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Camping in Namibia: Etosha National Park

  
  

If you want an authentic safari adventure in Namibia then few places are better to visit than Etosha National Park. We have a guide on travelling through the park and today we will be looking at how you can organise your very own camping adventure within, or nearby, the world-renowned park.

Initial planning

First, you need to decide which part of the park you want to be based in or nearby. There are three gates that you can use to enter Etosha: The King Nehale gate in the north, the Von Lindequist gate to the east, and finally the Andersson gate in the south.

Which gate you choose to use to enter the park with is up to you and will probably depend on which part of the country you are travelling to the park from.

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Note the gates to the North, East and South
.
(Map source Map of Namibia)

Camping in Etosha 

Namutoni Camp

This camp’s main reception area was once an old German fort and has since been developed into the primary reception for visitors entering the park. Over the years a fully functioning restaurant and lodge have been added, and more recently Namutoni has also upgraded its camping facilities.

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Shade and rest areas are all part of the camping experience at Namutoni.
(Image source Find Trip Info)

The campsite is geared towards self-catering and there is space for you to braai (BBQ) on one of the many communal fire pits. The site also has a good number of toilets and showers so that campers can freshen up after a day’s worth of safari adventures. There are also plug points if you need to charge any gear you may have brought with you.

 

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The campsite is grassy and comfortable.
(Image source Bjusterbaarlik)

One of the best things about camping at Namutoni is that you will have unfettered access to a nearby floodlit watering hole. This enables visitors and keen photographers the chance to catch a glimpse of the park’s nocturnal inhabitants.

You can book by clicking here now. 

Halali Camp

Halali is located in the middle of the park and may be more attractive to guests looking to remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of the busier camps in Etosha.

The watering hole at Halali is more secluded than the one at Namutoni and feels more private and away from the crowds. It is, like the one at Namutoni, floodlit at night so that you do not miss out on any game viewing opportunities.

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Elephants relaxing at the Halali watering hole.
(Image source John van der Woude)

The campsite’s facilities have been highly rated by campers over the years and a nice feature of the site is that there are several Mopane trees that provide shade for campers looking to relax. Shade can be invaluable when the mercury begins to rise in the summer months.

This campsite also has all the amenities one would expect including ablutions, electricity and cooking areas.

You can book by clicking here now.

Camping outside the park

There are a few camping sites a short distance outside of the Etosha’s boundaries. These camps are close enough to the national park to make visiting the famous game reserve extremely easy. Many travellers also remark that these camps, because they are removed from Etosha, are usually a bit quieter and more peaceful than the often busy safari park.

Onguma Safari Camp

(10 km’s from the Von Lindequist gate)

Onguma is actually a separate game reserve right next to Etosha. This means that guests can choose to explore Onguma’s 34 000 hectres of private game reserve, or go on guided safari drives through the neighbouring Etosha with employees from Onguma.

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Rhinos and more await within the park.
(Image source Onguma Game Reserve)

The campsite at Onguma is focussed on striking a balance between comfort and allowing you to feel like you are truly camping in the wilderness. As such each campsite has electricity, toilets and showers.

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Running water and electricity are always good things.
(Image source Onguma Game Reserve)

You can also choose to eat at the lodge’s restaurant if you are not interested in cooking for yourself. However, self-catering is encouraged as meals have to be booked in advance if you wish to eat at the restaurant. Note that you will have to bring your own food with you as there are no shops in Onguma, so come prepared.

 

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It's easy to unwind in a setting like this.
(Image source Onguma Game Reserve)

 

You can book by clicking here now.

Etosha Safari Camp

(9km’s away from the Andersson gate)

The Etosha Safari Camp is another lodge near Etosha that offers visitors the option of bringing their owns tents and setting up camp for a few nights. The campsite is exceptionally well appointed with power points all over the site, as well as sinks, showers, toilets and braai (BBQ) facilities for those who wish to self-cater.

 

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The camping is easy, and the scenery is beautiful.
(Image source Gondwana Collection Namibia)

If you don’t feel like cooking your own grub then guests at the campsite are more than welcome to eat at the main lodge’s restaurant. Campers are also invited to make use of the other facilities at the lodge like the pool area and the bar.

 

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Every camper needs a dip in a pool at some point.
(Image source Gondwana Collection Namibia)

Since the camp is so close to Etosha it is a breeze checking in and out of the national park for game drives. 

You can book by clicking here now.

Eldorado B & B Camping

(8km from the Andersson gate) 

Eldorado Farm is run by Adri Pienaar who is the third generation of his family to run the guest farm. On the farm itself there are several antelope, ostriches and wildebeest and given that it is only 8km away from Etosha’s Andersson gate you will find it very easy to get your fill of game while staying here.

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Welcome to Eldorado!
(Image source Eldorado)

There is a lodge on the farm but Eldorado’s campsite is becoming more and more popular with outdoor enthusiasts and as a result booking in advance is essential if you want to secure a place at their campsite. The Campsite at Eldorado has electricity, running water, ablutions and self-catering facilities.

