Namibia Itinerary

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Nov 28th, 2015, 12:38 PM
  #1
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Namibia Itinerary

Hi there,

My husband and I just booked airline tickets to Namibia for next August. Based on atravelynn's trip report (I believe she gave me some good advice several years ago when we went to Botswana), I have contacted Wild Dog Safari's for some sample itineraries.

We are interested in a private guided tour, for 12 nights total, not including Windhoek. I think they were a little confused, because both proposals are for 13 nights. The first has two nights in Windhoek, so I would add another day most likely in Etosha. The second has 12 nights with the 13th in Windhoek, so we'd just chop that off. They mentioned we could make any changes we'd like, but I am still trying to get a feel for everything.

Any advice on the following two itineraries would be great. I am leaning towards the second because the lodges look nicer, but the first mentions specifically the meerkats can be seen at Solitaire. The second also seems to have a bit less travel but it's a bit hard to tell so far. I don't have set in stone must sees, but the notable game we missed in Botswana was Meerkat, Cheetah, and Rhino. We are looking for good game viewing, relaxation, decent food and wine, and good scenery.

#1 - Namibia Private Guide
Sossusvlei - Sossus Dune Lodge -2 nights
Solitaire - Solitaire Guest Farm and Desert Ranch - 1 night
Swakopmund - Amanpuri Travellers Lodge - 2 nights
Twyfelfontein - Twtfelfontein Country Lodge - 1 night
Damaraland - Grootberg Lodge - 2 nights
Etosha - Okaukuejo Rest Camp - 1 night
Etosha - Namutoni Rest Camp - 1 night
Okonjima Nature Reserve - Okonjima Plains Camp - 1 night

#2 Naturally Namibia Safari
Sossusvlei - Sossusvlei Lodge - 2 nights
Swakopmund - Villa Margherita - 2 nights
Erongo - Erongo Wilderness Lodge - 1 night
Kaokoveld - Hobatere Lodge - 2 nights
Etosha - Andersson's Camp - 2 nights
Etosha - Musher Lodge - 2 nights
Okonjima Nature Reserve - 1 night.

Thoughts on any of this would be great.

I appreciate the feedback,

Cecelia
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Nov 28th, 2015, 10:24 PM
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Hi Cecelia,

Sure wish it was me planning a trip to Namibia as it is such an amazing, unique country and I had a fantastic time there in June 2014.

If you're able to switch lodges around then why not if some appeal to you more than others.

I flew (spectacular!) from Windhoek to Sossusvlei and then onto Swakopmund where I picked up a guide and vehicle for the remainder of the trip to Damaraland and Etosha. Flying cut down on some travel time in an area I was told wasn't all that interesting by road.

Sossus Dune Lodge is right in the park which provides you with first access to Sossusvlei and being at the dunes as the sun comes up - amazing! Staying outside the park means you wait to enter at 6:00am and then have a drive of about an hour to get to the dunes so the sun will have already risen.

The other 5 guests in the lodge vehicle climbed Big Daddy to watch the sunrise and I walked to Deadvlei and had the whole place to myself for 45 minutes as the sun came up (incredible)! It wasn't until we started to head back to the parking lot that other people started to arrive.

I stayed at the Beach Hotel in Swakopmund which overlooks the ocean, has a really good restaurant and an amazing sunset bar. It is in walking distance to the Tug Restaurant and close to downtown - a taxi cost me a $1 for the ride into town.

While in Swakopmund check out Turnstone Tours who offer a day trip to Sandwich Harbour along the coast where the dunes meet the Atlantic Ocean. We didn't meet up with another vehicle the whole time we were on the dunes and the lunch they provide is delish. Enjoying homemade lasagna, green salad and apple pie on the shore while a school of dolphins swims by was pretty cool!

Grootberg Lodge was my favourite as the chalets are perched over a very deep valley that looks a bit like a mini green Grand Canyon, the lodge is a co-operative and service was the best of anywhere and always with a smile. They offer tours to a Himba village (pretty authentic and amazing) plus desert elephant & rhino tracking altho I understood from other guests that you don't get all that close to either. The guide who drove me to the Himba village was nice enough to find some desert elephants as we returned to the lodge.

The water hole at Okaukuejo has very good animal viewing, is world renown even tho the compound itself is huge and lacking in any character - look into a waterhole chalet.

Halali Camp in Etosha is often paired with Okaukeujo, is smaller, still characterless, has slightly better food and a beautiful waterhole where 5 rhino appeared just as the sun was going down. They have a resident honey badger altho I didn't see him.

Overall food was just ok with lots of meat & local game and South African wines should be available everywhere altho I understand Namibia makes some pretty good wine too.

Others who have self driven will be able to respond to driving times between camps.

Happy planning - you will love Namibia!
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Nov 29th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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If interested in the Sandwich Harbour tour in Swakopmund best to pre book.
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Dec 1st, 2015, 08:59 AM
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Great, thanks for the feedback!
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Dec 4th, 2015, 11:45 AM
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Good to think about for Sossusvlei. I just really like the looks of the other place better. Are there beautiful sunset opportunities as well or is it really crucial to see the sunrise? Thanks!
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Dec 4th, 2015, 09:51 PM
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I believe the gate, which is about an hours drive from Big Daddy, closes at sunset so you'll have to be out of the park by then.

I had lunch at Sossusvlei Lodge when my plane was delayed and it's definitely more upscale than SDL. It all depends on what you want from the experience.
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Dec 7th, 2015, 11:14 AM
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Very good to know, thank you so much.
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Dec 12th, 2015, 04:33 PM
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I like #1 best. Sossus Dune Lodge is ideally located and it was very nice.

Sunset is good too. Any time the sun is low in the sky it casts nice shadows.

