Category Archives: Camping , 4×4

Gannaga Pass – Tankwa Karoo National Park

It has been a while since I wrote my last blog – a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then – but now that we have our house move out of the way and we are settled in our new retirement home in beautiful Knysna in the Western Cape, it is time to resume my writing.  I promised that I would write about our visit to Gannaga Pass on the eastern side of the Tankwa Karoo National Park, so here goes.

Up the pass we go

There aren’t too many animals to look at in this rather arid park, so one has to appreciate the stark beauty of the area, and by driving up Gannaga Pass you will be able to take in the vast expanse of landscape from a high vantage point.  The drive up the pass is about six kilometers long and there are a couple of places along the way to stop and enjoy the beauty as it unfolds below you.

Ruin of a stone cottage

At the foot of the pass the vegetation comprises mostly of Gannaga bush and succulent plants like the botterboom trees, which faintly resemble baobabs with their bulbous bases.  Scarce as animals are, one has the chance to catch a glimpse of kudu and eland here as they feed on the Gannaga bushes.  Before ascending the pass, one drives past the remains of a stone cottage let go by humans and grabbed hold of by Mother Nature.  Who lived there, one might ask, in this harsh environment, and why and when did they leave?  What was it like living here all those years ago?  There are more questions than answers.

Beautiful vistas

As the road snakes up the Roggeveld Mountains the air gets thinner and cooler and the sky somehow looks more blue.  We stopped often to drink in the scenery and to watch the landmarks and insulbergs below getting smaller and smaller.  Rob commented that it would be amazing to cycle this pass, so I knew what was occupying his mind as we drove slowly higher.  Quite near the top of the pass is a viewpoint where one can relax with a cup of coffee and meditate on the peace and silence.  From here you can trace the course of a long-gone river by the ribbon of trees that hug the dry bed, and gaze on the Cedarberg Mountains on the horizon that look both blue and very far away.

A rare appearance by yours truly

As one climbs higher the vegetation changes until one reaches the top of the pass where it flattens out and grasslands prevail.  What an experience it is to scale these dizzy heights and absorb the beauty and silence of this magnificent pass.  The way down is best taken slowly lest you meet an oncoming car on the narrow road.  We descended reluctantly, not wanting to end the experience too quickly.  All too soon, however, the road deposits you back on the flat plains where the occasional Springbok was caught grazing in the morning sun.

Beautiful vistas

This is an area to explore if you want to get far away from the madding crowds and think about what it means to be disconnected from society for a while.  Don’t bother to go there if you want to be entertained, need animals to fill your time or are looking for lush vegetation.  This spot is arid and Zen-like.  Enjoy it if you dare!!!

Birding in Tankwa Karoo National Park

Last week I blogged about our camping trip to the Tankwa Karoo National Park.  As I said, we were blown away by the beautiful scenery, but that isn’t the only charm of this tiny arid park.  The bird life is also exciting and Rob was able to get some nice photos of the local avian residents.  So, before I start, let me ask you this – when is a tent not a tent?  When it’s a bird hide, of course!  Rob took his camera and wandered off along the dry river bed near the campsite, hoping to get photos of birds and animals, while I sat reading in our tent.  Imagine my surprise and delight when loads of birds came into our camp.  They didn’t see me and I had a wonderful couple of hours watching them unnoticed from our tent.  When Rob came back he immediately set up his camera and captured the shots that follow.

Southern double-collared sunbird

Most campsites have resident birds that are relatively tame, and this site was no exception.  A beautiful Familiar chat was quite at home around the tent, as was his constant companion, a Cape bunting.  They seemed to hang out together which was rather nice to watch.

Familiar chat

At times they were joined by two other buntings and happily pecked around on the ground for crumbs and insects.

Cape bunting

Two of the more colourful visitors were a Bokmakierie and this female African paradise flycatcher.  She came back often and wasn’t put off by the clicking of Rob’s camera at all.

