[Trip Album]

2021 Namibia/Etosha Trip Report

Doha Airport Doha Airport Desperate to get back to Africa with COVID still very much impacting travel options we decided to revisit Northern Namibia, Etosha National Park, for our 22nd African safari. For this trip our go-to airline, British Airways, was NOT an option. With few options available we turned to Qatar Airlines which meant our flight out of SFO was to Doha a 15 hour flight. We were excited after hearing the Doha Airport was voted the best in the world in 2021, see images. But the extra 4 hours over a London destination or their constant turning the cabin lights on and off meant we arrived sleep deprived. Our strategy of using sleeping pills was not successful against the crew's lighting/service protocol. Thus these images are the best we could do at the best airport in the world.

Etusis Lodge Etusis Lodge Upon arrival at Windhoek Airport we had a couple days before our truck rental began. One of the consequences of COVID was the selling off of most of the rental truck fleets thus leaving very few rental trucks available. A shuttle was waiting when we arrived to take us to Naankuse Lodge. From our experience of 21 prior African Safaris this lodge was by far the worse, thus no image. Better to forget. The 3rd day in country we were lucky enough to get our rental truck, a Nissan. We immediately headed out of Windhoek to our first typical rustic lodge the Etusis Lodge. Rustic yes but MUCH better than Naankuse.

Swakopmund Restaurant Fat Tire Bike Ride We then headed for the coast, Swakopmund, and some activities by the Atlantic Ocean. The seaside image is from one of our favorite restaurantes the Blue Grass. This time to Swakopmund I decided to try the Fat Tire Bike excursion. A bit more of a physical activity than expected.

Ugab Terrace Ugab Terrace After Swakopmund we headed to the warmer Damaraland area and the Ugab Terrace Lodge. Perched on top of a flat mountain the entire resort had great views. Unfortunately when we were there that also meant it was ever exposed of wind, and wind it definately had.

Hobatere Lodge Hobatere Lodge Our next lodge was just outside of Etosha and a totally unique experience. The accomodations was in a tree house that was overlooking a water hole at the Hobatere Lodge. Unfortunately the experience was not as good as we expected. First of all check-in was 2pm but for the tree-house they told us to just hang out in the lodge/pool area for 4 hours and they would drive us during the sun-downer drive at 6:30p. It was hot there were no chairs by the pool so after an hour or so we got more insistent that we go to the tree-house sooner. It did not make since that everyone else had a 2pm check-in but their most expensive accomodation was 6:30p. They finally agreed and took us to the tree-house which had a bathroom/shower below and bedroom above. Just before sun-down they returned and setup a very nice dinner. Unfortunately there was no activity at our water hole except for birds so we saw no wild-life. About 6:30a the next morning we did feel a small earth quake which we are very familar with being from California. At first we thought an elephant was rubbing against the tree but the fencing would not allow that, there were no elephants this morning.

Etosha Etosha The next day we headed into Etosha National Park for 8 days of animal viewing and self cartering. Unfortunately the animal sightings were very thin and the roads were the worse we have ever experience in all of Africa. So bad were the roads that we both agreed that this trip was our last to Etosha.

King Nehale Resort King Nehale Resort King Nehale Resort After Etosha we decided to try a nicer place, the Etosha King Nehale Resort. This resort complete with private plunge pool was excellent. Unfortunately our time at this resort was overshadowed by an email from Qatar Airlines that our return flight had been cancelled. They had great wifi so we were able to sort out our Qatar flights and had a great time.

Onguma Resort Onguma Resort Our next lodge was at the Onguma Resort where we had stayed at before. Our prior trip we had booked a chalet but this time we wanted to try their tents. We emailed a week before leaving home and they confirmed our 2-night stay. However when we arrived they informed us that they had no room. Fortunately we still had their email so they had no choice but to figure out an alternative. Their solution was one night in a chalet and one night in a tent. All in all a good experience.

Mount Etjo Mount Etjo Our last resort before returning to Windhoek was our big splurge, the villa at Mount Etjo Safari Lodge. This resort was more like a motel in the US with rows of rooms. At the back of the resort was a sliding door that opened to the villa with lake front view, private pool and hot-tub.

After Mt Etjo we headed back to Windhoek to do our COVID testing. We had to stay in Windhoek until we had our negative test results before starting our return trip on Qatar Airlines. After we got home the COVID infection rate spiked again and we learned that Qatar just stopped all flights out of South Africa without any notice. Fortunately are timing was right and we lucked out. Can not imagine how upset we would have been to simple be stranded by our airline. Qatar is not an Airline we would recommend!!!