low)
Sossusvlei Wilderness N$7180 FI (high) or N$5180 FI (low)

DBB = dinner, bed, breakfast
FI = fully inclusive

Kulala Desert Lodge and Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp are both located on Kulala Wilderness reserve bordering Namib Naukluft park and Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge is located on the NamibRand reserve. One advantage of Kulala that has been mentioned here is that if you do the guided Sossusvlei excursion with them, there's a private entrance from their reserve into Namib Naukluft park and you don't have to go through the public entrance at Sesriem (which may have long queues in the morning). You may want to double check that this information is still correct.
Patty is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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I find the late July - August weather much more pleasant than the June-early July weather in Namibia. My favorite time for the country is actually late August. It is warmer and the days are longer, a consideration if you are going to do a self-drive. The altitude of much of Namibia is high, making for cold nights in the desert. Rooms in lodges for the most part do not have heat and can be quite chilly in the morning. But then again, you said you are used to the cold weather.
safarilover is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 11:53 AM
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I find the late July - August weather much more pleasant than the June-early July weather in Namibia.

Why is that? What do you think of September weather (not that I have any other choice this year)?
Patty is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Patty,

I have been to Namibia more than a dozen times ranging from early July through early September. In July and early August, it is still winter with clear, cool to warm days cold nights and deep, deep blue cloudless skies.

In late August and early September, the seasons are changing. The days are noticeably longer and the weather is warmer. The clouds do start to appear, however, and this past September there was even a brief shower at Etosha during the first week of September--just a sprinkling really, we had an overcast day or two which was not typical of the sunny Namibia that I know and love.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that September will be just fine. The longer days allow for more game viewing time in Etosha since you need to be back in the camps before sunset. Also, it's so pleasant to sit with a glass of wine by the waterhole at Okaukuejo. The longer days also allow for more driving time if you are going to do a self-drive.
safarilover is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 01:41 PM
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Wow, lots of replies ... thank you!!!

Lynne, sorry, I somehow missed your first post when I posted. Thank you for your suggestions.

Sossusvlei is a definate but at this stage I really am bamboozled (sp?) as to where else. I'm afraid I'm stressing a bit that we won't see enough wildlife and will be a little bored (Deck's fault ... he made that comment this evening and I just don't know enough about Namibia to refute or not!). Also, the cat is among the pigeons again because Capetown has been put back in the equation for Decks casino 'fix' so that puts questions on Madikwe again .... I'm pulling my hair out with all this .... aaaggghhhh!!!!

OK, I'm deep breathing now... just needed to let off a little steam.

More questions - Madikwe OR the Eastern Cape - which would be better for game?
OR Madikwe AND Eastern Cape and cut some days from Namibia?
Safarilover, I'm worrying about going in June - have you been at that time of year? What are the main minuses? Also, will the low temperatures in June greatly affect the game viewing in both locations?

Sorry for asking and asking and asking ... questions but as you can probably tell I'm stressing a bit. I just can't seem to get a handle on this trip and Namibia for some reason.

And AGAIN, Thanks so much for all your time, help and HUGE amount of patience,

Imelda
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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Have not been to Namibia in June, but in early July the days are sunny and cool-to-warm with evenings that I would call cold. The main minuses are the low temperatures and the short days. As for game viewing, the further into the dry season, which begins about May, the more sources of water dry up, forcing the animals to the larger waterholes. Also, the elephants leave the park during the rainy season and return later, not sure exactly when, but I was in Etosha once in April and didn't see a single elephant. Overall, I believe game viewing will be fine in June, but probably a bit better in July or August.

By the way, both the Windhoek Country Club Resort and the Swakopmund Entertainment Center have casinos. They are also fine hotels especially the one in Swakopmund.
safarilover is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 12:16 AM
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I've been quietly following this thread (because I'm interested but have had nothing to contribute) and thought I'd comment on weather. Both our trips to Namibia have been in June. As others have said, June days are sunny, blue skies and fairly warm, though not HOT hot. But the nights )and early mornings and late afternoons) are COLD and it can be quite a shock as to just how cold. Sleeping is fine as the beds are warm but showering etc. can be cold.
Kavey is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Well I'm back and I've calmed down now - don't know what happened last night but I was freakin just a tad .

Safarilover, thanks for the tips on Casinos in Namibia - more to chose from, just what I need

Kavey, I had seen you had a couple of trips to Namibia - thanks to Pattys link... THANKS Patty!. Actually, I just printed out your 2004 trip with SA, Botswana and Namibia last night but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Nor have I had chance to read your 2001 trip ... yet.... bedtime reading tonight!
Kavey, we were in Cape Town in September 2002 and it was pretty cold, do you think that Namibia in June would compare to Cape Town in late September? I think we really don't have too much option is we want to stay at the nicer camps as we wouldn't be able to swing the high season prices.

Patty - Sorry, in my stressed out state last night I forgot to say Thank You for those prices - just what I needed.

Kirsty at Cardboard Box came back to mt today with some suggestions - she suggested the following:
There are several lodges in central Namibia where we will be able to book you where you will have game viewing opportunities which are not as high up as Etosha. For example, Okonjima which is the home of AfriCat. As well, there are several game farms in the Omaruru area where you will be able to do nature drives. A good idea is to maybe look at Palmwag Rhino Camp.

These are all excellent locations and there are flights that we can book to these locations fairly easily.


I think we are definately going to skip Okonjima and Palmwag Rhino Camp is tented so I have asked her for an alternative ( I think Mowani is tented from looking at the website) .. any recommendations?
Also, does anyone know anything about Omaruru. The site I found was Omaruru Lodge website here: http://www.omaruru-game-lodge.com/lodge_english.html - does anyone know anything about the area - good / bad?

Imelda
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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I've never been to Cape Town in September (only May) so I don't know!

BUT bear in mind that we deliberately arranged our second trip to be in June not because it's the only time we could go nor because of seasonal pricing but because we genuinely loved those clear skies, uncrowded camps and cosy nights.

We did tend to change what would be our normal travel routine in terms of showering - we're normally morning bathers but we tended to shower in the midday break which is lovely and warm and also one has more time then too.

It is a killer getting out of that wonderful warm bed to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night or when getting up in the morning BUT then again we were in canvas tents... infact, in Wolwedans, even knowing the weather, we chose to leave one wall of our bedroom/tent completely open all night!

Is there any reason you're adamantly against canvas options? I'm not arguing againt it, I'm just curious about the reason.
Kavey is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 01:50 PM
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Kavey, YOur description of the cool mornings and nights reminds me EXACTLY of our September visit to SA. We were in the Honeyguide Tented Camp in the manyaleti (sp?) and it was very cold in the mornings and most days (bar one) it heated up nicely. .This brings me nicely on to tented camps .... while I loved the experience of a tent Deck wasn't so keen. He has a bug and insect aversion and for some reason thinks that 'walled' is better than tented when it comes to bugs, small animals (eg snakes!) etc. I know it's completely irrational but if being in a walled lodge gets me back to Africa then a walled lodge it will be

Imelda
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 02:09 PM
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Fair enough... that said, we never once encountered insects inside our tent in Wolwedans, even with leaving the one wall rolled up - there were few around in June anyway and those that were seemed to be mainly beetles scurrying along the sand - since the chalets were raised they didn't come up and in. That said, there are some great places with big glass picture windows so... yes, I don't think you'll be compromising too much to restrict yourself to those!
Kavey is offline  

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