African paradise flycatcher

Acting as if they owned the place was a pair of Cape spurfowl.  They wandered around and at times even got under our feet.  What beautiful feather markings these birds have.

Cape spurfowl

It being the Karoo, it wasn’t surprising that we were visited by a Karoo prinia.  These rather shy birds are not that easy to photograph as they flit about restlessly and hardly seem to sit still for a moment.

Karoo prinia

We placed a bowl of water on the ground hoping to see the birds drinking or bathing, but in spite of the heat and the desert-like conditions they weren’t interested in it at all.  It wasn’t in vain though, as we were soon visited by a field mouse that spent ages slaking its thirst.  It was so enchanted by this unexpected new water source that it disappeared into the bush and came back later with three more of its family.  They all drank as if they hadn’t seen water for years.  We tried this in the Central Kalahari once and our generosity had unintended consequences.  We had lots of birds drinking and bathing, but we also had a visit from a puffadder that wanted some water as well.  Not wanting to encourage snakes, we moved the water a long way from the campsite itself.

Karoo lark

Karoo larks, robins and batis’s were also spotted from out tent.  Later in the day we took a drive to a rather large dam where there was an abundance of waterbirds, but we couldn’t stay there for very long as there was no shade and the heat was a bit over-bearing.  If SANParks wanted any suggestions for improvements at Tankwa, I would happily recommend they erect a small shelter at the dam where people could sit in shade and watch the birds.

Next week I will chat about our drive up the stunning Gannaga Pass.

Time Out in Tankwa

You know when you pass a sign that reads “Absolutely Nothing From Here” that you’re heading into a remote area.  Rob and I had a chuckle when we saw that, but instead of putting us off we were eagerly anticipating the vast empty plains and vistas of the Tankwa Karoo National Park that sits on the border of both the Northern and Western Cape.  We’ve always loved the arid Namibian landscape, so as the trees and houses gave way to barren wide open spaces we really felt like we were being welcomed by the silence and the beauty of this region.

You've been warned!!

We drove in from the Oudtshoorn area, taking the R46 and then the R355 towards Calvinia.  It was hot and we looked forward to camping in dry conditions over the Easter weekend.  The campsite that we were allocated was perfect for our ground tent and we had good shade the whole time that we were there.  A bonus was having our own ablution block with piping hot showers, thanks to a nearby solar panel.  Water tanks high on the hill above us gave shade to a troop of baboons and their calls serenaded us at all times of the day.

Our campsite in Tankwa Karoo Nat Park

Tankwa Karoo Park is not for folks who need to be entertained by animals or gadgets.  There is no electricity or cellphone reception in the park and very few animals, apart from the odd Eland, Gemsbok or Zebra.  This area, known as the Succulent Karoo, is for pure nature lovers, especially those interested in rare, endemic and endangered mammals, plants and birds.  In Spring the when the wild flowers bloom they cover the plains with a welcome mat of amazing beauty.

Amazing scenery in Tankwa

Previously home to the San/Bushmen, the Tankwa area gets its name from the Tankwa River, and is thought to mean “thirstland” or “place of the San”.  Apart from many crumbling old houses that were once occupied by trekboers (farmers), we came across some forlorn looking graves that had been taken over by Nature – their markings worn away by the sand, wind and time.

Deserted graves in Tankwa

Many would find this landscape bleak, but it is actually a photographers paradise with photo opportunities aplenty, especially if one heads up the beautiful Gannaga Pass (which I will write about separately).

Lonely road

It’s not only the scenery that is dramatic and exciting, the sunsets and stars at night are incredible.  Tankwa is only 140kms away from Sutherland, home to SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) one of the largest telescopes in the world.  This alone tells you how clear the skies are in this area at night.

Evening in Tankwa

Besides camping and birding, we were on a mission to find an elusive Aardvark, but apart from seeing some abandoned holes, we were out of luck.  I will blog next time about the birds that we saw.

