Text and photos Marita van Rooyen
As the first creature to greet Jon and Monique Leach when they set foot on their future property, the agama has now become the name-bearer and mascot of the ‘bloody marvellous’ Agama River Camp, near Sossusvlei.
What started out as a basic campsite and restaurant in 2007, has since evolved into one of the best rest stops in the Sossusvlei vicinity. Jon sums his camp up as ‘rustic and quaint, with excellent service and great food’. And this is exactly what you can expect from a visit to Agama.
Here, the kitchen ladies double as dinner-time songsters and entertainers, luring diners into a trance with their Damara/Nama clicks and the regular mention of ‘agama’, just to make sure you know where you are. A personalised mini-loaf of freshly-baked bread – still warm from the oven – will get your saliva flowing, while lip-smacking butternut soup, prime gemsbok steak, fresh vegetables, and malva pudding might well be your dream desert dinner.
At the campsite, zinc washbasins and artistically constructed showerheads and bathroom facilities signify a hands-on approach by the owners. Wash off the day’s dust under starry skies in bathrooms with half-open roofs. Each individual site has been ingeniously laid out under shady camel- and umbrella-thorn trees, and been levelled and strewn with river sand for dust-free camping. Each site has its own tap, wash-up area and fire facilities, and is screened off with reeds for privacy. There’s also a sparkling blue pool for cooling off in after a long day in the dunes.
For spectacular sunset vistas of the nearby Naukluft Mountains and the red fossilised dunes, there’s a viewing deck on top of the main building. Or, if you’re booked into one of the chalets, you’ll have the luxury of your own private rooftop stargazing experience. In the summer months, guests can doze off beneath one of the planet’s darkest skies, and admire some the brightest stars.
Camp Agama is situated on the banks of the ephemeral Dieprivier. Although mostly dry and dusty, the river nevertheless provides a great opportunity for a relaxed hike into the desert landscape.
Agama River Camp is situated next to road C19, 35 km south of Solitaire and 49 km north of Sesriem.