Trip Report - Africa

Reply

Jul 27th, 2003, 07:25 AM
  #1
DJE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
Trip Report - Africa

Just got back yesterday from a month long trip to Southern Africa which included Namibia, Botswana and S. A.

Our first stop was Windhoek Namibia which was our starting point for our stay a few days later in the Namib Desert. We stayed at the Heinitzburg Hotel in Windhoek which is a German Castle and is up on the hillside overlooking the city. The hotel was very good in all respects with a nice view of the city below and they have a very good dining room which we enjoyed. The food was top notch. The staff were very pleasant and our room was nicely appointed. Can definitely recommend this hotel.

The city on a whole did not have much to offer in terms of charm as I was expecting to see a quaint town with some interesting architecture due to its earlier German influence. This was not the case however after our long flying times via London it was fine to just rest for a couple of days before heading into the desert.

Took a small charter flight into the Sossusvlei region in the Namib Desert and stayed at the Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp. This was just great and we were blown away by the beauty and serenity of the desert region. The large dunes are stunning to see whether at sunrise, sunset or throughout the day. The colors are always changing with the different lighting. A hot air balloon ride is well worth doing. This is not an area for much wildlife but we did see some springbok and ostrich. Also interesting vegetation in the desert.
The camp offered good accommodations in nicely appointed bungalows and because it is up on a hillside, offered very good views of the surrounding area. Also a fantastic place to see the stars at night. Have never seen so many stars so clearly and we have been to other destinations where star gazing has been good.

The staff were terrific as we found was the case in all the places we stayed throughout our entire trip. I cannot say enough about the wonderful people that worked in the various camps, lodges and hotels where we stayed.

After 3 days in the desert it was back to Windhoek for one more night before heading out the next day to Chobe Chilwero in Botswana. We chartered another private plane to avoid having a number of stops to get us to our final destination. This cut down considerably on the time it would have taken to get there and after a 4 hr. flight we were in Chobe.

The Chobe Chilwero Lodge was also very nice in all respects. Saw lots of wildlife here which included large herds of elephant, hippos, giraffe, buffalo, some lions, sable, lots of kudu and other types of antelope. Also croccodiles and many varieties of birds. Also spotted our first sighting of a leopard which we were told was unusual for that area. Spent 5 days in Chobe which allowed time to enjoy the Lodge as well as participate in a number of game drives.

Next stop was Kings Pool for 3 nights. The new accommodations were very upscale and I was quite surprised by the size of the rooms and deck areas etc. as this was very different from the old pictures of the original camp that were on most websites. It's a beautiful setting by a lagoon area and listening to the birds each morning was a delight.

A couple of nights the baboons were very active and noisy as we heard lion roaring off in the distance. Again a unique setting different from Chobe but quite interesting. Here you were able to do some game drives off road and also after dark. This not allowed at Chobe or our next stop at Mombo. Saw my first zebra here along with most of the other animals mentioned above. More leopard sightings as well. Also the only place to be able to do a walking trek with a guide which we did for about 3 hrs. one morning. It was very nice to be able to walk around and get some exercise after so much sitting in vehicles and planes etc.

Two aspects of the various camps, lodges that took some getting used to was the constant cold temp. every morning and evening and dealing with all the dust on the game drives in the open vehicles, But I guess it's just part of the adventure.

Next stop was Mombo for 5 nights. A great camp with a beautiful location by the wetlands. Definitely the place with the most prolific wildlife with the exception of the large herds of elephant at Chobe. Again most of the game mentioned above plus our first rhinos and lots of wildebeasts.
Here again spending the 5 days allowed for plenty of game drives as well as just quietly enjoying the sites and surroundings of the camp area. Top notch in every respect.

After Mombo it was an overnight at the Michaelangelo Hotel in Johannesburg which was a good hotel and then off to Cape Town for 5 nights at the Table Bay Hotel.

Really enjoyed the hotel and it's location and all the sights of the Cape Area. It is definitely a very beautiful and scenic spot. Saw most of the sites including Table Mountain and a tour of the Cape Point area etc. and much to our surprise the weather while there was spectacular.

We had been told so much about the expected rain and cold temperatures this time of year but we definitely lucked out and experienced sunny, pleasant days with an average temp. of around 19C.

A great city, lovely people and beautiful area that we hope to visit again in the future.

Finally the end of a fabulous trip with an overnight in Amsterdam before heading home.

Flew both KLM and SAA in business and first class and the service etc. was excellent with both airlines.
DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2003, 08:24 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 612
Sounds like an outstanding trip. Who did you book it with? Thanks in advance
pattysuericia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2003, 04:27 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 252
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on such a remarkable trip. After two trips to S.A., I'm hoping to visit Botswana next May. Your itinerary sounds absolutely fabulous. I enjoy night game drives a great deal, so it was good to hear they do this at King's Pool. One question...did you feel one camp was exceptional for viewing the big cats?
girlpolo33 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2003, 05:50 PM
  #4
DJE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
Both Kings Pool and Mombo had the big cats to view. At Kings Pool most of the sightings were at night with the exception of seeing lions. At Mombo the leopard sightings were during the day but it's something that you can never predict especially when it comes to the more elusive animals.