Needless to say, this soul-expanding area is amazing and one that will definitely see us again – most probably when the flowers are in bloom.

Botsalano Game Reserve

I blogged a week or so ago about the Black wildebeest at Botsalano Game Reserve near Mafikeng in South Africa.  This was such a lovely stop over that I thought I would tell you more about it today.  We stayed there on our way to Botswana as it enabled us to have an early border crossing at the Ramatlabana border post, which is only a few kilometers away.  Not only was the camping and game viewing excellent, but the border crossing proved stress-free and easy, unlike some of the busier and more popular border control points further north.

Campsite at Botsalano Game Reserve

We opted to stay in their bush camp called Kukama and not in the public campsite that is near the gate.  There is nothing wrong with the public site, but we have been spoilt over the years preferring wild and isolated camps where game wanders freely around us.  The site had a stone shelter and a very basic open air shower which we had to share with one of the locals – a leguaan.  He was very obliging about letting us use it!

Water monitor in our shower

Frankly we were amazed at the amount of game in the reserve.  We saw far more there than in the popular Hhluhwe and Umfolozi game reserves in Kwazulu Natal, which is strange because one hears more about these flagship reserves than Botsalano.  Granted Botsalano is off the overseas tourist route, but for sheer numbers and variety, plus having two of the Big Five (buffalo and rhinos), I would say that Botsalano deserves more attention.  So if any South Africans are wondering where to go for a few days of magic camping, this is the place!

Beautiful Waterbuck

The birding in the park was also pretty good, especially when we sat at the waterhole.  From the elevated hide we not only had birds at eye level in the trees around us, but watched as a Secretarybird ambled down to the water for a drink.  Lots of  sand grouse came down as well and in the area behind the hide we saw a variety of waxbills, canaries and starlings.  We also watched two Pale chanting goshawks  making a meal of a dove.

White rhinocerus

White rhinos breed well in the park and so do Eland, which we saw in great numbers.  One only hopes that greedy poachers won’t get their hands on any of the rhinos. This photo gives you an idea of the herds of antelope that head down to the waterhole during the day.

On the way down to the waterhole

There was a good variety of antelopes, like Waterbuck, Blesbok, Kudu, Eland and the smaller more shy ones.  The staff were very helpful and polite too.  We had a giggle when we asked whether there were any aardvarks in the park.  The receptionist said that she had seen them often – one just as recently as two days before.  Knowing that aardvark sightings are generally as rare as hen’s teeth and one is only ever likely to get a glimpse of one once in a lifetime, we gathered that she must have confused the aardvark with a warthog – but then again, I may be wrong and she may be the luckiest lady in the world!  I’m still dying to photograph an aardvark – the one and only time we saw one near Windhoek, we were so amazed at what walked out of the bush in front of us that it disappeared before we had a chance to lift a camera.  Got to be quick about these things….  If anyone out there knows where we are most likely to see one, do drop us a line.

If you’re ever around Mafikeng, do pay this lovely park a visit.  You won’t be disappointed.


Khwai Me A River

Botswana has many amazing campsites, especially in the Okavango Delta, and they can be jolly pricey to stay at too.  Just occasionally you strike it lucky and come across a place that was merely meant to be a stop-over en route to somewhere great, and find that it too is an absolute gem.  We found this when travelling from Savuti to Xakanaka.  We decided to head for the Khwai Community Campsite, having heard that it was reasonably priced and a good place to stop between the two.  And what a lovely spot it turned out to be.  In fact a stay of more than one night was warranted.

Road to Khwai

The sandy track that we turned on to just outside Mababe Gate took us on a narrow and windy drive to the Khwai Community Campsite.  Only once we turned off it onto the main road did we realize that it was a shortcut and we could have taken a much easier route.  It was fun though negotiating the narrow track and dodging the bushes (when the thorn trees scratch your vehicle on both sides it’s known as a “Kalahari car wash”.  We certainly had that! ) There didn’t appear to be any locals manning the campsite when we arrived, so we drove around and settled ourselves on campsite no. 3, right on the banks of the Khwai River.  There were no amenities whatsoever, but that made it more special as it was quite wild.