 

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The campsite is very spacious.
(Image source Johan Groenewald)

 

Camping is good for you

If you enjoy the outdoors and safari then camping in or around Etosha is just the thing for you. All the camps mentioned above give you the option to either be totally self-sufficient or partly self-sufficient. With a wide selection of restaurants and amenities there’s no reason why camping cannot be both rugged and comfortable.

Popa Falls Camp- Another Hidden Gem in Namibia

  
  

In the north east of Namibia, perched at the top of the Okavango and overlooking the uniquely beautiful Popa Falls you can find NWR’s Popa Falls Camp. The camp is the perfect place to use as a base for exploring Namibia’s Okavango Delta and Caprivi Strip.

The camp, which had fallen into disrepair, was recently re-opened by the Namibia Wildlife Resorts and is now welcoming tourists once more.  

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The falls, and the camp are nestled between Zambia and Botswana.
(Image courtesy of Namibia Bookings)

What are the Popa Falls?  

Rather than a classic waterfall the Popa Falls are a serious of unique and beautiful cascading rapids that run over a series of quartzite ledges. In the wet season the series of rapids is a must-see if you are in the north east of the country.

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A section of the rapids that make up the Popa Falls.
(Image courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)  

Because the Okavango is perennial, the region close to the falls is awash with diverse flora and fauna. Many different species of fish, birds, antelope and other large mammals have made their homes on the shady and lush banks of the mighty river.  

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It’s not always all about the fauna-
there is some astonishing flora along the banks of the Okavango.
(Image courtesy of Roxanne Reid)  

Exploring Mahango Game Park  

More than just a place to stay, the Popa Falls Camp is perfectly positioned to break your trip as you head north from the central or southern regions of the country. Close to NWR's camp you will find the Mahango Game Park. The park, much like the rest of the Caprivi Strip is home to a variety of fauna from large mammals to exotic birds. 

The park is famous for its collection of wetland birds; including egrets, cranes, herons, pelicans, storks and various birds of prey like Pel’s Fishing Owl and Montagu’s Harrier. The park has even been designated as an “Important Bird Area” by BirdLife International.

So if you are keen on birding and find yourself on a day trip through the park remember to bring a pair of binoculars and bird book to make a note of all the different species you spot.  

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The park has a large population of African Skimmers.
(Image courtesy of Loretta Aminus)  

Mahango is also one of the few reserves in Namibia, and by extension the world, that is home to a pack of African wild dogs. These notoriously shy and incredibly endangered animals are always a treat to see and the opportunity to catch a glimpse of them should not be passed up on.  

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Three wild dogs seeking some respite from the baking noon sun.  

Other large mammals in the park include bushbuck, reedbuck, tsessebe, sitatunga, and the rare and beautiful roan and sable antelope. There are also, according to reports, migratory elephants that pass through the park, but sightings of these majestic beasts are rare.  

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Herds of various antelope can be seen all over the park.

(Image courtesy of Roxanne Reid)  

**Note that the park is only open for day trips and there are no overnight facilities so it is best to stay at a lodge or a camp nearby if you wish to explore it.**  

Other things to do at Popa Falls Camp

The Okavango is a popular destination for fisherman as the river is stocked with abundant Tigerfish, Threespot and Greenheaded tilapia. Staying at the Popa Falls Camp will give you an excellent place to base yourself if you wish to launch a fishing expedition on the upper sections of the Okavango in Namibia.  

The camp is also a good place to just take a few days off and let off some steam by the riverside. Sometimes travelling around can be hard work and a day or two of solid relaxation can go a long way to making your trip around Namibia even more enjoyable.

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Have a refreshing drink at the Popa Falls Camp's jetty bar.

The Popa Falls Camp also offers safari cruises on the recently launched “Queen Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah” houseboat. On one of these excursions you may well spot some of the local fauna including hippos, crocodiles and the endemic antelope as you wind your way up and down the river.  

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Another striking sunset over the Okavango
(Image courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)  

Staying at the Popa Falls Camp

The camp has over 40 beds for sleepy travellers and these are divided across 10 river chalets and three family chalets. The camp itself has all the facilities you need including a restaurant and bar.  

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Pictured above: A traveller's best friend.

If you don't particularly like having a roof over your head then there is also space for you to camp, and there is also a designated area for overland tour operators where they can leave their overland vehicles as well.

**Note: SADC citizens get a 25% discount when staying at any NWR camp, while Namibian NamLeisure cardholders will receive a 50% discount. Internationals also get a 10% discount so be sure to enquire ahead before you get to the camp.**

For more booking information contact NWR here.

For a list of a few other places to stay in the region check out this link.

10 Reasons You Should Visit Namibia

  
  

In June last year we announced that the lucky winner of our Landscape Escape competition was one Kevin Read from Canada. Kevin won a once in a lifetime trip around Namibia and decided to document what he and his wife Ruth discovered on their journey through the land of the brave.

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Ruth and Kevin- winners!

