Most Inspirational Moment
On our free day in Swakopmund some of us decided to do the Dolphin Cruise with Ocean Cruises. We were picked up and dropped back at the hotel. We had a small group of about 16 on our boat, Ocean Lady, skippered by a very knowledgeable, funny guy who shared a lot of information about the animals we saw en route. Dolphins, Cape Fur seals, Pelicans, the latter two joining us on board! Before we returned to shore we had some snacks including oysters washed down with some fizz. Can’t say I was a convert to future Oyster eating but others in the group certainly were. Etosha National Park was magical. We were extremely lucky to see the variety and amount of animals we did. It is fascinating watching giraffe at a watering hole, followed by 14 Eland and a vulture landing in the back ground. Suddenly out the corner of our eyes 20 Elephants come in from the left to drink, including very young ones. On another occasion on our way back to the lodge we come across a family of Lions, about 11, all playing in the fading sun. The younger ones play fighting with each other and Mum looking on. These memories will stay with us forever, the photos just reminding us of the amazing time we had on this holiday.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Arriving in Windhoek 19 hours after leaving London Heathrow on the group flight with Qatar Airways, we were tired but quietly excited about the adventure we had install over the subsequent 2 weeks. Shane our tour leader welcomed us all and introduced us to Jonas who was to be the cook for our trip. They were a great team, making sure we all had a great holiday. Jonas’s cooking was of a high standard especially the butternut squash soup! Shane had the most contagious laugh and showed us round their beautiful country over 2 weeks.
Advice for Potential Travellers
We took South African Rand in both cash and on a Post Office Travel Money card. The Travel Money Card worked everywhere we needed it to, Supermarket, lodges, cash points without any issues. If you go during their Winter, make sure you take jumpers as the early mornings can be very cold. We used the blankets some nights as it really was cold. During the day however it is extremely hot.
All the lodges we stayed in were clean, had comfy beds, hot water and most had amazing views. Towels, soap, toiletries were provided. Weltevrede Guest Farm is a little part of paradise. With an honesty bar, lovely food, WIFI in case you want to send gloating photos back home! And clear skies for amazing star gazing, it was a lovely place to stay.
Other lodges worth a mention from our trip are Ugab Terrace lodge with breath taking views, friendly staff, swimming pool and bar. All rooms had views of either the sun rise or sun set depending on which side of the hill you are on plus the rooms are larger than most we had during our trip. Due to its location there is no WIFI at this lodge which would not normally be a problem but with it being the weekend of sport back home Shane kindly used his phone to share the Wimbledon Men’s final, Cricket world cup final and Formula One results over dinner.
Both lodges within Etosha we stayed in were great although for different reasons. The watering hole at Okaukuejo is the highlight of the stay there. We saw an abundance of animals with the view changing all the time. The only downside to Okaukuejo was the buffet on the first night. Over priced for the standard of food but as guests are captive audiences we had no choice. Jonas’s meal on the second night far exceeded the night before. We suggested he gave the chefs some advice! Our third night in Etosha was at Namutoni which, while the watering hole was not a patch on Okaukuejo the food and rooms were a much better standard. WIFI in both lodges within Etosha require you to buy vouchers for access which we didn’t do.
The 4 walks we did on this holiday were not strenuous. The sand dune took 25 minutes to walk up. Walking on sand isn’t easy but the way down was great fun and the views from the top made it worthwhile. The group decided to catch the optional extra transfer to Deadvlei. Again you walk over sand and it is hot but we completed the walk before the sun was at its hottest. The walk to the White lady paintings is only 5km (2.5km each way) and it is predominantly flat. We did it early in the morning so it was cool enough. We were advised to take at least 1 litre of water each with us. On the return from the paintings we saw a whole troop of Baboons. Not sure they liked us but it was great to see them interact with each other. Our local guide on this walk also tried to find us a Black Spitting Cobra; we said he didn’t have to try too hard! The Waterberg Plateau walk was done after arrival late afternoon as the side of the plateau we were due to walk up was in shade. While it is steep and over rocks you get a great view of the Kalahari from the top. I was more worried about the descent but we managed it without any injuries.