Thinking Of Going Camping In Namibia In Winter?
I recently spent 16 days on a full participation camping trip in Namibia with Africa’s Best Adventures, and I loved every minute. (By the way, probably worth mentioning at this stage that this is NOT a sponsored post; I covered all my expenses on this trip.)
The experience of waking up to the roar of lions or watching the sun rise over the sand dunes is not something you will ever forget. Want to know what other incredible highlights you can experience in Namibia, then check out this post.
Why Visit Namibia In The Winter?
During the winter months, from May to October, there is little to no rainfall, and humidity is low. As water sources start to dry up, wildlife will gather around waterholes, so your chance of spotting animals is greater.
I visited in late June / early July. The weather was really pleasant and sunny during the day but not too hot.
The further north you travel, the warmer it got. In Etosha National Park, temperatures rose to 28 degrees Celsius. In the summer, temperatures can go up to 40 degrees in the park!
But it can get very cold at night, even down to freezing.
So, bring your thermal pyjamas and a warm sleeping bag. Fortunately for us, Altis from Africa’s Best Adventures brought along good quality sleeping bags, a blanket, and camp beds.
I wish, though, I had brought thick bed socks with me and a hot water bottle. Yes, it really does get that cold.
Layers, Layers And More Layers
It will be cold first thing in the morning, and you are going to be getting up early. Maybe it’s a long driving day, or you’re off to see the sun rise over the sand dunes or out on a game drive, but those early mornings are chilly.
So, it’s all about the layers. Admittedly, my campmates teased me about wearing up to six layers; the others in our party tended to max out at three and Altis, our guide – well, t-shirts and shorts, whatever the weather.
But bring thermals, t-shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, fleece, a jacket, a beanie and gloves!
Campsites In Namibia
Campsites have come a long way, or maybe I was just unlucky in the past. But the camps in Namibia are actually rather nice.
And there is space; even when the sites are full, they don’t feel overcrowded.
Some come with a bar, and some even have swimming pools.
But What About The Bathroom Facilities?
All other campsites had shared facilities, and all, except one, had clean facilities and hot water. And not once did I need to wait to use the facilities. They never even ran out of toilet paper either!!
Not every shower unit has somewhere to place your belongings, so worth bringing a bag or something to hang over the door to stop stuff from getting wet.
A Typical Day On A Camping Tour In Namibia
Most days start early, before or around sunrise, so you can forget about sleeping in. This is the time to pack up the tents, load the car, and move on.
Everyone is expected to participate to enable the smooth running of the trip. This includes assisting with the loading and unloading of the car, putting up and taking down the tents, and helping with food preparation. As I’m the most useless person when it comes to cooking, I did a lot of dishwashing to compensate.
When camping in Namibia, we always arrived before dark to set up the new camp, allowing time to relax with a glass of wine and admire those gorgeous African sunsets.
Top Tip – If there are snorers in the group, wait until they have chosen a spot to set up their tent and then set up yours as far away as possible!
Forget About Late Nights
After an early start and a long day of exploring, and a fabulous meal around the campfire, trust me, you’ll be ready for an early night. Most people were tucked up in their tents by 9 pm.
Bring A Headlight Or Torch
Bringing a headlight or torch when camping in Namibia is a must. You’ll need light in your tent and when going to the bathroom at night.
Tap Water Is Safe To Drink
Tap water in hotels, lodges and other public places is purified, so it is safe to drink. But bottled water is available to purchase throughout Namibia if you are worried about drinking tap water or don’t like the taste.
The Air Is Really Dry In The Winter in Namibia
During the winter, the air is so dry, so bring lip balm, wear lots of moisturizer and hand cream, and drink lots of water.
Be Prepared For Some Long Drives
Distances between attractions in Namibia are vast. Whether you are planning to drive or join a guided tour, be prepared for some very long drives.
One of the main reasons for me choosing a guided tour was I much prefer admiring the scenery to focusing on driving. Plus, I haven’t driven in years.
If you are planning to self-drive, ensure you know how to change a tyre. There are some rough roads out there!
And remember to bring snacks, coffee, and a phone charger with you.
On arrival at Windhoek Airport and in all major towns, you will find ATMs. Don’t be surprised if South African Rand sometimes comes out of the machine. Rand and Namibia dollars can be used interchangeably in Namibia.
Note: The Namibian currency isn’t accepted if you are heading to South Africa after Namibia.
Access To The Internet
I was planning on picking up a SIM card at the airport, but there was a queue. I stopped at a phone shop in Windhoek, but there was a queue. So, in the end, I didn’t bother. Actually, it was nice not being online all the time. I even vowed that when I got home, I would spend far less time online – yeah, that didn’t last long.
However, most campsites in Namibia do offer WiFi. You have to buy a voucher and usually remain in reception or the bar area to access the WiFi. On most days in Namibia, I was able to access my emails and check messages.
Need To Charge Your Camera and Phone?
On long drives, I usually just charge my phone in the car. However, an adapter is handy and readily available in Namibia’s supermarkets.
Electricity in Namibia
In Namibia, power plugs and sockets are type D and M. The standard voltage is 220 V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Doing The Laundry
At some point, while camping in Namibia, you will need to do some laundry. Many campsites have a spot where you can do some hand washing. Bringing a washing line and some pegs with you is not a bad idea.
However, in the larger campsites, a staff member may come up and offer to do laundry for you or ask at reception. It cost around 200 Namibian dollars for a large bag of washing, about $10.
Visit The Viewing Platforms At The Campsites In Etosha National Park
Viewing platforms in Etosha National Park, equipped with red floodlights, allow visitors to observe animals at night at the waterhole.
We were incredibly lucky on our last night to see three rhinos, a hyena and a herd of elephants. Just so amazing to see!
Well, I didn’t come across any mosquitoes on this trip. Guess they don’t like the dry and the cold.
However, if you are camping in Namibia during the rainy season, especially in areas north of Windhoek, you will come across them.
Getting Around Namibia
Many people choose to travel independently around Namibia, but as a solo traveller, I didn’t feel comfortable doing this. But I also didn’t want to join a guided tour with up to 20 other people, and that’s why I recommend Africa’s Best Adventures. There was just me, our tour guide/ chef/ driver Altis, and two ladies from South Africa. It felt like a road trip with friends.
Don’t like the idea of full participation camping in Namibia? Then there’s limited participation which means you won’t have to be involved in food preparation or do the washing up. Or fully catered, and everything is done for you.
I loved the camping in Namibia experience so much that I’m now saving up for a trip to Botswana – so watch this space!
For more on Namibia, check out this post on the top Namibian highlights.
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