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Namibia: need suggestions for a 14 days itinerary

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Jan 12th, 2006, 01:31 PM
  #1
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Namibia: need suggestions for a 14 days itinerary

In addition to 2 nights in Vic Falls we will have about 12 nights in Namibia and a selfdrive trip in sedan car with 2 children. Our activities are therefore relatively limited to wildlife viewing in Etosha, and general sightseeing of scenery spots etc.. with Sossuvslei dunes on top.

My planned itinerary would be the following:

Windoek 1/2 nights
Sossuvslei 2 nights
Walvis Bay 1/2 nights ?
Swakopmund 1/2 nights ?
Cape Cross seal colony 1/2 nights ?
Etosha 4/5 nights (for sure not less)

these are my questions:

1) Is it doable or maybe too much ?
2) approximate minimum driving time between each location
3) starting longer transfer in the morning do we cover each trip in one day or better also to overnight inbetween to avoid late evening or night drives ? If yes, where to overnight inbetween ?
4) any suggestions where to spend 1 rather than 2 nights at each above location
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Jan 12th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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ooops

I omitted the Etosha-Windoek back trip, of course !
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Jan 12th, 2006, 01:56 PM
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I'm not sure that Walvis Bay and Swakopmund are that different, and it may be better to get rid of Walvis Bay and add day to Swakopmund. I think with early starts you can make it between each place in one day.

I did the drive from Windhoek to Etosha (south gate) and its an easy five hours on excellent, empty road. I looked into driving from Windhoek to Sossosvlei and it may be six hours or so (I didn't have much time so I ended up flying). The Sossosvlei Lodge is right outside the gate to the dunes and you can get early start, and its reasonable and has great rooms, pool, food, and is probably a good place with kids.
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Jan 12th, 2006, 02:30 PM
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Hi, Fabio

I think your itinerary is great and definitely doable. Here is what I would recommend (only a few minor changes):

Windhoek 1/2 nights
Sossusvlei 2 nights
Swakopmund 2/3 nights
Cape Cross 1 night or somewhere between there and Etosha for an overnight (more on this later)
Etosha 4/5 nights
Windhoek possibly another overnight before flying home depending upon flight schedules.

Basicall, this is what you have proposed. There is no need to spend an overnight in Walvis Bay as it is no more than an hour's drive from there to Swakopmund, and Swakopmund is so much nicer.

Sossusvlei is about a 5 hour drive from Windhoek depending on where you are staying. At Rehobeth, the road changes to gravel, so the going is slow from there. Also, once you pass Rehobeth, there are no petrol stations or any places to eat. So you really need to have some water and snacks in the car. If you need a comfort stop, it is easy enough to just stop the car and take care of it. You won't have to worry about other traffic.

I would allow about 6 hours to drive from Sesriem (Sossusvlei) to Swakopmund. Again, it is a gravel road until you are alsmost at Walvis Bay. The road is in pretty good condition, and it is a very scenic drive through the Namib Naukluft. Like the drive to Sesriem, there isn't much in the way of petrol stations or places to eat, so you might want to pack something salvaged from the breakfast buffet.

Cape Cross is about a 2 hour drive (maybe a little less) from Swakopmund. You can really do this as a day trip from Swakopmund if you want. Basically you will spend about an hour or so there watching the seals. There is a small, new hotel there and not much else, but at least you can have lunch there.

If you have had enough of driving on gravel roads by this time, there is a tar road from Swakopmund (B2) to Okhandja where you get the B1 to Etosha. If you're still game for the gravel, I recommend you drive north from Swakopmund to Henties Bay; then turn toward Uis and then continue toward Khorixas. There are a few places to stay along this road depending upon what you want to do and how much time you want to spend. There are some rock paintings near the Brandberg Mountain.

It is possible to take this route, Swakopmund to Etosha via Uis and Khorixas in one day; however, it is a long day and you will get into Etosha in the late afternoon. I like to break it into two days for the following reasons: (1) If you want a decent bungalow at Etosha, you want to get there early in the day. If you are the last to arrive, you will get whatever is left.

Must run now, but will continue.

Leann


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Jan 12th, 2006, 05:23 PM
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Fabio

Continuing from where I left off, the second reason for breaking the Swakopmund to Etosha dirve into two days--the bungalows at Etosha have refrigerators, hotplates, and a braai (barbecue). You will probably want to stop at the OK store in Outjo and stock up before entering the park. There is a small shop at each of the camps in the park, but selection is limited, and they frequently run out of things. Of course, there is a restaurant at each camp, but I think it is fun to braai. The luxury bungalows supply dishes, cutlery, and a pot or two, and the shops sell firewood and firestarter in addition to basic food.

