Our Route through Namibia……..
General Namibia Tip
Don’t panic if you have not booked accommodation - there is so much available! Almost every farm offers some form of accommodation. Most farmers have converted at least a portion of their farms into a campsite and camping is very cheap - often as little as N$20-00 per person per night. In addition, some farms have bungalows and chalets available and in many cases you will also be able to have a farm breakfast before you depart in the morning.
We entered Nambia at the Vioolsdrif / Noordoewer border post. Our first scheduled stop was to be at the Ai-Ais hot springs which is situated at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon. We had heard that the southern part of Namibia had experienced a lot of rain and that Ai-Ais had experienced some flooding. We were however assured by the border officials that Ai-Ais had re-opended. When we reached Ai-Ais however it was clear that it was not open and that the whole complex had experienced substantial damage during the floods. In fact, the staff had been completely cut off from their residential quarters and a bulldozer was in the process of clearing an access path to the resort so that the staff could reach their houses. We were told by the workmen that the resort had been badly damaged and that it would in all likelihood be closed for the better part of the rest of the year. We would suggest that Ai-Ais be excluded from any potential travel plans until next year. Should you wish to visit Ai-Ais we would recommend that you contact the offices of the Ministry of the Environment and Tourism (MET) to obtain the latest information.
Some basic information on Ai-Ais is included hereunder for reference, however:
Park Entrance Fees (per day)
· Adults - N$ 10-00
· Children - N$ 1-00
· Vehicle - N$10-00
Entrance to Mineral Baths
· Adults - N$ 2-00
· Children - N$1-00
· N$ 90-00 per site per night
There are various accommodation options available if you don’t want to camp – ranging from at luxury flat (incl bathroom, bedding, hotplate) at N$280-00 to a 4 bedroom hut (communal bathrooms) at N$180-00 per night. There is also a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Ai-Ais is open between March and October and it is recommended that bookings be made through the central reservations office in Windhoek.
As we could not spend the night at Ai-Ais we pushed on to Hobas, a camping site situated about 10km from the main viewpoint along the access road to the Fish River Canyon. The Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in the Southern Hemisphere. Although it is recommended that accommodation and camping at Hobas be through the central reservations office in Windhoek we arrived without a booking and were accommodated easily.
Camping at Hobas costs N$90-00 per site per night. The campsites are large and have fireplaces and taps. There are also adequate ablution facilities. There is a kiosk that sells beer, cold drinks, basic food supplies, postcards etc. The only down side to the Hobas camp site is that it is a regular stopping spot for overland trucks and can be quite crowded and noisy. On the night that we camped at Hobas three enormous pink buses arrived and disgorged their passengers (all Swedish teenagers) en masse. The evening was quite unpleasant as the hoardes dominated the ablution blocks and made a huge noise.
For those travellers who require a bit of peace and quiet we would recommend camping at the Gondwana Canon Lodge or the Canon Roadhouse. The Roadhouse is about 12 km’s from the Hobas entrance to the Fish River Canyon on the D601. The Roadhouse offers a wide range of accommodation options. Double rooms cost N$ 240-00 per person per night and singles start from N$310-00 per person per night. Camping costs only N$30-00 per person per night. The Roadhouse also offers a fully licensed bar and restaurant and a swimming pool. This is definitely an option for those travellers who require a greater degree of peace and quiet.
The Fish River Canyon
The Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere and is approximately 160 km in length and about 27 km wide. The canyon is about 550 metres deep at its deepest point. The canyon is absolutely stunning and views from the various viewpoints are breathtaking. The main viewpoint is about 10 kilometres from Hobas and there are various walking trails that can be done in and around the area. The well-known Fish River hiking trail starts from the main viewpoint and wends its way along the canyon ending at Ai-Ais. The trail is about 80 kms long and takes about 4-5 days. The trail is however only open to visitors from 15 April until 15 September each year. The trail is enormously popular and should you wish to do it you will need to book through the central reservations office in Windhoek. A fair level of fitness is required before visitors are allowed to embark on the hike and you will be required to submit a recent medical certificate of fitness and will be required to complete an indemnity form.