Sunset on the Khwai River

A safari vehicle pulled up in the afternoon and informed us that there were lions on campsite no. 10 – gosh, that was exciting news!  We hastily made our way a few hundred meters along the river and found a pride of nine lions enjoying an afternoon rest.  Most of them were lying on their backs, feet in the air, trying to keep cool while they slept.   This beautiful lioness showed only a glimmer of interest in us as we drove into the bush alongside her and waited for some movement from the other sleeping cats.  Alas, it was not to happen – they all appeared to be settled for the rest of the day.  It doesn’t matter how often you see lions, they are always a thrill to spot in the wild.  They are such majestic animals – you just know that they rule the bush.  It was quite exciting knowing that they were just a few campsites away from us.

Beautiful lioness

The broken trees around the campsite bore testimony to the elephant activity in the area.  This  place is a conservancy, but is not part of the Moremi Game Reserve, so seeing wild animals is a real treat.  We woke up to find that we had a visitor occupying the river just meters from our campsite – an enormous hippo wallowed in the shallow water and kept an eye on us as we ate our breakfast.

Hippo meters from our campsite

The birdlife along the river was amazing with Openbill storks, African jacanas and White-faced ducks feeding in the shallows.

White-faced ducks

Openbill Stork

In the campsite we were visited by this beautiful little Barred owlet, which, at the time, we identified as a Pearl-spotted owl.  It was only when we got home and saw the photographs that we realized our mistake.  This is something we have learned with our birding photography – it’s very easy to misidentify a bird in the field, so it’s good to have a photo to confirm what you actually saw.

Barred owlet

 It’s a veritable Garden of Eden there – well worth stopping off for a day or more, and by doing so you will not only enjoy the amazing wildlife, but you will also benefit the local community with your tourist dollars.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Last week I blogged about our stay at Mudumu National Park in Namibia.  From that wonderful place we took a day trip further up the Kwando/Linyati River to the Mamili National Park (also known as Nkasa Lupala NP.)  Mamili should be a great park to visit because its wetlands, river channels and islands form the Linyati Swamps and are host to an abundance of birds and animals.  Sadly, we had a most unfortunate and harrowing experience there that disturbed us for days.  It had to do with elephant poaching, which is always a nasty subject.

Bridge leading into Mamili National Park

As we drove into the park we noticed a young elephant limping badly whilst making its way painfully in the direction of the staff quarters.  It being early on a Sunday morning we weren’t too surprised to see that nothing was open, so we went to the staff houses to find someone to admit us to the park.  To save time we offered the receptionist a lift back to the office and on the way pointed out to her the elephant that was in such distress, hoping that she could get someone to give it medical attention.  She immediately phoned through to a ranger and told him about it.

Greeted by a baby elephant

By the time we had driven the few meters across to the Reception area, we heard a shot ring out, followed by loud bellows from the terrified elephant.  Horrified we listened as the ranger took about eight more shots at the bellowing elephant before killing it.  For animal lovers this was most distressing and put a damper on our entire trip.  It seemed that either the ranger was a very poor shot, which added to the distress of the elephant, or the rifle he was using was obviously not up to the job.  This is not something that a tourist wants to experience on a visit to a game reserve.

Don't you love my moustache!

The young lady at Reception explained that four days earlier six elephants had been poached on a nearby island and this elephant was probably hit by one of the poachers’ bullets causing it to suffer for days.  One can only imagine what this injured elephant must have gone through in its last moments, being shot at again and reliving the incident in which members of its herd had been killed days earlier.  How traumatic.

African wattled lapwing

One always knows that poaching is happening, but when you live in a city hearing about it is not the same thing as seeing the results of this despicable trend first-hand in the bush.  It is very sad that humans can treat these magnificent animals so callously for their ivory.