Kevin and Ruth enjoyed their stay so much that they compiled a list of reasons why they think you should take the plunge and explore this vast and beautiful country as soon as possible.

10 Reasons You Should Visit Namibia

We spent the months of November and December 2013 exploring the country of Namibia. Over the course of almost eight weeks, we drove approximately 10,000 kms (6,200 miles) all over the country. We experienced the many different cultures and saw so many natural wonders.

But one of the things that we didn't see was North American tourists.

People from Canada and the U.S. who come to Africa seem to be attracted to Kenya, Botswana, or South Africa all of which have more highly developed tourism infrastructure. As a result, they tend to have more "luxury" travel options. Namibia is a little more wild, and still has a lot of areas that may be considered early development when it comes to tourism.

Here's why we think North Americans should visit Namibia...

1. They speak English in Namibia

We find that a lot of North Americans are unsure about visiting a country where they will have a difficult time being understood. You won't have a problem in Namibia. Despite the fact that there are approximately eight other popular languages (Afrikaans, German, and many local languages) English is the official language. All road signs are in English, and although you may meet some rural people who only speak their local language, there will always be someone close by who can translate. 

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All road, traffic, and tourism signs are in English. 

2. Birds 

We've never been much into birds. Namibia may have changed that a little bit! There are around 700 species of birds in Namibia! It seemed like every day that we were in Namibia we would see some kind of different bird. And of course many are so colorful, and with long bright feathers. Oh, and owls! We have never seen so many different owls.  

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An owl in Namibia. 

3. You can go camping! 

The easiest and most popular way to tour Namibia is with your own vehicle. The local public transportation system isn't the easiest, but if you have your own vehicle you can go anywhere. It's also common, and a great idea, to do a self drive camping tour of Namibia, and there are a LOT of campgrounds in Namibia, In fact, we were surprised at the number of beautiful campgrounds.  

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Our camping vehicle from Namibia Car Rental

4. The desert is truly beautiful 

I've never been much of a desert person. I typically like trees and greenery, but Namibia gave us a whole different perspective on the desert and the different landscapes that the desert presents to you. While there certainly are some long boring sections of desert scenery, there is also very stunning scenery that makes you wonder how it can possibly occur naturally. 

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The dunes at Sossusvlei. 

5. Protection of the environment 

If you are an ethical traveler, you may be interested to know that Namibia was the first African country to incorporate protection of the environment into its constitution. The Government of Namibia has reinforced this by giving its rural communities the right to manage their wildlife through communal conservancies. These conservancies are clearly defined tracts of land, registered with government, where local communities manage their natural resources through a democratically elected committee and approved management plans.  

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Many private lodges in Namibia also have their own environmental conservancies. 

6. It is a safe and politically stable country

The country is very safe, and the people are friendly. There are only two million people in the whole country, and 40% of all reported crime occurs in the capital city of Windhoek. We never once felt unsafe.   

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Ruth, visiting with the locals. 

7. The wildlife 

We spent a total of seven days exploring Namibia's Etosha National Park. But even though Etosha is a world class wildlife park, we found that you don't really need to be in a National Park to experience wildlife. Yes, you'll see everything in Etosha...lions, elephants, rhinos. But you'll also see animals simply wandering near the side of the road outside of parks. The Caprivi region of Namibia gave us our best animal viewing outside of Etosha. Plan on at least four days to properly explore Etosha National Park.  

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Animals of Etosha National Park. 

8. The different cultures 

Namibia has people who you will not find anywhere else in the world. People who continue living with ancient traditions and lifestyles without the pressures and conveniences experienced in most of the world. One of the highlights of our trip was the couple of hours we spent with the Himba people in the northwestern region of the country.  

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Himba women. 

8. Hiking 

Probably not known by many, but Namibia has a lot of premier hiking trails. November and December aren't really the best time of year to hike in Namibia because it's summer and it's often too hot to go hiking. The best time of year to visit for that type of outdoor activity is from April through October. Fish River Canyon offers the most well known hiking opportunity, a five day excursion along the riverbed at the bottom of the canyon.   

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Kevin, at Fish River Canyon

9. Namibia is still relatively unknown 

One of the main reasons we wanted to go there! We like going to places that are a little more off the beaten path when it comes to tourism, and we're glad that we came to a place that is really only just starting out in the tourism world when you compare it to most other countries.  

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The ghost town of Kolmanskop. 

10. Namibia has the best beer in Africa! 

Of course the most important reason to visit any country is the quality of it's beer! Namibian beer is brewed to the highest German standards and Namibians are passionate about their beer!  

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Namibian beers are very good.

If you want to read more about some of Kevin and Ruth's other globe trotting adventures then head on over to their blog by clicking here.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest so that you can keep track of any news or competitions and you too could find yourself on the African adventure of a life time.

                                  

Flying over Namibia's Skeleton Coast

  
  

The Skeleton Coast is one of Namibia’s most remote locations. It is also one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world. This blog post will give you everything you need to know about going on a once in a lifetime flying safari to this isolated paradise.  

