Kalahari. It’s a word loaded with nostalgia for this dry thirstland, its red sand dunes, long-horned gemsbok, camel thorn trees and endless blue skies. If you’ve felt the Kalahari’s essence before, such words will bring memories that tug at your core. So imagine my joy to be glamping in Namibia – luxury Kalahari camping – in this matchless environment near Mariental.
I love camping, especially in wilderness areas like the Kalahari Desert, a semi-arid area of 900 000 square kilometres spread across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. I love that camping makes you feel close to nature and the earth, watching how dawn burns orange or how the sun hunkers on the horizon just before dark captures the sky. These are moments that can easily be missed when you’re enclosed by brick and mortar, your head buzzing with thoughts that have nothing to do with immersing yourself in your environment or living in the moment.
But I’m lazy and I hate setting up camp. It’s a schlep, it’s tiring when you’re already tired from travelling, and it takes time before you’re ready to sit back and breathe, to watch birds flit through the bushes, hear a branch quiver with pods.
But there’s more: there’s our glamping tent at Kalahari Anib Camping2Go. Everything is already set up for us. There are only four tents so there’s a feeling of being one of only a chosen few, a chance to soak in the immensity and silent tranquillity.
There’s no wifi and our MTC sim card didn’t have signal either, but somehow that seemed right – a chance to switch off and enjoy the ecosystem to the fullest. (If your skin is already crawling with withdrawal at the mere thought of this, relax – there’s wifi at the lodge nearby and your MTC sim card will work in the bar.)
What do you get at your Camping2Go tent?
- Large tent under a shade awning
- Bedroom area with 4 beds
- Duvets, extra blankets and hot-water bottles for winter nights
- JH Cool water cooler and fan in the bedroom for hot summers
- Solar lights
- Open-air kitchen in front under a shade awning
- Big bathroom at the back with flush toilet, basin, large shower and plenty of hot water
- Dressing area with clothes hanging and packing space
- Kitchen with 2-plate gas cooker, kettle, double sink, lockable fridge/freezer
- 4 ammo boxes of kitchen equipment, including crockery, cutlery, pots, stainless steel mugs and wine goblets, grater, egg lifter, cutting board, etc, even a coffee press
- Dish cloths, sponge, dishwashing soap, plate drying rack
- Portable braai and fire grate
- Potjie, braai tongs/brushes and scrapers
- Clothes drying rack
- 4-seat picnic table and benches on the kitchen stoep
- 2 camping chairs for sitting around the fire
- Plugs in the tent to charge phones, camera batteries, etc
- Large outside bin (and smaller ones inside)
- Key to lock your valuables in the bathroom/storage area
All you need to bring is yourself, your clothes and your food. Even the food isn’t 100% needed because you can eat at the lodge restaurant nearby or there’s a Camping2Go menu to order from if you haven’t had time to shop before you arrive. This includes bread, garlic bread, braaibroodjies (sandwiches to be toasted over the fire), mixed salad, potato salad, and a meat pack for you to braai yourself. You can buy firewood too.
Things to do at Kalahari Anib Camping2Go
Although one of my favourite things to do here turned out to be just sitting and drinking in the distinctive Kalahari vibe, the painted shadows of dawn and dusk, there are lots of activities that you’ll love.
1. Enjoy an afternoon nature drive
Read more about our sunset drive here.
2. Go e-biking across the Kalahari
3. Take a hike
Get a walking trails map from the friendly folk at reception and take one of the self-guided trails that vary from 5km to 16km. This activity is free of charge. You might see a few springbok or gemsbok along the way (a lucky friend even saw an aardwolf), some birds or tracks left in the sand to tell the story of who has passed by earlier. It’s a joy to walk unfettered through the Gondwana Kalahari Park without threat from dangerous predators.
If you want to learn more about the environment of sand dunes and how to read the tracks and signs, do a guided walk along a dune instead. The guide will enrich your experience by telling you about the plants, insects, birds, small mammals and reptiles that you encounter.