Mamili has some wonderful community campsites which will soon be more accessible due to the tarring of the road leading to the park.  Unfortunately for us, our day there had been ruined and we were only too happy to get away from the place.

Mudumu National Park – a Namibian gem

It’s so exciting staying in a nature or game reserve and even better if you can set up camp in a wild area without any fences.  We decided to rough it on a recent trip to northern Namibia and opted to leave the beautiful (but crowded) Camp Kwando with all its facilities, to stay in a small park nearby called Mudumu.  The beauty of this place is that they only have three campsites and all that makes them campsites is a rough long-drop a few meters away from each clearing and a ring of old coals marking a fireplace.  You have to be totally self-sufficient to stay there, but the rewards are great.  Not only do you get to have the place to yourselves as the campsites are far apart, but you get to stay in amongst the elephants and wild animals.

Mudumu sunset

Our great campsite

All three campsites are on the banks of the Kwando River where the ellies love coming down to drink during the hot days and glorious still evenings, or to cross over into Botswana to feed.  Have you watched a small herd of elephants crossing a river?  It’s the most awesome sight.  They go in a straight line and babies are strategically placed between older ones so that they can be helped out if they get into difficulty.  Often just their trunks stick above the water like little periscopes.  It’s too cute to watch.

Elephants crossing the Kwando River

It was exciting to lie in bed at night and hear the rumbling sounds of the elephants as they walked quietly down to the river.  Their feet didn’t make a sound, but their rumbles sounded like a very loud cat purr and it was enough to give me goose-bumps knowing how close they were.  The park has literally hundreds of elephants and driving around can be quite challenging because the roads consist of deep sand in places.  Trying to make a quick getaway from an approaching herd of elephants is a bit of a challenge when your wheels are churning up sand.  They are very protective when they have young ones in the herd so it’s always wise to keep a safe distance between yourself and the animals.

Heads down.  Bottoms up!

A highlight of our visit was seeing a herd of about two hundred elephants walking through the veld in a straight line.  When we stopped to watch them, a command went out, probably from the matriarch, and every elephant just froze.  Some had feet in the air in mid-step, trunks were raised or lowered, but they didn’t move.  They stayed like this for many minutes and didn’t make a sound.  It was almost eerie watching this beautiful spectacle.  When the command came that they were safe, they all moved on again, very quickly and quietly.  We felt so privileged to watch this beautiful sight.  Apart from elephants there is an abundance of birdlife and other mammals.  We found these baboons quite amusing if only for the attitude they displayed!

Baboon sentinels

Our previous visit to this park was disappointing, although we did see a pack of wild dogs, but this time we were fortunate enough to see lots of roan and sable.  These antelope are not terribly common so it’s always great to get sightings of them.  That’s why it’s better to stay in the park as opposed to taking day trips – you put yourself in a better position to have all the right experiences.

Roan - Mudumu National Park

Mudumu National Park has yet to catch up with the 21st century as far as pricing is concerned.  We paid about N$50.00 per person per day to stay there, which was basically the entrance fee to the park as well.  With Botswana pricing itself out of the average holiday-maker’s range, this place makes financial sense.  We didn’t book ahead.  I don’t think it’s necessary as not many people know about it.  For all you South Africans reading this – this place is worth visiting, as is nearby Mamili, which I will chat about next week.  Not only do you get good value for money but there is a great adventure factor too – you definitely feel like you have left civilization far behind and it’s just you and the wilds.  What a pleasure.  Never mind the abundance of elephants and the solitude of the place – the sunsets alone would be enough to get us back there!


So, what could YOU get for a bread crumb?

Quite often when we are camping we toss a few bits of bread into the grass around the campsite to see what local  residents we can attract. Usually we get a few sparrows, weavers, bulbuls, finches, starlings, and hornbills dropping in for a feed; the more precocious of the local birds. Perhaps an occasional squirrel. And usually it’s a bit of a bun fight. Fly in (well, the squirrels run), gobble as much as you can and scram. Grab a beak-full before your neighbour gets it all.

