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Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

Brisbane, Australia
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43 posts
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Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

Planning 9 night self-drive in Feb 2013.

Itinerary for context: 1 night windhoek (3pm flight); 3 nights etosha NP (2 Anderssons & 1 Dolomite); 2 nights Opuwo; 2 nights damaraland region (Grootberg or Kipwe or Vingerklip?); 1 night Erongo Wilderness Lodge --> WIndhoek & fly out.

Have read that views from Grootberg are best, but accommodation, food, service are average. Also read that activities are grossly expensive which makes up for cheaper accommodation.

Kipwe accommodation looks beautiful, views gorgeous but not as impressive as Grootberg.

We are happy with simple accommodation, but looking for overall best experience.

If you had to choose one camp for 2 nights, which would you choose & why? Open to suggestions / recommendations on itinerary otherwise. Thanks!

Hofheim Germany
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132 posts
23 reviews
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1. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

Grootberg in a unique experience there is nothing average about it. The food we had was very good but more basically prepared. The huts are fitted with so called Donkeys which is a wood burner that provides hot water. Very hot and plenty of it. The huts are nice. We had Kipwe booked but switched to Mowani Mountain Lodge, their sister camp, when we heard of the fire. I didn't want to of spend valuable holiday time listening to construction. I don't know the status of repairs to the common areas perhaps someone else does. Mowani was more expensive but the experience not nearly as nice, a bit sterile really. Grootberg is just so genuine and unique, well worth it for the adventure factor alone. We did the Rhino tracking and loved it. They take you out all day wway up into the valley(9+ hrs) with lunch drinks and 2 trackers and a very experienced guide. Having said this we had seen very little game by then, Etosha was yet to come.

One suggestion I would spend 2 nights at Dolomite if you want plush. The camp is beautiful. The tents are stuff for a honeymoon. Don't know what Feb game viewing was like but we got very lucky in July

Hofheim Germany
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132 posts
23 reviews
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2. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

Grootberg in a unique experience there is nothing average about it. The food we had was very good but more basically prepared. The huts are fitted with so called Donkeys which is a wood burner that provides hot water. Very hot and plenty of it. The huts are nice. We had Kipwe booked but switched to Mowani Mountain Lodge, their sister camp, when we heard of the fire. I didn't want to of spend valuable holiday time listening to construction. I don't know the status of repairs to the common areas perhaps someone else does. Mowani was more expensive but the experience not nearly as nice, a bit sterile really. Grootberg is just so genuine and unique, well worth it for the adventure factor alone. We did the Rhino tracking and loved it. They take you out all day wway up into the valley(9+ hrs) with lunch drinks and 2 trackers and a very experienced guide. Having said this we had seen very little game by then, Etosha was yet to come.

One suggestion I would spend 2 nights at Dolomite if you want plush. The camp is beautiful. The tents are stuff for a honeymoon. Don't know what Feb game viewing was like but we got very lucky in July

Naracoorte
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2,861 posts
16 reviews
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3. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

We have stayed at Grootberg and did not find the accommodation, food or service average - far from it! I would highly recommend it for a stay. I did not feel that the activities were overpriced considering the duration and services of guides, vehicles etc.

Nashville, Tennessee
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206 reviews
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4. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

I stayed at both- I would consider Mowani over Kipwe. And, unless you are doing the rhino tracking, I would choose Mowani over Grootberg. Unlike the above, we found the service to be lower at Grootberg and the food to be average. Of the 6 or so camps we were in this past march, Grootberg was our biggest disappointment. I would choose the elephant tracking at Mowani or Kipwe over rhino tracking at Grootberg. We found grootberg to be quite expensive for what we got. Also, we routinely had to ask for refills, extra butter, to get our desert or to be served at Grootber when we never had to ask anywhere else we stayed. Part of the reason is that Grootberg is run by the community and not an organization, so it seemed to be less well trained and less attentive. While others may disagree, we foudn this to be true with the 30 or so different people we talked with while in Namibia in March. Most of the great reviews are based on the view, not service, food or price (all of which are less value than anywhere else int hat price range).

We liked Dolomite and would choose it over either of the others due to it being in western Etosha. If you go to Etosha first, then the wildlife sightings in either Grootberg or Mowani or Kipwe will be quite disappointing (except for seeing an elephant of rhino up close one time) compared to Etosha. We saw many more rhino and elephant up close in Etosha than either grootberg or mowani/kipwe. We did the opoosite direction and found it to work much better. You may become quite bored on game drives by then when seeing only 3-10 small game animals in 4 hours instead of 2,000 and predators in etosha. Just my opinion.

USA
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703 posts
18 reviews
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5. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

Suppose you wished to do both?

What is the optmial #s of nights for each? 3 and 3? 3 at Grootberg and 2 at Kipwe? Want to increase the odds of seeing desert ele and rhino plus enjoy the habitat, etc.

Also going to Etosha after Damaraland on this first trip to Namibia.

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

Welcome back Lynne.

I don't have experience of Camp Kipwe but we loved Grootberg. The views from the Cabins are stupendous and the Cabins fine. Staff very helpful and food good.

The Rhino tracking was excellent. Take stout boots, the going is rough. We got lovely 'close' views of a Mother and Calf Rhino and then had a game drive and picnic lunch with lots of Wildlife and birds around.

IN all, if Camp Kipwe is better than that then it must be brilliant.

I would take at least three nights as you cannot track Desert Ellies the same day as Rhino as it is two different locations. Indeed , as you are in the car for the ellies it may not be worth the effort although the income generated should go to their protection.

(I would do the Rhino twice instead!)

USA
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703 posts
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7. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

Hi Mfuwe,

Great info on Grootberg. I defintely plan to do rhino tracking 2x at Grootberg.

I'm leaning toward 3 nts Grootberg and 2 nts Camp Kipwe and packing my stout boots.

Thanks again.

Manchester, United...
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147 reviews
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8. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

We like Grootberg so much we are going back in Nov. View to die for, lovely staff ( who were trying to learn French when we were there!). The only place where the staff would come and sit down and have a chat. Great.

Did the rhino tracking on my own. Was a bit rough but a brill experience with great guys. Expensive but worth every penny. Unlike mfuwe I got the worst pics ever of mum plus baby as my hands were shaking as they broke cover then bolted up the hillside. Bit of a rhinos backside kind of shot. Glad to say it was me who heard them first. Very proud.

So this time its desert ellies in the lovely Klip river valley. And actually we saw quite a lot of game there, buck, giraffes, lion tracks.

USA
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9. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

You have good ears, John22! So it looks like you are planning to see the desert elephants on your next Nov. trip. You will go to the Klip River Valley to search for them. Will you also try to see rhino? How many rhino outings did you do on your last trip?

Manchester, United...
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10. Re: Grootberg Lodge or Camp Kipwe?

Only enough bravery for one rhino tracking. We have done desert elephant tracking before from Brandberg White Lady. Pretty awesome but in uncovered vehicle in October sun. My bald spot got burnt.