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Flying high above the dunes
(Image courtesy of Natural High Safaris)  

The Skeleton Coast can be difficult to get by land, as much of it is restricted and vehicles are simply not allowed in. But by plane, exploring this area is a cinch! There are several different ‘fly-in’ options for the traveler who wants to explore from the skies, with a variety of operators offering packages that range from scenic day flights to four-day flying tours.

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Get a unique view of the icnonic Sossusvlei from the skies.
(Image courtesy of Expert Africa)

Skeleton Coast Safaris

One such operator who organizes three-day safaris is the Schoeman family who run Skeleton Coast Safaris. It is a small family business that specialises in taking small groups of visitors (no more than eight) into Namibia’s desolate and beautiful Skeleton Coast.

The Schoeman’s run three camps which guests are ferried to and from in light aircraft. At each camp unique and beautiful flora, fauna, geology and shipwrecks can be found and explored making this experience definitely one for the bucket list. 


(Video courtesy of Expert Africa)    

Three nights, three camps

The three night tour usually follows the same schedule but nothing is set in stone when you get to places this remote. Each night you will be in a different location, and each of the camps you visit has its own distinct appeal.  

There is the Kuidas Camp, with its shipwrecks, amazing birdlife and astonishing stargazing opportunities in the evening. These attractions make the Kuidas Camp is the perfect way to kick-off your three day fly-in safari of the Skeleton Coast.  

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The camp is lush and yet the surrounds are stark.
(Image courtesy of Expert Africa)    

On your second night you will be stopping at the Leylandsdrift Camp which is situated near a natural spring. The camp borders the Skeleton Coast National Park and getting to this camp may juat be the highlight of your day as you will do several low sweeps of the surrounding area. Flying above this astonishing landscape will give you a once in a life time opportunity to take in one of Namibia’s most beautiful areas from a unique perspective.

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Isolated and beautiful, the desert dunes of Namibia's West coast.
(Image courtesy of Expert Africa)

Once you touch down at Leylandsdrift Camp you can go tracking desert adapted elephants (read more about these amazing creatures here) and visit the nearby Himba settlement where you can learn about one Namibia’s indigenous cultures.  

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A Himba woman.
(Image courtesy of Expert Africa)    

The Kunene River Camp is most often the last port of call for adventurers on the three day Skeleton Coast Safari. To get to this camp you will fly North from the Leylandsdrift Camp over seal colonies and more beautiful rolling desert. Once at the camp you will be treated to an open air 4x4 safari that will take you to the border between Namibia and Angola.  

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The Kunene River camp looks over the mighty river.
(Image courtesy of Expert Africa)

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Mountains and dunes meet on the plains near the camp.
(Image courtesy of Expert Africa)  

When you visit this camp, and during your journey to the campsite, keep an eye out for Namibia’s ‘fairy circles’. Seeing these geological wonders in the stirring mountainous region is truly unforgettable.  

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4x4 tours are all part of the unforgettable experience.
(Image courtesy of Expert Africa)  

Obviously a tour like this is an absolutely amazing experience which is incomparable to anything else you can do in any other country, but don’t just take our word for it: Read what people who have been on the tour think about it over here.  

Other operators

If a multiple day flying safari sounds a bit too hectic then why not hop on a scenic flight instead and get to witness Namibia unfold below you as you take a low-level flight over its dunes and landscapes. Here are just some of the companies in Namibia who offer scenic flights and flying safaris:

 

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One of the Skeleton Coast's many shipwrecks, seen from above.
(Image courtesy of the Namibian)  

One piece of advice

If you plan on visiting the Skeleton Coast remember that it is always wise to bring clothes that are good for both extremes of temperature that you will be exposed to in the region. During the day it can be extremely hot, while during the evening it can get bitterly cold- so make sure you bring shorts, t-shirts, long pants and sweaters.  

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Dunes and airplanes- a match made in Namibia.
(Image courtesy of the Namibian)

Namibia's Sesriem Canyon: Just before the dunes of Soussesvlei

  
  

Sesriem is often only thought of as just a gateway to the famous and amazing Sossusvlei, but it is also home to the Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved millions of years ago by the once mighty Tsauchab River.

If you are heading into the Namib and you find yourself in the Naukluft National Park of Namibia, you will no doubt hear talk of Sesriem, a small settlement with a filling station and general supplies store close to the southern end of the Naukluft Mountains.

 

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Sesriem Canyon, Namibia

Photo courtesy of TravelNewsNamibia.com

 

Some Sesriem Canyon Facts

The canyon’s birth dates back between two and four million years, when continental upheavel resulted in the creation of most of the westward flowing rivers in the Namib Desert region.

Today the Tsauchab River only runs after good rains fall in the nearby Naukluft Mountains, but the canyon is a testament to the rivers long-past prime some 15- 18 million years ago when the gorge was created by the river’s once sweeping movement.

The canyon is up to 30 metres deep at points and is roughly about 1km long- with a width that ranges between one and three metres wide, flattening out as it approaches the iconic Sossusvlei.

