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  1. #1
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    Default Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Latest news, costs and advise on visiting this little known park

    We visited the Khaudum in July 2021, with very little knowledge of how it had changed since our last visit 20 years ago!

    We left Etosha early and headed to Grootfontein to refuel before continuing towards Tsumkwe, South of the park. Our intention was to find a place to camp, either south of the park, or at Sikereti camp. We had heard that Sikereti was no longer in use, so we decided to just wing it and see what happened.

    We got to Tsumkwe after lunch - the C44 to Tsumkwe from the main B8 tar road is endless, very corrugated and dusty and needs to be done with care. We were the only tourists that entered the vet cordon that separated the Omatako region in some time! On arrival at Tsumkwe, we were told that the fuel station was closed. (it was a Sunday), but upon asking were told where the pump attendant lived (right next door to the fuel stop) and so we asked him very nicely to help us out, which he did. We would not have had enough fuel otherwise!

    Continuing on our way, we make good progress to the south gate of the park, which was unmanned but the office was open. We eventually found an official to help us, but he made it clear that we were not supposed to enter so late on a Sunday. We were told that Sikereti was no longer in existence, and that we were absolutely not allowed to camp there. We were to continue straight up to the new Khaudum camp in the north! This was going to be a long haul, and it was already 3:30pm.

    At this point you need to note that it is a very expensive park to visit - possibly the most expensive park in Namibia. In order to be on our way, we paid R50 park entry pppd and R20 conservation fee pppd. In addition we paid R50 per vehicle per day. So 2 people in 1 vehicle was R570, just to get in the park. We were warned at the gate that the camp was expensive, but that they would phone ahead and let them know we were on our way.

    We started driving through the Khaudum from south to north at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. The road is VERY disused, and bushes have grown right up to the tracks. In places trees had fallen across the road, or been torn down by ellies, and we had to spend time winching and hacking our way through. No vehicles had been through the park in a significantly long time, so we effectively had an entire national park to ourselves.

    We did not see much in the way of game, a few roan antelope, and then as it got dark many spring hares and a few eland and sable antelope.

    We arrived at the Khaudum camp site in the dark, but the staff were waiting for us and made us feel welcome. We spent 3 nights at this camp. Unfortunately, it was hugely expensive - R300 per person per night, and R100 per vehicle per night - over and above the park fees we had already paid. As we had arrived so late on the first night, we negotiated 3 nights for the price of 2, which was better but still very overpriced. Please make sure that they supply the wood for the donkey boilers for this price!

    A private company is busy building a very beautiful lodge close to the campsite, but it has gone to rack and ruin and been abandoned without being finished. However, they have spent a lot of time and money putting in solar pumps for watering holes in the north and hides to go and visit. We spent a very pleasant few days as the only people in the entire park and really enjoyed our time there. The roads are REALLY bad in the park, so prepare to get your vehicle scratched. We were driving our old, trusty Land Rover Defenders, so weren't stressed about this. The road out of the Khaudum north towards Rundu is also very bad, slow and sandy.

    I am really glad we went, but won't go back in a hurry - it's simply outpriced itself.Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Cathy Shaw View Post
    Latest news, costs and advise on visiting this little known park

    We visited the Khaudum in July 2021, with very little knowledge of how it had changed since our last visit 20 years ago!

    We left Etosha early and headed to Grootfontein to refuel before continuing towards Tsumkwe, South of the park. Our intention was to find a place to camp, either south of the park, or at Sikereti camp. We had heard that Sikereti was no longer in use, so we decided to just wing it and see what happened.

    We got to Tsumkwe after lunch - the C44 to Tsumkwe from the main B8 tar road is endless, very corrugated and dusty and needs to be done with care. We were the only tourists that entered the vet cordon that separated the Omatako region in some time! On arrival at Tsumkwe, we were told that the fuel station was closed. (it was a Sunday), but upon asking were told where the pump attendant lived (right next door to the fuel stop) and so we asked him very nicely to help us out, which he did. We would not have had enough fuel otherwise!

    Continuing on our way, we make good progress to the south gate of the park, which was unmanned but the office was open. We eventually found an official to help us, but he made it clear that we were not supposed to enter so late on a Sunday. We were told that Sikereti was no longer in existence, and that we were absolutely not allowed to camp there. We were to continue straight up to the new Khaudum camp in the north! This was going to be a long haul, and it was already 3:30pm.

    At this point you need to note that it is a very expensive park to visit - possibly the most expensive park in Namibia. In order to be on our way, we paid R50 park entry pppd and R20 conservation fee pppd. In addition we paid R50 per vehicle per day. So 2 people in 1 vehicle was R570, just to get in the park. We were warned at the gate that the camp was expensive, but that they would phone ahead and let them know we were on our way.

