We had the chance to have a long overdue catch up (and by this of course I mean a 12,000km distanced video call) with two of, not only our truly good friends, but also a pair of the most intrepid travellers we have had the pleasure to help plan faraway African escapes for! Aside from their camping prowess, Bruce is also a fantastic photographer, with all of the photos used in this post (and countless ones throughout our site) courtesy of him.
Get out your trip planner and map as Bruce & Marianne share a few of their ideal ‘becoming one with the Namibian bushveld’ spots & tricks below;
A good starting point might be how you both ended up in our little corner of South western Africa?
After spending some time in South Africa, we honestly just stumbled upon Namibia. Having the reputation of being a true safari destination while still remaining safe & self-drive friendly, it was exactly where we wanted to explore next.
It’s been almost a decade since you first visited if I’m not mistaken, what kept you coming back?
It was undoubtedly the encompassing freedom & wilderness we found here. The ability to self-drive all over the country & be completely immersed in the surrounding landscape when camping was unbelievable. With nothing separating you from nature, the bush noises that permeate your evenings & the entire dazzling night sky that hangs overhead, almost seemingly within your reach – this is what camping allows.
Another aspect of camping that’s unparalleled is the unexpected community of like minded travellers & guileless locals you find yourself apart of. Whether it be lending out an extra blow-up mattress, helping out with a charge or changing a tyre on a long, deserted road – something about the openness of the veld translates into an ingenuous nature in those who explore it.
And now to pick your brain for your top 5 camping spots!
In no real order but perhaps starting South to North, here you go;
- Kalahari Anib Campsite or camping-to-go : Venturing into the Kalahari (and a great stopover when travelling to the Kgalagadi!) this is a great option with either the usual, well equipped campsites or take a break from camp set up and try out one of their preset tents with all your usual creature comforts included.
- Sekereti Campsite : For real wild bush camping, this is a singular, almost abandoned campsite, located in the Khaudum National Park in North eastern Namibia. Just about as rustic as it gets!
- Palmwag Campsite : Definitely one of our favourites, this little oasis of a campsite allows you to spend time in the wildlife rich Palmwag concession.
- Hoada Campsite : Hidden between the boulders of Great Kaokoland, another unmissable campsite that also has a glamping option (and perhaps the coldest pool in Namibia, a poll anyone?)
- Kunene River Campsite : Who doesn’t want to laze along a lush river in Northern Namibia with perfectly set up campsite?
Lastly, completely ignoring the requested numerical count – Halali & Namutoni campsites are our go to’s when it comes to Etosha National Park.
Great, and what are some must-have items for a camping trip?
Aside from the obvious, a large supply of water is imperative (it’s warmer than you think & water points are unreliable when out in the bush), good torches, a compressor & a few good tools go a long way.
Bruce’s must haves : camera (shocker), ample charged batteries & a trusty knife
Marianne’s must haves : exercise/yoga mat (I concur!), first aid kit & a sensible amount of good books
Let’s end with a humorous memory from one of your trips…
While there are probably countless to recall, here are two that come to mind;
We were in the middle of nowhere in Sossusvlei, when nature called. Mari quickly ducked behind a dune after making sure the coast was clear. We’d like to emphasize the point ‘middle of nowhere’. Just as she almost makes it scot free, with only clear skies & red, rolling dunes as witnesses, a low flying plane appears overhead moving at a speed that feels incredibly slow. Again we’d like to emphasize the word ‘low’.
Another one would have to be when we happened to be driving along an unending deserted road on a day when the heat simmered visibly above the ground. After rolling down the windows fully for some much needed respite, a truck appeared our of nowhere and before there was time to react, came careening past spitting perfectly timed mud & dirt through the car at an impossible speed. Mud soaked & incredulous, we were cleaning the car for days to come.
Our impromptu chat ends off with a quick introduction of feline friends, a desktop set with a slideshow of their favourite safari memories keeping them sane & a dream, nay, plan of once again returning to an untamed land where sun & sky beckon.