The name Sesriem is derived from the Dutch/Afrikaans words for “six (zes) belt (riem)” and was given to the settlement by explorers returning from the Dorsland Treks. “Six belt” is a reference to the six belts, usually made of Oryx hide, that a thirsty settler would have to tie together in order to reach down into the deep hollows in the canyon floor to extract the crystal clear cool underground water which collects under the canyon’s floor.

 

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Take a stroll along the river bed of the Sesriem Canyon

Photo courtesy of summitpost.org

 

What is there to do?

Sesriem canyon is an interesting place to walk and appreciate the canyon’s multiple layers of exposed rock. It is best appreciated at sunrise or sunset, where the changing shadows and soft light foregrounds the area’s breathtaking scenery, setting up excellent photography opportunity or offering a weary traveler a chance for some quiet reflection.

For those visiting by day, a walking trail leads into the canyon from where the layers of the different sedimentary layers are more clearly visible.  A variety of tree species also grow within the canyon, such as the unique laurel fig.

Do note though, if you are visiting in the warmer months of the year, do try and avoid walking around during the hottest parts of the day. Rather beat the heat and leave for your walks through the canyon very early or later in the afternoon when the Namib begins to cools down.

 

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If you're staying in the park, ask your lodge to organise a special sundowner over the canyon for spectacular views

 

The Sesriem Canyon’s hidden treasures

After good rains, pools of water collect in the narrow, sheltered sections on the floor of the canyon. These pools of crystal clear water are an invigorating sight in the barren and stark surrounds, and some of the larger pools even present adventurous explorers with a chance to enjoy a refreshing swim.

Deeper hollows in the canyon’s floor hold supplies of permanent water, even in the dryer months, which many animals use to survive in the harsh land. The pools are filled with species of fish, so be on the lookout for the barbell which call these pool’s their homes.

A campsite managed by the Namibia Wildlife Resorts is situated close by under huge camel-thorn trees, and right by the Sesriem gate, hot air balloons depart in the early morning, providing scenic flights over the Sossusvlei dunes.

 

Visiting Sossuvlei via Sesriem

The sand dunes at Sossusvlei are some 60km from the entrance the Sesriem gate of the Naukluft National Park, and the drive to the famous dunes will take about an hour.

The gate into Sesriem only opens at sunrise, so if you are staying outside of the park (which you will be unless you are staying at the Sossus Dune Lodge), you will have to wait until sunrise to begin their journey to Sossusvlei.

 

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Never-ending views over the Namib at Sossus Dune Lodge, a stone's throw from Sesriem Canyon

 

More stories

If you like nature walks: read about the Waterberg

If you like canyon hikes: read about the Fish River Canyon 

 More on the Sossusvlei area

 Waterberg Fish River Canyon Deadvlei 

 

Five Top Spots for Adventure Camping in Namibia

  
  

There is nothing quite like camping in the wild. From being able to hear the snuffles and shuffles of local game as they make there way around the wilderness, to waking up in the pristine morning in time for a blazing sunrise, nothing can compare to the open, free feeling of camping in a beautiful country like Namibia.

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(photo source African Exlporations)

There are loads of campsites dotted around Namibia, and a lot of these sites can be found near some major, amazing attractions. In order to give you an idea of some of the amazing places you can visit and camp at, we have selected five of our favourite camping spots in Namibia.

Have a look at our list if you want to find a few remarkable camping sites, and maybe the next time you come to Namibia you can bring your tents and sleeping bags along for the adventure of a life time!

Fish River Hiking and Camping

When we stayed at the Fish River Lodge we had the pleasure of doing their amazing full day hike. Walking along the trail on the floor of the canyon, we were taken passed a campsite.

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Hikers enjoying a hike in the canyon.
(photo source Fish River Lodge)

Our guide informed us that there were a few of these dotted along the floor of the canyon. These campsites are strategically located so that people doing the incredibly beautiful five-day mammoth canyon hike could stay overnight in the canyon.

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A campsite on the canyon floor.
(photo source Fish River Lodge)

The campsites, and indeed the whole canyon, are not accessible to the general public. You will need to book the use of these facilities through a registered park official or tour operator.

Spitzkoppe

The Spitzkoppe in the Namib Desert are a very popular destination for adventure tourists, as there are many awesome activities you can do their such as rock climbing, hiking and rock art viewing.


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The Spitzkoppe are a geological wonder.
(photo source Wikipedia)

For years intrepid explorers were bush camping with little but their tents and their wits separating themselves from the wilderness around them. Recently, however, the locals have set up camping sites (as well as some bungalows for those who can’t do without walls).

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A happy family enjoying the shade at the foot of the Spitzkoppe.
(photo source Terence Howard)

Camping near the Spitzkoppe is the ideal way to take in this beautiful mountain region. The campsites have the usual facilities you would expect, except, you are encouraged to bring your own water as there is not enough water in the natural environment to support everyone using the site’s water all the time.

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Motorcyclists are welcome!
(photo source Horizons Unlimited)

Sesriem Campsite near Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is one of the most popular places to visit in Namibia and it is not hard to understand why. Enormous dunes and unique vegetation abounds in the region’s clay pans.