But just sometimes the plot unfolds differently.

Coppery-tailed coucal

Our campsite at Xakanaka in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana was close to the thick undergrowth at the edge of the Okavango Delta, and we tossed a few bits of bread nearby. The usual birds were quick to arrive (and also a group of less usual birds – Yellow-throated petronias). But then, at a few minutes after four o’clock in the afternoon, out of the undergrowth strode a majestic Coppery-tailed coucal (Centropus cupreicaudus), one of the usually shy, skulking birds that is heard more often than it is seen, and when it is seen, it is most often glimpsed through a thickness of reeds or bushes into which it vanishes by magic.

But after a cautious initial look around, this fellow strode out into the open with supreme confidence. Ignoring us totally, he picked up a piece of bread, but instead of eating it as we expected him to do, he paraded with it in his bill along the edge of the bush.

Coppery-tailed coucal

Now we know that many courting rituals involve food, (even human rituals – many a courting couple’s first date is at a restaurant), but we were still surprised when a female coucal emerged from the dense undergrowth and joined him and his trophy in the relative open.

Her appearance brought the male’s display to an abrupt end. Without any further ado he proceeded, bread in bill, to mount her, handing over the bread mid-way through the performance. She accepted the bread and held it in her bill until the deed was done, after which she disappeared back into the bush from whence she had come, still clutching the bread.

Coppery-tailed coucal Coppery-tailed coucal Coppery-tailed coucal

The male walked a little way through the campsite, not quite as haughty as he had been earlier, and presumably his appetites were satisfied for the moment as he showed no further interest in the bread.

Coppery-tailed coucal

A short drive from Purros

Looking at a map of Namibia can be deceptive for the inexperienced. Even downright misleading. If you look in the north west of the country, in Kaokoland, for example, you will see a little town called Purros (on some maps spelled Puros). A town? Well, I am not sure of the definition of a town, but Purros is so small it doesn’t even have a petrol station.  Perhaps it is not a town or village, just a “place”. It may not have a petrol station, but what Purros does have is a wonderful location for exploring this remote area, and also a wonderful campsite.

Purros campsite

The Purros Community Campsite, located on the banks of the Hoarusib River is a wonderful spot. The campsites are spacious and the enormous camelthorn trees provide shade as well as being a wonderful backdrop to the wildlife activity that abounds. The Red-billed francolins are especially tame here, and are quick to visit in the hope of picking up a snack. Tree squirrels make themselves known, as do Southern yellow-billed hornbills, Pied crows and many other bird species. And there is always a chance of desert-adapted elephants wandering through the campsite – there are warning signs on the trees to keep your food where the elephants cannot smell it!

Red-billed spurfowl Purros campsite

The Purros campsite is well placed for excursions on the Hoarusib River. Driving excursions, that it is; like most rivers in Namibia, the Hoarusib very seldom has any appreciable water in it. Of course in the rainy season flash floods are always a possibility and several vehicles have been lost along this benign-looking stretch of sandy river bed after being caught by the rapidly rising water.  So, being there at the right time of the year is important.

Hoarusib River

Head west down the river from the campsite and you are soon embraced in the magnificent scenery as the track criss-crosses the little water that remains in the river bed. The mountains on either side are low but dramatic in the late afternoon sun, displaying colours that must make a landscape artist’s mouth water.

Hoarusib River

The driving on this stretch of riverbed is easy as the sand is quite firm and the water very shallow at the crossings, but some care is required to avoid holes or patches of deep, loose sand.  A small price to pay for the magnificence of the scenery.

Hoarusib River

150 / 66!

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.

Off of an adventure - Khowarib Schlucht

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!

Ombandumba campsite - dramatic backdrop

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?

Lion kill at Passarge Valley Botswana

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!

Cheetah at sunrise - Deception Valley Botswana

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!

Namibgrens - another stunning campsite