Travelling 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 so close to nature, hear the sounds of the night and have nice evenings sitting outside having a barbeque. Some will hate it as a little work is involved, for instance: the tent has to be put back up each morning if you are going to use the car that day, but it only takes about 10 minutes to do it.
Namibia is set-up for camping in a way that I never expected. Clambering up the ladder each night became our second home soon, and we loved the cosiness of our canopy. Need help with the Road Trip ITINERARY? Or you want to know how to spend your day in Sossusvlei? Or there are some things you need to know before travelling to Namibia?
How to book for 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 for a campsite and remember to book well in advance if travelling in the main season. Simply contact the camping place or NWR and make a reservation through their website: conversations, quotes or payments are done 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. Places are remote, and you can drive hours without seeing another car or campsite. Usually, the campsites are spacious, in lovely settings, quite spotless, with a fire pit and nearby running water. Some of them have their own ablution facilities, electricity or a concrete table while some of them 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 gives you 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
- Headlamp – the most crucial accessory when camping in Namibia. It gets dark early, so always have one on hand. You will need one for staying late, for moving around the campsite, for preparing dinner, for walking to the ablution blocks. 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 – as it gets cold at nights and in the tents.
- Cotton shopping bag – Always have a cotton shopping bag with you. Small, light, always on hand. It can have many porpoises like caring out your shopping or toiletries, pretty much everything. Toilet paper, soap, hand wipes you can buy at most of the petrol stations on the road so if you run out of those, no need for drama.
- Microfiber towels – They dry off quickly, are more absorbent, and they pack super small, ideal for travelling.
- Trash bags – We used those to collect the waste. As a tip, throw your waste only the next morning, so you won’t be awakened in the middle of the night by unwanted quests seeking through your garbage.
- Large trash bags: Our intention was to keep our luggage into those bags and keep 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.
- Crocs – very comfortable, durable and easy to clean. We got to wear them every day: when driving, camping, showering, even climbing Dune 7. Better than wearing flipflops since everything is very dusty in Namibia.
- Warm jacket – particularly useful for early mornings and late nights when camping in Namibia.
- Work gloves – very much appreciated undoing the tents in the morning, manipulating thinks 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 – mosquitos were not really an issue in September, in Namibia except Sossusvlei!
Our top 3 Campsites in Namibia
The most well-known Campsite in Namibia. Spitzkoppe Camp has something magic! The campsites are far apart: from one edge of the park to another there are 8 kilometres and from the entrance until the west side of the park, 3,5 kilometres. 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
It’s a lovely place and a good and cheap alternative for staying near Etosha National Park, just 32km from Anderson Gate. Mondjila Safari Camp has 8 campsites and each site comes with electricity, braai place, running water, plenty of shade and GRASS while showers and toilets are in a communal area. There is a restaurant and a bar with a pool to hang out.
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
This one is our favourite camp in Namibia, secluded between amazing rock formations, a truly hidden gem! Madisa Camp offers 9 private camps, a lovely swimming pool and bar area. Each campsite comes with a shower, a sink, and a toilet situated on stilts, under the open sky, with electricity, power points, running water and braai facilities. The site is huge and secluded from the neighbouring locations. Hot water comes in donkey system, which means you need to heat the water through fire (firewoods available at reception)
TIP: Campsites 9 – 13 are the best! Climb to the top for a sunset view!