Unsure about Namibia trip

Old May 4th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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Unsure about Namibia trip

We have been thinking about going to Namibia with Wilderness Safaris, taking the Great Namibian Journey which is about 13 - 14 days.

I read the itinerary, and it seems there is a great deal of driving. From the descriptions, the scenery seems great, with varying changes from desert to coast. This is a very expensive trip, and I'm wondering if the sights are as wonderful as the travel agent and Wilderness Safaris state. Also, is an organized trip the way to go, or should we go independently? With Wilderness Safaris, there can be up to 8 people in the group and we will be with them constantly in the Land Rover and at camps. The travel agent said that it would be alot more expensive to go independently. We have always traveled by ourselves.
I waiver whether to go at all, and then questioning whether to tour or not to tour.I can't seem to make up my mind. Last year we went on safari to South Africa and Botswana, and that was superb.

I'm looking for advice. I have to decide soon. I want to go if the sights are as great as we think. This has to be a spectacular trip since we are celebrating a special anniversary.

Mollybee
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Old May 4th, 2006, 11:31 PM
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Hi Mollybee,

From what i have heard, everyone that went on this trip from Wilderness have been very happy. The landscapes in Namibia are ever changing and i dont think you will be dissapointed. The great inclusion to the trip at the end is the 3 nights in the Skeleton Coast. Which i think will be a highlight. The best way to see the skeleton coast is by going to wildneress safaris to their camp there.

In the end it comes down to the type of person you are. Namibia is an excellent self drive country. The road are usually well maintained, and even though alot of its gravel , you wont have a problem with the driving. The distances are vast, but with carefull planning you can do about 4-5 hours driving every 2nd day. A suggestion might be, if you are really keen on the skeleton coast, to maybe do a 10- 12 day self drive safari and then add on the 3 nights skeleton coast with wilderness safaris.
It seems like you enjoy doing your own thing, and therefore i think a self drive safari might be what you are looking for. It will be alot cheaper than the Guided tours and you wil have the flexibility you want.

Let me know if you have any questions.. and i will gladly help
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Old May 5th, 2006, 04:18 AM
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I just finished up a 10 day Namibia safari through Wilderness Safaris, except we had 2 private airplanes for my group of 14 people. We had a ton of photographic gear, so the second plane was necessary. I can tell you that this safari was the most comfortable, time-efficient safari that I have run in southern Africa. Wilderness is a top notch crew, and their properties range from comfortable to over the top. Namibia is an excellent self drive country, and you have to think about what you would miss from a naturalist point of view if you drove yourself. When you book safaris with these outfitters, you are not only getting an end to end safari, you are getting excellent guides that interperet everything around you. Determine whether this is important to you or not.

Private safaris are always more expensive than preplanned group safaris. There are always great conversations, friendships and shared experiences from group safaris. Group dynamics change with each group, but it is highly likely that you will find a number of people in the group that you just 'click' with.

-Andy
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Old May 5th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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Hi Molly,
I am leaving next Friday for the Great Namibian Journey, followed by Migration Routes in Botswana. I'll tell you about it when I get back.

I'm usually an independent traveler, too, but this itinerary includes so many great places, it just seemed ideal to me.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 10:52 AM
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Panecott,

I'll be very interested in the Namibia part especially. I have the same question as Mollybee about the driving in Namibia.

Of the numerous Namibia itineraries that Wilderness offers, what made you choose the Great Namibian Journey?

Namibia and Botswana will be a nice combo.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 01:24 PM
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Hi Travelynn,
I chose the Great Namibian Journey specifically because it had both the Sossusvlei sand dunes and the Skeleton Coast, two places I've wanted to see ever since I first heard of them. (Unfortunately, as I mentioned in another thread, the agent made a mistake in my booking, and without even telling me, they have me leaving the Sketeton Coast a day and a half early to hook up with Migration Routes. I'm very upset over it but I just found out a few weeks ago and it's too late to do anything). But I digress.
I was delighted to learn from posts on this board and some further research that the other places on the Journey also seem to be wonderful: Palmwag, Ongava, Etosha, Swakopmund, Damaraland.It really seems to be the most comprehensive of their tours.

I will definitely give a report when I get back. I can't believe I'll be in Capetown a week from today, and in Namibia two days after that!

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Old May 7th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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There may be nothing you can do about the time difference, but I'd demand some monetary compensation from your agent for the error. Maybe you have already settled that.

I looked at the migration route itinerary and even if you miss the first two nights at Xigera, you'll have another good water camp with Lechwe Island. I think that is the itinerary anyway.

Have a wonderful trip and looking forward to your comments upon your return.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 07:48 PM
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Thanks for all the info.

Andy, did you do any driving or was it all flying? What lodges did you stay at?

Panecott, have a great time and I am anxious to hear about your trip. We stayed in Xigera last year and enjoyed the boat and mokoro trips. The guides were pleasant as well as knowledgeable. We saw varied plant life, birds, watched an elephant cross to another island and heard the roar of hippos. The guide point out a crocodile but I didn't see it. It was just too quick.
The food was delicious, people were friendly and the tents were quite comfortable. I loved the whole water experience!

Has anyone been to Serra Cafena or stayed at Doros Nawa?
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Old May 8th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Whether you choose an organized tour depends upon your personalities. I did an independent tour last year. The benefit was that we had control and could stop along the way as we wished. We also had no planned itenerary and winged it. We also visited Opuwa to the north, which likely most groups do not go to.

The down side is that it takes work and driving can be stressful. Though we made it fine in a little Toyota Corella. The other typical downside of a tour is that they bring you to tourist restaurants rather than authentic restaurants. In Namibia, many of the attractions are so far away from anything that the only option is to eat the lodge, so this is not a huge issue (and the food is great).
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Old May 8th, 2006, 04:23 PM
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Thanks, Travelynn and Molly.

Lynn,it hasn't been resolved yet. They offered a small adjustment, which I don't think is sufficient and I told them I'd deal with it when I get back. I have too much on my mind right now, but I did notify my credit card company. I'll update when I get back.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 07:04 PM
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Mollybee-

We did 100% flying between our locations, and our itinerary looked something like this:

Capetown to Luderitz on private charter flights. Luderitz and Kolmanskop for 2 nights.

Luderitz to Wolwedans Dunes Lodge via charter planes, flying along coastline. 2 nights Wolwedans Dunes Lodge.

Wolwedans to Sosussvlei via vehicles. 2 nights Kulala.

Kulala to Serra Cafema via charter planes. Refuel at Swakupmund. 3 nights at Serra Cafema.

Serra Cafema is one of my all time favorite spots in all of Africa. Extremely remote, and the service is outstanding. Highly recommended.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Panecott,

You could alert that company that you'll be posting a FULL report on Fodors upon your return. I think they would get the message.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for the advice, Lynn. They already know that. I told them about my posts here, both the good ones that preceded the problem, and the ones that came after, and they've seen them. A different agent is now looking into the matter and he's been very nice, so we'll see what, if anything, happens. But the bottom line is that it's too late to do anything about the change at this point.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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Have a great trip!
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Old May 15th, 2006, 04:40 PM
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Andy;

Do you think that 2 nights would be sufficient to enjoy what Serra Cafema
has to offer?
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Old May 16th, 2006, 04:45 AM
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Mollybee-

if you have the time and funds, I recommend 3 nights at Serra Cafema. It is so darned beautiful and relaxing there.
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