Etosha - never again - Page 4





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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisFors View Post
    I tend to agree with Albert. We were in northern Namibia for an extended trip in 2018 and could not get in to Etosha so ended up at Onguma with day trips in to the park. On first arrival at reception it was very clear that the staff were overloaded with agressive European tourists demanding immediate answers to minor questions they should have known the answers to. Yes the NWR staff are probably not sufficiently well trained to handle aggressive tourists and it was also clear they were getting frustrated and surly in response. We were lucky enough to be able to make a breakthrough with one receptionist who was very happy to talk with a SAFFR. After that we had no problems whatever, also at the gates, but continued to see the agression between staff and tourists all the time we were there. Etosha has now been well and truly "discovered" by European Tour operators who sell ridiculous self drive camping holidays to people who have no idea what they are in for. Trying to do 500 kms per day with single night stopovers to "see" Namibia is ridiculous, so you end up with tired, frustrated and therefore angry tourists. Tourist Morons are tough for any organisation, especially for one focussed on wildlife preservation with little understanding of the way mass tourism is evolving.
    This is very true ,it happens all over Southern Africa to a certain degree, especially in the European holiday seasons ( July and August, also the Christmas holidays ).

    That's where the money is.

    Saffers are very self contained and spend very little . They might be away for weeks and still they bring everything with them: frozen meat , crates of beer,P&P broccoli...

    They spend the money on the car and the trailer and kit, mostly.

    I know a campsite owner in a SADC country who, when a SA registered car arrives , tells them they are fully booked as a routine. He offers a site with clean and functional ablutions, each pitch has a power point and braai, day and night security. Amazing view.

    He asks for the equivalent of 6USD per night: basically he runs the place almost at a loss, out of passion.

    However people driving over 2 million worth of SUV and trailer complain that it is too expensive.

    Plus they are totally self sufficient, they never even buy a beer from the bar.

    You can understand where he is coming from.

    What's this obsession with bringing all but the kitchen sink from home ?

    People of SA: we have meat, we have ShopRite, we drink beer...

    ( Ok, maybe this doesn't always apply to Zim...).

    We grow fresh vegetables.

    Bring money instead of 2 weeks old, wilted supermarket salad from Joburg.

    Leave some decent tips if the service is good: many people that work in tourism as cleaners or campsite staff earn close to nothing.

    Stop for a beer or a coke at the side of the road and have a chat with the locals : you won't be killed I promise ..

    Spread some of the wealth and you might be paid back in kind .

    As it is , lodges and operators prefer to cater for the overseas visitors,coz that's where the cash is.
    Last edited by tashtego9; 2020/01/06 at 04:34 PM.

  2. #62
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    We camped at Etosha a couple of yeas ago. Over-crowded. Ablutions terrible. Noisy. A lot of people not respecting the individual camp boundaries. Very unpleasant experience with rude staff on the way out of the park.

    On the way out we stayed at a really great campsite called Kupferquelle in Tsumeb, which is within the Kupferquelle resort. Fantastic facilities. If we go back we would certainly camp outside the park at Kupferquelle.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Whatever happened to the 'like' button.
    Albert

    Progress might have been alright once, but it has gone on too long.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    Some comments in this thread on SANParks Central reservations.
    As a pensioner I use them frequently to gain the discounts. I find their service excellent. Made a booking this mid-morning with the reservation PDF's emailed to me immediately.

    Indeed!



  5. #65
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    @tashtego9:
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  6. #66
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Sorry this is so long winded. In the last six months we have spent 5.5 weeks in Kruger, 5.5 weeks in Kgalagadi and 5 weeks (mainly October 2019) in Namibia, all camping on retirement in our Bush Lapa. Therefore I feel qualified to answer or compare services offered and staffing of the places we have stayed. Iím obviously keeping in the main to Etosha where we spent 8 nights, being 2 nights at each of the 4 camps.

