We were completely off the grid in an area more beautiful than a rainbow. Surrounded by pinkish mountains and open plains speckled with camel thorn trees, we couldn’t see another human or hear even an echo of the hustle and bustle of normal life. We were camping in the Namtib Biosphere Reserve, Namibia, our surroundings flawless.
I’d long wanted to travel this road, not exactly a shortcut between Aus and Sossusvlei, and I was thrilled to find it well worth the detour.
Booking in could have been friendlier and more helpful, but once we backtracked and turned off to the campsite we couldn’t have been happier.
I imagine that commercial farming on the edge of the Namib Desert can be challenging, and the Thiele family who own the land here have decided to use guidelines laid down for biosphere reserves to promote sustainable use and management of natural resources. The aim is for all farming and tourism activities to be sustainable while conserving the biodiversity of the delicate environment.
Our campsite was called Little Hunter’s Rest; artefacts found under the camel thorn trees revealed that San hunters must have rested here when they were out hunting long, long ago. There were only six sites spread far apart, and simple ablutions with a donkey boiler for hot water. Each site had a built-in braai and there was a rudimentary washing up sink in the ablution area. There was no power – and just a single candle in the ablutions – but we’d done our homework and had our own solar/battery power for our fridge and lights.
About an hour later a German couple arrived and occupied another site so far away that their vehicle looked like a matchbox toy. They had no clue what a donkey boiler was or how to work it so we volunteered to make the fire for them. Ten minutes later they went for their showers, not realising that the fire would take at least 45 minutes to get the water hot. But they didn’t complain about their cold shower; they were too happy being wrapped in wilderness to care.
If you’re feeling energetic, there’s a hiking trail and a botanical trail, or you can ask at reception about going on a nature drive. But for us the two highlights were the joy of doing nothing but absorb the peace in a pristine environment, and gazing at the gazillions of bright stars far away from any sources of light pollution.
Sure, the Namtib Biosphere Reserve is a little out of the way, but that’s a turn-on for me. If you feel the same and you’re self-sufficient when you camp, I can highly recommend the setting.
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