The Mexican inspired cuisine is extraordinary, not only to eat but also to take in visually. I joined one of our alumni for lunch and was inspired by the complexity and presentation of the tasty array of small plates that we shared. This is truly exceptional, an elevated experience.
Cobia al pastor, pineapple pure, cilantro $27. Cosme Visited on October 18, 2018.
Onguma Game Reserve, located on the east side of Etosha’s fence line, offers a number of accommodation options. We chose to stay in one of the bush suites at Etosha Aoba Lodge, one of the eleven thatched-roof bungalows, where the little houses blend harmoniously into the look and feel of the forest.
Meals were served in the open air, under a big canopy in the main building, so that you could enjoy the outdoors even when the seasonal rains were thundering. Our three night stay was truly luxurious. A new treat for me at breakfast was the smoked oryx, chewy but moist, a formidable challenger to prosciutto, my all-time favorite cold breakfast meat. Dishes at dinner changed every evening. Night number one featured butternut squash pasta for an appetizer and oryx steak with a perfectly constructed cream sauce as a main course.
Relaxing afternoons at the patio and pool included a regular visit by a small tribe of Kudu, who browsed and grazed their way to the small waterhole less than forty feet away.
The concluding treat on our final evening was a visit with the bush babies on view from our seats at dinner, just outside the restaurant. A scops owl joined the group to accompany us on our walk back to our chalet – a truly magical aerial experience.
Walking in the wilds of Africa is indeed a treat and one that we pursue whenever available, after first experiencing the opportunity in Kruger. In planning this trip to Etosha, Linda found that the team at Onguma makes these bush walks available and we booked.
Victor, our guide for the 6:30 a.m. outing was most knowledgeable and also armed for our safety. We learned about the flora and fauna as we walked for 90 minutes. It’s a visceral experience, being on the land, seemingly vulnerable, but not really, as the guide is deeply experienced and has a sense of the land that we can only aspire to.
A great pool provided a break from the late-afternoon heat spikes. The double rooms were streets ahead of those at Okaukuejo and Dennis took us on a superb 5:30 a.m. drive to see the animals.
We hit the jackpot with a great siting of a black rhino, ambling along and browsing its way through its breakfast. And if that wasn’t enough, a few kilometers from our return to camp, 3 spotted hyena decided to pass us on the road. They were literally feet away from the car, looking cute as bears but we know they are ferocious by nature.
The camp is well positioned for self-drives in your vehicle. Our travels provided quite vivid views of lion, wildebeest, giraffe and loads of bird life. One must however, be patient with the traffic, as evidenced by this congestion in front of our truck:
Halali Rest Camp, Etosha National Park. Visited January 2 through the early morning of January 5, 2019.
The animals who visited on the first night of our stay included three black rhino, three giraffes, two jackals and an assortment of avian friends.
The waterhole is floodlit after dark to improve the
visibility. In this seemingly improbable scene, a rhino was having a
dip to cool off while one of the giraffes was preparing and positioning
itself bend down for a drink.
We were delighted by the show, a short walk from the restaurant and our spartan, double room. The double room accommodations at Okaukuejo Rest Camp are tight and rugged, but the animals don’t care. We likewise thought it best to ignore the state of the facilities and focus on the natural environment, a spectacle of creatures not to be seen in California.
Okaukuejo Rest Camp, Etosha National Park +218.104.22.1680 Visited December 31, 2018 through early morning on January 2, 2019.
This hotel is a great place to recharge after a long flight into Namibia. En route to see the big animals at Etosha National Park, we spent a night to catch up on our sleep before the distant drive north.
The rooftop bar and restaurant offers simple but the well-made fare, the hamburgers in particular. The patio overlooks the city and provides a great opportunity to take in the setting sun. Kudos to the staff, who are most friendly and accommodating – smiles all around and all the time.
The snorkeling is enjoyable for its experience of almost exclusively small fish along the edge of the rock. The personal learning for me: find a great area of coral and stop, just float and watch the activity unfold. Previously I spent too much time looking, covering far too much surface area. The greatest concentrations of sea life during my visit were in a few choice spots rather than spread evenly across Molokini.
There are many choices for transport to Molokini. Our friend John Webby recommended the Calypso and he was right. It is modern and large – a more stable option for those who might be bothered by the rocking of the sea. The crew was friendly and the ship had a vast staircase across the boat allowing quick access to and egress from the water.
Note that the trip goes from the harbor in Ma’alaea. While the 6:45 a.m. arrival prior to the 7:15 departure seems a bit too much of a cushion, when you arrive you find out why the insistence on an early arrival, with the parking scrum at the harbour, the lines to pay and print parking tickets ($3.00) for your dashboard and the final scramble down the dock on foot. First on also ensures first choice of seats, whether you want to sit inside or outside, near the window or in the middle, and whether you want to be first or last in line for the breakfast buffet.
List price $129.95 per person, John Webby price $109.95.
John Webby: based on Kamaole Beaches, phone 808.2984598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visited on October 4, 2018.
The landscape is stunning and lush in this verdant valley, a beautiful park to visit that is easily accessible from Kahalui. As such, it is overrun with visitors so it is prudent to visit early in the day. The hike up is more of a quick jaunt on a well-maintained paved pathway. It is as much a treat to look up at the spire as it is to look down over the once-farmed valley.
Compelling salads are dressed and tossed to order – nothing pre-made and boxed. Added protein options include seared ahi tuna. Kombucha and homemade lemonade make for refreshing non-alcoholic libations. This was the first visit and I would definitely return in the future.
Thai Salad topped with Seared Pastrami Seasoned Ahi $17.95, 16 oz.kombucha $6.00. Fork & Salad Maui
1279 S. Kihei Road, Suite 204, Kihei, HI 96753.
Visited on October 2, 2018.
The freshly made to order breakfast bowls and smoothies are a delicious take-away meal for breakfast at the beach, in this case, just across the street at Kamaola One. We’ve been on two occasions this year and on both trips the food was fresh, the staff friendly and the beach a great place to start the day.
Papaya Bowl$8.99 and Keep the Balance Smoothie $5.49. Hawaiian Moons
2411 South Kihei Road, Kihei, HI 96753.
Visited on October 2, 2018.