I was anticipating a great holiday and I was not disappointed! There was so much variety within the trip that it was sometimes hard to believe you were still in the same country. Namibia and its people are a joy and I would heartily recommend this trip to any avid Exodus traveller.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
It would be obvious to say that Etosha National Park held many of the trip highlights as we encountered so many wild animals up close, much closer than I previously imagined.
The wildlife highlight for me was at the evening waterhole in Okaukeujo when a herd of approximtely 40 elephants trundled in for their nighttime liquid refreshment. The range in size and age of the elephants was awe inspiring and the obvious connection between them all was truly amazing. This was exemplified when a big cat attack was made on a young calf towards the rear of the viewing area and the older maternal cows stampeded into action to protect one of their young. The ensuing duel was both tense and heart rending as we all watched to see if the elephants would see off their attacker. Triumphantly they did and it was a special moment seeing them all traipse off slowly into the distant darkness, once again safe within their extended family herd. I felt very priviledged and humbled to have witnessed such a scene.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Our tour leader was Sam and he was keen to make sure that we fully absorbed all we could about Namibia's history, geography, wildlife and culture in the space of two weeks. He was obviously prepared to within an inch of his life and he never failed to answer a question raised by the group across a variety of subjects.
One moment in the trip exemplified Sam's dedication to the job more than any other. A member of the group inadvertently wandered off from the prescribed trail (as instructed by Sam) whilst we were walking over one of the highly impressive dunes in the Sossusvlei region. Sam literally leapt into action and after 45 minutes of worry and concern for the rest of the group, particularly for the lost man's two teenage sons, Sam found him and called for back up. Fifteen minutes and a lot of scrambling later, two of us helped Sam and the driver to literally drag this man up a steep, very sandy and slippery, red hot dune and finally to saftey. It was unnerving to see how quickly the desert heat had affected the lost man and doubtless without Sam's quick actions things could have ended up a lot worse. That gentleman has a lot to thank Sam for!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The only major problem on the trip was the flight on the way out and specifically the connection in Johannesburg to join the flight to Windhoek. The initial flight from Heathrow to Jo'burg was slightly delayed but because the connection time of just over one hour in Jo'burg was so tight every member of the group missed the scheduled flight to Windhoek. We all eventually arrived at our final destination safe and sound but via different flights and arrival times. This is clearly not an ideal start to any trip, especially after you have been travelling for almost three-quarters of a day.
I would advise anyone to check with Exodus what the connection time is in South Africa in order to avoid the unfortunate circumstance we all found ourselves in. If enough travellers check and demand a minimum time of, say, 90 minutes then Exodus will be obliged to fulfil traveller requirements. I would imagine enough people from my group mentioned this on their feedback form and that Exodus are already fully aware of the situation we found ourselves in.
Other tips: make sure you take binoculars, a wide brimmed sun hat and plenty of patience - sometimes the animals prove to be a little elusive and seem to be playing a game of hide and seek.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would definitely advise anyone to go on this trip. I had never been on safari before and the 4 days game viewing certainly whetted my appetite for more in the future. However, the holiday was so much more than just animal spotting and bird watching:
- The dunes and salt/clay pan at Sossusvlei are truly inspiring and somewhat eerie, a genuine classic photo opportunity;
- Swakopmund on the coast has some excellent facilities and I went quad biking across the dunes just outside the town, which was sensational and made me feel like a kid again. Watching the waves roll in along the beach seemed very strange having travelled through a desert landscape the previous few days;
- The sheer size of the seal colony at Cape Cross is beyond what any of us imagined......along with the smell;
- The cheetah conservation centre shows a different side to the big cat population and makes you realise how lucky we are to have such a variety of animals to watch and admire;
- The outstanding views from the top of the Waterberg plateau, worth all the effort of the 20 minute climb.
Overall you should go, it is worth every penny. I doubt anyone returns from this trip disappointed and you experience so many aspects of Namibia it is hard to believe you were there for only a fortnight. Check it out and see what you think for yourself.