    The animal sightings in Etosha were absolutely amazing, we saw lion every day, 2 fantastic leopard sightings, so many elephant and the plains game herds were superb. We were surprised at the condition of the game as they were all very healthy despite the bush looking pretty awful due to drought-like conditions particularly in the west of the park. We were certainly spellbound by the huge herds we saw. Unfortunately that was the positive side of things. We were aware of the costs of staying in Etosha before arriving (not far off ZAR/N$1,000 per day if including entrance fees, camping for the two of us alone was ZAR/N$700 per day) so it would be unfair to whinge about the cost but having paid such a high price we expected value for money in the campsites as well as in the game we saw. The camps in general were abysmal, none more so than Okaukuejo. In the ladiesí ablutions there was only one single toilet with a functioning toilet seat, all the rest were destroyed by campers. One could argue that it is not the NWR staff that broke the seats, we agree, but it is their job to keep on top of maintenance, they couldnít give a damn. Campsites were filthy, once again not NWR staff that made the mess but they are responsible for getting it cleaned up when visitors depart. The overcrowding was horrific etc etc etc. Will we return and stay in Etosha, most certainly not although we may stay outside the park and go in daily.

    Turning to the staff. As mentioned we have spent over 10 weeks in SANparks in the last six months and the staff were superb, obviously someone, somewhere has done something about staff training, we honestly canít recall a single bad moment in any of the parks, anything but with staff at Twee Rivieren being exceptional during a medical mishap whilst in KTP. Staff at Etosha (and NWR staff we encountered at the non-Etosha NWR camps) by and large couldnít give a damn, it was JUST a job. Their service was miles behind SANparks equivalent. Please note we are Zimbabwean so are not biased towards South Africa and of course we treated SANparks and NWR staff with the same level of respect Ė please note I am not commenting on Zimbabwean National Parks, that is not what this thread is about.

    Having said all that our stays at ALL other campsites in Namibia were fantastic, particularly Gondwana camps. Our favourite campsite was, without a doubt, Kunene River Lodge. We will definitely return to Namibia.
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  7. #67
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Not about Etosha but the Dead vlei toilets are disgraceful; cowering behind a dune is better, as evidenced by the white flags. Glad that NWR's shortcomings offer opportunity to private operators.

    Commenting on tashtego9's comment though I agree, but not all camps have decent food and beverages for sale at reasonable prices. Sanparks are generally very good, Ezimvelo not so much, private camps vary with some proper rip offs (shebeens / kuka shops offer good value though). Recently, well last 5 years, we take less and less, buying (supporting?) as we go but it takes some time and now and then Lucky Star and Castle Lite / Black Label / Castle Milk Stout (always chilled) has to do. Also good interaction with local people.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by Olyfboer View Post
    N$ 735 is too expensive for a 5 star lodge with pool, air conditioned ensuite cabins, WiFi, lawned areas, a lapa, pub, meals, pool and much more?

    How much does camping in Etosha cost? -
    Just checked today as we were (note: 'were') planning a trip in Feb: Campsite R333/person/day; park fees: R60/person/day; Vehicle R10/day. So for the 2 of us it amounts to R796/day For camping!! (R666+120+10) So sorry, as I love Etosha, but not at that price; plus coping with conditions described by the O/P.
    So R735 for a 3-star lodge is definitely a better option.
    Last edited by Alto; 2020/01/08 at 12:44 PM. Reason: typo
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  9. #69
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Prices are too high.
    I would stay elsewhere.

    ďAfrica changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    We stayed by Etosha Safari Camp (Glamping) November last year, its just south of the Gate, well worth it.

  11. #71
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by Alto View Post
    Just checked today as we were (note: 'were') planning a trip in Feb: Campsite R333/person/day; park fees: R60/person/day; Vehicle R10/day. So for the 2 of us it amounts to R796/day For camping!! (R666+120+10) So sorry, as I love Etosha, but not at that price; plus coping with conditions described by the O/P.
    So R735 for a 3-star lodge is definitely a better option.
    Compared to what you pay in Botswana for the concession campsites, R796 per day is cheap.

