Anon review 8 Sep 2023
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Dune Star Camp - sleeping out under the stars was incredible.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Try to get information about tipping culture in advance so that you don't feel like people are begging, and buy a number of small things with cash early on so that you have plenty of smaller denominations that you can hand out frequently.
Don't underestimate how long some of the journeys on gravel roads are; you might want/need to drive a little quicker than recommended by the car-hire people; we were cutting it fine for arrival at our first accommodation, but settled into a comfortable pace after that.
If I did the trip again I would be tempted to take the camping option for a couple of the nights so that we could stay in the national parks, although the guest houses were all fabulous.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
I booked with the intention that it would, however I'm unclear as to how it did (apart from the fact that tourism is providing economic benefits to Namibia). I would have liked more specific information about the impacts of my vacation e.g. ownership and environmental credentials of the accommodation and activity providers.
I would also have liked to understand about the Namibian tipping culture and its role in society before arriving. We were well into our vacation before we became comfortable with being approached in carparks, airport, etc., and never really worked out whether we were tipping an appropriate amount in different situations and we would have liked to get this right in order to benefit local people.
Even though all the accommodation were notified in advance that we were vegetarian (& even if we weren't or they didn't know), many evening buffets were meat focused, and less emphasis on meat overall reduces environmental impacts.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Apart from the air travel problems which were outside of the control of your company, the vacation was excellent. We loved the mix of scenery, safari and activities (dune walking, sand-boarding and quad bikes). The car hire company, in particular Parsee at Warthog, was particularly welcoming and helpful.
Read the operator's response here:
Several of the lodges used for this itinerary are all part of the Gondwana collection in Namibia. Gondwana has been a forerunner in the ‘Sustainability is our philosophy’ and offers the following: Gondwana Collection Namibia’s sustainable hospitality business strongly promotes nature conservation and social commitment. They have converted several farms into nature reserves in the vicinity of natural attractions, and reintroduced game species which had once
been indigenous to the area. Their nature conservation endeavours are financed with the proceeds from the eco-friendly hospitality business, which in turn creates career opportunities for the local population. The main core focus for the Gondwana Care Trust is sustainable impact. Projects across Namibia are supported, beyond our own projects (MealForTwo and the Back-to-School Christmas Bags).
We have recently updated our tipping procedures in our final documentation, and I always discuss tipping and what is expected with my clients in our final discussion which is 2 weeks prior to travel. We also have the same discussion with our clients when we do the meet and greet upon arrival.
Meat in lodges are sourced locally, and not mass produced. A lot of the lodges have their own vegetable and herb gardens which provide the lodges with fresh produce.