Namibia Journals

Namibian Vacation

An April 2004 trip to Namibia by smokeysf

Waterburg Plateau Park Photo, Namibia, Africa More Photos
Quote: Unfortunately, I started writing this journal on the Rough Guides site and didn't have the option of single or multiple destinations. So the whole of my trip is condensed to Windhoek.

Namibian Vacation

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Overview

sunset Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
The most exciting things we did were driving around Etosha Park, Quadbiking in Swakopmund, and photographing the town of Koolmanskoop. Besides that, the 4 to 8 hour drives were amazing. The landscape is incredibly varied. I was not expecting to see so many mountains and rock formations. In my mind, I had pictured a flat, barren desert. Though there were places where indeed that was the case, there were lots of very young, jagged mountains as well. Another must-see is the Quivertree Forest and Giants Playground. We also splurged one day and rented a chalet/villa at the Oanob Lake Resort. It was a well-spent a night that gave us luxury we are not accustomed to.Quick Tips: Etosha was gre...Read More
Quote:
Clean. "Luxury ****."

Really, I wasn't impressed, but it was our first night. Just off the plane, we needed a place to get a good nights sleep with air conditioning and TV, and then we head off for our trip.

I had been sick on the flight and I flew from SFO to London to J'berg to Windhoek. I was beat and in a bad mood. I slept like a baby. It certainly was the best place in Windehoek as far as luxury went. However, I thought it was more of a Reno-type casino hotel.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 4, 2004

Kalahari Sands Hotel
129 INDEPENDENCE AVENUE
Windhoek, Namibia
0026461 280 0000

Halali Rest Camp

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Hotel | "Halali"

Halali Rest Camp Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
Disappointing accomodations. Food was OK. Camped here, but it was dirty. Yes, it had a pool. My AT&T GSM worked throughout the park.

Here we started seeing more giraffe and greater numbers of the same animal. (Not herds yet). Absolutely no wildlife at watering hole - although it was a beautiful wateringhole. (AGAIN WE WERE THERE RIGHT AFTER THE RAINY SEASON, THERE WAS A LOT OF WATER ON THE PAN.) We talked to some others who had been there in the dry season and they said that it was amazing to see the animals come for water. Herds and Herds and herds, one after the other. Thousands of animals in groups and an occasional kill by a predator.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 4, 2004

Halali Rest Camp
Halfway Between Okaukuejo and Namuton
Etosha National Park, Namibia

La Vallee Tranquille

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Hotel

MOUNTAIN Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
Good food, nicely appointed. We arrived here and were greeted by two teenage natives who took us in, cooked us breakfast, and made us feel very welcome. We had no reservations. We were shown a great room. There were about nine en-suite doubles. The owner was french and spoke fluent english. The dinner was prepared by the woman who greeted us on our arrival, and both she and the young man sat with us for dinner. The woman introduced the menu for us in her native tounge (Nama) which was very unusual - full of clicking noises. We ate at a community table with the owner, the two workers, and another couple on vacation. The talk was global politics as well as African a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Sesriem Rest Camp

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Hotel

Dune 45 Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
Bare bones camping in the overflow, but otherwise a nice campsite in the 26 sites. If you know when you will be here, book the site ahead of time. We arrived moments before sunset, so just under the wire. The site seems to be in the middle of nowhere, and we were hungry and pleaded to be allowed to stay. They did some fudging of the books, looked like embezzelment to me, and gave us our permits. We were put in the overflow area, which was nothing but a flat, dirty area with a couple of pits for cooking. This was really roughing it. There was a pool and bar, but no food. They had a small store that sold raw meat, and a few canned meals, but, all in all, if you plan on camping here, br...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Chalets Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
This was our splurge for the trip. We rented a two-story chalet that had two decks, one off the upstairs master bedroom and one off the lower-story main area. The lower deck had a picnic table and outside bbq. All of the chalets sat on the lake, with very good privacy (100 and more yards) from each other. Each had its own lawn and driveway. Ours had two bedrooms, two full baths, kitchen, and downstairs living area with a digital TV and stereo system. Also, there was a pull-out couch that could have fit two more people. The resort also had kayaks, paddle boats, and skiing rentals. We were able to drive into Rehoboth and shop for...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Canon Lodge

Hotel

Quote:
Expensive, but beautiful. We didn't stay here, as we just came for dinner on our way back from the Fish River Canyon viewpoint, but this place is the lap of luxury.


