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7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

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7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Hi all - thanks in advance for your advice.

I will be in South Africa in mid-June with my three kids. They are young but seasoned travelers. This is their 6th time to South Africa and they have been to Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Senegal.

We have one week to travel to Namibia. Do you think we shoud stick to 2 locations or is 3 possible? We don't need to go to Etosha. I'm looking for stark and vast scenery instead, a tribal experience, and maybe something adventurous.

Initial thoughts are Sossousvlei (Sossus Dune Lodge or Little Kulala), Damaraland (Camp Kipwe or Mowani Mountain Camp). Is this enough for 7 days? Or could I fit in Kaokoland for the Himba experience or Swakopmund for the adrenaline sports?

And getting around, I am thinking about driving and flying. I would love to drive the whole time but thought a combo of flying makes sense to conserve time. Thoughts? I would want a tour guide driving as I get lost in my home town FYI.

Lastly, operators to plan the whole thing...I have read about Discover Namibia, ATI, Cardboard Box. Does anyone have any feedback on these companies or advice on others?

Thanks all. We are excited about this trip and so I look forward to feedback.

Take care.

Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Welcome to the Nambian forum.

Start with the last question.

I have used Carboard box twice and Discover Namibia once. CB were up to the job but I don't regret the switch to Discover Nambia. Gemma appeared to go the extra mile whenever asked. So either would do for you but my money would be on Gemma to do it better. More of a personal touch!

Getting around? Well you would really have to work hard to get lost in Namibia. Easy quiet roads and good signage. No towns to speak of especially where you plan to be. I really don't think you need the expense of a driver/guide but that is up to you and your budget.

Keep the trip to two or three locations. Namibia is bigger than you think.

Dunes and then up to Damaraland is quite enough for a seven day visit.

One day to get down, 2 in Sesreim area, one in transit to Damaraland, two there and one back to your plane home. Himba visits can be arranged in Damaraland.

Adventurous? Try tracking Elephant and Rhino on foot.

Edited: 14 April 2012, 05:22
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2. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Thanks Mfuwe!

Okay, you answered many questions and I feel good about the two stops only. Decision made. Hopefully, we will be back some day to stay longer!

Any recommendations on camps? Seems folks really like both Camp Kipwe and Mowani. One better than the other, especially in terms of desert animal tracking? Will one give me a more authentic Himba visit? Thoughts?

The Sossus Dune Lodge sounds nice, especially because it is inside the park. Comparisons to Little Kulala or others?

And you really think I can drive? You have such faith in me and we have not even met! Just watch me get lost within 5 miles of my house. The only thing that can ruffle this mom of 3! But I will take your recommendations to heart and chat with an outfitter, probably Gemma, about it!

Oh, when driving the long distances, are there many places to stop for a rest, bathroom, a drink? We've done long drives without having the benefit of places to stop in Tanzania, but just wondering what to expect since I will have the kids.

Thanks for your help. Happy Saturday.

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Glad to help. Your taste in Camps breaks my budget. I have not stayed in any of the places you mention (but I know a lady who has.)

In Damaraland this trip I stayed at Grootberg Lodge which was lovely and last trip bar one was at Palmwag. Both surrounded by lovely wilderness scenery. Grootberg with vistas to blink at. I have a rule in life that I won't do "tribal village" visits if they don't come to mine so cannot speak for any 'authenticity' angle!

My only visit to the Dunes was this last trip. We stayed at Kuangukuangu and/or Barchan Dunes. Excellent hosts, great food and pleasant rugged scenery. (not much use am I??)

Of course you can drive yourself and no you won't get lost. You have two or three navigators looking out for you. Ask or beg for a GPS, the kids will love that. Not important but it will just give you confidence. Usually tells you things like turn left in 100 miles as there are no turns nearer. Driving is that easy out there.

Rest stops. There are a few 'picnic' sites at intervals along the main routes and of course cold drinks can go in the on board Cooler box. Little shops in most settlements of any size. Solitaire is a must stop for Moose's Apple Pie. 10 minutes or so from the gate to Kuangukunague if you go that way.

Rest rooms for comfort stops on the way are few and far between but in such remote areas I have not found that a problem. Where there is a will there is a way!

Good weekend to you too.

Stanley, Falkland...
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4. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

I think your kids would enjoy some of the activities around Swakopmund, which is a very civilised place around half-way between the dunes and Damaraland.

dune-boarding, kayaking, boat trips to see seals and flamingos, desert tours, etc ,etc.

rest stops - you basically go behind a rock, or, if no rocks, behind the car. You need to have lots of water with you.

BTW, the Himba are not the only tribe - just the most photogenic. There are lots of authentic possibilities without seeing some Himba. In fact, you'll probably see them in a supermarket....

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5. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Yes, the activities in Swakopmund do seem like a lot of fun. Could be good to stop for one night and take a night away from the dunes or Damaraland. Any suggestions for accommodations in Swakopmund? Don't need fancy but would love a centrally-located place.

Also, I will do some more research on the tribes in Namibia. I am not stuck on the Himba, but rather on observing an authentic way of life, rather than a show for tourists. In Tanzania, we drove 8 hours out of the Serengeti to spend time with two of the most remote tribes in all of Africa who still have no written or verbal language. We roughed it to have this most amazing experience. I was less enthralled with visits to the Massai.