4. Gaze at the stars
5. Look for scorpions at night
After dinner, when the stars and moon have come out to play in the otherwise dark sky, join a guide for a scorpion discovery walk. If you have your own ultraviolet light, bring it along although the guide will have one for everyone to enjoy. See how scorpions glow blue-green in the dark under the UV light. Remember that this is nature so nothing can be guaranteed, but you should usually find at least a scorpion or two. The walk lasts about 45 minutes. Don’t forget to wear proper closed shoes rather than sandals.
6. Sit quietly and let nature approach
7. Get up early to watch dawn break
There’s little that’s more beautiful than the first flush of dawn in the Kalahari (see the intro pic) – unless perhaps the sunsets. Despite it being seriously cold in winter when we visited, we rose early to watch sunrise stain the eastern sky with an exquisite peachy-apricot light that deepened just before the sun popped over the horizon. As the sun clambered up in the sky, it was good to sit in a golden patch and let the warmth creep into our bones.
8. Swim on a hot day
9. Have lunch at the lodge
10. Enjoy sundowners
Glamping elsewhere in Namibia
Kalahari Anib is only one of five glamping camps that The Gondwana Collection offers in Namibia. At all of them, you may use the swimming pool and other amenities of the lodge nearby, and participate in the activities. Like Kalahari Anib, they all offer braai packs, salads and bread as well. Here are the other four.
In the far north-east of Namibia is the Zambezi region (formerly known as the Caprivi). It’s a skinny finger of land that hugs the Kavango and Kwando rivers and appears to be an entirely different country from the deserts of southern or north-west Namibia. Here among this lush, tropical vegetation lies Namushasha River Camping2Go. It’s about halfway between Divundu in the west and Katimo Mulilo in the east. Don’t miss a game drive into the Bwabwata National Park or a sunset cruise along the river.
Read more about Namushasha River Lodge
Etosha Safari Camping2Go lies 10km south of Andersson Gate into Etosha National Park, opening up chances to go self-driving into the park or on a guided drive from the lodge. Since accommodation inside the park is a lot more expensive than glamping here, this is an affordable way for couples or families to experience Etosha, which is justifiably one of Namibia’s top attractions.
Read more about Etosha Safari Lodge and its sister camp next door, Etosha Safari Camp
In north-west Namibia, Palmwag Camping2Go lies near an underground spring and the Uniab River, making it an oasis surrounded by dark red basalt rocks. About 80km west of Kamanjab, it’s a perfect stopover on your way to places deep in the Kunene region of north-west Namibia, like Purros, Van Zyl’s Pass, the Marienfluss and Epupa Falls, or to Torra Bay and Terrace Bay in the Skeleton Coast National Park.
Read more about Palmwag Lodge & Camp
4. Namib Desert
In the south you’ll find the Namib Desert Camping2Go between Solitaire and Sesriem. This puts you in reach of the dunes of Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei, which are two of the most-visited and most-photographed marvels in the country. Don’t miss the guided sundowner drive that leaves from the lodge; the views from the top of the dunes are epic (see photo below).
Read more about Namib Desert Lodge
Need to know
- To get to Kalahari Anib Camping2Go, drive north of Mariental along the B1, then turn right on to the C20 that goes to Stampriet. The turn-off to the Kalahari Anib lodge and camp is well marked on your left about 25km east of Mariental. A short gravel road will take you to reception where you book in for the Camping2Go glamping tents.
- To book for any of Camping2Go tents, email email@example.com, tel +264 61 427 200 or +264 81 129 2424 (after hours).
- To see all the Gondwana Collection lodges, glamping tents and campsites around Namibia click here.
- If you plan to spend more than one or two nights at any of the Gondwana Collection’s Camping2Go, campsites or lodges, it makes sense to buy a Gondwana Card that offers discounts. For instance, Namibians get 50% discount on accommodation, visitors from SADC countries get 40% off. There are also discounts on activities and meals. Check here for all the details.
- Need to hire a vehicle? The Gondwana Collection can help you with that too. They have Toyota Fortuners, Suzuki Jimnys, people carriers, 4x4 Hiluxes and Landcruisers fully equipped for camping. Gondwana’s Namibia2Go car rental division people are the ones to talk to.
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Climbing the dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia
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