Rob and I don’t need any excuse to pack up our trusty Toyota Hilux and head off on a camping trip, even if it’s only for one night. The beautiful weather in Namibia is perfect for spending time outdoors and in the five years that we’ve lived here we’ve seldom passed up an opportunity to take advantage of it. This last weekend we celebrated having spent one hundred and fifty nights in our rooftop tent at sixty-six different campsites in southern Africa. Quite an achievement when you consider that this figure is mostly made up of weekend camping trips of one or two nights at a time. Of course we’ve had our annual holidays too, that rack up an average of about fourteen to twenty nights at a stretch in the great outdoors.
Milestones like this give us a chance to reflect on the places we’ve been to and the things we’ve been privileged to have seen on our various trips. A few places have been revisited, but Rob’s meticulous records show that we have been to sixty-six different campsites over the last five years. Some have been chosen for the birds that are endemic to the area, whilst others have been picked for their hiking opportunities, remoteness, beauty and convenience as stop-overs en route to exciting destinations. The campsites in Namibia and Botswana never disappopint us and we come away from every camp-out with wonderful memories and great experiences. Most campsites have resident birds and animals with their own peculiar quirks and they just make each place extra special!
If anyone had to ask us which has been our favourite campsite, we would be hard-pressed to come up with an outright winner, although I’ve made it clear over the years that Ameib Ranch in the Erongo Mountains has a very special place in my heart. Camping in the Central Kalahari and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana is an unparalleled experience, with entertainment put on every day by the wild animals and birds. Where else can you watch a lion kill in solitude, or have lions walking past you as you sit around a campfire talking about the day’s events?
We’ve seen African sunsets, the Milky Way in magnificent starry splendour and heard the haunting cry of the Fish Eagle when we’ve camped on river banks and lakes. And how about seeing the early morning sun hitting a hunting cheetah! Magic stuff!
We stay in lodges sometimes – some luxurious and others very basic – and our consensus is always that they cannot compete with the outdoor experience. Camping is still our absolute favourite form of accommodation! Here’s looking forward to the next one hundred and fifty nights and all the wonderful nature experiences that await us!