Imagine waking up to the grunting of a hippo, while the Okavango river gently flows past and the birds are chirping. The sun is rising and welcomes you to another adventurous day of exploring. This is camping in Namibia.
1. Lake Oanob
Just south of Windhuk, Lake Oanob is a great weekend getaway from the city. At the same time, it is an ideal starting point for travellers exploring the south of Namibia. The campground is set in the arid landscape of Southern Namibia, which is dominated by succulents. The beautiful lake, albeit artificial, acts as a welcome change in the dry surroundings. Every single campsite comes with a small ‚house‘ to cook in, bathrooms, showers and a beautiful view on the lake.
2. Kokerboom Forest Campsite
Driving further south, you don‘t want to miss the Kokerboom forests near Keetmanshop. One campground is situated directly next to a large number of Kokerboom trees, not far from the main highway. The amenities are very basic, but the beautiful Kokerbooms make more than up for it. Enjoy the sunset, night sky and sunrise among those wonderful aloe plants.
3. Duwisib Castle Campground
Inland in the Namib desert, travellers will come upon a truly astonishing sight: A castle in the middle of nowhere, commissioned by a German Hansheinrich von Wolf in 1908. Other than being a startling sight in the desert, the castle is a great place to visit. The nearby campground has many trees offering shade, and the facilities are clean. We were the only visitors staying at the campground and could thus fully enjoy the starry silence of the Namib.
4. Roiiklip Guest Farm
Without a doubt, one of the most unusual campsites we ever stayed at. Only accessible on a 17km long bumpy offroad track, Roiiklipp Guest Farm has three campsites tucked away under a massive rock overhang. After a steep access climb, for which you‘ll have to engage low range on your 4x4, you‘ll set up camp underneath a rock overhang. The amenities are hewn into the stone, but both the rock toilet and the rock shower have running water. An absolutely marvellous experience.
5. Etosha Wilderness Camp
Just outside of the Western gate of Etosha National Park, a little trail leads away from the highway to the Etosha Wilderness Camp. A small sign, which can easily be missed, points you towards the campground. The amenities are sparse, but the campsite excels at something entirely different. Set in the wilderness directly next to Etosha National Park, this area is also very popular among animals. A sheltered lookout on top of a little hill next to the campsite gives sight onto an artificial waterhole, which is frequently visited by zebras, giraffes and antelopes. This is also the place where we saw our first family of elephants!
6. Olifantsrus Campsite - Etosha National Park
Olifantsrus campsite is a great place to stay in the western part of Etosha National Park, mostly because of its wildlife viewing platform. The amenities are okay, while the prices are on the steeper end. This applies to all of the campsites within Etosha. On the wildlife platform, visitors can either get eye to eye with the animals on the ground level or watch them drink from a waterhole from above. But best of all: The platform is accessible within the gated campground so that travellers can stay until after nightfall. This is the best time to view some of the more elusive animals. Infrared light is used to make the scenery visible to human eyes, without disturbing the animals. Early in the morning, we were lucky enough to witness a brown hyena come and drink at the waterhole!
7. Okaukuejo Campsite - Etosha National Park
This campsite is both touristy and expensive, while at the same time not overly nice. You may wonder why it still makes our list. The reason is simple: It's waterhole. Once again, this campground allows you to watch animals after darkness, from the safety of a viewing area. On many benches, hundreds of people will gather and wait in silence for hours to see wildlife. We were lucky enough to watch five black rhinos congregate around the waterhole during their nightly socialising visit. This was an absolutely unforgettable experience, and that is why this otherwise mediocre campsite makes our list.
8. Mahangu Safari Lodge Camp
Situated in the far north of Namibia, on the Caprivi panhandle, the Mahangu Safari Lodge allows you to sleep directly next to the Okavango River. Ask for the last campsite, to be surrounded by nothing else than high reed grass and the gentle flow of the Okavango. We lit a bonfire in the evening and listened to the occasional grunt of a hippo before being lulled to sleep by the river. Early the next morning the sun came up across the river, with the fog slowly dancing over the surface of the water. One of our favourite campsites ever!