What kind of camping makes your heart beat and your soul sing? For me, it’s not crowded resort-style camping but bush camping in the peace of the wilderness. If that sounds like you, you’ll love Mesosaurus Fossil Camp and the chance to go bush camping in Namibia near Keetmanshoop.
Things to do on the farm
- On your drive from the office to the bush camp, keep an eye out and you might see wildlife like bat-eared fox and kudu.
- Don’t miss the fossil outing with owners Hendrik or Giel Swanepoel, who will show you a Mesosaurus fossil after which the camp was named, as well as some dark dolerite formations. Father and son discovered the 180-million-year-old reptile fossil on their farm. Mesosaurus fossils have been found in both southern Africa and South America, so are important evidence of the drifting of continents when the supercontinent of Pangaea broke apart.
- Explore one of the hiking trails on the farm, from 3km to 10km. Ask for directions at the office.
- If you have a high clearance vehicle, drive the 16km trail that takes you to a quiver tree valley.
- Lovers of photography will have ample opportunity to take wonderful shots of quiver trees, sunrises and sunsets, as well as starscapes.
- Don’t forget to look up for some stargazing. The clean, dry air here with little light pollution makes for truly memorable night skies.
- About 25km to the west, on the road you drive to the camp from Keetmanshoop, is a Quivertree Forest that is a national monument. It’s on a private farm and you will have to pay an entrance fee to see the forest of some 200-odd trees. To my mind, it’s worth the visit to say you’ve been there, but in fact you can probably see as many if not more quiver trees at and around Mesosaurus Fossil Camp.
- Some 5km west of the Quivertree Forest, also on the C17, is Giant’s Playground. Again, you have to pay an entrance fee (you pay for both together at the Quivertree Forest office). Let yourself in through the gate and follow the arrows for a walk among the rock formations. See some unusual ones that look like they’re toys scattered by giant kids – hence the name.
Mesosaurus Fossil Camp is 42km north-east of Keetmanshoop. Just outside Keetmanshoop on the B1 towards Mariental, turn right onto the C16. After 3km, turn left onto the C17 towards Koës. Continue for 39km till you see the camp on your left. In June 2018 when we travelled this road it was pretty badly corrugated, so expect to be shaken up. Book in at the office, which is where the chalets and main campsite are, but if you’re going to the bush camp, it’s 3km further on through a few farm gates that you have to open and close yourself.
Co-ordinates: 26 24’22.19”S 18 28’34.72”E
Website for rates and bookings: https://www.mesosaurus.com/
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