Dave Williams

Self driving Namibia...the way to go!

134 posts in this topic

@@Dave Williams, a nice report that Ive enjoyed following along, and a bit of a different take on Namibia. Bravo Claire with the driving, I just may have got a bit fed-up, but hey, your next trip must surely be her trip her way, :), lots of pools and sun-lounges. I think you got pretty good "bang for your buck" with your accomodation, they all look pretty good to me and certainly at a good price.

The Desert Chameleon photos are brilliant.

 

Staying outside the N.P. makes a lot of sense in the wet season and even in the dry season I would consider it too.

I think our next trip together will definitely have Claire's wish list as a priority. We are thinking possibly a cruise, may even be Australia and New Zealand.We are in no rush to decide just yet. South Africa might tick all the boxes for both of us too. I'll keep my eye out for some bargains!

In the meantime I'm having a birding trip to Spain with a pal of mine in the near future so I'll be "birded out" after that!

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I absolutely adore your Chameleon photos, one of the coolest sequences I have ever seen here on Safaritalk. Wonderful report, thanks for all your efforts in putting this together. Not only superb photography but also a great resource for planning a Namibia trip.

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For those who would like to see a little more of the Chameleon here's a video clip !

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Chanced on this report and have just read the whole trip from start to finish. A shame in a way that you caught some of the bad weather that gave southern africa a good soaking but it had its compensations I am sure although poor Claire got the short straw.

Good to see that you have worked out that glossy brochure prices are not a pre-requisite of a visit to Africa. It can be done well within budget and your helpful comments at the start and end will no doubt encourage others to give it a go. You saw your first Lions and it was worth the wait. It is quality not quantity that makes the trip after all. And you had your first "Elephant moment" which is always a thrill and I wish you many more.

Thanks again.

(I share your thoughts on Forest Buzzard too. Out of range or not. Peregrine confirmed too.)

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This is partly a hi-jack, and partly a teaser for my own upcoming TR.

 

It also represents a conflicting point of view.

 

We were in Etosha from the 11th to the 16th of this month.

 

This:

 

post-24763-0-63589800-1492714106_thumb.jpg

 

was taken at one of the waterholes close to Okaukeujo one evening at about quarter to six in the evening. 5 minutes before the official gate time.

 

In fact, pretty much every good photo opportunity I had, took place in the late afternoon, and most of them would have been missed if I had to travel the extra 26km to get to the gate, rather than the actual campsite...

 

So while game viewing at the camp water-hole was pretty poor (I only ever saw a herd of Zebra and a few birds there), for me, it was still preferabkle to stay in the park, despite the extra cost.

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@PeterConnan Cracking shot of the lightening Peter, you are certainly not hijacking my thread either. Great to have a balanced view of the benefits of staying in or outside of the park too and I'm really looking forward to reading your report to find out why you think it is such a benefit , particularly when the camp waterholes are deserted as they seem to be during the wet season.

All I can say is based on my experience Okaukeujo was hugely disappointing. Our two night stay at Dolomite and two at Okaukuejo cost us £645 plus food ( which would have added another 1840NR or around £110) Etosha Village cost £365 for the four nights including a sumptuous buffet dinner and breakfast. Certainly not loose change in difference, it was twice the amount.

Some of my best shots were obtained within 5 minutes of leaving Etosha Village too! The detour road from Ombika waterhole was very fruitful! However, there is always a huge amount of luck about being in the right place at the right time but the odds of being successful can be improved by finding out the right places and times! Lightening can strike absolutely anywhere so you can't legislate for that, wildlife you have better chances of doing so.

As for the standard of accommodation, Etosha Village ( and Emanya@@etosha for that matter) do win hands down.No disputing that or the food either.

Now I have seen some stunning photography from the waterholes near Okaukeujo in the dry season and you are right, if you stick to the 60 kph speed limit you would need to leave 30 minutes earlier if not more from places like Nebrownii, maybe an hour from Okondeka to get out of the park in time.

All we can do is report our own findings and preferences.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Dave

 

There is no denying that the government game reserves in Namibia and Botswana (and I think Zimbabwe as well) are milking the cow for all it's worth.

 

And as you say, the standard of accomodation is very poor. In the campsite, the ablution blocks were very far away, each had a busload or two of package tourists around it and in five days I never once experienced hot water.

 

As we camp and self-cater, the sums are rather different though. Still expensive, but not nearly double whent the total cost (IE including food and fuel) is considered.

 

For camping, the fee is N$136 PP/PN. Add to this N$205 per vehicle for conservation fees, but this also applies to day visitors. In comparison, we paid N$150 at Eldorado B&B for camping outside the park (just across the road from Etosha Village), for which we got lawns and beautiful ablutions.

 

As a fly-in tourist, as you explained earlier, the cost of renting a camping vehicle is probably not worth the effort, especially if there are only two people. For us, the sums are different again. The vehicle we used is my daily driver, just with a trailer attached, and we are four people in the car. I will share costs in more detail in my trip report in a few weeks time though.

Edited by Peter Connan
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@@Peter Connan. Sorry Peter, I forgot you were camping which does alter things somewhat. I did speak to someone who was and they reflected your opinion, the camps outside are better and not as expensive . When you look at the economies of scale then I would probably camp inside rather than outside particularly if I could self cater and get some decent food.

If and when we return though I would probably take a mix of both inside and out with the majority of stops outside the park. I would also aim for the dry season too!

In the wet it's still a no brainer to me to stay outside the park though!

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Great tripreport, enjoyed it very much! I Hope to get the opportunity for more bird-photo next time around :-)

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