Archive | Desert RSS for this section

Canon Road Campsite: a gem in southern Namibia

Place: Canon Road Campsite, Gondwana Canon Park, Namibia
Closest Town: Grunau (?km), 20 km from the Fish River Canyon
Facilities: Excellent ablutions including great showers with hot water- one for every two campsites. Restaurant, Self-catering accommodation also available
Water: It’s the desert, but they do boast a pool with a splendid view
Surroundings: Namibian desert-like conditions in the canyon lands
Turf: Sandy spots generally under large, much-needed trees
Distance from CT: roughly 886 km
Privacy: Sites have been laid out in twos, but because the campsite is very spaced out in general, lack of privacy is not really a problem
Highlight: A really rustic campsite that captures the essence of southern Namibia, the Fish river canyon (25km away), the selection of rusting, vintage cars on the property
Cost: N$ 120 per person (rates until October 2011)
Contact: Website

I’ll start off by apologising for the map. I’m pretty certain that it includes the area where Canon Road Campsite is situated, although I cannot be sure (which drives me nuts). And it’s a good 3 years since I visited this spot, so take the map lightly and forget about GPS coordinates- if you stay here, you’ll be emailed directions anyway. I know it’s not in South Africa, but it would be a pity to not to give this spot a mention.
So what’s this spot about? Pure, wholesome Namibian desert goodness, that’s what. We visited here as part of a trip to Augrabies Falls and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape of South Africa and had booked a site by pure chance after some very frustrating searching. I’m damn glad we did.
Some may argue that there’s not much to do, but my guess is that one generally visits this area to see the Fish River Canyon as one part of a more substantial trip. If you’re in the hood, stay here. It was super chilled, very quaint and kind of everything I’d hope a desert campsite to be.
The sites were brilliant and very cleverly ‘organised’ in twos, so you would never be too close to more than one other camping group. An additional bonus is that you only have to share your closest ablution block with those immediate neighbours and the facilities are probably the best and most modern I have seen to date. Most sites seem to have a massive tree in the centre with ample space for a number of tents to be pitched underneath, so shade in feisty desert conditions need not be your main concern. There’s also a pool, a restaurant and some vintage cars to keep you occupied if you’re not out sightseeing.
In my opinion, it’s one of the better campsites I’ve been to and I’d certainly advise a stopover even if you’re just passing through.
Our Campsite
The pool

The aggressive Cobra we saw

Canon Roadhouse

The Richtersveld: |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Richtersveld National Park
We decided to head north after leaving an Easter weekend booking a tad late and refusing to be part of the weekend camping masses closer to town at places still available. We managed to book camping for 5 nights across the Richtersveld National Park. We didn’t really have a choice of campsites and didn’t quite know what we were in for, so settled for a variety, which would require ample travelling in between.
The Richtersveld
The Richtersveld is splendid. Its dry ruggedness and rustic camping spots certainly wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea and it is only accessible to vehicles with a high ground clearance or off road capability. The benefit of this, however, is an escape guaranteed to be sparsely populated and that still retains a sense of forgotten-ness and isolation.
The drive from Cape Town was longer than we anticipated (12 hours getting there), considering our maps omitted a good 130km on dirt road before reaching the park, after spending too much time buying Hanne Louw’s Tamatie Blatjang and rusks in Garies and ice and over-priced wood in Springbok, and then deciding to take a short cut that wasn’t shorter and included several drives through the tiny town of Eksteenfontein to figure out which was the right dodgy-looking dirt road to go on.
De Hoop Camp, Richtersveld
We got there eventually, but without enough time to get to our first campsite, De Hoop, so we were obliged to stay at Potjiespram for the first night. The next few entries give a rundown of each campsite we visited.

Our highlights:
·         An ostrich chasing a springbok for almost a kilometre
·         What sounded like a roaming Hyaena not far from our campsite at potjiespram
·         The African Wild Cat at our campsite in Kokerboomkloof
·         Incredible, ancient and vast landscapes
·         De Hoop campsite on the river
·         Watching people ponder and scout for the best campsites
·         A pretty relaxed camping policy
What to watch out for:
·         If your first night isn’t spent at Sendelingsdrif or Potjiespram, then aim to arrive at least 3 hours before dark, so you’re allowed to travel on to the camps further away (Kokerboomkloof closer to 4 hours)
·         Bring plenty water
·         It’s survival of the fittest- the earlier you leave, the earlier you get to a camp for a better choice
·         The loud people from Joburg we encountered at Sendelingsdrif
·         The Pontoon for entry into Namibia may not be open at Sendelingsdrif if the river has been flooding- check this if needed
I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.

Kokerboomkloof, Richtersveld

To find out more about the park visit: SANParks
To find out more about the area and the local inhabitants, visit: Explore the Richtersveld