Traveling in a 4×4 rooftop tent car can be an easy and inexpensive way to explore Namibia, not to mention it’s the most popular way to visit this African country. Some will enjoy 4×4 camping in Namibia as you will be close to nature: game driving, hiking red dunes, catching the sounds of the night, and having nice evenings sitting outside. Some will hate it as it can get cold and sometimes a little work is involved; for instance: you’ll have to gather the tent each morning if you wish to use the car, although it only takes about 10 minutes to do it.
Namibia is set-up for camping in a way that we never expected. Clambering up the ladder each night became our second home soon, and we loved the coziness of our canopy. Learn more about 4×4 camping in Namibia from the article down below!
How to book a campsite
Campsites inside the national parks are run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), while the rest are privately operated. The loveliest campsites by far are the privately owned ones. It’s quite easy to book a campsite and remember to book well in advance if traveling in the main season. Contact the camping place or NWR and make a reservation through their website: conversations, quotes, or payments are made quite easy and fast.
We paid via credit card forms, mobile links, or PayPal, either 50% eighter 100% of the total amount. It’s a little bit of hassle, but with a minimum of planning, research, and patience, everything will work out fine.
What to expect
Namibia is one of the easiest countries to camp in. Places are remote, and you can drive hours without seeing another car or campsite. Usually, the campsites are spacious, quite spotless, in lovely settings, with a fire pit and nearby running water. Some have their own ablution facilities, electricity, or a concrete table, while some only have a fire pit and a dry toilet.
Stock up on food and water in Windhoek and again in every sizable town before you drive off. Tap water is safe to drink, but I would suggest buying 5liter bottles for drinking and cooking.
The rental company provides everything you need: a fridge, a table with chairs, cooking utensils, plates, cups, a water canister, a gas cooker and gas bottles, a camping lantern.
What to pack
Always have a headlamp on hand as it gets dark early in Namibia. It turned out to be the most crucial accessory for us. You will need it for staying late, for moving around the campsite, for preparing dinner, for getting to the ablution blocks, for preparing the tent for nighttime. Or for spotting wild animals when destroying the garbage bin in the middle of the night! In our case: a DOG! And we almost got a hard attack!
Sleeping bag and thermal underwear
Why a sleeping bag and thermal underwear you might ask? As it gets cold at night, especially in the northern parts of the country. The irony of our two weeks 4×4 camping in Namibia was that every night was different: sometimes it was so cold that layering was a must; other times, we slept wearing loose clothes, as it was way too hot. Just be prepared for every situation.
Cotton shopping bag
Always have a cotton shopping bag with you as it is small, light, and always needed. It can have many porpoises like carrying out your shopping, taking your toiletries to the ablution blocks, organizing some things inside your car, pretty much everything.
Note. You can buy toilet paper, soap, and hand wipes, at most petrol stations on the road, so there is no need for drama if you run out of those.
We always use microfiber towels on our journeys as they dry off quickly, are more absorbent, and pack super small; ideal for traveling!
Buy trash bags before starting your 4×4 camping adventure, as those are much needed. As a tip, throw away the waste only in the mornings, so you won’t be awakened in the middle of the night by unwanted quests seeking through your garbage.
We intended to keep our luggage in large trash bags and store them in the trunk, but it was extremely unhandy. Other than that, our trunk got dusty on day 3, so we decided to keep the luggage on the backbench. We’ve just covered them when shopping in Swakopmund and Windhoek, and it was perfect.
If there is only one pair of shoes I would take next time with me to Namibia, it will be a pair of crocs as those are very comfortable, durable, and easy to clean. We got to wear the crocs every single day: when driving, camping, showering, even climbing Dune 7.
Note. Wearing flip-flops is not an option as everything is so dusty in Namibia.
Make sure to pack warm clothes as well, especially a warm jacket. It can be handy for early mornings and late nights when camping in Namibia.
I am so happy we decided to pack some work gloves! We appreciate having them when undoing the tents in the morning, manipulating things in the trunk, in case of a puncture or any hard work involved in a 4×4 self-drive round trip.
Insect repellent and spirals
Although mosquitoes are not really an issue in September, it can be an important issue in Namibia in other months. Buy some spirals from the stores in Windhoek or Swakopmund before starting your 4×4 camping adventure, and you’ll thank me for that.
Our top 3 Campsites in Namibia
Suppose you are planning a 4×4 camping trip in Namibia, then Spitzkoppe Camp should definitely be on your list. The most well-known campsite in Namibia, Spitzkoppe Camp, has something magic! Sleeping under a sky full of stars, with no one around, having no electricity, and running water is a gorgeous experience!
The campsites are far apart, and you’ll have to drive 8 kilometers from one edge of the park to another. From the entrance point to the west side of the park, there are only 3,5 kilometers. Also, the speed limit inside Spitzkoppe is 30km/h in all areas.
Each campsite comes with a dry toilet and a waste bin. Other facilities like running water, hot showers, power, light meals, and cold drinks are available near reception, at the entrance.
Tip: arrive early if you want to get the best campsite. Campsites 10 A, B, C, and 11 A, B are fantastic!
Mondjila Safari Camp
The best alternative for 4×4 camping near Etosha National Park, only 32km from Anderson Gate, is Mondjila Safari Camp. The lovely safari camp has 8 campsites sharing showers and toilets found in a communal area nearby.
Each campsite comes with electricity, a braai place, running water, plenty of shade, and GRASS, so uncommon for this part of the world. There are a restaurant, a bar, and a pool to hang out after a successful game drive in Etosha.
Tip: Campsites no. 5, 7, and 8 will give you more privacy. You can chill out at the bar, enjoy a book at the pool, or appreciate a delicious dinner at the restaurant( meals only on pre-order).
Madisa Camp, Damaraland
Secluded between amazing rock formations, Madisa Camp is a truly hidden gem and by far our favorite 4×4 camping spot in Namibia!
Madisa Camp offers 9 private camps, a lovely swimming pool, and a bar area. Each site is huge and secluded from the neighboring locations.
All campsites come with a shower, a sink, and a toilet situated on stilts under the open sky. Besides that, there are electricity and power points amenities, running water, and braai facilities. Hot water comes in a donkey system, which means you need to heat the water through fire (firewoods available at reception)
TIP: Campsites 9 – 13 are the best! For the best sunset view, climb the rocks near the reception desk!
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