Photographically, on the travel Namibia trip a highlight was at Spitzkoppe in the north. I asked the driver to drop me off there on the western side early in the morning. I was there on my own for about an hour and a half, and the light on those rocks was just beautiful, I knew the light would fall onto the rocks from the east and spent that time just taking photographs, all on my own.
|Table of Contents
|Safari Operator Performance
Disappointments & Rating
|Where did you stay on your travel Namibia safari?
Various camp sites. I was camping the whole time.
Oh, in Namibia, at Klein Aus, we stayed in a fantastic place (Eagle's Nest), actually in the rock face and you had a bathroom and everything virtually inside the mountain. And you had this beautiful view across the land and we watched the sunset while sitting on your verandah, it was awesome.
Where did you go? Which national parks did you visit?
Tanzania - Arusha, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire. South Africa - Cape Town, Namaqualand for the flowers.
Travel Namibia - took a trip out of Windhoek and visited Keetmanshoop, Kolmanskop, Luderitz, the Fish River Canyon, Klein Aus, Sesriem, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Petrified Forest and Spitzkoppe, Etosha.
|And how did your safari company perform? Was there anything you liked about the service they provided?
They performed very well.
Tanzania: I went alone and the company encouraged me to book a vehicle and guide and cook and go alone. I found most of these companies offer a set itinerary and that didn’t suit what I wanted to do. I also couldn't find a photographic operator for the route I wanted to do at the time I wanted to go so he suggested I do it solo.
That, and the research I found on your site was what made it possible for me to go and book this trip. I used your top 3 lists, where it is broken down in the three different budget classes, that was helpful. It was a big advantage, especially for my photography, to have the vehicle all to myself, I wasn't restricted to the animals on my side of the car. I could go left, then right, then pop out the top - it was good!
The cook, never went with us on the game drives unless we were moving to a different camp. So when we arrive back from the drive, my tent would be pitched, it was great. He was like the camp manager, did a great job.
There was always fresh fruit - mangoes, paw-paws, sweet bananas. They went to a lot of trouble before-hand to find out if you had any food allergies or special requirements, because once you're out there, there aren't many shops or anything. There are villages and that with small shops but not supermarkets.
Travel Namibia - Used the bus network, travelled Etosha to Windhoek to Cape Town to catch my flight in one go. The bus driver actually remembered me from 2 weeks ago when he picked me up at the side of the road. That's quite unusual, the bus doesn't stop into town there, you have to go out and wait by the side of this national road to be picked up.
The tour company had to call ahead so that they knew to slow down and pick me up!The guys there deserve gold stars. When I had to get down to catch my plane in Cape Town, the bus broke down in the middle of the night. But the lady was fantastic, she arranged a private transfer from the bus station directly to the airport. If I had to make my own way there I would have missed my flight to Paris, and the onwards flights to the US… I couldn’t miss my flight! They were really fantastic, she and the bus driver deserve gold stars!
It can be done! A woman alone can travel Africa.
How was the travel Namibia guide?
The driver was great, he would just find the game. We got up very early in the mornings, as it was just me we could do this, so that we could get to the gate when it opened and go for our game drives.
Photography was a priority for me, and he would just stop at any sighting as long as I wanted and take my photographs and watch the animals' behaviour. He just found the animals, he was good.
Other guides were actually laughing at them, at us, because there was the truck and the whole camp set up and just one customer, a female customer at that!
|How was the weather?
In Tanzania, it was very dry. It was overcast some of the days which was great for photography, you could take pictures all day long. We didn't get rain.
The dust was a problem for me, you're driving with the windows open, and I didn't realise how much dust you inhale. I started coughing and coughing, my whole body hurt eventually. I did pack cough medicine and throat lozenges, but my luggage got lost so I didn't have any of it with me. At one stage the guys went and bought some honey for me - to soothe my throat - to have before I go to bed, that was really nice of them!
The days were warm, but some of the nights were quite cold! It is quite different to what I'm used to, that the difference in day and night temperature can be quite so drastic.
In Namibia, it was overcast when we were driving across the Etosha pan so it was also great for photography.
There wasn't enough rain last year, so the flowers in Namaqualand weren't as good as they would like it to be, but it was still beautiful - I enjoyed it.
|What wildlife did you see?
In the Serengeti, I saw a leopard in a tree, and it came down from the tree and it walked towards the vehicle and lay down there and the early morning light caught his coat.
It moved its head from one side to the other, it was truly amazing! He then got up and walked to the back of the vehicle, sat down again and later walked off. I could take a few nice photos!
And then the next day, we saw another leopard near to the car! The guide said in his 7 years of guiding he has never seen a leopard come down from a tree, never mind two days in a row!
Also, I saw some hippos in a dam and apparently you don’t see this behaviour often - they were rolling in the water, so you could see their underbellies in the sun. It was beautiful; you know the pink skin on their inner legs was caught by the sunlight - just great.
The landscape was quite open in the Serengeti, as well as the Ngorongoro Crater, sometimes the animals were quite far from the car. I wasn't interested in seeing millions of game like the migration, it wasn't the right time of the year anyway, or animals that I had to get the binoculars out for. I was more interested to see the animals close-up so that I could take photographs.
At Tarangire it is a different environment, there I saw baboons and things, and usually quite close to the car.
And lions! I got photos, I got lionesses, little ones, young males, older males with big manes - I saw a lot of lions. In the Serengeti we saw a male and female together. At first he wasn't looking very interested in the lioness at all but then suddenly he became very interested! We saw them mate on and off, sat there for quite a while. I saw plenty of lions yes.
At Etosha on the travel Namibia safari, we saw zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, elephant, we saw a lot. At the camp you can sit watching the waterhole, as it is lit up at night. But we were all a bit tired, you have to get up like 4 or 5 the next morning so I didn’t sit there for too long. But apparently the different animals come to the waterhole in cycles and all through the night.
What would you say was your wildlife spotting highlight?
The leopards and also the hippos because of their behaviour.
Also at Kolmanskop the photographic opportunity was great, the houses half covered in sand and this time it was late in the day and I was on the east and the light was coming from the west.
The dunes, at Sossusvlei, dune 45, was also something. I didn't climb all the way to the top, it's very high.
|Was there anything that didn't meet your expectations about the trip? Any disappointments or regrets?
My luggage got lost on the way to Arusha. I arrived there with practically the clothes I was wearing and my camera bag. They would only let me on the plane with one item of hand luggage and naturally I chose my camera bag, so I had to stuff the extra batteries and memory cards into my pockets but didn’t pack the uploading cable, because I thought it was coming along, you know.
So I was worried about the batteries running out and space on the memory cards because of that. I bought an extra t-shirt in Arusha but that was basically it! They eventually delivered my found luggage on my last day in Tanzania, at that airstrip with the tent on it.
The fact that I got sick wasn't pleasant. My body was hurting and I didn't have my medicine with me. Looking back, I should have gotten a mask for my mouth and wore it the whole time we were driving on the dusty roads. Actually I had a bandanna but didn't think of using it early on as I didn't realise I had a problem with the dust then.
I didn't get to see the Richtersveld on the travel Namibia leg, I would have liked to see that.
And last but not least, how would you rate your safari overall?
9 or 10, it was a great trip!
|Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa
|Seven weeks in August
|Barbara Murray, USA
|Rates & Availability:
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