    We started driving through the Khaudum from south to north at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. The road is VERY disused, and bushes have grown right up to the tracks. In places trees had fallen across the road, or been torn down by ellies, and we had to spend time winching and hacking our way through. No vehicles had been through the park in a significantly long time, so we effectively had an entire national park to ourselves.

    We did not see much in the way of game, a few roan antelope, and then as it got dark many spring hares and a few eland and sable antelope.

    We arrived at the Khaudum camp site in the dark, but the staff were waiting for us and made us feel welcome. We spent 3 nights at this camp. Unfortunately, it was hugely expensive - R300 per person per night, and R100 per vehicle per night - over and above the park fees we had already paid. As we had arrived so late on the first night, we negotiated 3 nights for the price of 2, which was better but still very overpriced. Please make sure that they supply the wood for the donkey boilers for this price!

    A private company is busy building a very beautiful lodge close to the campsite, but it has gone to rack and ruin and been abandoned without being finished. However, they have spent a lot of time and money putting in solar pumps for watering holes in the north and hides to go and visit. We spent a very pleasant few days as the only people in the entire park and really enjoyed our time there. The roads are REALLY bad in the park, so prepare to get your vehicle scratched. We were driving our old, trusty Land Rover Defenders, so weren't stressed about this. The road out of the Khaudum north towards Rundu is also very bad, slow and sandy.

    I am really glad we went, but won't go back in a hurry - it's simply outpriced itself.Click image for larger version. 

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    Unfortunately my feelings exactly.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Sounds identical to our experience a few years back….bucket list…ticked.

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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Cathy Shaw View Post
    No vehicles had been through the park in a significantly long time, so we effectively had an entire national park to ourselves.
    Hi Cathy, the above statement is for me enough of a justification for the higher fees!
    I love the Khaudum - the beauty of usually having the entire park to oneself is priceless. I have worked there in October, and we estimated (from an aerial count, fixed wing and chopper) that there were over 3,500 elephants in the park. I have been there at other times of the year (December, March, July) and seen almost no elephants, so seasonality is important.
    The birding is spectactular.
    My two cents worth.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2021/07/26 at 04:50 PM.
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  7. #5
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    We always break our route from Etosha in San Living Museum to camp there and enjoy their program. The junction for the camp is few meters behind the veterinary gate. As we did some small repairs in Tsumkwe were at Sikereti gate at the late afternoon, around 5 p.m. We were nice to rangers at the Sikereti camp and they allowed us to camp at their fenced premises. We shared some beers and fingerfood. I found (May2021) the roads better than before, there are even some not so deep paralel tracks at the northern exit towards the B8 tar road. But we had more powerful vehicles this time. I am afraid the Sikereti camp is going to follow the Khadum camp way. In this case we would stay in Hunters Living Museum or Tsumkwe lodge. The NP park fees are more than doubled, but still reasonable. But Khaudum camp is a rip off. I will never camp there again. There are few nice wildcamp spots north of the North gate.
    Last edited by schwott; 2021/07/26 at 05:40 PM.

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    In 2018 the entry fees was $30 pp and $10 per vehicle and camping at the dilapidated Sikereti was free.

    Camping at Kaudum camp was $330 pp and $110 per vehicle.

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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    I did a quick comparison (based on fees in OP) on total daily costs for two persons.

    Khaudum (2 persons, 1 car per night)
    Camping R700 (R300 pp, R100 per car)
    Entry R190 (R50 pp, R20 pp conservation fee, R50 per car)

    Total per night = R890

    Balule Camp (Kruger)
    Camping R390 per campsite
    Conservation Fees R210 (R105 pp)

    Total per night (for SA citizens) R600

    (If it was a SADC citizen, due to higher fees it would be R810)

    So, for two people, is the price really so high?

    I fully understand that the picture changes quickly when you have more people, since the campsite in Kruger is for up to 6 people and if you have a Wild Card conservation fees are negated. But is R890 per night for two people really prohibitively expensive, taking into account what it costs in Moremi, Chobe etc?
    Stephan G

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Groenman View Post
    I did a quick comparison (based on fees in OP) on total daily costs for two persons.

    Khaudum (2 persons, 1 car per night)
    Camping R700 (R300 pp, R100 per car)
    Entry R190 (R50 pp, R20 pp conservation fee, R50 per car)

    Total per night = R890

    Balule Camp (Kruger)
    Camping R390 per campsite
    Conservation Fees R210 (R105 pp)

    Total per night (for SA citizens) R600

    (If it was a SADC citizen, due to higher fees it would be R810)

    Your calcs are right but to answer the question. Kruger is full and Khaudum is empty.