As the trail was not open during our visit and because we were hardly fit enough to attempt it, we had to be content with a visit to the main viewpoint and a brief walk around the area. Access to the Park costs N$10-00 for adults and N$1-00 for children (per day). Entrance for vehicles cost N$10-00 per day.
The Fish River Canyon
After our visit to the Canyon we headed to Keetmanshoop. We spent one night in Keetmanshoop before pushing on to Luderitz. Keetmanshoop is situated on the main B1 route and provides a convenient overnight stop on the way to Luderitz. The route to Keetmanshoop and from Keetmanshoop to Luderitz is tarred and is in relatively good condition. Keetmanshoop is not a great tourist destination and we would suggest avoiding it if possible. We camped at the Municipal Camp and Caravan Park. Camping costs about N$20-00 per person per night. Although the ablution facilities were excellent, the campsite itself is quite dismal as it is situated in the middle of town and very near to a main road and railway line. It was however perfect for our purposes as all we needed to do was to put up our tent and sleep. Other options for accommodation include the Lafenis Rest Camp on the way in to Keetmanshoop which offers camping and bungalow accommodation. There is also that Canyon Hotel which is very popular although much more expensive. The Canyon does have a great pool and bar though - worth a visit if only to cool down! Dining options are very few and far between in Keetmanshoop. We had dinner at Lara’s Restaurant on the corner of 5th Avenue and Schmeide Street. The Lonely Planet describes Lara’s as having strange decor and even stranger music - they are quite correct! The menu and wine list were very limited but we were able to secure two schnitzels and a bottle of Chateau Libertas for about N$100-00.
Aus is a convenient spot to have lunch and a break on the way between Keetmanshoop and Luderitz. The best route to Luderitz from Keetmanshoop is on the tarred B4 route. The route travels through the desert and is very hot and dry. Make sure that you have enough water for both you and your car! Also look out for sand on the road as there is quite a bit of sand that drifts from the dunes onto the road.
There is not much to see at Aus except for the ruins of an internment camp where the British (and South Africans) interned German soldiers during the First World War. The allied powers housed their German prisoners in tents and as you can imagine it was scorchingly as Aus is surrounded by desert. The soldiers did not sit on their hands while they were interned and decided to improve their lot by building brick houses. They set about building a myriad of small houses and buildings to provide shade and shelter. They also offered to build houses for their captors who were too proud or pigheaded to accept the offer and so spent the whole 2 years sweltering in their tents! All that remains of the camp now is ruins but is still possible to see the outlay of the camp settlement. Don’t forget the sunscreen though - it is deathly hot wandering around the ruins!
Ruins of Internment Camp at Aus
Visit Namib Takeaways and Rest Stop on your way back through town. They serve ice-cold beers and cool drinks and delicious sandwiches and German delicacies. This is also a good spot to fill up with petrol or diesel before setting off for Luderitz.
On the drive to Luderitz keep your eyes peeled for the wild horses of the Namib that are found along this route. There are actually signs warning you about horses on the road. No one really knows where these horses come from but they have lived in the desert for almost 100 years.
Wild Horses of the Namib
Luderitz is correctly described by the Lonely Planet as “a surreal colonial relic”. It’s a complete anomaly! A bit of Bavaria in the desert. In addition, the Namibian Coast must be one of the most barren, windswept and inhospitable coasts anywhere. Camping in Luderitz is difficult as there is not much available. The only option is the very windy Shark Island which although beautiful is unbearable! I think that camping costs about N$60-00 per site per night but for that you have the pleasure of gale force winds throughout the night!
We opted to stay in a hotel and chose the new Nest Hotel which is situated on the Luderitz Peninsula. The Nest is part of the same group as the Canyon hotel in Keetmanshoop and is fairly luxurious. A double room cost us about N$510-00 for the night. Unfortunately the night that we stayed at the hotel there was a breakdown in the Luderitz water supply and so we were unable to shower or bath. We did have a swim in the pool though! The hotel also offers excellent dinners and breakfasts and has a decent wine list. Some other accommodation options include the Bay View hotel, the Luderitz Guesthouse and Haus Windeck. There are also a couple of youth hostels in Luderitz.