It is a good 5 hour drive from Okaukuejo to Windhoek and at least an hour longer from Naumatoni to Windhoek.

To answer some of your questions, all of these drives can be made comfortably in one day. I don't think it's necessary to spend an overnight in Walvis Bay and probably not necessary to spend an overnight at Cape Cross. It probably is advisable to spend an overnight somewhere enroute between Swakopmund and Etosha.

When you're thinking about hotels, put out another thread. I've stayed at quite a few in the country and will be happy to give you my opinions. You might find these websites useful: http://www.namibiagetaways.com/index.htm http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/index.htm

I'll be here for two more days and then it's off to Tanzania where there will be very limited internet for the next two weeks.

Leann
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Jan 13th, 2006, 05:32 AM
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Fabio

A few more thoughts on Namibia--

The value of South African rands and Namibian dollars is the same, and SA rands are accepted everywhere. N$ cannot be exchanged for any other currency once you are out of the country, so you will want to use them before you leave. I am usually in SA before going to Namibia, so I get rands and spend them in Namibia. However, if you pay for something in rands, you will probably get N$ in change. So you always have to be careful to spend those N$ first.

Be prepared to pay cash at gas (petrol) stations as they only accept their own credit cards, for example, a BP station will accept a BP credit card. Stations DO NOT accept MasterCard, Visa, etc. Filling a tank these days will set you back around N$250.

In Etosha credit cards are accepted (except for postage stamps and gas). There are no banks or ATM machines in Etosha, so you must have ample cash for petrol before entering the park.

Most pay phones only accept prepaid cards which can be purchased at POST OFFICES. Don't waste your time looking for them elsewhere.

Leann

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Jan 13th, 2006, 02:49 PM
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thit_cho: you are right. I re-checked the location of Walvis Bay and it is close to Swak so there is no need to overnight in both places. I am just interested in the lagoon with flamingo so I can make a day trip from Swak. Thank you

Leann: have a wonderful trip to Tanzania !!.. Await your trip report. By the way all your detailled information are saved properly and it really looks like I would leave tomorrow !!

Just two more details:

Swak to Etosha: I thought the same to split in 2 days as if I arrive too late in Etosha Okaukueio for any reason then the park gate might be already closed at dusk ?! June has shorter daylight !

Naumatoni to Windoek east and southbound on B1 via Tsumeb in order to avoid backtracking via the south entrance ? good road for sedan ?

thank you again !!
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Jan 13th, 2006, 03:23 PM
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When I drove back from Namutoni to Windhoek, which I did in one day (maybe 8 hours), I did backtrack because I wanted one final game drive through the entire park. I saw several lion on that final drive, but that was lucky.
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Jan 13th, 2006, 03:29 PM
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wonderful idea !!

one more day inside the park !!
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Jan 13th, 2006, 03:31 PM
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sometimes you see the best when you do not expect it !
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Jan 13th, 2006, 04:01 PM
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Fabio

Naumatoni to Windhoek. Yes, thit cho has it right. If you still haven't had enough of the park, drive back to Okaukuejo. It is a nice drive because the morning sun is at your back. It will take you every bit of 8 hours to get to Windhoek that way, but who knows what you'll see!

I am excited about Tanzania because in addition to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, we are going to Selous and Ruaha, something I have wanted to do for several years.

Leann
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Jan 13th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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Leann

Tanzania is also on my list for future trips, but when kids are older.
and I really love this forum and spend a lot of time reading other posts of other travelers and also other countries like Botswana Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.
After this first experience in Namibia with 2 kids then I will start to explore the rest of southern Africa step by step !
Well, our first trip to SA was in 1997 when our first child was 20 months old but it was January and I was not encouraged to visit parks in summer due to too hot weather and a higher risk of malaria. We just had 12 wonderful days on the Garden Route, driving one way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and flying out from there via Joburgh.
A colleague of mine is from SA and he strongly recommends me to visit SA parks in August, during their winter low season ! So I found funny that while the other southern african countries have high season, SA has low season and viceversa.
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Jan 14th, 2006, 03:46 AM
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I haven't yet been to Etosha so I can't compare but we really loved our stay at Damaraland Camp. Game is sparse but the landscape is beautiful and when you do track down some game it's really exciting. We included it in our first itinerary because we really wanted to see the desert elephants - adapted for an environment that most African eles would avoid. And we did.

