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I am traveling with a group of 4 to Namibia in Oct. 2016. We are all photographers with significant past experience in Botswana and South Africa. The initial plan was to use two 4-door Hilux vehicles (person front seat, person back), have 1 arrival night in Windhoek, then 2 nights in Erindi and then 6 nights in Etosha. In discussions with my fellow travelers, several would like to add days/nights and photograph indigenous people. Probably just the Himba, but possibly also the Bushmen. As I noted, the group is photographers, so focus is on candid portraits and 'sense of place' shots of villages and daily life activity. The group is not particularly interested in tours. The goal is quality photos to show the pride and dignity of villagers, etc. As it's mid-August, we need to book the extra nights as soon as possible. First plans were to add time driving from Etosha west entrance over to Grootberg/Palmwag and visit the Himba there. We recently learned that the Himba village that Grootberg Lodge once organized trips to is being evicted and those tours have ceased. We need suggestions on alternate Himba villages that will allow a small group to visit and photograph. We would also like ideas on what gifts would be appropriate for the village to show gratitude for the visit. As an alternate or addition, there is interest in traveling further east and visiting a bushman village. In visiting website that discuss the 'Living Museum' concept (for example Ju/'Hoansi-San Living Museum), these trips seem extremely structured. As I noted, our focus is respectful portraits and shots of everyday life, dwellings, etc. Can anyone suggest options to allow this activity. Thanks in advance for the advice.
1) Name of property and country: Grootberg Lodge, Namibia 2) Website address if known: http://www2.grootberg.com 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). Green season, February, 2015 4) Length of stay: 2 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? I read fantastic reports on TA about this property, their amazing view and their Himba tour. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? I did the initial research an then contacted Discover Namibia. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 4 times 8) To which countries? South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia. 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? None 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No, we were warned to be careful 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 16 cabins 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? We had a triple room with a breathtaking view over the valley. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? The rooms were comfortable and simply furnished. We enjoyed our time mainly at the communal area enjoying the views, drinks and snacks. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. The food was fantastic and we left we recipes. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Yes there were different things on offer. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Single tables, no hosting. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Very good and sufficient. 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Open 4WD. 19) How many guests per row? Up to 3 in each row. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Game drives were varied and depended on where we wanted to visit. We only went on a Himba tour which was approximately 5/6 hours. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Drives were concentrated mainly in the early mornings but they could be all day affairs if trekking rhino or elephants. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? Very little activity in the area 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? 24) Are you able to off-road? yes 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. N/A 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings. Excellent desert adapted elephants and rhino. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Excellent 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Friendly, helpful, informative. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? The staff were extremely helpful and happy during our stay. They genuinely seemed happy to assist, were proactive in their duties and enjoyed the guests company. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes, it is run by the conservancy and all money raised goes back to the people. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Grootberg Lodge offers by far the best and most professional service of any of the lodges that I visited in Namibia (and I visited 15!). This is evident as soon as you enter the property. The view is to die for and makes you easily forget the "interesting" drive up to the camp. The food/service/staff/rooms are fantastic. We loved our tour to the Himba Village and would thoroughly recommend this, our guides were brilliant too! The views from the communal area were the highlight of our stay and just sitting down with a sundowner makes you question why Namibia is not busier with so many brilliant places/experiences/animals. Thank you to all the staff who assisted us during our stay. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. https://vimeo.com/144664241
I am in Johannesburg in October and am considering a short, self drive trip to northern Namibia staying at lodges. The purpose is to shoot some photos, but also to scout and learn the area a bit for 2017. In 2017, I have a group of 6 photographers that is interested in Etosha, maybe seeing Bushmen or Himba. The 2017 trip will be much more extensive and all of those travelers are serious photographers with a focus on wildlife more than landscapes even though I understand Namibia is landscape heaven. I have extensive Botswana and South Africa experience with self-driving, but Namibia is new for me. For my 2016 Scouting trip, I was thinking of an aggressive schedule of: Day 1 - arrive Windhoek overnight Day 2 - Okonjima - AfriCats Reserve in the afternoon Day 3 - Okonjima morning then drive to Andersson's Camp at Etosha Day 4 - Etosha, staying at Halali Day 5 - Etosha, staying at Halali Day 6 - Etosha, staying at Dolomite Day 7 - Opuwo, Hiimba Tribe and that area overnight Day 8 - return to Windhoek and overnight there Day 9 - depart Questions: October - am I nuts? How hot/cold in northern Namibia? For this schedule, do I need a 4x4 like a HiLux or will any rental vehicle work? From a photo stop standpoint, is Okonjima worth the stop? How much time should I plan? I'm thinking an afternoon and following morning Andersson's is outside of Etosha. Do I lose much time going in/out of Etosha vs staying at lodges within Etosha? Opuwo destination is to get a feel for how 'touristy' a visit to Himba are. In 2017, I don't want to take folks to a 'people zoo', so I see if this can be a cultural experience. I would secure a guide for any Himba visit I planned. What am I missing? I'm open to suggestions.