We dined at our hotel so did not try any of the restaurants in Luderitz. We were advised however that the On the Rocks restaurant was not worth a visit as the service was shoddy and the quality of the food poor.
Laundry in Luderitz
By the time we hit Luderitz we were absolutely desperate to have some laundry done but there is no Laundromat in town. We were however given an excellent tip by some fellow travellers. The town florist does laundry in her spare time and is more than happy to do laundry after hours or over the weekend. Her phone number is 203 050 and after hours 202 018 / 203 919. She is very efficient and was able to do our laundry within a morning and two black bags full of laundry only cost about N$120-00.
Luderitz over the weekends
If you are planning to arrive in Luderitz on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday make sure that you have already stocked up on all your food, drinks, firewood and ice, as there is nothing open over the weekends. There is a Sentra in town but this is closed after 13h00 on a Saturday. There is also not a single café - all we could find was a video store that sold cokes!
Visiting the ghost town of Kolmanskop is a must for visitors to Luderitz. Guided tours take place Mondays to Saturdays at 9h30 and 10h45 and on Sundays at 10h00. It is well worth taking a tour, as the guides are able to provide you with a lot of interesting information about the town. Kolmanskop was established as a diamond-mining town in 1908. Diamond mining operations were conducted at Kolmanskop for many years and the town was very wealthy sporting a bowling alley, concert hall, hospital, school and ice factory. With the advent of diamond mining operations at Oranjemund however Kolmanskop was gradually abandoned until the last inhabitants left in the early 1950's. Since then the desert has encroached on the town and is gradually reclaiming it. To visit the town you need a permit as Kolmanskop is situated in the diamond mining or Sperrgebiet and access is restricted. Permits can be obtained at Luderitz Tours and Safaris in Bismarck Street (Tel 202719) or contact Mrs Esterhuizen - her number is 203075.
Luderitz Tours and Safaris also offer various tours around Halifax Island , Dias Point, Agate Beach, Aus and a Historical City Tour by car or on foot. You can also book to visit Bogenfels (a 55 metre high rock arch on the coast that is not accessible without a permit as it is in the Sperrgebiet) and Elizabeth Bay. Luderitz Tours and Safaris recommend that you allow 4 days advance booking if you wish to do any of their tours into the Sperrgebiet.
· The Felsenkirche
This beautiful church is perched on the highest point in Luderitz and has gorgeous stained glass windows. The church is locked during the day but is opened once a day when the bells are rung. During the summer the church is opened at 18h00 and during the winter at 17h00.
· Other Luderitz tit bits
- Internet and Email - Club Internet in Bismarck Street
- Carpet Factory - Bismarck Street - 202 070(tel)
- Luderitz Museum - Diaz Street - open between 8h30 and 11h00 and again between 16h30 and 18h00 Monday to Friday and Saturday between 9h00 and 11h00
- Make sure you pack warm clothes - the wind in Luderitz blows all day and is freezing!!!
We toured Kolmanskop and then spent the rest of the day driving around the Luderitz Recreational Area which includes Diaz Point. We also took a walk along Agate Beach. As we could only afford one night at the Nest hotel and could not face camping at the dreary shark island we headed off after our second day in Luderitz.
Koiimasis is a private farm situated on the edge of the Namib Desert and it provides a convenient overnight spot on the way from Luderitz to Sossusvlei. The farm can be reached by driving north along the C13 from Aus. One turns right from the C13 on to route 707. Route 707 was described to us as the most beautiful road in Namibia – not far wrong! The road runs along the edge of the Namib Desert providing the most spectacular views of the red dunes of the desert. After travelling about 80 km’s along the 707 turn right onto the P409 (a farm road that is not more than a track!). The entrance to the farm is well signposted.