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by Alto View Post
    Just checked today as we were (note: 'were') planning a trip in Feb: Campsite R333/person/day; park fees: R60/person/day; Vehicle R10/day. So for the 2 of us it amounts to R796/day For camping!! (R666+120+10) So sorry, as I love Etosha, but not at that price; plus coping with conditions described by the O/P.
    So R735 for a 3-star lodge is definitely a better option.
    Exactly why we stayed at Mokuti lodge right outside Namutoni gate and drove in and out daily. Aircon, meals, pub, pool, ensuite ablutions etc. We camped most of the way throughout Namibia on a three month trip. But the cost of camping in Etosha was worth a bit of luxury at a lodge.
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  13. #73
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by Alto View Post
    Just checked today as we were (note: 'were') planning a trip in Feb: Campsite R333/person/day; park fees: R60/person/day; Vehicle R10/day. So for the 2 of us it amounts to R796/day For camping!! (R666+120+10) So sorry, as I love Etosha, but not at that price; plus coping with conditions described by the O/P.
    So R735 for a 3-star lodge is definitely a better option.
    Exactly why it is worth it to support the privately owned and way better facilities around the parks and only do day-trips. As long as those facilities are fairly priced, value-for-money.

    Khaudum Camp is the opposite again - private facility and is also R300 ppn for camping - not me, not with my money, ever! Hell, you can rent a whole house in Swakopmund for 4 pax for R700 pn on AirBnB....


    Quote Originally Posted by Makaira View Post
    Compared to what you pay in Botswana for the concession campsites, R796 per day is cheap.
    That is why, in case of CKGR, I camp in the non-private sites - last was still only P30 ppn camping plus the P120 ppd entrance fees. Yes, I "only" get a site with nothing I didn't bring. I pay for exactly that - to be alone in as unspoiled as possible nature. Added, many private sites around the Khwai were under P100 ppn and have great facilities.



    Just having returned from Khaudum and Mahangu Parks, at the private camp sites around Mahangu/Popa we paid R190/p/p/n incl power point, lights, clean facilities (when the overlanders didn't screw it up for everyone again), etc. IMHO not cheap, not expensive - fair for what was offered. A lot better value for money than the NWR camping at Popa (no grass, small, not next to river).


    Everyone has their own requirements and their own reference for value-for-money, so everyone can spend what they want, were they want. I will not be raped....
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  14. #74
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Went to Kgalagadi in November, and did the Nossob 4x4 eco trail with intention of
    continuing to Namibia.

    Disaster struck with a/t cooked at only 56500 km total on our 2012 KK Jeep Cherokee 3.7 l auto
    and after taking it back from Twee Riviern to JHB on a flat bed, in instalments via Upington and
    Kimberley.

    After a total rebuild by independent rebuilders, better and much cheaper than the franchised
    dealers but still traumatic to our wallet, it was time to decide as to what to do next.

    Namibia was now out of the question because of both distance and budget.

    On the other hand, at our age, any unnecessary delay may postpone things until we relocate
    to another planet.

    Went camping in KNP, six nights at Letaba, two a Malelane. There is a distinct deterioration
    in facilities probably maintained by EISHKOM mentored management and staff, but the
    facilities were still reasonably usable and clean and staff attitudes seems to have improved
    in comparison to previous trips.

    Saw plenty and experienced wx from extreme heat to pretty cool after a bad thunderstorm,
    but our little tent remained standing and dry.

    Would have been more comfortable in an air conditioned chalet, but at our depleted budget
    the other option would have been staying comfortably at home, and, at times, entertaining
    ourselves by watching a tv screen lit by gas light during load shedding.

    Worst downside was having to make up to five trips per night to the not very near ablution
    block. I was taking diuretic medication at night to avoid having to make such trips while
    driving, but that is partially mitigated now by taking the medication in the morning instead.

    Air conditioned accommodation is nice to have, but comes at a price. It is also not
    available anyway on my next planned trip, which is going to involve a 5 day 4 night
    4x4 offroad trip with only unfenced primitive campsites.

