Hi Cindy and Anna-Lee,
Just want to thank you both and African Travel Gateway for yet another fantastic experience. This is now my third trip with your organization and I continue to be pleased with your services. The care and level of detail that you provide has kept me coming back and now after three trips, I am only more convinced than ever to exclusively rely on your support for any future travel plans throughout Africa!
I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve prepared a few things (nothing bad) for consideration to help other travelers. If it’s helpful for you, then great! If not…not to worry! But here are some suggestions:
Overall itinerary was fantastic. In most cases we were ready to move on after 2 nights. However, our 3 nights in Epupa were amazing (see below). All of the lodges and destinations were special in their own way.
Epupa Falls was one of our favorite destinations. While lodging was the simplest of all the places, it was also the most relaxing (partly because we spent 3 nights there…which was great). But the food here was also probably the best of all the lodges as well. Staff were superb, too. The final 800m or so drive into the camp is very rough road though.
Directions and maps. All great. In some cases there were a few corrections that should be made:
• Etosha Park fees: our information packet told us to pay the fees at the lodge. But this is incorrect. When we entered the park, the attendant told us to go the park office to pay the fees. So I called Dolomite Lodge to confirm and they instructed us that we must pay first at that office before proceeding to Dolomite.
• The directions to Swakopmund via “moon valley” and “welwitshia plains” were a little confusing when we reached the D1982. We turned left (toward Swakopmund). It wasn’t long before we realized that we should have turned right (toward Windhoek) to reach the D1985 to take us to the C28. Maybe just adding that to the directions would be great. The C14 out of Sossousvlei was just a terrible road, too. Overall, this was one of our longest drives actually. We kind of rushed the drive through moon valley and welwitschia plains and still were driving into Swakopmund at dusk…even with an early start the day.
• Page 11 of our book…please check the directions “When you reach the C39 turn left and travel in easterly direction, and then take the D2743 south Vingerklip Lodge.” As we were heading north, we knew turning left would take us west…and in the wrong direction of Vingerklip. So we figured the “easterly” direction was correct. Again…not a huge deal, but for a moment we were confused as to which way was the correct way.
• Advice on hitchhikers. Namibia is full of people needing a lift. And while common sense tells us not to pick people up usually…given the vastness of the country, I would like to have known thoughts on this. We were feeling bad and wondering if we should have stopped now and again.
• Lunches included. We always bought the lunch packs from the lodges…which worked out great. Since there really is no other option for food, it would be nice if the lodges just included a lunch in the overnight fee… Maybe most people don’t like that…but for us…we would have appreciated just paying upfront for all that. But it wasn’t a huge deal…just a nice to have.
• Timing. In addition to kilometers…would be great to give a rough estimate on driving time, etc. Our long drive from Vingerklip to Epupa actually proved to be no longer in terms of hours than other days because there was tarred road for easily 400+ km of the 670 km or so that we drove. However, the biggest thing was the first day of driving to Sossousvlei. The guy who met us at the airport told us about a lunch place in Solitaire…however by the time I got my Namibian SIM card (the airport was out) and we stocked up on water and some snacks at Checkers in Windhoek, we got a fairly late start on our drive. By the time we reached Solitaire it was 2:30 and we didn’t really have time to stop to eat. If he had told us something like…”make sure you get going out of Windhoek no later than 9:30 to make it Solitaire by 12:30” or something like that…that would have been super helpful.
• Getting through Outjo proved a little tricky…there are no signs for the main road once you enter town…and a few twists and turns in the road where it’s not clear where to go. But we ended up figuring it out. Just an FYI.