There are small stone cabins in a magnificently landscaped, romantically lit yard. Beautiful river stone on the outside, dark wood interiors.


If you have the money, the grounds are absolutely amazing.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Okaukuejo Camp

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Hotel

lions Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
This camp was very big. If you plan on staying more than a night at this camp -- probably a good idea in the midst of the dry season -- I would recommend you book a cabin. There are many here, and they look very nice from the outside. The campsite however, is very dusty and not very nice. It is certainly not as nice as Namutomi. The food was good, and the watering hole large. The swimming pool was clean as well. Get up early and stay out as late as possible (you have to be back before the sun clears the horizon -- otherwise you are in big trouble). This is a good central spot for sighting lions and elephants. I know because I read the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2004

El Toro Steakhouse

Restaurant

Quote:
We walked here from the Kalahari Sands Hotel. It was a little odd, as it was our first night.

We are big guys, 200+ and muscular, but we felt wary at times. That was more of a cultural thing I believe. The locals are divided by race, and we walked through a black neighborhood with bars and heavy drinking. Looking like foreigners (we were in Africa) made us stand out like sore thumbs. We were not accosted or singled out, except by some prostitutes.

The Steakhouse was owned by some Booers and was very good. It was similar to Cattleman's. Big portions, and good if you like red meat and beer.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 4, 2004

Okonjima Lodge

Restaurant

antelope Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
We stopped in here on our way to Waterburg for lunch. It was our first spotting (and only sighting of Bontebok) of the antelopes.

Nice place. We didnt stay long, but it looked clean and had a swimming pool. It would have been a nice overnight stay, but we hadn't budgeted it into our travel. Overall a good meal and diversion.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 4, 2004

The Raft

Restaurant

Quote:
A nice sunset setting for dinner and a drink. It has a pub/bar and great food.


It is a wooden, circular building with big windows and is out on a lagoon that is accesible via a pier.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Canon Lodge

Restaurant

Quote:
We stopped in here after our trip to the Fish River Canyon lookout on our way back to Ais Ais.


This was upscale and buffet style. However, that didn't sacrifice romance or quality. Yum.


Get there early and have a few drinks and maybe a swim.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Dune 45 and Sossusvlei

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Attraction

Dune Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
Soussusvlei is a large pan (vlei) surround by huge, red sand dunes. Having just come from Swapkopmund, we were amazed with the striking differences in the color of the sand. In Swakopmund, it was a light tan, while here it is a very orange red. The trees on the vlei are fed by underground rivers, which when they divert off course, kill off the trees and leave places like the Dead Pan. Our driver, in the deeper reaches of the dunes, told us that once every few years, it will flood and the pan will fill with water, bringing ducks and flamingos. The road to the vlei in your rented two-wheel drive is VERY ROUGH. These were the worst roads we travelle...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 30, 2004

Waterburg Plateau Park

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Attraction

Waterburg Plateau Park Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
Our second night was spent here. The drive from Windhoek was miles and miles of low scrub. The roads were in very good condition, and navigation was extremely easy. A recent rainstorm had flooded the road, so we needed to have our vehicle towed across by a tractor. We arrived at Waterburg around 3pm and booked a cabin - simple and cheap. There was a swimming pool and good restaurant nearby. We had to be put on a waiting list for a game drive the next morning, as they were completely booked. We hiked up the side of the plateau, following a friendly dik dik through the trees. A few dassies watched our climb to the top, where we looked out at the sunset. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 4, 2004

Waterburg Plateau Park
Main entrance at Bernabe de la Bat Restcamp
Namibia, Namibia

