Where else in the world can a fisherman start camping at Mile 4 and move along as the fish bite, or don’t bite, as far up as Mile 108? Actually Mile 108 is not really the last stop and Mile 4 not the first.
This is just the way coastal anglers started numbering half a century ago when fishing and camping along the Namibian west coast was a much less complicated affair.
All a fisherman needed to know in those days was where the best holes were. This is the reason why only some ‘miles’ were numbered. In the meantime other good spots were identified, but instead of being numbered, they were named.
Perhaps the fishermen had more time to think of names in those days, because the fish, according to tradition, were big and plentiful back then.
Nowadays there is much more time for contemplation while you stare across the Atlantic and wait… and wait… for that delicate nibbling on the hook.
Anyway, these in-between angling spots have names such as Paaltjies, the first one, Sarah se Gat, just south of Walvis Bay past the salt pans, and then Jakkalsputz and Drom. Between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund there is only one campsite at Langstrand.
Since this campsite does not exactly allow you to throw a line from your front stoep, it has the added advantage of a quick quad-bike trip if the fishing is really bad.
The next one at Mile 4 is also under threat of encroaching civilisation. When they started counting back then, Swakopmund obviously covered less than a mile of coastline. No option for a serious angler now.
Driving up north after your sojourn at Mile 14, you’ll pass a colony of shacks. This is Wlotzkasbaken, a holiday settlement of a very different kind. There is no camping here, except in somebody’s back yard, but the fishing is good, say the current experts.
If you’ve completed the journey northwards to Mile 108 and not been successful and it is summer holidays, try your luck at Torra Bay, the most famous of fishing campsites. The other option is to pack up your tent and head into the Skeleton Coast Park (with a permit and reservation receipt, of course) for that last little bit of luck at Terrace Bay. Those anglers who are serious about fishing and organised enough to book a chalet a year in advance, swear by it.
This article appeared in the July/Aug ‘04 edition of Travel News Namibia.