But back to Namibia, Mfuwe, you have me feeling very confident now about the driving! It seems like Gemma could hook me up with a good 4WD vehicle with a GPS or two. I will look up your accommodations too.

Thanks again.

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Gemma must be having a rest or I am sure she would have popped in by now. The boys at Kucki's tell me she is not usually the shy retiring type.

(Joke)

Swakopmund. Well I did stay there a few nights. At the Stiltz. Quirky place built out over the estuary on, would you believe, Stilts? Really nice place, roomy and a good breakfast. No dinners but they are happy to book and recommend places. We ate at Kucki's one night and this would suit a family with kids as the menus are "flexible".

Swakopmund fits your tour Ok but it is the time you are short of. Unless your "one week" can be stretched a little.

Let me suggest 8 nights in country.

All this depends on the time of your inwards flight. If early you are fine but if after noon you really won't get far enough. Assume Noon on the road.

One down to Sesreim/Solitaire. Now if using Barchan/KuanguKuangu you are well placed for Sossusvlei, an hour south and back via Solitaire for one more night. Or if you get right down to Little Kulala/SossusDune two nights.

Then up to Swakopmund via Walvis Bay. Two nights at Stiltz. With a full day doing whatever people do as per Peter's suggestions. We did a boat trip and lunch but maybe the kids would get bored quickly. A desert trip would have more appeal, or some hi jinks.

Five nights have gone already. See the problem? However...

An early start from Swak would get you up into Damarland at Kipwe/Mowani/Palmweg/Grootberg by mid afternoon.

Two or three nights here for your adventures and whatever.

Again it will depend on flight times. You are within around five hours of Windhoek so a late afternoon - evening departure is doable.

We need a bit more detail on times etc., Still a bit rushed for my taste.

I've done my bit. Over to Gemma for comments.

Hermanus, South...
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7. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

I didn't know if it would look a bit iffy if I answered.....don't want to get a wrap on the knuckles! also writing on the iPad, which is slow going, and does this horrible auto correct thing which keeps changing my words, and apparently thinks everything should be spelt the American way!

Hermanus, South...
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8. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Ok will have to keep it quite short. iPad driving me mad! I would say that if you can get into Sossus Dune Lodge then I would go for that over Little Kulala which personally I think is a bit posh and stuffy for kids, but that's just my opinion. Plus you are inside the park. Kulala have their own entrance to the park, but a regular complaint is that you still don't really get to the dunes for sunrise. Sossus Dune Lodge has a nice pool to cool off in the heat of the day and their guided activities are very good.

Definitely have a couple of days in Swakopmund. You don't mention the age of the children, but the seal kayaking is really good fun, also children tend to like the quad inking and sand boarding. Also as ever I will recommend the day tour to Sandwich Harbour.

You can't go wrong with either Camp Kipwe or Mowani, both are amazing, and some of the best service I had on my last trip. excellent drive to find the elephants as well.

Self driving is actually much easier than it sounds. It is very hard to get lost, there are not many roads and they are well signed, plus hardly any cars. And you can get guided activities at each location rather than having a guide all the time, some people prefer the flexibility of that.

Gemma Dry - Discover Namibia

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9. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Hello,

Been spending the morning reading lots of posts and am more excited than ever. I think I will add Swakopmund, but really want to only do one night -- is this feasible? The kids are 10, 8 and 4. The younger one will not take part in Swak activities. The 10 year old is very adventurous, I mean very! She loved the sound of quad biking and sand boarding!

Also, starting to understand geography a bit more based on reading. I will be flying from Joberg to Namibia. I'm assuming I fly into Windhoek. From there, in looking at the map, can you head to either Sossusvlei or Damaraland, with a stop in Swak in the middle and then back to Windhoek? I can't stay longer than 7 nights, 8 days and I need to time it so I can fly back to Joberg in the morning and depart to the U.S. that night. Just so you know this is a mid-June trip with me departing for South Africa on June 11.

With this timing, does it make sense to o Swak? Should I add a flight to conserve time? If so, where? If I did 3 nights at one place -- Darmaland or Sossusvlei?

All the camps we are talking about look and sound great, with amazing reviews. It will be hard to choose! But I would love to get handle on the best route/transport and then focus on hotels.

Thanks all. You have been helpful and reading all the posts this morning has been lots of fun.

And Gemma, you will get a handle on your IPad. I'm using mine now and practically don't take out my laptop except for serious documents. But if it continues to annoy you, buy a wireless keyboard. People love them and get the best of both worlds! And turn off auto-correct!

Take care.

Isle of Man, United...
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10. Re: 7 Days in Namibia! Where to go and What to see??

Coming together nicely.

Have you got tickets yet for the namibian sector or not?

One idea jumped off the page. Fly into Walvis Bay not Windhoek.

I don't know the schedules but I think Gemma will.

If it does fit then problem solved.

Walvis to Sesreim is an easier run. Then, sadly, back the same way (no getting lost either) but on to Damaraland and back to Walvis via Swakopmund. Adrenalin events happen from Walvis too.

I hope my thoughts work out.