    So, for two people, is the price really so high?

    I fully understand that the picture changes quickly when you have more people, since the campsite in Kruger is for up to 6 people and if you have a Wild Card conservation fees are negated. But is R890 per night for two people really prohibitively expensive, taking into account what it costs in Moremi, Chobe etc?

  12. #9
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Groenman View Post
    But is R890 per night for two people really prohibitively expensive, taking into account what it costs in Moremi, Chobe etc?
    Agree.

    The issue with most of these concessions given to private organizations to establish facilities in the parks is that the period they have to recoup their investment, its very limited, thus the higher rates.

    At least at Khuadum camp there is water and shower for each camp site. Previously there was about nothing, but we paid something like R30 a day. And officially the park was closed.
    Last edited by JLK; 2021/07/27 at 06:32 PM.
    Johan Kriel

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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    We've been to Khaudum for the first time in June 2021 and stayed in Khaudum Campsite, nice and very tidy ( every day at dark there was a strange noise, i believe it came from the tower nearby ), staff at the camp were very helpfull and friendly

    We loved the park, even when the volonteers were cleaning the bush, lot of controlled fires, we saw a lot of ellies at that time and lots of lion prints, we didn't find them though

    We will going back next November

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  15. #11
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Groenman View Post
    I did a quick comparison (based on fees in OP) on total daily costs for two persons.

    Khaudum (2 persons, 1 car per night)
    Camping R700 (R300 pp, R100 per car)
    Entry R190 (R50 pp, R20 pp conservation fee, R50 per car)

    Total per night = R890

    Balule Camp (Kruger)
    Camping R390 per campsite
    Conservation Fees R210 (R105 pp)

    Total per night (for SA citizens) R600

    (If it was a SADC citizen, due to higher fees it would be R810) My Wife and I pay R280 for a Night camping at balule = 40% Pensioners Discount included so its WAY CHEAPER than Kaudom

    So, for two people, is the price really so high?

    I fully understand that the picture changes quickly when you have more people, since the campsite in Kruger is for up to 6 people and if you have a Wild Card conservation fees are negated. But is R890 per night for two people really prohibitively expensive, taking into account what it costs in Moremi, Chobe etc?
    My Booking at Balule in Sept comes to R 176 p Night for Wife and I for the Site (Includes 40% Pen Discount) We have a Wild card so no Cons Fees That Is WAY CHEAPER than Khaudom
    Last edited by Peter Betts; 2021/07/30 at 12:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by JanCoene View Post
    We've been to Khaudum for the first time in June 2021 and stayed in Khaudum Campsite, nice and very tidy ( every day at dark there was a strange noise, i believe it came from the tower nearby ), staff at the camp were very helpfull and friendly

    We loved the park, even when the volonteers were cleaning the bush, lot of controlled fires, we saw a lot of ellies at that time and lots of lion prints, we didn't find them though

    We will going back next November

    So you made it!!!

    I'm happy for you and Anne

    You must send me an email with some pointers!
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Betts View Post
    My Booking at Balule in Sept comes to R 176 p Night for Wife and I for the Site (Includes 40% Pen Discount) We have a Wild card so no Cons Fees That Is WAY CHEAPER than Khaudom
    Peter, comparing Balule to Khaudum is idiotic. I highly doubt you’re the sort of traveller willing to take on that adventure, ergo your post offers zero value.

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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    In Kruger: 1 elephant, 50 cars. In Khaudum, 50 elephants, one car! TIC....

    Bostoe
    Last edited by bostoe; 2021/07/30 at 01:31 PM.

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  21. #15
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    Quote Originally Posted by RobH View Post
    Peter, comparing Balule to Khaudum is idiotic. I highly doubt you’re the sort of traveller willing to take on that adventure, ergo your post offers zero value.
    In fairness, Peter was responding to my post where I compared the standard Kruger fees to Khaudum. (I attempted to point out that Khaudum is not that much more expensive than Kruger, taking into account the remoteness and wildness).

    I agree fully that the two cannot be compared from an experience perspective.
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    Default Re: Khaudum National Park in July 2021

    We're leaving Friday 27th Aug for Khaudum. We'll use the N4 through Skilpadshek border post, via Ghanzi (A350) road through Mohembo border post into Namibia. Does anybody know whether the results of a Covid swab test will be sufficient (we're both vaccinated) at the border posts or will they insist on a PCR test? Yes, we will report back on the conditions, fun, difficulties, etc, etc. when we're back.

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