Dolomite Camp is the newest camp in Etosha and there seem to be many myths circulating about this camp and the western part of Etosha, also known as the ‘Wild West’. We would like to clear up the myths by describing our recent five-day photographic safari at this wonderful camp.
Dolomite camp is situated high up on a dolomite hill overlooking the plains below so if you enjoy Olifants camp in the Kruger Park you will love this camp with its magnificent panoramic views.
There are 20 en-suite chalets built on elevated wooden decks situated on the outer edge of the dolomite ridge – 12 chalets face west and 8 face east providing opportunities to photograph magnificent sunrise and sunsets from the comfort and privacy of your chalet. In addition to the sun you will have Rolling hills, open plains, saline pans, dolomite outcrops and herds of plains animals to include in your landscape photographs.
At night the lights in the chalets attract thousands of insects in summer that will provide you with macro opportunities. We had praying mantids, cicadas, moths and many other insects waiting for us each morning. In addition you have various trees such as the red bushwillow and purple-pod terminalia whose pods provide ideal subjects for macro photography.
The camp attracts many different birds such as bul-buls, starlings, bee-eaters, shrikes, hornbills, swallows and sunbirds. In addition we had martial eagles, bateleurs and vultures flying past and at night we had owls making their appearance.
We were anxious about visiting Dolomite camp as we had heard that there are very few animals in western Etosha and the ones you find are scared of cars and will run away from you. Don’t believe it!
Western Etosha is a pristine wilderness area that has never been opened to the general public or tourists in the last 100 years so you should feel privileged to be able to visit it. Yes the animals are a bit skittish so when arriving at a waterhole don’t come thundering in at 60 kilometers per hour with tires crunching on gravel and clouds of dust billowing up behind you and expect the animals to stand still! If you drive in slowly the animals will watch you but they will stay put allowing you to photograph them.
We saw hundreds of animals including 2 cheetah, black rhinos, elephants, a pride of lions, herds of the rare Hartmann’s mountain zebras, giraffe, oryx, wildebeest, springbok and an African Wild Cat. Many of these animals were seen by us at Dolomietpunt, the camp waterhole!
Dolomietpunt waterhole can be seen from just two chalets and there is talk of a hide being constructed closer to the waterhole to enable all guests to view the waterhole. If you don’t get one of the waterhole-facing chalets it’s not a disaster as you can view animals coming to and from the waterhole on the plains below from all the chalets.
The waterhole is about 250 meters from the nearest chalet so photography by day is not a problem but nocturnal photography can be a challenge!.
There are about 20 waterholes in this western part of Etosha of which about 11 are worth visiting as the others are dry or have been closed. Our favorites are Klippan, Rateldraf, Dolomietpunt, Okawao, Renostervlei, Olifantsrus and Tobiroen. The beauty of this western part of Etosha is that there are hardly any other vehicles on the roads and if you visit a waterhole you could be the only car there. Many people enjoy the far northern Kruger park – areas such as Pafuri and Punda Maria, for this same reason – if you have a good sighting you may be the only one to witness it!
About Dolomite camp
You can get to Dolomite either via from Okaukuejo camp in the east or via the Galton Gate in the south-west but you must have a reservation at the camp in order to enter from either side.
When you arrive at Dolomite camp there is undercover parking and the golf carts fetch you and your luggage – everything has been well planned!
All 20 chalets have en-suite bathrooms, tea/coffee stations, but no air conditioners and no fridge. We found the chalets to be cool so we did not miss the air conditioners and if you want a cold drink or beer, just one phone call to reception will ensure that room service delivers to your room. There are also two restaurants (each seating 22 people), a bar, two fireside bomas, a lounge, a curio shop at reception and a large swimming pool.
The camp is unfenced which means you can walk between the chalets and restaurant area by day but not at night. For dinner the golf carts will fetch you or camp staff members will walk you back to your chalet.
Three of the east-facing chalets are luxury chalets which means you get a large deck with a private plunge-pool.
Many visitors stayed for just one night – you cannot get a feel for the camp or the western part of the park in such a short time. We would recommend staying for at least 2 or 3 days, especially if you are a wildlife photographer.
The panoramic views, the wild animals, the superb food, the amazing photographic opportunities and the excellent service all contributed to making our stay a five-star experience. In our opinion Dolomite camp is the jewel in Etosha’s crown!