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-   -   Opinions on 2 Wilderness itineraries? (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/opinions-on-2-wilderness-itineraries-725070/)

linhelen Jul 30th, 2007 03:52 PM

Opinions on 2 Wilderness itineraries?
 
I am considering one of two Wilderness programs...Spirit of the Namib and Great Namibian Journey. I narrowed down my choices to these two and I would appreciate any feedback from people who have been on these trips. Thanks.

tuckeg Jul 30th, 2007 07:21 PM

I have not taken either but have visited Damarland Camp and Kulala Wilderness Camp and have talked to guides and guests who have visited the other camps. Based on my experience, I would go with the Great Namibian Journey. My reasons would include the time at Ongava Tented Camp and Skeleton Coast. I'll be interested to hear what others think.

knlaw Jul 31st, 2007 04:29 PM

We spent three nights at Little Kulala with Wilderness. The "camp" was wonderful accomadations. Of all the wilderness camps that we stayed at this was the camp with the most stand-off-ish management staff. They had very little interactions with the guests. We had more fun with the pilots who were overnighting at the camp. This was the only camp that we stayed at that didn't have a big community table for dinner. We had to ask that we all sit together. Our guide was good. We also spent three nights on the Skelaton Coast. It is such an amazng place. The remoteness is something that we had never experiences before. The Staff and guides were amazing. Their excitement and knowledge about the area and the people is infectious. The drives at Skelaton Camp are all day. They start after breakfast and finish just before dark. The accomadations are basic, but clean. We were not disappointed by either experience.
Kim

skimmer Jul 31st, 2007 09:32 PM

These are the main differences between the two trips:

- Spirit of the Namib:

a) small tents;
b) more driving in between the places and less opportunity to do some activities there;
c) you don't visit Skeleton Coast


- Great Namibian journey

a) you make use of the vintage camps (permanently based camps);
b) there is a bit more time to do activities in most of the places;
c) visiting Skeleton Coast research camp (not main camp) - it's basic accomodation and therefore not everyone's cup of tea

In my opinion, the great Namibian Journey gives you a good introduction of what is to see in the country.

In both trips there is too much driving involved in between the camps (sometimes you just arrive just before sunset at camp). F.e. at Damarland camp, you just staying overnight there and that's it. In fact everywhere where they mention only day you just spend the day driving.

Staying at Ongava, don't give you a real feeling about Etosha (you just do one drive in the park itself) and the rest is spend in the private concession where the game is not so prolific like it is in the national park itself. They have waterbuck and white rhino there but they don't have ellies.

The Spirit of the Namib I wouldn't consider at all because of the driving involved and the shortness of the trip itself.

In my opinion, it's better to do a self-drive in the country combining it with a stay at Skeleton Coast main camp (it's expensive but you won't experience something like that anywhere else) or to pick out some camps (not necessarily all Wilderness camps) and fly in between.

Johan

PS: I did the great Namibian journey, fly-in between camps, several camping safaris in Namibia.

linhelen Aug 1st, 2007 12:19 AM

I will be going on my own and I don't drive so the self-drive option isn't an option. I agree that there is too much driving. (I just returned from a mobile in Botswana, and while we had several days where we drove 10 or so hours between camps, we stayed 3 days in each location and not just one night.)I will check out the cost of staying in a few places for longer periods on an independent basis. I expect the cost will be prohibitive for me but I certainly will look into it.So frustrating. Thanks for the comments.

panecott Aug 1st, 2007 06:03 PM

It's true that there's a lot of driving in the Great Namibian Journey, but it's not necessarily too much. The drives themselves are an important part of the journey, going through beautiful areas of ever changing landscapes. And there are constant stops for photo ops. I took it last year and enjoyed it immensely. It was a wonderful overview of Namibia, with some great wildlife viewing as an added bonus.
I also was a single traveler and didn't want to self drive so it was a good option for me. There is a maximum of 8 guests but they try to keep it down to 6, which affords a lot of comfort in the vehicle.

It's true that there is sometimes not enough time to enjoy the camps because you do arrive late on most occasions. But that is the only drawback. And you are constantly seeing beautiful scenery along the way. So if I were you I'd give it more thought.
I'm going to look for the links to my trip report and photos and will try to post them.

panecott Aug 1st, 2007 06:13 PM

Here's the photo link. I hope it works.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&y=-evbqvu


panecott Aug 1st, 2007 06:28 PM

And here's the trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34821348


skimmer Aug 1st, 2007 08:37 PM

Panecott,

I don't say that the Great Namibian Journey is a bad thing to do but in my experienced eyes, it's not the best option to enjoy the country at its fulliest.

Greetings,

Johan

nyama Aug 1st, 2007 08:37 PM

skimmer, isn't the Great Namibian Journey a much less expensive option to visit Skeleton Coast? Research Camp is only available through Explorations tours, but since Research Camp and Main Camp are only 1000 metres apart, the experience should be very similar (unless luxury accommodation is a must).

linhelen Aug 2nd, 2007 03:42 AM

I would be perfectly happy with the somewhat more basic accommodations as in the Spirit of the Namib trip. My concern, knowing myself, is the pacing of these trips. I expect that by the time we would get to the Skeleton Coast camp (the only place where there are a few days scheduled), I would be a victim of sensory overload. (Ideally, I would like to do this as a separate trip entirely. On a recent Botswana mobile I took, we often had very long drives but we had 3 days in each location, which made a big difference. I didn't feel pressured to be on the move every minute and enjoyed a half day of rest and contemplation time on my own at the camp.)And the cost of both trips including the single supplements is a consideration for me. They are essentially the same trip with the 3 day add-on of the Skeleton Coast but the costs are disproportionately different seems to me. Thanks for the input.

skimmer Aug 2nd, 2007 08:42 AM

Walter,

You know very well that Skeleton Coast research camp is only available through explorations and yes, the experience is the same besides the rooms. For me it was a fantastic experience ... but some others were complaining how basic the rooms were.

For the places you visit in both trips you need ideally 5-6 more days.



Greetz,

Johan


tuckeg Aug 3rd, 2007 07:29 PM

Sounds like you decided before you posted.

linhelen Aug 5th, 2007 12:07 AM

Thanks, Johan. I am now thinking of two separate trips. And thanks to those whose perspectives and experiences were really helpful.

one2travel Aug 5th, 2007 10:21 AM

Linhelen,

Off topic as I haven't been to Namibia...

Did you enjoy your mobile in Botswana? And who was the operator if you don't mind my asking? Also what animals did you see? I'm especially curious if you saw wild dog, bat eared fox, and sable.

Thanks for your help.

Deb

linhelen Aug 5th, 2007 11:04 AM

Unfortunately I did not see either of those three. Capricorn Safaris was the ground operator. I had a wonderful experience. I was there in early June and saw elephants, lions, zebra, giraffe, hyenas, a honey badger, hornbills, mongoose, jackals...at three different locations where we spent 3 nights. Their website gives details.

sniktawk Aug 5th, 2007 12:34 PM

I would not use Widerness Safaris for wiping my arse, they are the worse thing that ever happened to safaris. All image and no substance!


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