This offer is valid only until Friday, January 15, 2016. We had someone bail on us and these bookings will be released on Friday, January 15, 2016 - leaving people a grand total of 48 hours more or less to make this decision, . However the price is so good that I thought it would be worthwhile to post it here in the event that there people out there who are looking for something like this. Feel free to contact me if this is of interest to you. Price of this safari is NAD 43000 pp sharing (this is roughly 2700-2800 USD pp at today's rates). The itinerary is as follows: ITINERARY IN BRIEF Day 1 Arrive in Windhoek Day 2 & 3 Namib Naukluft National Park Day 4 Swakopmund Day 5 Damaraland, Grootberg Mountains Day 6 & 7 Southern Etosha National Park Day 8 & 9 Eastern Etosha National Park Day 10 Windhoek Day 11 Depart from Windhoek International Airport TRIP HIGHLIGHTS - Travel with one of Namibias most well-known naturalist guides. - Stay in the only lodge inside the worlds 4th largest National Park. - Climb some of the worlds highest free-standing sand dunes. - Explore the coastal town of Swakopmund. - Visit a seal colony at Cape Cross. - Visit a remote and authentic Himba village. - Embark on exciting game drives within the Etosha National Park. - Game viewing at an active floodlit waterhole. - Once in Etosha, each pax will have a row to themselves for wildlife photography. Our vehicles are specialized Toyota Land Cruisers with pop tops, air conditioned, large windows, charging points, bean bags, etc. For 8 pax, there will be 2 vehicles. For 9+ pax, there will be 3 vehicles for the group. Can be max of 12 on this safari. Day 1 (April 8, 2016) Arrive in Windhoek After landing at Windhoeks International Hosea Kutako Airport, you will be welcomed by a Chalo Africa representative who will transfer you to the guesthouse where you will stay your first night in Namibia. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and acclimatize from your long flight. This evening you will be met by your guides, who will brief you on some of the details of your safari, especially the first few days. Dinner tonight will be enjoyed at the guesthouse. Overnight: Windhoek guesthouse Dinner, Bed & Breakfast www.galtonhouse.com Day 2 (April 9, 2016) Windhoek to Sossusvlei This morning your guides will collect you from after breakfast. You then depart Windhoek in your safari vehicles and drive southwest through the scenic Khomas Hochland highlands before you head down the Great Escarpment into the Namib Desert below, stopping for a picnic lunch at a scenic location along the way. You will stay for two nights in the Namib Desert. This is the only lodge that affords you prime location within the boundaries of the Namib Naukluft National Park and allows pre sunrise and post sunset access to Sossusvlei. If there is still time today, your guides can take you on a visit into the dunes at Sossusvlei to see them while the shadows sharpen as the sun goes down and the light should be ideal for landscape photography. Overnight: Namob Naukluft Park Full Board & Excursions with guide www.nwr.com.na Day 3 (April 10, 2016) Sossusvlei / Namib Desert Today will be a full day of exciting activities as you rise early this morning for a magical excursion into the dunes with your guides. As you are already inside the park you can get into Sossusvlei before everyone else and you would even be able to get there in time to see the sun rise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves, if you are prepared to get up early enough. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored the area to your hearts content you can enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast under the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to the Lodge in the early afternoon for lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon if you havent already done so the day before. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes). Overnight: Namob Naukluft Park Full Board & Excursions with guide Day 4 (April 11, 2016) Sossusvlei Area to Swakopmund NOTE: Option to include a sunrise balloon flight or scenic light aircraft flight over the Namib Naukluft National Park before you depart for Swakopmund (optional extra at additional cost). The fascinating drive today takes you northwest through awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. You aim to reach Swakopmund in the early afternoon where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air. . There will be time this afternoon to wander around town if appeals, before heading off for dinner at the popular Tug Restaurant by the jetty which specializes in fresh seafood. NOTE: As an alternative to the drive from Namib Naukluft to Swakopmund you may like to take a scenic light aircraft flight over Sossusvlei and along the Diamond Coast (optional extra at additional cost), allowing you a birds eye view over the dune sea, abandoned mining camps, shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbour and salt pans before you land at Swakopmund Airport. Your guide will drive to meet up with you in Swakopmund later in the day. Overnight: Swakopmund Full Board & Excursions (guided) Day 5 (April 12, 2016) Swakopmund to Grootberg Mountains After breakfast you head north up the coast via the fishing town of Hentiesbay and then past Cape Cross (for some seal photography at one of the largest seal colonies in southern Africa), before leaving the cooler coastal climate behind and departing for Damaraland and. