We love camping. We are so lucky to live in one of the best countries for camping. There are so many options. Free camping is the best but you do have to be willing to do without a toilet. This can be a challenge for many. If this is the case you can always compromise by staying at a campsite which has ablutions but still has that roughing it feel. Very often this is the way to go if you also need a warm shower. Otherwise feel free to pack up and see where the road takes you.
In Namibia it is possible to have it all when it comes to camping. There are many rural campsites that still have the wild element. You can have elephants and other wild game passing at any time and at times hear the lions roaring in the distance.
We regularly do a combination of both free camping and staying at campsites. It all depends on the area we are visiting.
The packing. Pacing for a long camping trip can be an overwhelming task. If we go for two weeks camping that means we need to have two weeks worth of food for four people. With two growing boys this is often a lot of food. If we can we work in a stopover somewhere along the way where we can restock at least some of our supplies.
This is the desert so unless we are going to a campsite that provides water we need to take along as much as we will need. We will also need water to wash dishes and shower (we have a camping shower). This can turn out to be quite a bit of water.
And of course since we usually go alone we take along tools in case of any car issues. We have an old Land Rover which we love but does often need some tweaking during long trips.
We need to live for two weeks from our car so the packing is a vital part of the camping trip. We have often found ourselves without a bread knife or bottle opener or can opener which is not the end of the world but it is nice to have to make a plan. Bedding is another vital part of the packing process. In the desert the days are very hot but the nights can be extremely cold. We have had to spend nights sleeping in our clothes and jackets because we did not pack enough blankets. Lesson learned.
Once all the essentials for the trip are sorted we are ready to hit the road.
This is one of our favourite places to camp, the SRT Ugab campsite. My husband lived and worked here for a year so he is very familiar with the area. It is very remote, full of wild life, has access to water and still provides a warm shower at the end of the day.
We spend a day of two here walking up and down the riverbeds and climbing mountains. This is a beautiful and peaceful place and if you are lucky a heard of desert adapted elephant will stroll by during your stay.
We regularly stay at a camp spot for two to three days. After that we move on. Setting up and taking down a campsite can be quite taxing so we try not to move every night unless we need to have a quick stop over before reaching our destination. It is best to plan your route more or less so that you can really enjoy where you are and have time to explore it fully.
Namibia is beautiful and diverse. The distances are long but the journey is part of the experience. Many times travellers zoom through the country going from one tourist spot to another and they miss all the beauty and tranquillity that Namibia has to offer. So yes, you need to slow down to enjoy it. The desert almost demands it.
When to camp is also a big question as we try to avoid it during the high tourist season and public holidays. This when these deserted roads appear more like highways than calm tracks in the desert. Also, because it is the desert we have to be aware of seasonal temperatures. If we go too far north during the summer it will be too hot during the middle of the day. Unless there is a pool and plenty of shade it will not be pleasant.
The winter is the ideal time to camp as the desert is warm and comfortable. It is also nice to escape the cold of the coast during these times.
At times we are only able to squeeze in a short trip, just a few days or weekend. This is fine as it allows us to recharge our batteries slightly. But I have found that in order to really switch off we need at least a week. This gives our minds time to adjust to the new pace. After about two days I am able to really relax without thinking about the daily worries.
There is also very limited cellphone service so we are forced to switch off and relax.
This is what camping is all about, the simple things.
a broad life©