Will I be disappointed in SA after Bots,Zam,Zim??

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Oct 24th, 2005, 08:13 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Well, I haven't been to Etosha (SHOCK HORROR) so I can't offer an honest opinion.

What I will say is that our first visit to Wolwedans was for 2 nights. It was obviously enough to allow us to fall in love with it but... I didn't want to leave... infact I cried when we did. I worried that maybe our feelings for it were down to it's pole position in our itinerary - first stop after long flight from London to Jo'burg, from Jo'burg to Windhoek and then the wonderful cessna flight from Windhoek to Wolwedans. But that wasn't it. Our second visit, last year, was for 4 nights and we still just adored it. I can't say that the staff are better than the staff anywhere else, nor is the accommodation more luxurious than anywhere else, nor is the guiding so incredible that it blows everywhere else out of the water (though the food is pretty wonderful) but... it has a magic that cannot be defined.

I will warn you though that they lost three of their long term managers recently. Not as bad as it sounds - they didn't leave in a huff. Two had been planning to leave for a long long time and kept staying longer as favour to the owner, they eventually left around same time which may tie into the fact they were romantically involved. The other was invited by the owner to start a new project in Windhoek, a cookery school for tourist camp chefs.

I hope this major change in management doesn't affect the magic but I can't say until I go back.

If Etosha merits 3 days, don't feel bad about just 2 for Wolwedans as you'll still get a feel.

We didn't do the balloon trip - sounds odd but we just had too much fun doing the regular drives. I'm sure it would be magical.
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Oct 24th, 2005, 04:10 PM
  #22
 
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OK-- while I really enjoyed Etosha, I have never heard anyone describe it as magic! And it's not the type of place that brings tears to your eyes. Very stark, very flat with brilliant light reflected off the sand.
So my vote is a shorter visit for Etosha...for 2 days there-- that is certainly adequate, given that it is a national park with all the rules that that entails. It is not an "experience"-- more like a place to see.
And if I had to choose between Etosha & say the Skeleton Coast I would choose the latter hands down.

If you can get 2 nights at Okaukuejo's waterhole, that really should be plenty! If it were easier to get to Etosha, I might even say 1 day is not unreasonable, as long as you had a long night at that waterhole.

And if you had to cut it for other tempting places...well, you just can't see it all on a short trip. Next time.
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Oct 24th, 2005, 07:32 PM
  #23
Lin
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ddgattina,
You're so sweet to take such an interest, thanks! I'm starting to agree about Etosha - not sure if it's worth going there in place of these other more 'magical' venues. Can you tell me anything about the Skeleton Coast Camp? There is a 4 day minimum stay! So I would need to know that it's really special! But I am beginning to think that it would show me more of the best of Namibia than Etosha NP. Alternatively I'm now seriously considering Palmwag.
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Oct 25th, 2005, 09:58 AM
  #24
Lin
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Kavey, I forgot to ask you. You were in Sossusvlei in June, right? Can you tell me what the weather was like? Thanks.
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Oct 26th, 2005, 08:10 PM
  #25
 
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Hi Lin,
The only option for staying in the Skeleton Coast Camp is WS, and you are right, they have 4 day/3 night trips and 5day/4night trips. The difficulty is the flights--unlike the Okavango, with lots of camps allowing lots of hop-around flights, there are only 6 tents at the Skeleton Coast Camp, so everyone must fly-in & out on the same days. Hence the restrictive schedule. I loved the experience, but it is not wildlife intensive. We had wonderful experiences with the desert elephants, saw the desert giraffes, lots of gemsbok. Lion tracks (no lions). And of course the sea mammals you mentioned. We also visited a Himba village (loved this, & our guide spoke Himba). Much of the touring is about the environment (generally), beautiful desert landscapes (dunes and "canyons") and plantlife. The big issue is whether you and the teens you mentioned have seen enough of the wildlife to be ready to do something like this (a big commitment of time out of your itinerary) on this trip.

Another option--that I might have chosen, but no spaces available--was a flying safari run by the Schoeman family. This family had the original camp in the SC Park, but lost the concession to WS. They now do a flying safari that visits various fly-in camps--they visit the Skeleton Coast Camp but sleep outside. Normally I hate this kind of "change camps everyday" trip, but I think this one might be different, because you get to see such a diverse set of remote places-- it might be the perfect intro to Namibia. I think their camps probably feel even more "out in the bush" than the established WS camps. They have an EXCELLENT reputation. (And indeed were fully booked when I tried to make a reservation, literally any reservation, with them.) A friend who is "Mr. Best of Everything" (you know the type!) did their Skeleton Coast trip and said it was simply amazing. Prices are on par with WS as I recall. It might be a really interesting option for you, as I believe they do trips that add a day in Etosha, a day in Sossusvlei, etc. And the fly-in approach with them avoids all the hassles of transport.
Their website is www.skeletoncoastsafaris.com-- if I got that wrong, do a search on Skeleton Coast and their name-- you know how bad my spelling can be!
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Oct 27th, 2005, 02:56 AM
  #26
 
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In early June 2001 we went to Wolwedans, Sossusvlei (about 50 or 60 miles North of Wolwedans, I think) and Damaraland.

Weather was sunny and dry, warm during the days and cold at night.

Perfect as neither of us enjoy intense heat or humidity.

Last year we went only to Wolwedans at the end of June and weather was similar.
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