Day 134: Idling in Namibia

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Sat 19 Mar 2011 06:51
Day 134: Friday 18 March 2011. Dinosaur's footprints camp site, near Ejo Mountain, Namibia  S21 02.530 E016 24.098 Distance driven 258 km
We passed the 22,000 km mark today.
At dinner last night I met the Chairman of the Board of the owning company of Taleni Etosha Village (and three similar developments near Sossusvlei) and, hearing that I had stayed at Namutomi the night before, we reflected on the comparisons of the two.  Namutomi has a prime position right in the centre of Etosha Park and is run by NWR, a Government organisation.  They have a monopoly within the park and their attitudes are like all monopolies; "take it on our terms, or leave it".  The staff are surly and unhelpful, the food is dreadful and the layout is customer unfriendly.  The Park office has no information to give to the public; no maps, no information on wildlife, no records of animal sightings and they couldn't even tell me which roads were closed because of the flooding. NWR is a disaster in all respects, but if you want to stay in the Park you have no choice.
By comparison, Taleni is focused entirely on customer service.  The staff are beautifully trained, attentive, highly motivated and a delight to talk to. Nothing is too much trouble. The facilities are beautifully constructed, with great through to the environment and use of materials. Taleni seems to be a model of successful tourism development, successful for the visitor, the staff and, i would suspect also the owning company.  Why is it that once Government gets into the Hospitality Industry they always get it wrong?
I left late, drove to Outjo taking with me the Taleni Reception Supervisor to have her baby -due in a week! Then I slowly drove on gravel roads, which the Namibians do so well, to Mount Ejo and stayed at a this odd little camp site at the Dinosaur's Footprints where I am the only visitor. I'll go looking for footprints tomorrow but hope there are no dinosaurs in the night.