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DONT GO TO NAMIBIA!


Guest chas4551
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Guest chas4551

IN BRIEF; Arranged through Baobob UK, a self drive camping/lodge tour of Nambia. Arrive at the airport to discover the "fully equipped" vehicle was devoid of any camping gear. Drive into town to Budget Rentals for the correct vehicle, "go for a walk" while we prepare it. Return 1 hour later to find roof tents instead of ground tents, Only 1 cooker for 3 people but 4 chairs! Time is pressing as we need to get Sossusvlei campsite by mid afternoon it's now lunchtime with a 4 hour drive ahead. Stopped by the police, held up a further 1/2 drive with a $100 fine as the import licence has expired on the vehicle! (no-one told us!) Arrive at Sossosvlei in the dark to find: no lights and the one provided has a flat battery, a sleeping bag too small as it's a childs', gas cooker not working.

 

Go to bed and spend a very cold night.

 

The idea was to rise early and go to the dunes but by the time we sorted out the excuse for a, "fully equipped vehicle" it was too late. On to the next destination with a stop in Windhoek to call into the Boabob offices to sort things out. After a stand up argument they finally and resentfully agreed to give us a cooker that worked, water carriers that did'nt smell like a pond, refund our fine, an adult sleeping bag, more than 1 pan and a fridge that did'nt keep cutting out. Although it took a total of 2 days hanging around the town until they finally got it together.

Everywhere you go is protected by an 8 foot barbed wire fence with locked outer gates which says a lot about the culture.

 

On to Okinjima Cheetah sanctuary. Not the best of menus with lodges no better than Kenya although in Namibia it's Buckingham Palace. The "rehabilitaed" cheetahs are practically tame, hanging around to be fed and look shabby. A poor comparison to a wild cheetah and I've seen enough to know.

 

On to Etosha to find the journey was a trip across dusty, billiard table flat land, (don't know where they get their landscape photos from - there's only one road!) devoid of any wildlife to arrive at the state owned camp sites.

Lots of Butlins style huts but accomodation here was pretty nice but the food was always cold, served "line up for the buffet" style.

 

Lots more went wrong but I don't want to write a book or bore the reader so -

 

Thank God! _ It's over and back to the airport and home. Refusal to return the vehicle deposit by Budget at the airport until a month had passed.

You've guessed it - upon arrival home I was confronted with an email demanding money for an empty petrol tank, that I had filled up, damage that never was, a puncture we did'nt have and somehow my credit card number etc was obtained and various amounts of money withdrawn from cash machines in various towns.

 

But I was ahead of the buggers and it was obvious it was going to happen. Signature off the vehicle receiver at the airport stating all was in order, so I told Budget to whistle and in case they helped themselves as they had my card details, I cancelled the card as the wheels touched down at Heathrow and got a £1000 refund, plus my vehicle deposit back off Baobob, the fools who claimned they could organise it and the fraudulently obtained money was written off.

 

Namibia is an over rated, desolate, wind blown country with rude disinterested staff at lodges and camp sites, the sites are poor and lodges no more than grade 1 in Kenya.

 

I have travelled to Kenya many times, Tanzania and Zimbabwe and always found the lodges good and food excellent. Lovely polite, helpful and freindly people, in comparison to the growlers in Namibia and I have never had anything stolen, or had cause for complaint having used various agents and direct with a Kenyan guide - but Namibia - phew! NEVER again. www.edwardcharlesphoto.co.uk

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As do I! One poor trip does not a poor country make.

 

Read my recently posted retrospective of my 2001 trip for a different experience.

 

There are plenty of roads in Etosha if you bother to look at a map. Maybe you could go a little slower or just wait at a water hole and see what comes.

 

Why did you expect totally wild cheetahs at a cheetah rehab facility? By the way, Namibia has more cheetahs than any other country. Maybe you could stop complaining and go for a look.

 

You certainly may have chosen a bad outfitter, but don't blame the whole country.

 

Why were you in search a hurry that you only had one night at Sossusvlei? Plenty to do there to keep you busy for a couple of days.

 

It is perfectly valid for you to say "Don't do what we did or choose the outfitter we did", but it is not valid to say "Don't go to Namibia".

 

I heartily recommend that people go to Namibia if they are ready for some stunning scenery and a bit less wildlife than some other countries.

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chas4551,

 

I'm not here to bash anyone and I haven't been to Namibia but just making a couple of observations of your trip gone wrong.

I'm from the US, where: when something goes wrong it is always someone else's fault.

 

Who ever was the one responsible for putting your self-drive holiday together and choosing the suppliers should be the one thrown under the bus not the country of Namibia. It appears the failure was in the planning/ preparation and what a "fully equipped" vehicle consisted of.