We went on this trip with an open mind and few expectations in terms of game viewing so were more than pleased with what we were able to see.
DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2003, 07:57 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 612
Hi De, who did you book the trip through? Thanks
pattysuericia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 27th, 2003, 10:41 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,183
Welcome back DE, glad you had a great trip...
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2003, 03:06 AM
  #7
DJE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
Kavey,

Thanks and yes it was a great trip and one that we will always have fond memories of.
DE
DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2003, 10:43 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,183
DE I have a question for you but can't find your email address... if you wouldn't mind - would you drop me an email? Thanks so much!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2003, 11:57 AM
  #9
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
DE -

Great report - How nice to have been away for a month. And you stayed at some of the best places (camps/hotels) at each stop.

Great that you arranged your own charter from WDH to Chobe or you would have spent an entire day in the airport.

A friend just returned from a trip to Namibia & Botswana and he also complained about the chilly (cold) weather and having to buy heavy sweaters, hat and gloves for those morning and nite drives. It's winter down there now and even in spring and summer and mornings can be chilly in those open vehicles.

At least for those who asked (Clematis) I told them to bundle up.

Was this your first trip to Africa? Did you book thru an operator from home or one in Africa.

 
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2003, 12:07 PM
  #10
DJE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
Sandi,

Yes this was our first trip to Africa. We did a lot of the bookings on our own for air arrangements, hotels, but did have an agent (U.S.) do the booking for the various camps, after we decided on the ones where we wanted to stay.
DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2003, 03:06 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,481
What a great first trip!

Do you think you'll be suffering from PSD (post safari depression)!
sundowner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2003, 05:38 PM
  #12
DJE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
Sundowner,

I think I will do fine as I can always watch the wonderful video that was done throughout our trip to remind me how special this vacation was. DE
DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2003, 03:26 AM
  #13
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
DE -

It was the "we saw our first zebras here" that kind of gave it away - 'cause if you had been before you would have seen lots of zebra, there are just so many in every country. Not so with the leopard - you saw many, yet in my 5 trips I have only seen one - all the more reason to return again and again and see yet more leopard.

And since our friend Roccco provided us with so much information on how he booked and with whom and even, in some cases the great deals he got (how much he paid) - we kind of got spoiled.

So question? Who was the US operator you used. These posts have provided us with so many references for operators in the States, the UK, and in-country both SA and Namibia - and I personally have told folks who I've used for my trips whom anyone can contact if they choose.

Give it up!

But next question - when do you plan to return to Africa - there is so much to see and discover? Again, so glad you enjoyed this holiday!
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2003, 04:40 AM
  #14
DJE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
Don't know when we will get back as there are a number of other places we have wanted to visit as well and will probably do before returning to Africa.

If and when we do go back I would definitely like to see more of Namibia and probably do a driving trip throughout the other regions of that country that we were not able to see this time, the coastal areas as well as Etosha, etc. But I must say the desert area of Sossusvlei will still remain as one of my favorite parts of our trip.

All of the wildlife in Botswana was wonderful to see but the desert area for us was also very spectacular. So wonderful visually and the quiet serenity for me was quite captivating.
DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2003, 09:35 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3
I think you said it right when you said you got spoiled by Rocco. His life was an open book. He was willing to tell every detail and posted pictures of himself for every fodorite to read. Don't expect or demand that every poster here do the same. This recent poster - dje - posts the day he gets back, which is generous enough. People could have their reasons for not wanting to divulge personal information especially in such a public forum and if they wanted to advertise their booking agent, they would volunteer to do that. You really shouldn't ask. Please people, use your common courtesy or people will not want to post anything here for fear they will be hounded for more personal information.
Travelbug5 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2003, 10:01 AM
  #16
dlm
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 67
I doubt many people would think that the name of the booking agent used is "personal" information. Neither sandi nor others should be discouraged from asking. Of course, DJE also has a right to not reply. Maybe she did not have a good experience with her operator and does not want to criticize him/her in an open forum?? Whatever the reason, no one should discourage people from asking questions. That's the purpose of the forum, after all.
dlm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2003, 11:17 AM
  #17
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Travelbug-
Thanks for covering this. Asking this kind of information is not necessary at all. How many animals you saw, how the accom. were, the cleanliness of things are all worth knowing.

dlm-
Since you feel people should be able to ask anything, how many times do you consider adequate to ask and why not tell the person why you want to know. Most of us do that. Usually if you don't get an answer you shouldn't elevate it to a shouting match.
Sorry Sandi, but you were clearly out of line there. What was your reason? Liz
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2003, 12:27 PM
  #18
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
DE -
Glad to hear that you hope to get back to Africa in the future. As I've mentioned in previous posts, we had a trip planned for a self-drive/fly of Namibia with a few days in the delta in Botswana, but unfortunately had to postpone - hopefully next year.

I would be looking forward to seeing those amazing dunes in the Soss (which you've already) - but the drive thru and to Etosha and up to see the Himba further North would be part of our trip.

So you got a good taste and want to experience the magic a Namibia in the future. Great!
 
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2003, 12:37 PM
  #19
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Liz -
>why not tell the person why you want to know. Most of us do that. Usually if you don't get an answer you shouldn't elevate it to a shouting match.
Sorry Sandi, but you were clearly out of line there. What was your reason? Liz>

The answer simply is "curiosity"
Do I have to count the number of times "2afrika" showed up on the Africa boards?
And nobody was shouting!
So to end this thread I ask you "when did you become the board mother"?


 
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2003, 02:00 PM
  #20
DJE
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
Sandi,

I'm sure you will enjoy seeing those very majestic dunes in Sossusvlei which I think were stunning as was the rest of the landscape in that area. The rest of your itinerary sounds like what we would want to do when the time comes when we can return to Namibia. A stop in the delta region in Botswana would also be very nice and an added bonus to your trip.
Good luck with your plans for next year.
DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:38 AM.