A family trip to the south of Namibia proved the ideal opportunity to put Tracks4Africa’s products to the test. By Janine Reyneke
Having worked for Tracks4Africa for more than 10 years, I finally had the chance to explore the much talked about country of Namibia. Best of all, with my family and friends in tow. On the travel cards? A two-week camping trip to southern Namibia.
Equipped with notes and tons of research, including Tracks4Africa’s GPS Maps, Guide App, Namibia Self-Drive Guide Book, the Namibia paper map and atlas, I felt confident and informed. How would my expectations, preconceptions and notions compare to the real deal?
During our trip, our friends were quite intrigued by my know-how, constantly questioning the source of my new-found knowledge. I would simply answer: “Tracks4Africa, of course!” I’m really not being biased when I stress the value of T4A’s products. For a change, I was on the ground and not behind a desk, and these tools proved invaluable. Although some of my travel tips might seem obvious to the seasoned traveller, this was all very new to me.
Our journey into Namibia began by crossing the border at Vioolsdrift. From here we travelled to Aussenkehr and Rosh Pinah along the C13 through |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The vastness and aridness of Namibia’s countryside had me hooked – instantly.
The C13 is a stunning route that shoulders the beautiful Gariep River for kilometres on end with hardly any vehicles in sight. We found a lovely picnic spot right next to the river – thanks to the T4A Guide App.
One of our first camping spots near Aus, Klein-Aus Vista Campsite, was exactly how I pictured Namibia’s campsites: clean, small, quiet and completely surrounded by nature. We called this camp home for two nights.
Overlanding 101: plan ahead
Make your camping as simple as possible. We had the bare minimum to unpack and repack. We planned carefully how and what we packed in our trailer and in our car’s boot. It really makes a huge difference when camping at a different place every second or third night.
I found that planning and doing some preliminary research on tourist attractions – what to see and where, and where you can purchase what – helps a great deal. What’s the best time to visit certain hotspots? What time do these attractions open and close? The latter can have a big impact on your daily schedule, especially if you are staying for limited time periods at specific places.
Must-see in southern Namibia’s Aus area
- Feral horses: To view these wild and wonderful beauties from a special viewing hide, sunrise (around 08:00 during winter months) or sunset proves best.
- Kolmanskop: You will need a permit to visit Kolmanskuppe which can be purchased at the entrance gate – you can park inside. Take note that the historic site is only open until 13:00. A photographer’s permit can be obtained at the gate’s office a day earlier (at an extra cost), which gives one access to Kolmanskop from before sunrise to after sunset.
- Lüderitz: Since this is quite a big town, it’s good to get a lowdown on the main attractions – we visited Haus Goerke (an extravagant mansion built in 1910) and the highest building in town, Church on the Rocks.
Since it was our first time in Namibia, fuel stops and the availability thereof had us worried. We decided to fill our tanks whenever we had the chance. Travelling informed with T4A products, we knew where we would find the next fuel stop. We found we could pay with a credit card everywhere.
With kilometres of endless gravel roads, you hardly expect to find a place that is going to sell lovely cappuccinos or scrumptious apple tarts, pies and cakes. Well, at the small town of Solitaire in the Namib-Naukluft region, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
En route from Dordabis to Stampriet on the C15, we came across an unexpected little ‘business park’ in the one-horse town of Hoachanas. A quaint coffee shop sells meals, coffees, cooldrinks and even Slush Puppies.
A big lesson
Stay away from popular places in season: Ai-Ais Hotsprings Resort Campsite, a stunner, was overcrowded and noisy.
I found Namibia to be safe and the people very friendly – it was a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to return. Next time I will definitely spend more nights at one place. I’ll also be far more confident knowing the true value of Tracks4Africa’s range of navigation products. Most importantly, I won’t linger so long to discover Africa’s beauty.
Next on my Namibia bucket list? Etosha!