- The two parts of this holiday are very different.
Namibia is a vast country with a small population and unique, empty desert scenery. The Namib Lodge safari was a classic group holiday with the group sharing meals together. Lunch was cooked by Manuel, our guide, and Johannes, our driver, and their professionalism and good humour really enhanced this amazing trip. Despite the saying “Africa is not for sissies”, the accommodation on this holiday was always comfortable, although the drives were long and often bumpy. Minus points 1) The Brandburg walk to the cave paintings was undertaken in the heat of the day with temperatures in excess of 40C. Most of the group did not attempt it. I started out but did not make it. The hike should have been scheduled for early morning as with Dune 45. 2) I would not recommend the optional night safari drive at Etosha. You have as much chance of seeing animals at the lodge waterhole that you can visit for free.
The flight transfer to Cape Town went smoothly but on arrival we found no rooms were booked at the hotel. This was resolved but made for an unsettling start.
The Cape Escape was a very different holiday – people, cities, towns, commercial attractions and stunning scenery, a kaleidoscope of impressions. We did spend a lot of time in the vehicle which was cramped, with no P.A. for the guide to brief us on the complicated itinerary and its many options. Several options were integral to the tour and it would help to have these additional costs included, or paid to the guide beforehand, to save time accessing currency and queuing to pay for tickets. Most meals apart from breakfast were extra. This did give choice, but as most restaurants found it difficult to cope with our size of group, we tended to split for meals - a downside for me. We ate together at Round the Bend, but I could not see the purpose of the long bumpy drive in from Swellendam to arrive near dusk and spend the night in a tiny hut. Also, the historic buildings in Swellendam were closed on a Sunday and we had already visited the larger and more impressive Stellenbosch. This time could be better spent elsewhere on this tight itinerary. There were numerous highlights and surprises on this trip, and our guide was helpful in arranging options such as a visit to a township. However, although I certainly enjoyed the Cape Escape, I think the itinerary needs reviewing as it is trying to cover too much in the time available and does not foster the group experience.
Published on: 09 January 2017