Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Letter to Wolwedans Dune Camp

To the Wolwedans Dune Camp team,

"We are there for you!" This was the response I got from of one the Wolwedans Dune Camp staff when, on the first evening of our stay, I asked some arbitrary question.

Being in the lodge and hospitality industry this stayed with me and it is how I will always remember our stay at the Wolwedans Dune Camp in the Namib Rand Nature Reserve. When Adele and I chose this as our wedding venue we knew from all the reviews we had read that the landscapes and scenery is awe-inspiring but no matter what you read about the staff or activities at a lodge you never truly know until you get there.

From the moment we arrived at Wolwedans we knew the place was special. The staff was warm and friendly without it feeling forced and within the first few minutes we were sharing laughs with Italy and Ben, the two guides that were to accompany us during our stay.

When we arrived at the Dune Camp the unbelievable landscape was only echoed by the warmth and friendliness of Abraham, Kenneth and all the other members of the team. We felt completely at home in the lounge area where we would end up spending quite a considerable amount of time. There were always a few of the staff members around that were willing to assist with anything and we never had to go and look for someone to top up the drinks. The staff had that perfect balance of being there but not in your face all the time - something that is so important in a small, intimate environment such as this.

During the entire three days leading up to our wedding the service was perfect and with our group being quite loud and outgoing the staff took the invite and became a part of the group rather than outsiders standing on the side. Even with this relaxed atmosphere the service levels never dropped and we never wanted for anything.

At most lodges the food and dining experience plays an integral part of the whole picture and again we were not disappointed. From the staff members introducing the meals in English and their native 'click'-language to the beautifully presented four course meals we felt we were treated like royalty. When comparing the cuisine at Wolwedans to all the lodges I have ever visited and worked at I would rate them in the top five percent. Absolutely stunning. And when you consider that they are really in the middle of nowhere it is just so much more impressive.

Being used to Big 5 areas and drives we were very curious to see and experience the activities at Wolwedans. When you look at the landscapes and scenes through which you travel you can see that the 'product' sells itself but the total experience still relies heavily on the input and personality of the guides. Ben and Italy conducted themselves in a very professional manner throughout yet it did not feel forced or acted, something that can happen very easily. They were knowledgeable, funny and are a true asset to Wolwedans.

On the last afternoon the Wolwedans staff blew us away, again. The wedding setup, the service, the reception. We were expecting something special but the way everything was put together was textbook and there was never a point were anything felt rushed. Your planning and execution was flawless! Thank you!!

What else can you say about such an experience? We decided to share our once in a lifetime moment at Wolwedans and looking back now we could not have made a better decision. The relaxed yet professional service. The friendly faces and amazing meals. New friends and a great adventure.

Here are but a few of our images from the magical time we had at Wolwedans.

Arriving at Wolwedans. Our adventure begins.

The activities and drives were always a highlight. We must have more than 300 pictures all together!

Bekka (my sister), Adele and Glen on the couch we got the staff to drag out into the open area in front of the lodge to get some pictures.

Ben and Italy, our two guides, on our wedding day. You guys were great!

Adele and Glen having fun on the dunes during one of the drink stops.

Adele and I on one of the red dunes. Truly a beautiful place!

Adele and I with a couple of the Dune Camp staff at the end of our last evening. A great bunch of guys! (Still not sure about the pineapple though?)

Adele and I after our wedding ceremony. You guys should all also take a bow!

Adele and I would like to thank all the Wolwedans Dune Camp staff for creating one of the most amazing and memorable experiences we have ever had. Their is no doubt that we will be back one day.

You are all a credit to Wolwedans and a great example of how things should be done in the hospitality industry. From our experience, both working in the industry and as a guest, a lot of the larger lodges and companies can learn a thing or two from you.

From our first contact with the office to the very last hug goodbye, you made it all special. If anybody ever needs an excuse to visit probably one of the most beautiful places in the world, the staff and experience at Wolwedans is it.

Thanks again to all of you and we look forward to seeing you all again soon! Please do stay in touch!

Our warmest regards,

Gerry & Adele


Elsa said...

As parents of the groom we could have wished only the best for him and Adele on their special day. They made the perfect choice and we couldn't agree more that our time spent at the Dune Camp was a fantastic experience!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Congrats to the wonderful couple!! I had to smile at this post Gerry. When I was working at one of the lodges a guest asked me where I go on my days off and I said "Kruger". You should have seen his face!! :)

"How can you go from a game lodge to Kruger. ont you go down to the sea?" was the reply.

"No" I said "I want to see the animals"

"Aren't you sick of animals and want to see something different?" he asked.

"it is different" I replied "I can take my time as I have no guests with me, besides, where else would I want to be!!"

So here the two of you are going on honeymoon into the bush again. We don't ever want to go anywhere else do we. It looks like a spectacular place and those dunes are magnificent. I wish you many, many years of happiness!!

Lizelle said...

Truly an experience I will never forget!!

My sister got married to the man of her dreams and it was done in style thanks to the team at Wolwedanse!! At the end of our stay they were part of our group and they celebrated this joyful occasion with us!!

Thank you for making our stay not only enjoyable but unforgettable!!

Patricia said...

What a beautiful photos you have! Thanks for sharing, I feel like visiting the Wolwedans Dune Camp and all the nice people over there,

Anonymous said...

Absolutely one of the most stunning places I have been to... as well as being able to spend it with incredible friends who the staff from the camp I now consider and will never forget with not just their amazing hospitality but also warmth! I fell in love with Namibia and hope to visit again some day. You guys were FANTASTIC... Italy... Ben...Kenneth... Abraham... everyone!!! Glen from Australia...