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Trip Report, Comments, Advice

Edmonton, Canada
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Trip Report, Comments, Advice

My husband and I visited Namibia last October/November as part of a 7 week trip that included South Africa. We spent 2 weeks in Namibia. This was our first visit to the continent of Africa and I book our trips on my own without the help of organized tours or companies. Namibia is a fascinating and beautiful country.

I am posting this report for those who are thinking of visiting Namibia independently. When we began planning this trip I found it daunting, but the more I read and the more tenacious I was, it wasn’t difficult at all to plan and book a trip that is not organized.

Flights are easily booked on line. All of our accommodation I researched via the internet, planned a 2 week route and booked via e-mail and then faxed confirmation details. All of our flights, accommodation and car rentals went without any problems whatsoever.

We rented our vehicle through Auto Europe who used Avis. Even though many members on this site will say that a four wheel drive vehicle is not necessary we chose to book one even though it was expensive. We found the comfort of the truck with larger tires on the washboard, gravel roads was worth it. We never rented a four wheel drive with the intention of off-road driving and to be honest I believe we only used the four wheel drive gear in Sossuslvei and at Cape Cross. I do recommend that you take the time to go over the vehicle thoroughly with the car rental representative. They will point out every single scratch, rock chip in the windshield, dent and mark on the vehicle inside and out. This is for your protection when returning it so it is worth taking the time. We drove 3, 308 kilometres and 495 of those were in Etosha alone.

As mentioned by others distances are vast and planning your accommodation accordingly is important. We did not see a lot of accommodation while driving. I don’t think this is a country that you want to arrive at and wing it!!

Service stations were never a problem but again we knew our route and planned our fills accordingly. Some of the drives and roads we took were fantastic and exciting because we may only see a couple of other vehicles in several hours of driving. The paved highways are few and they are narrow plus often times we would see warthogs just off to the side of the road. People drive very fast in Namibia.

We felt very safe in Namibia, everyone is extremely friendly. We were cautious and mindful of where we were but we never had any issues. When traveling we did stop at large towns with service stations and Spar grocery stores for breaks, and to stretch our legs. I have been late in posting accommodation reviews but will have them done in the next couple of days.

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Trip Report, Comments, Advice

Useful information. Many thanks for taking the trouble. I'd be interested in the accommodation reviews.

Ontario, Canada
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2. Re: Trip Report, Comments, Advice

Great information! I am in the early stages of planning for the fall of 2009 and want to arrange it myself as well. I would be interested in the intinerary you followed, where you stayed and what you would have done differently. I don't want to plan something that ends up in us just driving and driving!!

Edmonton, Canada
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3. Re: Trip Report, Comments, Advice

This was the itinerary that we chose. What would we have done differently? With this being our first trip to Africa let alone Namibia, I'm not sure we would have changed anything. We were very happy with our trip. All of my reviews and photos are posted except for Okaukuejo and it is pending. Trip Advisor contacted me via e-mail to verify authenticity and that I was the reviewer. I was a little surprised, but happy to see that they check up on reviews of accommodation that are posted. I had posted many that day and it took some time so I'm waiting for it (ironically it was the most favorable review of the 3 Etosha Park facilities).

We flew into Windhoek from Johannesburg on British Air arriving in the afternoon. This allowed us to get a head start on the journey to Etosha. I chose to stay at Otjibamba Lodge over night. We then spent 3 nights in Etosha, 1 night per park facility (Namutoni, Halali, Okaukuejo). I was going to spend all 3 at Halali in the middle but a guide book recommended staying one night at each and this was excellent advice. I not only breaks up the park into 3 areas of driving and game viewing but also takes you from one of the park to the other to continue on your trip.

From Okaukuejo we drove to Swakopmund and this was a long day. Driving and distances are just a given in Namibia. To be honest it's part of the enjoyment of the country. We stayed overnight at Sea Breeze Guesthouse in Swakopmund. Up early the next morning and off to Cape Cross Lodge for 2 nights. I haven't read anywhere of anyone staying this long here but we very much enjoyed it. We wanted to take long walks on the beach, visit the seals where we spent a couple of hours simply watching and photographing the seals and jackals. We saw a jackal get a seal pup, not good.

We returned to Swakopmund for 2 nights at The Stiltz. Again, we just relaxed, drove to Walvis Bay, looked around Swakopmund. There are activities around Swakopmund such as sandboarding, quad biking, etc. If you didn't do these activities and you didn't want to slow the pace of your trip down, such as we did, 2 nights may? be too much. For us prior to Cape Cross and Swakopmund, we had just experienced 3 days at Etosha with early mornings and prior to that 6 nights in Private Camps in Kruger, S.A. getting up at 5:15 and 5:30 am so we looked forward to the slower pace and rest that we planned at Cape Cross and Swakopmund.

From Swakopmund we drove to Sesreim and stayed 3 nights at Le Mirage Desert Lodge which is a further 20 kms from Sesreim. It's a full day (375 kms) of driving from Swakopmund to Sesreim all on gravel. The drive however is fantastic passing through Kuiseb Canyon and Goab Pass. We stop and stretch our legs on the side of the road plus we stopped in Solitaire for fuel, washroom, etc. The next day we went to Sossusvlei and the third day we relaxed by the pool at Le Mirage and returned to the dunes for dusk (gorgeous). Most people probably wouldn't stay 3 nights but we mapped our trip so as not to 'fly' through it as we had 7 weeks of traveling.

From Sesreim we drove back to Windhoek via Rehoboth, again another good day of driving mostly on gravel (377 kms and 5 1/4 hours). I keep a journal so this is why I know the distances, times ,etc. At Windhoek we stayed the night at the Windhoek Country Club. The next day we flew to Cape Town.

Hope this helps you plan your trip AJY733. You will adjust and tweak according to your time and interests of course but I'm sure you will very much enjoy Namibia.

Thanks Peterscot you answered a few of my questions on this forum when planning. Much appreciated!

Isle of Man, United...
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4. Re: Trip Report, Comments, Advice

<We saw a jackal get a seal pup, not good.>

Good for the Jackal's pups though. Gotta keep a perspective. This is what happens.

I am not being critical at all but when folk cheer at the Gazelle beating the Cheetah they don't equate this with the Cheetah going hungry and perhaps having cubs to feed. It HAS to happen.

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: Trip Report, Comments, Advice

Da nada.... and I do enjoy reading about other people's trips, especially when they are enjoyed as evidently as yours was. Many thanks.

(and I would have made the comment about the jackal pups, too. Plenty of seals, not many jackals.... Shouldn't be long now until the lions have crossed the desert and found the seals. That'll make for some exciting photos!)

6. Re: Trip Report, Comments, Advice

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