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In the bush, under the stars
Camping is one of the most underrated tourism products in Namibia. However, when speaking of value for money, camping will top the list as the best option for budget travellers, be it along the coast, in parks or on private land. The only negative connotation of camping is huge, loaded overland trucks of youngsters with little regard for space and silence. Fortunately these are mostly only the case at some of Namibia’s more popular tourist destinations. If you are in search of peace and quiet and a spot to pitch your tent in the bush under the stars, there are many such places in Namibia, along all the main tourist routes and in the most unspoilt surroundings.
One such camping spot is at Oanob Dam just outside Rehoboth. The dam was built by the state in the mountainous area west of the town to provide water to the town’s inhabitants. Ten years ago, a group of investors leased the 9 000-ha area surrounding the dam and developed it as a resort for holidaymakers. Less than an hour’s drive from Windhoek, it is more than just a stopover for weary travellers. Over the years it has become a popular weekend retreat.
It certainly is camping with a difference, because of the abundance of water – not at all common in this desert country. Every camping spot is close to the water, but with a beautiful view, since it nestles high up in the mountainous surroundings. Each campsite has a shaded area with a piece of lush green lawn, a luxury which is also not a given at Namibian campsites. Water, which would usually not be used for such frivolous trimmings as a piece of lawn, is seldom as abundant as at this site. One of the best features of the resort is the abundance of indigenous plants and trees. Moreover, it is a birdwatcher’s dream and in spring or early summer, after the first rains, which this year came in abundance in November, it is a pleasure for amateur birders and botanists. Visitors can rent one of the rowing boats and spend a solitary hour or two on one of the islands in the dam, while a trip on the houseboat shows how big the dam is and how much opportunity there is for long hikes and serious rowing.
If all you have is a day, board the classic DC-6 from Eros Airport in Windhoek. It will get you there in twenty minutes.
This article was made possible by Cymot Namibia
This article appeared in the Dec ‘04/ Jan ‘05 edition of Travel News Namibia.