Koiimasis is an ostrich farm which is run as part of a greater nature conservancy. There are five large campsites available. No bungalows are available at this stage but some may be built in the near future. Check out the unique ablution block! The owner of the farm, Wulf Itzo, is a real character and an excellent host. He will no doubt offer to braai ostrich meat for you and to take you on a game drive on his farm. We agreed to the ostrich braai and game drive and, although both were thoroughly enjoyable, were quite pricey so enquire beforehand! Camping costs N$60-00 per person per night. The farm is magnificent and very private! We ended up staying two nights.
We visited Duwisib Castle en route from Koiimasis to Sossusvlei. The Castle was built by Baron von Wolf during colonial times. The stone castle is a real anomaly – a part of Germany in the desert! The whole story is quite sad. The Baron built the castle just prior to the First World War and returned to it after marrying his American bride. The couple loved horses and travelled all over the world in search of breeding stock. While on a trip to South America the First World War broke out and they were unable to return to, what was in those days South West Africa. The Baron went off to fight in the war and was killed and his wife never returned to Duwisib Castle. Their original furniture still remains in the castle today. It is rumoured that the wild horses of the Namib are the offspring of the Baron’s horses that ran wild after he did not return to the castle.
Although the castle has not been very well maintained it is well worth a visit. There is also a camp site next to the castle where one can overnight. Camping costs N$80-00 per site per night. We did not stay at Schloss Duwisib so cannot report on the conditions of the campsite or ablution block.
Sossusvlei is situated in the Namib Naukluft Park – a park which comprises 40 000 square kilometres and is one of the largest nature conservation areas in the world. The Park is divided into 4 sections, Sesriem and Sossusvlei, the Naukluft, the Namib and Sandwich Harbour. Most of the park is classified as arid and semi arid.
The closest campsite to Sossusvlei is at Sesriem. There are 18 campsites, which cost N$ 130-00 per site per night. There are communal ablution blocks. No bungalows are available. There is a kiosk that sells wood, fuel, food, drinks and beer. Entrance to the Namib Naukluft Park is N$10-00 per day for adults and N$1-00 per day for children. An additional N$10-00 per vehicle is also payable. We had not booked at Sesriem and when we arrived there we found that it was full. There are various other options available – not many are close to the park entrance however. The most expensive option is the luxury Movenpick hotel at Sesriem which has a swimming pool (very necessary as it is extremely hot!). A double room costs about N$1350-00 (bed and breakfast) for the night! Definitely out of our budget. There is another campsite about 5km’s from the entrance to the park that absorbs the overflow of campers from Sesriem. This campsite is very bleak and unappealing. In the end we drove about 45 kms from Sesriem on the Hammerstein road and camped on a farm called Bethanie. The facilities were not great but they served their purpose and cost only N$10-00 per person per night. Bethanie also has a swimming pool.
The Sesriem Canyon and Sossusvlei can be viewed between sunset and sunrise and are absolutely magnificent! Make sure that you stop at the much-photographed Dune 45 on the way to Sossusvlei. Sossusvlei itself is about 63 kilometres from the entrance to the park. 2x4 vehicles have to stop at the parking lot 5 kilometres from the vlei and their drivers have to walk the last part of the route to the vlei. It is exceptionally hot and this should not be attempted by the faint hearted. Should you decide to do the walk make sure that you have lots of water and sunscreen!
4x4 vehicles can drive right to the vlei from where various dune walks can be attempted. Once again, the same caveats apply – it is very hot – so make sure you have sufficient water and sunscreen! We did not need to deflate our tyres to drive the last 5 kilometres to the vlei, as although there is sand on the road, there is a hard under layer which can be driven on quite easily without deflating the tyres. Also check out Hiddenvlei and Dooievlei!
We did not stay at Naukluft but we understand that there are beautiful campsites and hiking trails available in the Naukluft area. Details can be obtained from Tourist Information of from the Central Reservations Office.
We headed from Sossusvlei to Walvis Bay through a large portion of the Namib Naukluft park. The drive is beautiful! We arrived at Walvis Bay at about 20h00 in the evening and checked into the Walvis Bay Protea Hotel – double rooms cost N$320-00 bed and breakfast. We were really impressed with the Protea hotel – the room had a superb bath, TV and MNET and comfortable beds.