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendor which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'. You will have lunch en route to arrive at Grootberg lodge during the late afternoon. If time allows this afternoon your guides will take you on a walk into the local area of this fascinating region. Overnight: Grootberg Full Board & Excursions with guide www.grootberg.com Day 6 (April 13, 2016) Damaraland to Southern Etosha National ark This morning you will join a visit a local Himba settlement you may have to search for a while as the semi-nomadic Himba people sometimes move location with no notice. They are one of the last truly traditional peoples of Namibia and have little time for conventional practices. Here you will learn about the customs and traditions of this very proud nation, and will be given insight into their beliefs, way of life and everyday routine. After visiting the Himba you will return to the lodge before heading east through the small town of Kamanjab, entering the Park through Anderssons gate on the southern boundary and game drive your way through the Park to arrive at Okaukuejo Camp in the afternoon. You will be met by your additional guide as well as safari vehicle that will be joining you for the rest of your safari. The rest of the afternoon could be spent game viewing at the camps waterhole, or possibly heading out on a short game drive with your guides. This evening you can relax by Okaukuejos excellent floodlit waterhole where game comes and goes throughout the night. Overnight: Okaukuejo Resort (Waterhole Chalets) Full Board & Excursions with guide & specially adapted phtography vehicles www.nwr.com.na Day 7 (April 14, 2016) Southern Etosha National Park Today is spent game-viewing in the Etosha National Park from our private safari vehicles. You will be treated to an exciting morning guided game drive in the Etosha National Park, returning to Camp for a late lunch and time to relax by the refreshing swimming pool before you head out again for an afternoon game drive. The rest of the afternoon and evening can be spent game viewing at the camps floodlight waterhole. The Park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centres on the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The Park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (Oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala. Overnight: Okaukuejo Resort (Waterhole Chalets) Full Board & Excursions with guide Day 8 (April 15, 2016) Southern to Eastern Etosha National Park Boundary Today is spent game viewing in the Etosha National Park from your private safari vehicles. You make your way through the breadth of the National Park, stopping at selected waterholes to observe the game gathered there along the way. Your guide will arrange lunch either at Halali Rest Camp or a picnic lunch en-route, stopping across via selected waterholes such as Goas which are normally particularly good for game viewing to Namutoni Resort in the east. You will have to leave the Park before sunset and go out to stay at Mushara Bush Camp, with enough time to relax and freshen up before for dinner. Overnight: Mushara Bush Camp Full Board & Excursions with guide www.musharabushcamp.com Day 9 (April 16, 2016) Etosha National Park Today is designed for you to have time to relax in lovely comfortable surroundings while still giving time to be spent game viewing in the National Park as much as appeals. Your guides will discuss the proposed program with you and take you back into the Park as often as you want and whenever it suits you (except before sunrise and after sunset). Overnight: Bush Camp Full Board & Excursions with guide Day 10 (April 17, 2016) East of Etosha National Park to Windhoek This morning you depart and head south back to Windhoek, via the towns of Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo & Okahandja, to arrive in the mid to late afternoon. You may wish to spend some time in Okahandja at the local craft market where you can do some last minute curio shopping. Upon your arrival into Windhoek you will be transferred to Galton House where you will stay for your final night in Namibia. Dinner tonight can be enjoyed at the guest house or out in town with your guides. Overnight: Galton House Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Day 11 (2016) Departure
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