Windhoek and Sossusvlei-Questions

Reply

Dec 3rd, 2010, 02:10 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 65
Windhoek and Sossusvlei-Questions

Hi:

My husband and I are going to Namibia next week and I thought I'd try to see if anyone can answer a few last minute questions for me.

1. Can you recommend a souvenir/gift shop that sells high quality souvenirs? I get plenty of the street type souvenirs here in SA.
2. All I can find online is that Sossusvlei is open between sunrise and sunset but I can't find specific hours anywhere online. Does anyone know the exact hours?
3. I heard from one person that even if you stay at Sesriem or the Sossus Dune Lodge, as we are that you are no longer permitted to enter the park an hour early and stay an hour later past closing time. Has anyone been there recently that knows this first hand?

Thanks in advance!
Kits55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 3rd, 2010, 03:15 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
1. Can you recommend a souvenir/gift shop that sells high quality souvenirs? I get plenty of the street type souvenirs here in SA.

We like the Namibia Craft Centre on Tal Street in Windhoek.
http://www.omba.org.na/ncc.php

3. I heard from one person that even if you stay at Sesriem or the Sossus Dune Lodge, as we are that you are no longer permitted to enter the park an hour early and stay an hour later past closing time. Has anyone been there recently that knows this first hand?

I hope it isn't true. The only reason we booked at Sossus Dune Lodge for our visit in 2011 was because of the extended access to the dunes. Given the rather iffy reviews the lodge receives, I don't know how else NWR would justify their hefty rates. Most people stay at the lodge because they can go into the dunes before sunrise and leave after sunset. In many of the reviews I have read, people have written that the longer access to the dunes is the only reason it is worth staying at that lodge. I will seriously consider moving my reservation back to our favourite (and cheaper) Sesriem accommodation - Kulala Wilderness Camp - if this proves to be true. I would contact NWR directly and ask them. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 3rd, 2010, 04:29 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,205
Re #3 - we stayed at Sossus Dune Lodge in February of this year, primarily due to the ability to access the dunes early. In that you are "in" the park I don't see how you would be prevented from accessing the dunes early?

We had a great experience at Sossus Dune Lodge - in addition to the terrific early access.....link to our blog here

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/africa/g-namibia/
Elizabeth_S is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 3rd, 2010, 10:59 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 642
Kits55,

there are a couple of galleries in the main street, one is called the Bushman Gallery and I can't remember the name of the other. They are at the same 'end' of town as the Zoo Restaurant and the tourist information centre.

The Wecke (sp?) and Voight department store has a good range of interesting souvenirs too.

Regards,


Pol.
Treepol is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2010, 12:12 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Sunrise and sunset next week at Sesriem will be approximately 6am and 7.30pm respectively.

If you stay at the campsite there is one gate you need to get through before you are actually in the park.
Staying at the lodge you are already a couple of kms inside the park and so there is no additional gate to go through. I had clients stay last week and they had no problems going down to Deadvlei before sunrise. I certainly haven't heard of any changes to this at all.

The only new changes that are in the near future is that due to new government regulations some operators that were running guided walks to Deadvlei and Sossusvlei will no longer be able to offer this service. This includes Sossus on Foot who did fantastic tours and there are hints that it might start to include everyone else from me to Wilderness Safaris, but apparently a final decision has yet to be made on that.
Self drivers will appear to be unaffected by the new regulations, but it could be soon that to do a guided walk down there you will have to book through NWR. I will keep you posted about this as events unfold!

I have never had any complaints from clients staying at Sossus Dune Lodge.

Gemma Dry - Owner - Discover Namibia Safaris
Discover_Namibia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2010, 07:04 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
So, in the future, NWR wants all people going into Dead Vlei to be accompanied by an NWR guide? They presumably plan to charge for this privilege?

The complaints I have read about Sossus Dune Lodge are about the poor food and "hit and miss" service. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2010, 07:31 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,205
Hi Robin - we found the food to be fine - no highs or lows - and actually the service was quite delightful. A new manager had arrived about 2 months earlier and was fairly open about previous problems.
Elizabeth_S is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2010, 08:17 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 118
I've never heard of guided walks being free anywhere.

I wouldn't make too many assumptions about NWR plans - they tend to change.
mcwomble is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 2010, 10:25 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
What I have heard on the tour operator grapevine is the following.
Say I have a group of clients in my operator vehicle, I can no longer drive them from the 2x4 car park to Sossusvlei, the clients must take the shuttle down there or walk.
Self drivers can still at this point drive themselves down.

The operators that were doing guide walks to Deadvlei and Sossusvlei can no longer do so.

I don't yet know what their contingency plan for guided walks is as apparently this is still 'under discussion' but I will update when I get more information.

My guide spoke to the NWR guides and they were also not clear on what will be happening from Jan 2011. It's just one of those bizarre government decisions and we will have to see how it plays out.

I assume that the NWR guided trips will be unaffected and of course you can do it yourself, but having a local guide in that area to give you the history and talks about the flora and fauna of the area has always been a highlight for our clients so it is shame if it ends up that people just have to wing it themselves....it is of course still beautiful and stunning, but the local insight really adds to it.
Discover_Namibia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 6th, 2010, 12:05 AM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 65
hi everyone: Thank you for the helpful recommendations and information.

@Elizabeth_S- I love your Namibia blog and the adventures you had. I am still reading it but I LOVE your pictures too! If we hike the dunes at Sossusvlei first thing in the morning will the sun be too harsh for pictures by the time we are done hiking the dunes?
Kits55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 6th, 2010, 12:37 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Photographers we have taken to the dunes in the past have seemed to imply that the light at sunset is actually better for photographing the dunes. Once the sun is overhead you don't get the nice shadows, so it depends what time you finish hiking...and yes it does get very hot so remember sun hat, sunscreen and water!
Discover_Namibia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 6th, 2010, 04:02 AM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 65
@Discover_Namibia: do you have any suggested locations for great sunset pictures at Sossusvlei?
Kits55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 6th, 2010, 04:19 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33
Deadvlei is nice at sunset as there is hardly anyone there. I haven't done sunrise there but have seen Elizabeth's photos and she has some nice light there, and also no people.
Close to Dune 45 there is a nice old warty looking tree which looks good in photos, but if you don't want people getting into your shots then I would pull off the road by one of the other dunes. Dune 45 has a car park so it is a short walk to get to, the others you have to walk in a little bit more, but it is flat and worth it.
It is actually quite difficult to take a bad photograph of the dunes
Discover_Namibia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 6th, 2010, 05:22 AM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 65
Thank you Discover_Namibia. I appreciate your suggestions for pictures of the dunes. I do think you're right...I've never seen a bad picture of the dunes. Looking at other people's pictures makes me very anxious to finally see them in person!
Kits55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 6th, 2010, 03:51 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,205
Kits55 - the shot of Dune 45 was taken about 11:00am - light is pretty hot but still lots of good shots to be had! Have a great time!
Elizabeth_S is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 7th, 2010, 08:00 AM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 65
Elizabeth_S- wow, 11am! I am surprised I have to say! That opens my options for taking pictures and hiking all the in same day.

Thank you for responding! I hope to have a trip report up sometime in January *fingers crossed*
Kits55 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 08:58 AM.