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Strategic Planning Questions for Namibia in relation to So Africa

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Feb 11th, 2014, 06:22 AM
  #1
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Strategic Planning Questions for Namibia in relation to So Africa

Planning a trip to Namibia (7-8 days) and So Africa (9-11 days) in 2015 sometime between early June and mid September (when is best time frame?)
Given my husband's age then, 77, we must tailor our activities to reality. He's in good shape for a man who has had a hearth attack (has a pacemaker) and has a bunch of hardware in his lower leg to repair a bad break. I'm in good shape for 70, just sensitive to the cold, dust in eyes and get exercise induced asthma. So we can do walks, hikes without steep ascents. I can't believe I have to even mention these issues!!
I have temporarily rules out self drive because we don't have the time and driving 4 to 5 hours would be too tiring for us. If flights are included in the cost of some of the lodges, then we'll fly.
We're primarily interested in the unique landscapes of Namibia. So we're thinking of Soss usvlei, Swakopmund area, far northwest staying at Serra Cafema (I just like the looks of the camp and setting).
This may sound sacrligious but I was wondering about what we would miss if we skipped the Etosha NP since we will be staying at 3 consessions in So Africa (have not nailed down which ones yet, and we have done safaris in the Delta in Botswana, Zambia, several areas in Kenya, several areas in Tanzania). i do realize we miss the opportunity to possible see some of the endangered species and perhaps get closer to the animals than in other parks (or is that only if one self drives?).
Enough for now.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 10:35 PM
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Hi Robbietravels
Please try not to miss Etosha. I was there in May and it is worth the travel. You can go to the waterhole at anytime of the day or night and witness some great animal sightings.
Sossusvlei is great. Try to budget for the balloon trip as it was the hightlight of my safari.
Swakomund is really about some time out from the travelling in my opinion. Although a harbour cruise is great fun.
In Damaraland I stayed at Camp Kipwe and loved the landscapes and desert elephant sightings and visit to a Himba tribe.
You might find an organised tour would suit your requirements. I used Ultimate Safaris in Windhoek and they are very flexible and can easily cater to your ableness (is that even a word?)
Anyway, I am sure you will fall with Namibia.
Elaine
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Feb 12th, 2014, 03:38 AM
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If you have to choose, I'd take Etosha rather than a South Africa concession anytime. The centre of Etosha is a large salt pan which is a unique environment. The vegetation is sparse so game viewing is very rewarding. As Elaine says the waterhole at Okaukuejo is good for viewing all hours of the day and night - the herds of plains grazers come in during the day whilst elephant, rhino, giraffe, lion and jackal are night time visitors. Etosha has large herds of blue wildebeest, Burchell's zebra, springboks and gemsbok. Black faced impala and Damara dik-diks are endemic.

The Premier Waterhole chalets at Okaukuejo have an upstairs viewing deck, but there is also sufficient seating around the waterhole for those who don't book a Premier Chalet. We're spending 5 nights in and around the park this September - my fourth visit.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 06:53 AM
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Well, Elaine and Treepol, you two are convincing. Etosha does sound unique. I did read since last posting that according to Zicasso Tours (whom I have not veted) the western area of the park is the most scenic??? Is it better to stay in the park itself?
Ultimate Safaris has been mentioned before. Is it useful to use a local tour packager rather than putting it together yourself? Did either of you drive through the park with tracker and guide or on your own?
Okaukuejo Camp looks terrific. Would it be expensive to fly in/ From where?
Would June July, August or early September best time to avoid freezing mornings and nights and high desert winds?
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Feb 12th, 2014, 08:54 AM
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I guess I'm in the minority but I found the waterhole viewing boring compared to game drives in Tanzania and Botswana. But loved Namibia !
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Feb 12th, 2014, 03:19 PM
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Elizabeth. You mean there are no game drives possible in/around the park? I looked up Ongave Private Reserve and they do have am an dam gam drives, as does the new Dolomite Lodge. I agree that sitting waiting for something to happen at a watering hole is quite passive. I'm sure not going to see a lion kill there. What say you Elaine and Treepol? Have you done off road safaris as well in Namibia? Elsewhere?

I really like the idea of the balloon trip over Sossusveil. We loved ballooning over Bagan, Myanmar and Cappadocia, Turkey
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Feb 12th, 2014, 08:10 PM
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Hi again Robbietravels,
I stayed at Dolomite for 1 night and it was not a favourite. The walk from reception to the chalets is long and steep and they use a golf cart to transport you around. It is usually occupied and you can be waiting a long time for a pickup. The food and service was poor and the chalet I had was poorly maintained. That said, the views were excellent. Not much game on the western side when we were there.
Our private guide (for the entire 10 days) drove us around but only on the public roads. Except in Damaraland were we went off road extensively in search of the eles. You will find the off road game drives very tame compared to Bots and Zambia but as everyone else says, Namibia is beautiful.
Elaine
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Feb 12th, 2014, 09:19 PM
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I don't remember the western area being the most scenic, it does have less traffic though. In 2012 we had one night at Dolomite Camp which is well located, but my mother who was in her mid-70s would have found it difficult getting around without the golf buggy and she had the room with less stairs - there were lots to get down to my room.

I don't remember off-roading in Namibia except at Okonjima which is a private reserve.

I always like to stay in the park wherever I am so, yes I'd say thats best at Etosha. The Premier Waterhole and Waterhole chalets at Okaukuejo are nice and if you book early there a re a few self-catering chalets available, or there were in 2012. The accommodation at Halali was OK in 2008 - nothing special but clean and comfortable. Namutoni was fine in 2008 but looking very tired in 2012. There are private reserves around the park, we're staying at Mushara Bush Camp for a couple of nights this year so that we can spend a day in the eastern area around Fischer's Pan etc.

I booked with local companies in 2008, 2012 and again this year - I've obtained ga ood price, good accommodation and a great experience by booking this way. I've only ever visited Etosha (or any other park for that matter) with a guide.

If you wanted to fly I guess there are charter airlines in Windhoek and maybe some of the lodges outside the park have private airstrips. I remember that the mornings were coolish in August but not freezing.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 09:42 PM
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Thanks Treepol. Why did your mother find it difficult to get around Dolomite? So where you have stayed before and where you are planning to stay this time, you will drive in a Land Rover with a guide to get around?
Do you recommend the local company you booked with?
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Feb 12th, 2014, 09:58 PM
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The stairs up to the camp are very steep and she went up in the golf buggy, also as the units are built along a kopje there are lots of stairs down to some rooms that she would have had difficulty managing.

This year we are a group of 5 travelling with our own guide to Kgalagadi, across to Swakopmund through Damaraland to Etosha then through the Caprivi to Maun. Francois has a stretch landrover so we all have a window seat.

Yes I recommend Francois - we met him in 2012 when we booked through Namibia Tours and Discovery. This time I booked direct. He may be contacted at Francoisatmauzisdot com.
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Feb 14th, 2014, 07:08 PM
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We used Tristan Cowley from Ultimate Safaris - Namibia for our trip from northern Namibia down through Namibia, ending in Cape Town. It was a fabulous trip planned for our family of seven. We flew from Windhoek to Etosha/Ongava area and then had a driver/guide all the way down to Cape Town, stopping at incredible sites along the way.
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Feb 16th, 2014, 07:34 AM
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Does one need a driver/guide to get around in Etosha or do the camps in/near the park provide them?
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Feb 24th, 2014, 04:44 AM
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Hi,

You can self drive, but if you are staying at one of the adjoining Lodges, they all offer guided tours into the park.

Regards

Graham
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