My suggestion would be to chime -into ST before you go, they're alot of members that would shed a different light on such a trip, you could have avoided what you experience!

 

tracker,

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Sorry Chas4551, but I just visited your website. You claim to be a wildlife photographer, a safari guide and a zoologist. But you have misspelled Malachite Kingfisher (you spelled it "Malakite") and you have mis-identified impalas for gerenuks (even that you misspelled as "geranuk") on the website. You dismiss Etosha because it's "flat". Guess what? So is the entire country of Botswana, arguably the premier safari destination. If you had gone to the western side of Etosha, you would have found incredibly beautiful hills. Oh well, maybe next time.

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chas4551,

 

Maybe next time, you should try Zambia ....... I hear it's fabulous, I've never been!!!

 

Did you not know that Okinjima was a Cheetah conservation project? Did you do any research before your trip, or did you just get your travel agent to put together "A" trip?

 

PS: You may not like Botswana from reading your trip report ........

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WOW, And I found Namibia amazing and will definitely go again and again. It had some of the most extreme landscapes and vegetation types. There must be 100 types of desert in Namibia.

 

It seems that the problem was the "fully equipped vehicle". The thing about Etosha, is that you dont even need a vehicle. you just need to sit at the camp waterhole, the animals come to you. In November, it may be the wrong time of year for the best game viewing, as there have been good rains, and possibly the animals wont visit the water holes as often.

 

What a pity.

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Guest sniktawk

What can I say without being overly rude.

 

You are clearly not impressed with Namibia, personally I am glad as that means I will have one less moaning minnie to put up with when I next go to Etosha.

 

If your organisational skills are this bad I would not wish to book a holiday with you.

 

Wildlife Photographer, Safari Guide WILD IMAGINATION!

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What can I say without being overly rude.

 

You are clearly not impressed with Namibia, personally I am glad as that means I will have one less moaning minnie to put up with when I next go to Etosha.

 

If your organisational skills are this bad I would not wish to book a holiday with you.

 

Wildlife Photographer, Safari Guide WILD IMAGINATION!

 

I highly recommend you try, TRIPADVISOR.

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I think you just had a bad start because of the car and then kept looking at Namibia from the same bad perspective.

How can you call the country table flat if you take a picture like this:

 

http://www.edwardcharlesphoto.co.uk/photo_2775460.html

 

Maybe you need some practice on landscape photography...And I argue that there is no better place to do landscape photography then Namibia (results will always be satisfying)!

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Guest chas4551

WELL AT LEAST I WOKE YOU ALL UP!

 

Spelling mistake corrected and occasionally we do misidentify species - would you like me to direct you to lots of sites which do this?

 

Ta Ta

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Chas, I'm sorry you had such a miserable time in Namibia. It appears that Murphy's Law travelled with you. Sadly, a

trip which started so badly was going to be difficult to recover without something exceptional happening and without a local guide to point you in the right direction it was always going to be hard.

 

However, I don't think Namibia itself needs to be written off and I personally would prefer to see your thread heading changed.

 

As for the posters replying here, I think a little consideration for the extreme disappointment felt by Chas would be in order. Let it be a lesson to us all to plan, plan and ask many question of experienced travellers.

 

For the record, some of the finest landscapes I have seen have come from

Namibia.

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Mistake rectified safardude - but geranuk is definately spelt geranuk

 

Sorry, definitely gerenuk.

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"but geranuk is definately spelt geranuk"

 

I don't know whether to take you seriously anymore - first of all it's "definitely" and secondly no it's definitely gerenuk!!

 

Oh and well done if you changed 'malakite' to the proper spelling 'malachite' but the more pressing problem is that is not a malachite kingfisher!. maybe safaridude missed that as well.

http://www.edwardcharlesphoto.co.uk/photo_2278746.html

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Ok, perhaps we should leave the corrections now and just accept that Chas had a rotten time in Namibia, that many people love it, that there are many here on ST who are shocking spellers and that if we are going to put info on our websites, make sure it is accurate.

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Guest chas4551

post-5568-1260097752_thumb.jpgRight folks this is my final reply as obviously you all love to become embroiled in an argument and think you are all experts.

 

If you like Namibia fine - keep going there it's your money.

 

look at the picture of the Cheetah on the Mara. Fit, lean, healthy with excellent pelage. Then look at the cheetah from Okanjimi. Tired, shabby, underweight. It may come as a surprise but tourists do not see the "real" okanjimi. Only the animals they keep for the tourists! I think they used to call it "zoo"!

 

post-5568-1260097938_thumb.jpg

 

We can't blame the UK organiser for stealing my money, trying to fleece me on hire charge for damage that never was - the Namibians done that and they managed it all on their own! The same as they managed to cock up everything when we got there and they have 8 foot barbed wire fences and locks. It's called their culture.