Walvis Bay used to be part of South Africa and is quite South African in character – we were able to stock up with groceries at Pick and Pay and get some additional camping supplies at Cymot. We also did our laundry at a hotel around the corner from the hotel. Walvis Bay is not a great tourist town and there is very little to see. The town is very industrial and has a big harbour. After a morning of doing errands we headed for Swaopmund some 40 km’s away.
A visit to Namibia would not be complete without a visit to Swakopmund. It is a must! Swakopmund is quaint and atmospheric and very German in character. Various camping options are available in Swakopmund. The cheapest is at Mile 4 campsite which is literally 4 miles out of Swakopmund on the Henties Bay road. Campsites at mile 4 cost N$20-00 per person per night. Sites with electricity cost N$10-00 extra. The campsite is very bleak and dismal but the ablution facilities are adequate. There are some very run down rooms available at Mile 4 which are not recommended. After spending one night at Mile 4 we decided to camp at the Alte Bruke resort which is in Swakopmund itself. Camping at Alte Bruke is quite luxurious. Each site has its own fireplace and private bathroom. Sites cost N$100-00 per night but are well worth it for the luxury. We ended up spending two nights at Alte Bruke before heading up to Skeleton Coast. If you don’t want to camp there are a whole host of Bed and Breakfasts, hotels and pensions that can provide accommodation. The Swakopmund Tourist Information in Kaiser Wilhelm Street can provide you with brochures and price lists for most of the establishments in Swakopmunt.
A great place to dine in Swakopmund is the very German Restaurant Brauhaus that serves superb Eisbein and other German delicacies. The Out of Africa Coffee Shop serves excellent coffee and breakfast. Definitely plan to spend at least a morning strolling around the centre of Swakopmund checking out the curio shops, bakeries and malls. Also worth a visit is the Swakopmund Aquarium. It only costs about N$10-00 per person to visit the Aquarium and there is a lot to see.
Swakopmund has become a centre for all sorts of extreme sports including dune boarding, deep-sea fishing, desert picnics, sundowners, hot air balloon rides and parachuting etc. The Swakopmund Adventure Centre offers information about all sorts of extreme activities that can be done in and around Swakopmund and is happy to make bookings for you. The Adventure Centre also provides information about accommodation, youth hostels, trips and transport and offers Internet and Email facilities.
We chose to do a deep sea fishing trip that was organised for us by the Adventure Centre. The trip cost about N$400-00 per person and involved a day out on a boat skippered by a Swakopmund local called Hakkie. All the rods, line, bait, lunch and drinks were provided for the day out at sea. We travelled about 10 km’s from the Swakopmund coast on Hakkie’s boat before he located a shoal of fish on his fish finder. The fishing was very easy – all we needed to do was drop our lines over the side of the boat and the fish seemed to be biting. Nev and I caught about 20 fish between us – mostly black tails and some galjoen (both great eating fish.). It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and is recommended! The best part is that when you return to shore Hakkie and his men clean all the fish so that they are ready to be put on the braai when you take them home.
Swakopmund is very historical and there are lots of museums and monuments to visit – these include the Woermann House, the old Jetty (which was closed for renovations when we were there), State House, the Lutherische Kerk and the War Memorial. Trips to the Rossing Uranium Mine also leave from Swakopmund every Friday morning. It is also possible to do tours of the Hansa Breweries on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Our Swakopmund Fishing Trip
After leaving Swakopmund we headed up the coast to the Skeleton Coast National Park. We drove via Henties Bay and camped at the Mile 108 campsite. The Mile 108 campsite although cheap is absolutely awful and should be avoided at all cost!!! Camping at Mile 108 costs N$20-00 per person per night. There are no flushing toilets and merely “long drops” or pit latrines. The smell is disgusting. Hot showers cost N$ 2-00 per person but the shower block is miles away from the campsite. It is definitely preferable to stay in Henties Bay which, although further from Skeleton Coast, is much nicer!