One cannot camp in the fragile ecosystem that is the Sossusvlei, but, you can camp just a way away at the Sesriem Campsite. The camp is very close to the vlei and you can get a good early start on your tour of the Sossusvlei if you stay at Sesriem.

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Some campers at Sesriem.
(photo source Namibia Tours Safaris)

Each campsite has running water and fireplace. There is also a petrol station and a basic grocery store that sells essentials such as bread, eggs and beer.

Demand is high, especially between June-September so please book ahead in order to avoid disappointment.

Halali, Etosha

Halali camp in Etosha National Park is really an incredible place. One of the most amazing features of this camp is that it has its own watering hole that is frequented by numerous types of game.

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 Two rhinos enjoying a sip of water at the Halali watering hole.

The NWR run camp is a lovely place to stay, but there is another option. If you want, you can bring a tent and whatever else you need and you can actually camp within Halali’s perimeter fence.

You will be so close to the watering hole in your tent that you may well hear lions roar and twigs snap as the various large mammals make their way around just outside the camp’s fences.

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All of the big five frequent Halali's watering hole, all you need is patience.

The site is well maintained and there is plenty of shade and all the basic amenities that you will need to make your camping experience as smooth as possible.

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Camping at Halali is popular and easy.
(photo source Tracks4Africa)

Brukkaros

Brukkaros is a dead volcano that sits in the southern Karas region of Namibia and it is absolutely stunning. It is an unspoilt paradise and can be reached with relative ease.

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View of the ancient volcano from a camp site.
(photo source Tracks4Africa)

The crater inside the extinct volcano is host to unique flora and fauna which cannot be found anywhere else, near the crater. It is well worth a visit.

There is a campsite on the slopes of the mountain and camping is reasonably priced. The camps have fireplaces and shade but there is no running water on the mountain, so you will need to bring your own water.

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Typical fireplace at a campsite.
(photo source Panoramio)

 

When adventuring through Namibia a traveler is spoiled for accommodation options. From five star luxury lodges to quiet B & B’s and rest camps. There is something for all tastes and budgets through out the country. But if you want to do something completely different, why not try camping in one of the many amazing campsites around Namibia.

Rest Camps in Namibia

  
  

Namibia is a very, very big country and driving from each location to amazing location can take hours. As a result of this, many intrepid locals have set up small rest camps along the national roads where travellers can break their long drives and rejuvinate. These lodge-style establishments can be found all over Namibia, and in this post we’re going to tell you what you can expect from a rest camp and where you can find a few of them.

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Rest camps are character filled and unique and each one has something different to offer explorers. Above is a picture of Roy's Rest Camp where we spent a night

Our rest camp experience

After travelling up to Etosha for some game viewing, we were next going to visit Rundu. We decided we would rather break our long drive with a stay at a rest camp. After looking at the map and the available rest camps along the B8 we eventually settled on a place called Roy’s Rest Camp.


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The entrance to Roy's Rest Camp

The accommodation at your typical rest camp is simple and clean and Roy’s is no exception, but each rest camp in Namibia also has its own character and vibe. Roy’s Rest Camp, for example, has been painstakingly decorated by its owners.

Derelict classic cars and all manner of Namibian inspired homemade décor can be found hanging in the trees, at the restaurant and in the rooms.

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We found this old car just by the camp's reception.

Our stay at Roy's was very typical of a rest camp in Namibia. The staff are friendly and interested in your stories and always have time to sit around and chat about what's going on around the camp and the country as a whole. Places like this afford you an opportunity to swap notes with other travellers and get some ideas on what to do while you are in Namibia.

What you can expect from a rest camp

These small camps are unpretentious and unassuming and the people who run them are almost always friendly, welcoming people. Rest camps can also be excellent place to meet up with fellow travellers and maybe make a few new friends by sitting round the fire or poolside.

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Rooms are typically simple, clean and comfortable

Some of the rest camps have other unique features such as farm tours and bird walks, or even game viewing, and so it is always a good idea to ask at the camp's reception if there are any recommended activites for visitors to experience while staying at a particular rest camp.

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Another beautifully rusted out car at Roy's Rest Camp

Some of the camps are self-catering and others have a more typical travel lodge setup. The whole point of a rest camp is to allow a weary traveller to lay down their head for a good night’s rest so that in the morning they can carry on with their journey refreshed and impressed.


Many of the rest camps you will find in Namibia will give you the option of either staying in built chalets, or camping in your own tent. Roy's Rest camp is one such place that offers both, but it is not the only one. So, if you and your travel buddies are up for some outdoor camping then a rest camp may make even more sense for you as you travel through the vast countryside of Namibia.

A short list of rest camps in Namibia

Below is a list of several rest camps situated around the country. As already mentioned, rest camps can be found all over Namibia, so when you are planning your trip consider breaking up some of the long distances and travel days.

