Some of you might have stumbled across this article because you genuinely love camping and are intrigued by the adventure of a lifetime—camping in Namibia. Some of you, like me, might be thinking “that’s crazy who would do that?” I’m here to tell you about how we accidentally ended up camping in Namibia, and that it was one of the best experiences of my life.
If you know me, you know I’m pretty adventurous. But you also probably know that I like to travel a little more on the luxury side. I do my best to find amazing prices on really nice accommodations, because that’s just who I am as a person. We decided to travel to Namibia in search of the largest sand dunes in the world, and after a ton of research, we found exactly where we wanted to go in Sossusvlei. We booked a gorgeous lodge in the middle of the Namib desert complete with private plunge pools.
However, after a slightly harrowing drive across the desert on gravel roads and very little civilization to be found, we arrived to find that they did not have our reservation. We immediately went into panic mode, because somehow we found ourselves stranded in the middle of nowhere in the desert in Africa without a place to stay. After a couple of frazzled hours, they were able to book us at their sister lodge, Kulala Desert Lodge.
When we arrived at our new lodge, the main lobby was lovely and the woman who greeted us was very kind. But, as we were shown to our “rooms,” we realized that these were actually tents. They were very nice tents, with bathrooms and an actual floor, but they were tents with canvas walls. We found ourselves glamping in the Namib Desert.
While this isn’t what we planned, it turned out to be even better. Camping in Namibia gave us the opportunity to really connect with the land, get to know the wildlife, and experience Namibia in a way we would have never been able to otherwise.
So, if you’re now intrigued, here are my top 9 tips for camping in Namibia:
HOW TO CAMP IN NAMIBIA
1. Find accomodations that suit your needs
We loved the Kulala Desert Lodge for the luxurious tents, but also for the amenities. Most safari lodges are all-inclusive, and this was no different. The food was amazing, the staff were incredible, and our game drives were nothing short of perfect. There are a few different lodge options in the Sossusvlei Desert, so find which one works for you!
2. Be very aware of the weather
We were there during Namibia’s summer, when the temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Make sure to understand the weather when you are planning to travel to Namibia, and remember that it’s a very dry desert. Even on extremely hot days, the nights will be cool.
3. Bring hiking gear
Namibia is home to the largest sand dunes in the world, and we were able to hike the largest one, affectionately named “Big Daddy.” I almost died. I would say I got a quarter of the way up, and quit by walking down the back side of the dune. This was by far one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but so worth trying!
4. Make sure to spend time at Deadvlei
Right next to Big Daddy is a graveyard of petrified trees, that will make you believe you have traveled to another planet. This can’t be missed.
5. Book a hot air balloon excursion
The highlight of the trip had to be our hot air balloon excursion over the dunes. There was really no experience I could compare to it. The breathtaking ride over the desert was finished with a lovely champagne brunch at the base of the Sossusvlei Dunes.
6. Get to know your guide
The guides at the lodges are experts in the land. Many of them are local to the area, and they truly love the terrain and wildlife. Our guide, Castro, was with us the whole time, and he was so knowledgeable about everything in the desert. Getting to know your guide and learning from him or her will make your experience so much richer.
7. If you’re driving, be prepared
From Windhoek, you can take a small plane to Sossusvlei and avoid the roads. I recommend this option. If you’re driving, be advised that the roads are gravel, potholes are abundant, and gas stations are few and far between. Be prepared to change a tire, and for the drive to take much longer than you think it will. And you cannot drive at night. For this reason, we stopped halfway at the Kalahari Anib Lodge, which I totally recommend. You might even want to spend a couple of nights here because it is so delightful.
I suggest bringing hydration multiplier packets for your water, especially if you are traveling when it’s warm. The climate is incredibly dry year-round, and the more you can hydrate, the better you will feel.
9. Enjoy every moment
Namibia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and make sure you really take it all in. And take tons of pictures!
I will always love Namibia, just as I have fallen in love with every part of Africa I have been able to explore. It is a continent that is unparalleled in wild, untouched beauty, and Namibia was no exception. Until next time, Africa. You have my heart.