The Skeleton Coast National Park stretches from the Ugab River to the Kunene River. This stretch of coast is barren and inhospitable and s infamous for its treacherous sand banks to which many shops have fallen prey. Entrance to the park costs N$20-00 per person per day for adults and N$1-00 for children. An additional N$10-00 is payable for vehicles. Day visitors who want to drive through the park must obtain their transit permits at the park entrances at Ugabmund or Springbokwasser. Day visitors are not permitted to visit Terrace Bay or Torra Bay and are not allowed to enter the park later than 15h00 in the afternoon. There are overnight spots in the park is at Terrace and Torra Bay. At Terrace Bay there are single and double rooms are available as well as campsites. Campsites are also available at Torra Bay. Overnight visitors must reach the checkpoint at the Ugab river mouth by no later than 15h00 to ensure that they reach their overnight spots timeously.
We had been assured by the MET office in Swakopmund that the Skeleton Coast park was open and so we trekked up the barren and inhospitable coast to Mile 108 where we overnighted so that we could enter the park early the next morning. The horror of Mile 108 was indescribable and when we reached the entrance to Skeleton Coast we were advised that the Ugab river had flooded and so all access to the Skeleton Coast park had been closed. We were disappointed to say the least! However, after our stay at Mile 108 we realised that the only people who venture up the West coast of Namibia to Terrace or Torra Bay are only the hardiest fishermen. Camping up there is not for the faint hearted. It was however a pity that we did not get to see the Skeleton Coast Park. It is definitely advisable to pre-book accommodation at Skeleton Coast and to find out about conditions before setting off up the coast.
After the Skeleton Coast disaster we headed back to Swakopmund and then on to Etosha.
Something else to visit en route to the Skeleton Coast is the Cape Cross Seal Reserve - one of the first explorers who set foot on the Namibian Coast was Diago Cao who landed at Cape Cross and erected a marble cross. Today one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals can be found here.
The Etosha National Park is situated in Northern Namibia and is one of Namibia’s premier holiday destinations. Etosha is one of the largest game reserves in the world and is open all year. It is best to visit Etosha during the winter months (between May and September) when the park is relatively dry. During the rainy season there is so much water around that the animals have no need to visit the many waterholes in the park and so are not visible to visitors. We spent 6 nights in the park - two nights at each of the three camps. We did not see much game of the “Big 5" variety but saw large numbers of zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, gemsbok and springbok. It took a week of game viewing before we saw an elephant and it was only on our last morning in the park that we finally saw a pride of lions. We did see some fantastic birds though including flamingos on the pan - flamingos apparently migrate to the Etosha pan during their breeding season. Some of the other animals that we saw included red hartebeest, black back jackal, warthogs, damara dik dik and steenbok. Etosha is a fantastic place to visit, however, despite the fact that we did not see much game. The park is excellent value for money and provides a balanced combination of game viewing and relaxation.
The park can be reached by travelling north from Windhoek along the B1 (tarred). Petrol (both leaded and unleaded) as well as diesel is available at most if not all the towns along the route. We travelled to the park from Swakopmund and bypassed Omaruru, Otjiwarongo and Otjou, entering the park at Okaukeujo. We left the park at Numatoni and travelled back to Windhoek via Tsumeb.
Park Usage Fees (per person per day as at March 2000)
Adults - N$30-00
Children - N$1-00
Vehicle - N$10-00
These fees are payable each day that one spends in the park, irrespective of the time of entry and departure.
Etosha Tit Bits
· We did not book our camping in advance and it was not necessary as we visited the park out of season. It would probably be wise to book should you wish to stay in accommodation at the park or should you wish to visit the park during the high season. Bookings can be done through the Central Reservations office in Windhoek.
· It is important when entering the park that one leaves sufficient time to reach the gates of the camp before sunset. The camp gates close sharply at sunset and any tourists outside the gates will be given a warning (which is endorsed on your permit) and may even be fined for lateness. We thought that these rules were flexible but found out that they were not on the first night of our stay at Okaukeujo when we arrived back from our game drive after sunset and were given a warning in no uncertain terms by one of the park wardens! This rule also needs to be adhered to when travelling between camps in the park.
