There aren’t many places in the world where you can shower with an elephant before enjoying dinner around a campfire while live music pulsates with energetic township vibe. Not unless you stay at Etosha Safari Camp 10km south of Etosha National Park’s Andersson Gate in Namibia.
There’s a shanty town alley of small spaces holding funky objects like entire car doors and their windows plastered into the walls as if they are building materials. There are old kettles, faded political posters and a tin lean-to roof stacked high with tin chests and old-fashioned suitcases. At the far end, a full-size train carriage painted light green has a medley of baskets and other bric-a-brac on its roof.
Dinner was a delicious gemsbok stew with pap and pumpkin, and there was kudu stirfry and tender chicken too, all set up as a buffet along the side of the train carriage. We ate by candlelight on the verandah and tapped our toes in time with live music around the small campfire.
Singing and playing, building the mood from mournful to merry, were Chris, Stefanus Gaeb and Jomo Africanus. Stefanus played a guitar made from a 5-litre Castrol oil tin attached to the amplifier, while Jomo played guitar, drums and accordion. One of the waiters, who had been shimmying while he worked, joined in here and there to strum a guitar or play drums. The diners bobbed their shoulders and tapped their feet to the rhythm, clapping at the end of every piece.
Things to do at Etosha Safari Camp
1. Go on a guided drive in an open safari vehicle into Etosha National Park, just 10km away. Choose from a half day (4-hour) or full day (8-hour) trip, or even drive there in your own vehicle. There are a number of excellent waterholes in easy reach of the Andersson entrance gate, such as Nebrownii, Okaukuejo (a waterhole you can see from inside the camp) and even Okondeka. You can expect to see kudu, giraffe, black-faced impala, warthog, springbok, zebra, wildebeest and gemsbok, maybe even lion or elephant.
3. Cool down in the heat of the day with a dip in the pool in the main area. Laze on the chairs under umbrellas and read a book until it’s time to cool off again.
5. Keep a lookout as you move about the camp for birds and small creatures, like the dainty dik-dik we saw on an early morning visit near our cabin.
7. Enjoy a cold beer at the quirky ‘township’ pub, chuckle at some of the signs, park yourself in a chair ingeniously made from recycled car tyres.
8. Don’t miss at least one dinner during your stay. It comes with a side order of vibey music that makes for a full evening’s entertainment. It'll be one of the most fun things you do on your holidays in Namibia.
9. Browse or buy some of the affordable curios in the shop next to the reception area, like fridge magnets, bracelets and necklaces, scarves, etc.
Crazy discounts you need to know about
If you’re planning a trip to Namibia, do yourself a favour and invest in a Gondwana Card. R200/N$200 gets you a card for five years and gives you great discounts on some 40 Gondwana Collection properties across this vast and beautiful country. Namibians get a 50% discount on accommodation, and visitors from SADC countries get 40% discount on accommodation, both in their lodges and campsites. In addition, the card gets you 25% off meals and activities.
It doesn’t matter whether your budget stretches to luxury lodges or you prefer camping, with discounts like these, what are you waiting for? Namibia is calling.
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Places to visit and things to do in Namibia: the north
Etosha Safari Lodge: classic safari style
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