Bird’s-eye view – African green-pigeonJuly 19, 2012
Mondjila Adventures – Small, personalised and off the beaten trackJuly 19, 2012
by Peter Bridgeford
All roads lead to Rome is an expression often used, even in Namibia. However, in the southern part of this country, all roads lead to Sossusvlei. Visitors from around the world wend their way to the big dunes and happily albeit laboriously climb to the top like penitents on a pilgrimage. They come from all directions, along a network of good roads, to see, touch and experience one of the seven wonders of Namibia.
To accommodate the hundreds of visitors, many establishments have sprung up in this former farming area around Sesriem. They range from the very exclusive luxury lodges through to the more affordable but comfortable guest farms and rest camps to basic camping sites. Many foreign and local tourists prefer to do their own thing and camping allows them the freedom of choice. Some have trailers with a built-in kitchen, shower and everything that opens and shuts including rooftop tents. Others go for the basics – a ground sheet and a bedroll. Regardless of the camping style, these campers all need a campsite.
Basic to luxury
Campsites, like other facilities, range from the basic to the luxurious. One of the newest and most attractive in the Sossusvlei area is Agama River Camp, on the banks of the ephemeral Dieprivier (Deep River). This river rises in the Naukluft Mountains that dominate the skyline to the east along the road (C19) from Solitaire to Sesriem. When it floods, which is rare, its waters join those of the Tsondab River and eventually flow into Tsondabvlei. To the west, the red fossil dune cliffs of the Namib Desert can be seen.
Agama River Camp is situated close to the district road (C19), 35 km south of Solitaire and 49 km north of Sesriem. The seven sites are built under shady camel- and umbrella-thorn trees and have been levelled and strewn with river sand for dust-free camping. The sites are provided with potable running water and braai (barbecue) facilities, and are screened from other sites for privacy. The spacious ablution facilities, besides showers, have a bath for small children.
Further away against the Naukluft Mountains, for the more adventurous and hardy types who prefer being on their own, are two ‘wild’ sites with no facilities. Besides many animals, including black rhino, the Naukluft Mountains are home to the largest concentration of Hartmann’s mountain zebra in Namibia. After a long day’s travel or on your return from a strenuous pilgrimage to the big dunes of Sossusvlei, you can enjoy a meal on the shady veranda (but please make prior arrangements with management). Or enjoy a cold beer from the top of the viewing deck, laze around the swimming pool or go on a sundowner excursion. Contact Jon Leach at Tel (+264 63) 68 3245 or e-mail: email@example.com or alternatively: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the banks of the Tsondab River is another campsite on the farm Ababis, a few kilometres south of Solitaire on the C14. Here, three sites and facilities were recently built. Although it is 90 km from Sesriem, it is still within easy reach of Sossusvlei. Instead of rushing to Sesriem before sunrise, have a leisurely breakfast at your campsite, relax at the swimming pool and then drive to Sesriem. If you arrive at about lunchtime, most of the early-morning visitors will have left and Sossusvlei will be quiet and peaceful. You may even have the big dune to yourself.
Before leaving, arrange to have dinner at Ababis Guest Farm on your return and enjoy a pleasant meal on the veranda of the old historical farmhouse. Inspect the stables built by Italian masons for the German colonial government a hundred years ago. The high walled pens adjoining the stables were built to protect the horses against predators and horse thieves. Contact Ababis Guest Farm for reservations at Tel (+264 63) 68 3080 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Close to the vlei
On the farm Weltevrede, also on the C19 from Solitaire to Sesriem, are two more campsites. The farm borders Agama River Camp in the south and is less than 50 km from Sesriem. As with the other campsites mentioned above, visit Sossusvlei after lunch when the rush is over. Spend the morning at the swimming pool and then drive to the dunes. Arrange with management and have your meals in the dining room. Call Weltevrede Guest Farm for reservations Tel (+264 63) 68 3073 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was made possible by Cymot Namibia
This article appeared in the April/May ‘08 edition of Travel News Namibia.