So the thought of unwinding with a nice cool drink alongside the campfire appeals to you? The thought of enjoying the beautiful scenery that Namibia has to offer and the thought of waking up to birds singing in a tree above your head has you racing to check your camping gear? Then be sure to read further, for Namibia is a land of contrasts and while beautiful to enjoy and experience while camping, it can be just as unforgiving and a nightmare if you are not well prepared to experience the wide variety of seasons and weather Mother Nature has to offer in this camping playground.
First things first…research Namibia in detail! Contact the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), in Cape Town for some insider’s tips, search the internet, read travel magazines and visit the library. The more information you can gather to prepare, the better!
Before leaving on your big trip, be sure to check (and double check) all your equipment thoroughly. Nothing is going to ruin your holiday faster than insufficient blankets on a cold winter’s night or attempting to shower without water because your water containers have an unnoticed slow leak. The most important thing to remember is that when you travel through Namibia independently, you need to be truly self sufficient…it is no good expecting fellow campers to assist you as you may wake up to find the campground deserted or fellow campers without any spares to assist you.
For those campers who wish to hire equipment, make a stop at Camping Hire in Windhoek before setting off on your adventure! There are also a number of camping shops in the city should you need to stop for some last minute supplies.
When it comes to equipment, remember to include the basics such as a good camping mattress, sleeping bag, table and chairs, small gas stove, 3-legged potjie pots, pans, plates, bowls, mugs, cutlery, crockery, braai grid and tongs, many and varied water containers or jerry cans, washing up bowl with liquid soap and cloths, a good cooler box and preferably a fridge wired to your vehicle. Further kitchen equipment, such as knives, scissors, peelers, among others, depends on the individual.
Also have your vehicle serviced before embarking on your journey, nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of nowhere because of a problem with your car! And yes, it does happen, more often than people would care to admit! An interesting fact to note is that both sedan and 4×4 can be used for your camping adventures, you just need to research which areas are best suited for sedan models.
A fully loaded first aid box is a definite necessity and should include the basics as well as other necessary items particularly for Namibia, like a good quality sunblock as well as Malaria tablets if you are travelling within a Malaria area towards Northern Namibia. Ensure too that if you are travelling within Malaria country that you take the necessary precautions such mosquito nets or tents with built-in mosquito screens.
Carry cash as not all the smaller off-the-beaten-track towns offer debit or credit card machines. Carry extra fuel with you in a tank or even have an extra fuel tank fitted to your vehicle. Carry a spare wheel, as well as an extra spare – just in case. You may laugh now, but you might not find it so funny when you are stuck in the middle of the Trans Namibia highway and have two flat tyres…and only one spare! As the Girl Guides say – Be Prepared!
A quick bit of information to note is that firewood needs to be purchased in pre-packed form, you are not allowed to collect it loose from the veld or surrounding area where you are camping. And last, but not least, don’t forget to pack good quality binoculars and a camera to get those perfect pictures of your Namibian holiday adventure!
Namibia offers a multitude of camping options and experiences, for veteran campers or novices on their first camping adventure. From luxury campsites under shady trees and boasting sparking blue swimming pools, to wild untamed places where campsites are enjoyed “net so,” the choices are limitless!
There are a wide range of campsites to be enjoyed across Namibia. As the tourism industry has increased within this country, so has its offerings of accommodation and with that, the offerings of campsites across the country. Many attractive campsites are found in the most unlikely places, such as farms close to large tourist attractions like Etosha and Sossusvlei areas. Lovely campsites are also found in the Kalahari along the route of the newly opened Mata-Mata border post.
The Namib-Naukluft National Park has many campsites available and although quite basic, the stunning scenery and surroundings more than make up for the lack in luxuries. Several lodges and guestfarms across Namibia also have camping facilities, where the campers are usually also allowed to make use of various amenities such as the restaurant and swimming pool.
Many beautiful campgrounds are found in conservancy areas throughout the country, where the local communities may manage the sites and even provide tour guides to assist and show travellers the tourist attractions of the area. For further information on enjoying a camping holiday in Namibia, from tips on what to pack to where to camp, contact the Namibia Tourism Board on (021) 422 3298 or visit www.namibiatourism.com.na. Like NTB on Facebook/namibianexperience or follow them on twitter/ntbsa.