 

To compare Botswana with Namibia just because they are both flat is a nonsense comment to make.

 

I don't profess to be a landscape photographer nor do I wish to be, so wont be practising and a handful of hills does'nt do it for me I'm afraid. I'll leave you as the expert landscape photographer and wish you well in your practising.

 

White stork - I don't care if you take me seriously at all. Kingdon Guide to African mammals spells geranuk as geranuk and that's good enough for me and IT IS a Malachite kingfisher.

 

Sniktalk - I did not state I am a safari guide and don't profess to be. Read my site properly before you spit your venom! Our guide is Douglas Weru Kamore based in Nairobi and it clearly states that. I merely organise the trip through him and I can make a damn site better job of it then anyone connected with, or in, Namibia.

 

Finally to you all - if you think Namibia has wildlife I can show you more in the Mara triangle alone than you will ever see around the man made holes in Etosha. But do you think that maybe the BBC spend thousands going there every year and not going to Namibia, is for some other reason?

You're the experts, you should know.

 

Some people like sun and sangria in Benidorm and that's fine but it's not for me. My comments were based upon comparisons between Nambia as a country, (culture) and the wildlife there. Compared to the mara, serengeti etc it was sun and sangria! Sorry but for those who love it good on you, carry on. For those who have never been to Africa and are thinking of going I can recommend far better places, lodges, campsites and less rude people for your money.

 

For those who doubt my qualifications and professionalism based on 1 species misidentified and two incorrect spellings, what can I say? Clearly I have been making a living out of something I know nothing about and will have to relinquish my 2010 commissions!

 

If there are anymore spelling mistakes - please don't tell me! It's the speed I type and lack of interest in checking it through, if it's going to cause an argument, more than anything else.

 

That's it folks end of debate - for me anyway. You carry on if you want to!

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Well, chas4551, I'm sorry that this turned out to be a disappointing trip - I assume it was your first visit to Namibia? What were your intentions when planning? Was it to see the country and different terrains, or was it purely a wildlife based trip? From some of your observations, it probably wouldn't be the ideal destination for someone's first safari, especially if they are hoping to see large concentrations of wildlife all the time.

 

But for visitors who want to experience more than a typical safari (ie Masai Mara, Kruger etc) Namibia would be a good choice, especially for vast expansive scenes.

 

Not everyone wants the same experiences, especially those who return to Africa often.

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I am just amazed that the person on the website is the author of such an angry and slapdash trip report. Maybe

 

choosing the cheapest option isn't the best way to go about things.

 

 

Jan

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fair enough chas we are all entitiled to our own views. nobody disputes the fact that Kenya is magical for wildlife viewing and you certainly don't have to go back to Namibia. and sorry I genuinely thought you were joking when you said "but geranuk is definately spelt geranuk".

 

However, one point I will still have to contest with you. that is NOT a malachite kingfisher!

attached is a photo of a malachite - FYI malachites are named for the greeny/blue wash that apperars on their forehead - similar to the colour that copper takes when it oxidises - otherwise known as malachite. you can see it clearly on my attached photo of one from Chobe:

 

other than that good luck with the rest of your trips- hope they work our better for you and maybe I'll see you in Benidorm one day! :lol:

post-5300-1260101785_thumb.jpg

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I thought it was a greyhooded kingfisher, but then I'm not a wildlife photographer etc. with my own website.

 

 

Jan

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Guest sniktawk

Twaffle,

 

So who are we allowed to be rude too?

 

Look at this guys description and website if we cannot criticise a "professional" then who can we do it to?

 

Spitting venom indeed!

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Guest chas4551

Will this never end???????

 

The copper mineral you refer to is Malachite - also spelt malacite! Which is where my incorrect spelling probably came from or, as incorrect as all you experts claim!

 

http://images.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&am...ved=0CCQQsAQwAg

 

When confronted with the venom spat on here I don't give a bugger what bloody bird it is!

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chas4551, your initial report was damning of Namibia, using quite forceful language, which obviously a few members chose to comment upon. I think also a point being made that from your website, in which you offer

to organise/guide photographic trips to Kenya and the within the UK
is that species identification and correct spelling should be important in your work. Comments such as
I don't give a bugger what bloody bird it is!
surely do not reflect well up your reputation?
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Chas4551,

 

Might I suggest the Sabi Sands Game Reserve for you - You'll have all the comforts/luxury/range of assorted buffets and sit down dinners and animals on demand!!!

 

It is silly to compare the game viewing of Namibia to Kenya. They are such different areas altogether. Just shows that you had not done your research prior to the trip.

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