 

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Roy's Rest Camp

 

Roy’s Camp is perfectly situated on the B8 main road from Grootfontein to Rundu, 55 km north of Grootfontein.  At ideal stop over to Northern Namibia, Zambezi (formerly known as Caprivi) and Bushman land.


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 Brandberg Rest Camp

 

Located in Damaraland, the Brandberg rest camp has a restaurant, bar, pool and internet facilities.

The camp also offers guests some climbing, exploring and hiking activities.

 

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  Ombo Rest Camp

 

70km North of Windhoek on the Hochfeld road, Ombo Rest Camp has a restaurant but has self-catering chalets as well.

This camp is unique in that it has a wateringhole on its property for game and sunset viewing.

 

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  Kamanjab Rest Camp

 

3km from the village of Kamanjab this quirky camp has a restaurant, bar and can be reached via a nearby landing strip for private planes.

This camp has unique game watching oppurtunities and is home to several friendly giraffes.

 

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 Quiver Tree Forest Camp

 

13km Northeast of Keetmanshoop the Quiver Tree Forest Camp has a swimming pool, a choice between either self-catering or you can use the a la carte restaurant.

Near the camp are incredible geological formations, birdlife and a veritable forest of quiver trees.

 

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Khorixas Rest Camp

 

Situated nearby the Damaraland capital of Khorixas this camp has everything you need to relax when you are halfway thorugh a long journey.

The surrounds in this part of Damaraland are famed for unusual geological formations and ancient rock engravings.

 

As mentioned above this is not a complete list of rest camps in Namibia and no matter where you are travelling in this wide open country you should be able to find a rest camp where you can split up your journey and have an extra mini-adventure.

Each little place that you find in Namibia has something unique and interesting about it and these small establishments give you a chance to experience some of that first hand.

The Great Family Escape: Adventure in Namibia

  
  

Looking for a getaway destination for you and the kids, that doesn't involve jam-packed fairgrounds, 24hour Xbox relays or shopping malls and cinemas? When children come into the mix, it can really leave you stumped for holiday ideas. Somehow "the desert" doesn't come to mind. But it should.

There's a reason why National Geographic ranked the Namib Desert as the best family trip in the world. Cast your family out into the middle of nowhere, and life as you know it comes to a standstill. Just you, your family and the great outdoors.

 

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Namib Desert, Photo courtesy of Namib Rand Family Hideout

Go climb a mountain. Play in the dirt. Let a beetle crawl on your hand. Surf down a dune. Smell the seals. Let cloud shapes tickle your imagination. Discover dinosaur footprints. See a rhino in the flesh. Fall asleep on the backseat of the car. Find the creatures of the living desert. Pitch a tent. Camp under the African sky. Sit around a fire. Listen to stories. Tell stories. Hear the hyenas laughing at the moon. Count the stars in the Milky Way. Catch the sunrise. And start all over again. 

Being the second least densely populated country in the world, it sometimes feels like you are the only people on earth. But never fear - help is always close at hand should you need it.

Namibia is one big adventure for everyone in the family, no matter what age. Bring your kids out to Namibia, and Namibia just might bring the kid out in you.

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Namib Rand, Photo courtesy of Tok Tokkie Trails

Just some of the family friendly places and activities in Namibia:

  • NamibRand Family Hideout has all the flexibility of self-catering accommodation surrounded by one massive sand pit... the desert! Older kids can go sandboarding or try a 4x4 self-drive trail for themselves. Why not invite more families to join you? Or if you'd like something a little more private, there's a one-party campsite, which is always fun.

  • Take the time to explore all the life in the desert, big and small. Tok Tokkie Trails offers a 2 night/3 day guided, leisurely walking safari, with "desert luxuries" for nature lovers who would rather not be roughing it. The trail is conducted in small and personal groups from 2-8 people - perfect for a family.

  • Organise a tour with Mabaruli African Safaris with anything from game drives, quad bike rides and dolphin boat cruises to visiting the Himba and San for an unforgettable cultural encounter.

  • Camping is a family adventure in itself! Pitching the tent, cooking together and sleeping outside with Namibia as your back garden. Some good family campsites are Brandberg White Lady and Epupa Camp. Or have a look at some of these campsites in Namibia

  • For older and more adventurous children, there is sandboarding, quad biking, camel riding and a host of other adventure activities available. To find out more, download our Adventure Travel Planning Guide here.

  • Onguma Game Reserve offers the option of accommodation in a separate fenced-off camp for families that would rather not have wildlife roaming freely around their rooms

  • Andersson's Camp, Wilderness Safaris is a self-acclaimed "family camp", situated just outside Etosha, with a waterhole of its own, and has two family units tents connected by a raised boardwalk.

  • Namib Grens guest farm lies en route to Solitaire, built into the natural boulders, with dedicated family accommodation at Bushman's Rest - a completely private thatched house ideal for a large family or group of friends.

  • For a totally relaxed atmosphere, Farm Okomitundu has a bungalow playhouse right by the pool so the little ones can play to their hearts content while you sip a little something by the water.