Namutoni Camp

Attraction

Rhino Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
Camped here on our third night in Namibia. Campsites were on grass. If you didn't read my Waterburg review, I want to say that we went right after the rainy season, so there was water all over. We didn't come to Namibia to see the wildlife as much as we came for the scenery. Nothing showed up at the waterhole except a giraffe and a few (five or so) zebra. The facilities were nice. The food was good (always important if you read my reviews - though I don't ever remember a complaint either). Packed up camp early and drove around Fisher Pan and saw springbok, gemsbok, ostrich, giraffe, flamingo, a lion and lioness, a rhino, zebra, and wildebeest. What ca...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 4, 2004

impala Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
We went right after the rainy season ended. There was a lot of vegetation and there was water out on the pan. There are three fully equipped camps within the park. You must be inside one of the camps by sunset. You are free to drive around the publicly accessible parts of the park during the day. Signs all over warn you to stay in your car. There are tales of tourists getting out of their cars and being mauled by the animals. We were within 10 feet of lions and even closer to zebras and various types of antelopes. Many animals can be found on and near the road. It gives the false impression that you are in a controlled environ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Desert Explorers Quad Biking

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Attraction

Desert Explorers Quad Biking Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
We went quad biking twice. The first day we rode the automatic transmission bikes, the second day we chose the manual. By far the better experience was on the manual-transmission bike. If you have any type of experience with manual-transmission cycles, I would highly recommend choosing the manual bike. This is a great adventure that included, on one day, champagne and a video, and the other day, Coke and a snack. This was very well run. We found we were much more capable than some of the other riders, and the organizers split us quickly into groups based on abilities. We were able to ride at our level. Quad biking can be a very dangerous sport, but if you want to cut up the ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Desert Explorers Quad Biking

Nachod, Czech Republic

sand1 Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
They provide the equipment, while you hike up the dune and find your way down by either sandboard or sled. It is a nice way to lean to snowboard - when you fall, the sand is SO SOFT and WARM. You will get no bruises. Plus, it is easier to control than slipping down a slope on hard, icy snow. HOWEVER, you have to walk up to the top. I managed to come down the hill two times before I decided to move to the sled. The sleds head down from the top of the hill. A sled is little more than a sheet of formica. You lay face down, hold up the front two corners of the formica, and slide down the dune. THIS IS THE WAY TO DO THE DUNES!!! What a rush - and you...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Diaz Point

Attraction

Quote:
There is a large marble cross on a point. There is also a lighthouse. The cross is a replica of one that was erected by Bartholomeu Diaz in 1487 on his way around the Cape.


It is a historical site, and an OK drive, but I would not recommend it as a trip on its own unless you have absolutely nothing else to do or are a history buff and just need to see it.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Window Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
Deserted in 1950s, it is an old German mining town. It is named after Kolman, who got stuck here with his donkey on the way to Luderitz. When diamonds were discovered here, there were so many that the people could actually walk along the sand and pick them off the top. They spent their days and nights (even by moonlight) on their bellies picking up the diamonds. The free for all lasted only a few months before the forbidden zone arose with outlaws trespassing in a huge section of the Namib (approximately 360km by 100km). Hence, you have to get a permit to visit this ghost town. The town itself was at its heyday in the '20s. Now it is a bunch of e...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Fish River Canyon

Attraction

Fish River Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
We were here for the sunset. It was a long drive from Ais Ais, and I am sorry to say that I did not find it very exciting.


If you are in the area, stop by and check it out.


I have been to the Grand Canyon, and I think the Grand Canyon is far more beautiful. The way to do this canyon, I would assume, would be to do the week-long hike, but we didn't have the time.


It is an OK stop over. We had originally decided to visit here as a destination, but, instead, the more enjoyable destinations in this region turned out to be Ais-Ais, the Quivertree Forest, Hardap Dam, and Oanab.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 6, 2004

Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert Plane Trip

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Attraction

Flight over Namib Photo, Namibia, Africa
Quote:
Our trip consisted of a 2-hour sunset flight over the Namib desert and up the Skeleton Coast to Swakopmund. This really is the only way you can see so much territory in so little time, and the perspective it offers is different as well. It is a little on the pricy side, but it does pay off. We were in a five-seater plane. The pilot tried to point out a lot of what we saw, but the noise from the engine kind of drowned out what was being said, and by the time the information was passed back to me (I was seated in the back), it was a bit distorted, the telephone effect, and we had passed the sight. Nonetheless, I still had a great time looking out the windows and just...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 10, 2004

About the Writer

smokeysf

smokeysf
San Francisco, California