Just a thought.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 09:43 AM
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Fabio,

Your trip sounds very simliar to our June/July trip with our 3 boys (18, 16, and 13). I would enjoy hearing more about your plans.

Adee
 
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Jan 16th, 2006, 11:56 AM
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Adee

Our itinerary is almost completed, but we sill have a lot of open points:
- to fix our exact date of departure from home, which depends on some job's pendings. It might be the second half of June or second half of July/beginning of august. I am currently a bit frustrated that I still cannot fix anything ! I can't wait..
- how to fly from Vic Falls (VFA on the Zim side) to WDH, as there are only 3 direct flights a week with small aircrafts, almost always fully booked as they carry about 30 passengers only. So it might be we have to fly via JNB wasting a full day.
- due to above, another open point is, whether or not cutting Vic Falls for another trip and adding 2 nights for Fish River Canyon instead ! I would love to do both... I am a bit confused.
- as regards accomodation we do not look for luxury camps or resorts, as we prefer to allow some more of our budget for activities rather than lodging ! Then, it is out of my concept to look for luxury in Africa, but I can understand that a lot of travellers disagree !!

That said, our plans are more or less as follows:

2 nights Victoria falls
1 night Windhoek
2 nights Sossusvlei
3 nights Swakopmund for 2 day trips:
- one to the lagoon with flamingoes
- one to Cape Cross seal colony
1 night between Swakopmund and Etosha
4/5 nights Etosha (3 in Okaukuejo + 1 or 2 in Namutoni)
1 night in Windhoek + flying home

As soon as I can fix our travel dates I will start with lodging research, hoping that availabilities at each destination will allow us to keep the plans without substantial changes.
Our priorities are Etosha game viewing and Sossusvlei dunes, so the lodging research will start from there. If I get troubles to find vacancy on my dates I will try to do the same trip but in the reverse way, Etosha first and Soss at last.
As we have 2 young kids we will not adventure off the main roads, so we decided for a sedan car and we will take the shuttles at Sossusvlei from the 2x4 parking area to the dunes.

What about you ?
fabio

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Jan 16th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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Great itinerary (I would cut out Vic Falls, if it were me, since its so far out of the way -- its great, but maybe better another trip).

But, my real point is that Etosha fills up quickly, so hopefully you can firm up your dates soon so you can get a nice room at Okaukuejo and Namutoni.

It looks like a great itinerary!
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Jan 16th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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the day trip from Swak to the lagoon with flamingoes is to Walvis Bay lagoon !
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Jan 16th, 2006, 12:09 PM
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thank you Michael

I had a really good support from you and Leann for this trip. I also read a lot of other posts from you both !
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Jan 16th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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Funny Flammingo story, on our first trip to Namibia my wife and I ended up in Swakopmund before going to Sossusvlei Mountain lodge. We were being driven to SML and when the lodge manager called us to confirm our pick-up he asked if we had seen the flamingoes. We said we hadn't so he told the driver to take us to an area of the lagoon where he was sure they would be visible before leaving for the lodge. We did but no luck. He called again and when the driver said we had not found them the manager told him about a place on the way out of town where we might see them. As we pulled up to it, the driver said "there, flamingoes!". We looked out the window at the flock of sea gulls and not wanting to continue on the wild goose (flamingo) chase anymore said how beautiful they were and off we went to SML. Did finally get to see them at Luderitz on my next trip.
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Jan 16th, 2006, 06:09 PM
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The posts on this thread have been wonderful - thanks to all of you, but especially to Leann for her very practical one about where to get gas and food, cooking at Etosha, etc. Fabio - we're doing just about the same trip you are, except we are going straight to Windhoek and doing Victoria Falls last. Also, we're taking 2 less days in Etosha proper, but spending one just outside the park - so really one day less. We debated driving back to Windhoek and then flying to Victoria Falls (I wanted to see the cheetas), but we would end up spending an extra day in Windhoek as well as the one along the way - and my husband is already stretching his vacation days. We also thought about leaving out Victoria Falls, but my husband and I both went there in the '70s and it made such an impression on both of us - so we want the boys to see it. Our oldest is in 11th grade and every other year we always spend our vacation in Rhode Island with my husband's family, so I don't know if we will make to Africa again as a family - there are so many places to see! Anyway, we ended up splurging and flying from outside Etosha to Livingstone. I am SO excited! The only downside is the temperature - I'm a Floridian and freeze when it gets below 70. However, I've ordered lots of fleece, long underware, etc. Fabio - where are you?
 
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