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Etosha pan

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Small and fascinating creatures of the Namib Desert,  Photo courtesy of Tok Tokkie Trails

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Around the campfire near Etosha, Photo courtesy of Andersson's Camp, Wilderness Safaris

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Pally, the Ultimate Sandboarding instructor, just outside Swakopmund

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Time together in Deadvlei; Photo courtesy of Mabaruli African Safaris

Tips for travelling in Namibia with the kids

  • Break up the long drives: Namibia is a vast land, and you'll be tempted to try and squeeze it all in. The scenery along the way definitely makes the long distances worth your while, but small kids might not be as enthusiastic about it as you are! If you’re driving for a long time, try stop every couple of hours and take in the sights along the way. If driving long distances is not ideal for your family, there are also internal flight options.

  • Pack a few distractions: Make sure you pack something for them to do in the car if they start getting restless on the long drives - some games, an ipad or books, but be careful of car sickness.

  • Take extra snacks and refreshments: It can get mighty hot in the car, and the next pit stop can take a while in a country as empty and expansive as Namibia. So be sure to pack some water and cool drinks to keep the family going on the road.

  • Make them part of it: Sometimes, game watching can be a test of patience. Make the search part of their experience, and see who can spot what first. Hand them the camera every now and then so they can start documenting the sights and sounds for themselves, and really get into it.

  • Don’t be too demanding: There will be many early mornings and long drives which can take its toll on the younger ones, so don’t expect them to be attentive all the time. Let them sleep when they want to and just wake them up when something more interesting happens. Try not pack in too many drives, and make sure you have some time to relax back at the lodge.

  • Save the best for last: Instead of rushing through to the big five straight away, get them excited about even the smallest of discoveries along the way – from beetles in the sand to baboons along the road.

  • Watch the small kids: Most lodges in Namibia have swimming pools, which you'll want to dip in and out of on a hot day. However, they are not covered with safety nets, so be vigilant if travelling with small children. And don’t forget that you are in the wild - respect that wild animals are wild!

  • Ask about child policies: Most lodges will do their best to help you and your family, giving early dinners to small children, helping clean baby bottles and even sometimes even baby-sitting. But it’s best to check before booking, whether or not the lodge can accommodate your needs.

  • Let the little ones read up about Namibian wildlife in National Geographic for kids. 

To get started on your Namibian family adventure, read our Travel Planning Checklist and download our Namibia Travel Planning Guide.

Camping in Namibia - Waking up in Wild Landscapes

  
  


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The serenity of camping.
(Photo source: African Exlporations)

 

Aaah, the great outdoors! There aren’t many things that beat the feeling of unzipping your tent at the first cry of a guinea fowl and stepping out to the sight of pink-tinged skies and trees full of twittering birds. Of course, dozing off next to the camp-fire while counting shooting stars comes pretty close.

For the eternal photographers and the adventurous at heart, Namibia is a camping paradise. The terrain varies from the harsh, barren, stony plains around the Fish River Canyon, past the vast red dunes of Sossusvlei; along the windswept shores of the cold Atlantic Ocean to the seemingly endless plains and rocky mountains of Damaraland; and to the humid forests on the banks of the Zambezi River in Caprivi. Each option holds a secret treasure of its own.

There’s a wide choice of sites all over Namibia for seasoned campers, as well as for nervous novices on their first camping holiday, from luxury campsites under shady trees and grassy lawns, to wild places under a camelthorn tree.

And what could be better than camping under the Milky Way? One of the spectacular features of the southern night sky, best viewed under some of the world's darkest skies in Namibia.

What to pack for your Africa camping adventure:

  • The usual gear – tents, sleeping bags, cooking utensils, food, emergency supplies and a first­aid kit

  • Binoculars - for tracking down those untamed creatures

  • Toilet paper – always handy, in allsorts of emergencies

  • Hand sanitizer - it can be difficult to find clean water or facilities in some places

  • Something for campsite fun – like balls, kites, frisbees etc. especially when travelling with kids

  • Insect repellent - for those buzzing and flying annoyances. Remember, in some parts of northern Namibia, malaria is endemic, so check before you go

  • Books and magazines - for when relaxing under a tree

  • Water, water, water – rather too much than too little. Remember, Namibia is a desert country

  • Rope – use it to pull your car out of a patch of thick sand or even as an emergency washing line

  • Sunscreen – with Namibia’s ample sunshine, it’s always a good move to cover up

  • Locks and protective covering for your valuables - holiday stories are just not the same when the camera disappears halfway down the line

  • Two spare tyres – you can never be too careful

  • A relaxed mood - The wild open spaces of Namibia are best enjoyed with by unwinding and allowing the awe-inspiring views to sink in properly

Remember to drive slowly and keep an eye out for the smaller treasures of the land – a beautiful desert succulent, a curious chameleon, or a colony of meerkats. There is invariably more than meets the eye.

Here are some useful links to get you happy campers going:

 

This text is an adaptation of an article originally posted in Namibia Holiday & Travel. Download the iPhone and iPad app for free. Or contact Travel News Namibia to purchase a hard copy. 

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