You'll have a great time in Namibia!
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Dec 13th, 2015, 10:56 AM
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I asked for the second itinerary with the first night at Sossus Dune Lodge so we could see sunrise and sunset.

atravelynn, any other reasons you like the first itinerary better?

Thanks!
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Dec 14th, 2015, 08:07 AM
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First my bias--I always go with what's "out there" and never how nice the lodge/camp is, as long as basic safety/hygiene standards are met. That bias may not be yours, making my thoughts less relevant.

The other reasons for #1 IMO are Okaukeujo, the most happening waterhole in Etosha. I'd even add another Okaukeujo night if possible. Also #1 has the chance for meerkats, but it is just a chance. The meerkats were elusive all over when I was in Namibia in mid June--not present at either Solataire or Bagatelle.

Glad you'll be in Sossus Dunes. I thought the gold interiors nicely complimented the desert exteriors of the place. It was very shimmery inside. But it's big advantage is location.

Either itinerary will have highlights and unexpected surprises. Neither is a clearly wrong choice.

For Okonjima, can you request in advance to do the cheetah tracking, since you mentioned you'd like to see cheetah? They track leopard, lion, hyena. If cheetah is your preference, get the word in early.

Here are 3 inter-related questions for you.
#1 Does sealstep indicate you like seals?


#2 Might you ever return to Namibia so you could go Nov-Dec when seal pups are present?

#3 If another trip is possible, then might you remove time in Swakop this trip?

I have dealt with those questions myself (except the one about being named sealstep) and will save Swakopmund for Nov-Dec sometime and also spend a good 4 days there because there is lots to do on land and water.

Have a great time in Namibia. If you are working with her, please say hi to Louise from (atravel)Lynn.

I'm actually working with her right now too on a future trip.
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Dec 14th, 2015, 08:10 AM
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More on meerkats...

Aug is more reliable than June to see them AND with el nino
the odds of a dry Southern Africa increase, making Aug even better for meerkats.
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Dec 15th, 2015, 08:39 AM
  #12
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Ha! Seal is my nickname I do love them, but am not sure whether we will go back to Namibia or not.

One of the reasons I liked the second itinerary is that it seemed a bit more relaxed (thus the two nights in Swakopmund). I could ask about trading Solitaire for the night in Erongo, but that looks like it would leave too long a drive.

The second itinerary has two nights at Anderssons Camp, I could ask to change that to Okaukeujo if you think that's worth it.

I'm working with Barbara, very easy so far! I could ask about Solitaire and the drive.
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Dec 15th, 2015, 09:41 PM
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The ONLY positive at Okaukuejo is its flood lit water hole which attract wildlife day and night.So spending a night there would be a good experience. Beyond that, its too crowded,indifferent staff and scavenging jackals right inside the restaurant!!

Mushara Lodge is 8-10 km outside the Lindequist Gate,east entrance of the park.I realised it makes sense to stay 'in ' park.Either Halali,Namutoni or Onguma.

Its easier to self drive in Namibia. Gives you the flexibility.Just rent a 4x4 ( may need it at Deadvlei region ).I would recommend Matiti Safaris. They'll handle the logistics for you

http://matitisafaris.com/matiti_safa...b/UK/index.awp
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Dec 15th, 2015, 09:48 PM
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The stay at Okonjima too was a bit of a disappointment. The cheetah tracking can be done as an option, independently.

Take a look at Old Traders lodge at Erindi,heard is a great place,it was full up.

http://www.erindi.com/old-traders-lodge/
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Dec 15th, 2015, 09:52 PM
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Sorry. Pl read 'independently' as stand alone activity.
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Dec 16th, 2015, 02:34 PM
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I rather liked those jackals scampering about at Okaukeujo. Never felt threatened.

Okaukuejo does draw a crowd around the waterhole, no doubt about that.

The waterhole probably is the ONLY big positive (though I had decent food, a nice room, and no staff issues). But it is a really significant positive if viewing/photographing a lot of animals coming to drink at a waterhole is a goal.

Okonjima could be disappointing if you are looking for a remote wilderness experience and uncollared predators. The collars are how they track them. What a good idea to inquire about doing just the tracking with Okonjima and staying elsewhere to cut costs! One interesting draw of Okonjima is the floodlit waterhole at night where nocturnal creatures are attracted by vegetable scraps. There is a nightly walk to this waterhole where the visit lasts 30 minutes or so. I saw porcupine there. Also jackals, which was less exciting.

Change to Okaukejo? If maximizing animal sightings is what you want. Yes. If minimizing human sightings is what you want then don't change.


Solitaire to Hobatere = too far. See below, using
http://distancecalculator.globefeed....Calculator.asp

775.04 km, 481.59 mi,

Have a nice trip.
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Dec 17th, 2015, 01:24 AM
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Pick up a detailed printed map/guide of the Etosha NP, at the curio shop in Okaukeujo.I presume you exit the Von Lindequist gate if you are staying in either Namutoni or Mushara Lodge.Set off early,its technically a whole day's drive from Okaukeujo(around 150kms) which would include drive past many water-holes(around 30 or more).Each one is a detour.Take into account time spent around these water-holes.For what seems like a deserted pool,it could hide a couple of lions lazing in the shadows,in a shrub,motionless!!

Each water body better than the other,up close.Early morning and late afternoon are prime time, where hooves,paws and the thirsty flock these pools.Ideal for photography.Simply spectacular.

Pity,I had only 2 1/2 days

Happy travels
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Dec 17th, 2015, 05:25 AM
  #18
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Thank you so much everyone. I will continue to ponder all this!
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Dec 17th, 2015, 08:13 AM
  #19
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Is Erindi near Okonjima?
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Dec 17th, 2015, 11:59 AM
  #20
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Just to clarify, would the advice be to trade Okonjima for Erindi?
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