Kuruman is known as the "Oasis of the Kalahari", since it has a very strong fountain spewing out enough water to feed the Kuruman River. It delivers about 20 million litres of crystal clear water daily. In stead of camping, we decided on a guesthouse for the first night. The reasoning was that we need to get up early the next morning for the push to Aughrabies. We went to De Duine Guesthouse and it was fine, especially since it was really cold that night.
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The road lead through vineyards as far as the eye can see. This area produces a lot of grapes for table, wine and use as dried raisins. The campsite was very full and people from everywhere were camping around us. Luckily, they adhered to the unwritten law of "silence from nine" and we were able to enjoy a wonderful evening around the fire with the sound of the mighty Aughrabies not far from us.
Thermal water with a temperature of approx 60°C, flows from the springs of Ai-Ais. In the Nama language, "Ai-Ais" means "water that burns ". Ai-Ais is an excellent place to overnight next to the Fish River, but we will not recommend it for more than one night for the touring type of traveller like ourselves. However, if you like to camp for longer periods at the same place, Ai-Ais will be a good choice, especially since it will be upgraded soon.
Shark Island is very much synonimous with camping in Luderitz Bay. It is one of the most beautiful settings for camping in the world. The town also has good restaurants and there are some historic spots to visit, like the Kolmanskoppe ghost town which was built in the days of the Diamond rush that brought thousands of treasure seekers to the area.
Duwisib Castle was built by the Baron as a base for the horse-breeding enterprise he envisioned. Sadly, he was killed during World WarI. His wife left for America, never to return, leaving the castle and all of its contents and dreams behind.
Sesriem camp is located in the Namib Naukluft Park near Sossusvlei. From Sesriem, you can reach Sossusvlei at sunrise, but not from any of the private camps nearby, since the gate opens normally only after sunrise. The Sesriem Canyon is situated not far from the camp and is well worth a visit. The main attraction however, is the famous Sossusvlei about 90km from there.
The Sossusvlei is a highlight in Namibia's famous Namib Desert. It is a large clay pan, circled by giant sand dunes, some up to 300 metres high. Rarely, only after a heavy rainfall, do you find open water in the vlei. The colors that play against the dunes during sunrise and sunset is a must see for anyone who loves the sheer splendour of spectacular nature scenes. Sossusvlei has no accommodation and one have to drive there on day drives.
Solitaire is famous for the Apple Tart they make there. You can stop there and have some of the best tasting apple tart at leisure while you watch the other apple tart eaters who will not drive past without having their generous helping of this delicious tart. There is also a lodge and camping sites.
Swakopmund is the Miami Beach of Namibia. Namibians go there for their holidays and so does more and more people from other countries as well. Travellers will do well to do their washing in Swakopmund, since their laundromat is situated opposite the brewery and it has its own pub and slot machines to while away your time while waiting. One should also not miss the dune riding and dune sliding that they offer on some of the world's highest dunes.
Spitzkoppe is one of the many moon- or Marsscapes that Namibia has to offer. It is a campers' heaven where you can camp in nature, far from others, with only the mountain, the stars, your loved ones and your little fire as company. If you want to support the community tourism project, they have clean accommodation and the make very nice bread and breakfast.
Windhoek is a friendly, quiet city with a character of its own. There you will see Herero women with strange-looking headgear. They also have lots of eateries and drinkeries in the central business district. We got hooked, however by Elisenheim Guesthouse's campsite. They have only five sites with bush bathroom and toilet, with a fire-geyser that you have to stoke yourself. There's also a very beautiful pub/eatery where guests can chat with each other and the friendly owner/barman/cook.
Botswana is a country where there is even less signs of civilization than in Namibia. In Namibia, you see some windmills from time to time, but in Botswana, you see them very seldom. The country has its own natural wonders that we will definitely visit some time, like the northern parts with the pans and wonderful game reserves and truly untamed nature. But this was our last night on the trip and we were just looking for a hot shower and bed and we luckily found it in the Kang Guesthouse.
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