· We spent two nights at Okaukuejo, Halali and Namatoni respectively. The best game time for game viewing is early in the morning and in the evenings before sunset. On most days we headed out when the gates of the camp opened at sunset. It is almost impossible to sleep late in the park as the activity starts early with everyone bustling around and packing up before their game drives. This was certainly our experience of the campsites - staying in a bungalow may well be different!
· Each camp has a book where tourists and visitors record game sightings and it is useful to check the book before setting out on a game drive. Despite this we always seemed to arrive at a waterhole after a kill or after the only rhino in the park had moved along!
· The roads in Etosha are quite good and can easily be travelled on in an ordinary 2-wheel drive vehicle. A four-wheel drive vehicle is not necessary. The park staff are very good at keeping guests informed about the condition of roads, road closures, animal sightings etc.
· The speed limit in the park is 60kmph.
· No banking facilities are available at any of the camps but credit card is widely accepted.
· Firewood can be purchased at all the camps. Petrol and diesel is also sold at all the camps.
· There are landing strips at all the camps.
· All the camps in Etosha are fenced off so there is no wildlife in the camp at night - unless you count overlanders!
Okaukuejo is the southern most camp in Etosha and can be reached by following the B1 route from Windhoek through Otjiwarongo. To reach Okaukuejo one enters the park through the Andersson Gate. Okaukuejo is the administrative headquarters of the Etosha Park and is the most modern of the camps. There are various options available for accommodation at Okaukuejo ranging from a luxury bungalow (2 rooms, 4 beds, fridge, kettle, bedding, towels, own bathroom) at N$360-00 per night to a bungalow (1 room, 2 beds, own bathroom, bedding, towels, fridge, kettle, hot plate) at N$220-00. Camping costs N$130-00 per site. The camping ablution blocks are adequate and the camp has a swimming pool, restaurant, shop, bar and public telephone. The camp also has a gorgeous water hole. The only problem, once again, is that Okaukuejo is a regular spot for the overland trucks and so the camp is quite crowded and noisy.
Halali is situated between Namatoni and Okaukuejo and is about 70 kilometres from each. The facilities at Halali are more run down than those at either Namatoni or Okaukuejo. The bungalows and other accommodation is in the same range as that at Okaukuejo although there are no luxury bungalows at the Halali camp. Campsites are the same price as those at Okaukuejo and once again there is a swimming pool, water hole, shop, bar, kiosk and adequate ablution blocks. Halali is a much smaller camp than the other two and is not frequented by overland trucks which means that it is a lot quieter than the other two.
Namatoni is situated on the Eastern side of the park and can be accessed through the park or by travelling North from Windhoek on the B1 in the direction of Tsumeb. At Namatoni there is a fort that was erected during German colonial times as a police station and veterinary control point. Once again a range of accommodation is available at Namatoni in much the same price range as that available at Okaukuejo and Halali. There is also a pool, adequate ablution blocks, water hole, restaurant, shop, kiosk and public telephone. The Namatoni camp is more modern than Halali and the facilities are in better condition although are not as modern as those at Okaukuejo.
Aside from the camps in the park there are various lodges on the outskirts of the park.
After spending six days in Etosha we headed for Windhoek via Tsumeb and Ojiwarongo. Windhoek is a great city and well worth a visit! The government buildings are magnificent and there are a whole host of embassies situated on the koppie in the centre of Windhoek. We battled to find a spot to camp in Windhoek but there are lots of backpacker’s spots and youth hostels – some of the popular ones include The Chameleon Backpackers Lodge, The Cardboard Box and the Puccini International Hostel. We stayed in self-catering accommodation at the Windhoek Town Lodge – a room with on suite bathroom cost N$180-00 and was more than adequate but was not luxurious.
On our second night in Windhoek we stayed at the Daan Viljoen Game Park. It is an absolute must! The Park is situated 25km West of Windhoek along route C28. The park is really stunning and there are some superb walking routes. There are no wild animals in the park so one can walk anywhere. Camping costs N$90-00 per site per night and the campsites are situated along a river and are really beautiful. There is also a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Access to the park costs N$10-00 per person per day for adults and N$1-00 for children. An additional fee of N$10-00 is payable per vehicle.