    Etosha would have been nice if I could afford the air fare, a few days 4x4 hire, and staying
    in decent and reasonably priced accommodation just outside.

    I was hoping to do a couple of trips to Botswana, with the original plan to fly a small plane
    to some of the destinations and if necessary hire a 4x4 there, which would have been
    more manageable if we shared the costs, alas, my one flying buddy have since relocated
    to another planet.

    So, the next trip will still be within die ou-Transvaal.

    Any tips on reasonable camping itineraries in Botswana?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1949 View Post
    Thank you Peter - like you, this is out of our price range by VERY far.
    But just as well to get the update on the Etosha GR - Thank you OP for that.

    It is a long time since we ere there and already saw some deterioration at that time, but still within acceptable limits.
    [U]Even then we found it expensive (campsites) compared to other similar./U]

    We really do budget, basic, or bush camp as much as we can.
    If no choice (as in emergency), then we would camp in a more expensive place through necessity - in this age, I doubt if we are alone in this as retired folk.

    Usually our "extravagance" is camping in KNP or at Hlane in E-Swatini (Swaziland) and that is after age-related discounts and Wild Card taken into account.

    Thank you for the "heads up".

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Where do you get access to book the Botswana public camping sites and park entrance fees,
    as most of the Botswana government owned sites are not reachable online and practically
    impossible to get to by phone?
    (Most facilities seem to have been privatised and priced within the reach of wealthy
    Americans and Germans)



    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Buff View Post
    Exactly why it is worth it to support the privately owned and way better facilities around the parks and only do day-trips. As long as those facilities are fairly priced, value-for-money.

    Khaudum Camp is the opposite again - private facility and is also R300 ppn for camping - not me, not with my money, ever! Hell, you can rent a whole house in Swakopmund for 4 pax for R700 pn on AirBnB....




    That is why, in case of CKGR, I camp in the non-private sites - last was still only P30 ppn camping plus the P120 ppd entrance fees. Yes, I "only" get a site with nothing I didn't bring. I pay for exactly that - to be alone in as unspoiled as possible nature. Added, many private sites around the Khwai were under P100 ppn and have great facilities.



    Just having returned from Khaudum and Mahangu Parks, at the private camp sites around Mahangu/Popa we paid R190/p/p/n incl power point, lights, clean facilities (when the overlanders didn't screw it up for everyone again), etc. IMHO not cheap, not expensive - fair for what was offered. A lot better value for money than the NWR camping at Popa (no grass, small, not next to river).


    Everyone has their own requirements and their own reference for value-for-money, so everyone can spend what they want, were they want. I will not be raped....

  16. #76
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    So far I was always lucky with phoning them or email to: '[email protected]'
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  17. #77
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by JLK View Post
    The management of NWR is useless. Maybe its time that such reports reach the local newspaper. They spend millions on upgrading the facilities and run it into the ground with in a few years.
    I was given the email addresses of the most senior people at NWR. And I actually received responses from both within a day or two.

    Dr. Matthias Ngwangwama - [email protected]; Sebulon Chicalu - [email protected]

  18. #78
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Buff View Post
    So far I was always lucky with phoning them or email to: '[email protected]'
    What he said.

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by uri View Post
    Went to Kgalagadi in November, and did the Nossob 4x4 eco trail with intention of
    continuing to Namibia.

    Disaster struck with a/t cooked at only 56500 km total on our 2012 KK Jeep Cherokee 3.7 l auto
    and after taking it back from Twee Riviern to JHB on a flat bed, in instalments via Upington and
    Kimberley.
    A Jeep as a retirement vehicle is never a good idea.

  20. #80
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    Default Re: Etosha - never again

    Quote Originally Posted by Olyfboer View Post
    The exact reason you don't stay in the reserve. We stayed just outside the Namutoni gate at the Mokuti lodge and drove in daily. The price of a 3 star hotel in SA and far better than inside Etosha.

    https://www.mokutietoshalodge.com/

    They have a special on in the festive season too - N$ 735 per person per day.
    Dit was ook my ervaring in Chobe

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