Wednesday 30 September 2015

Great campsites: Horseshoe Camp on the Fish River Canyon

The view from Horseshoe Camp on the Fish River Canyon

Easily one of the most dramatic places I have ever camped, Horseshoe Camp is actually part of a mule trail along the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, but when there are no mule trails running, then ordinary folk can book it directly with Gondwana (even though you won't find it advertised on their website).

When we visited, we were the only people there for two whole days! It really gave new meaning to being 'off the beaten track' and we spent our time admiring the ever-changing light and soaking in the deepest of silences. It's not the kind of place you go unless you're comfortable in your own skin. It might also be a little terrifying with small children due to the precipitous drop into the canyon.

You turn off onto a farm road to get to the campsite. A 4x4 is required for the last bit.
We drove from Springbok in South Africa, crossing into Namibia over the Orange River at Noordoewer and then turning onto the C12, a good dirt road from Grunau to access the turnoff to the campsite, which is actually located on a farm just to the north of the national park. 

All in all, it was a good 80km from the tar, if my memory serves me correctly, and the dirt road on the farm gradually got rockier and steeper as we proceeded and we were glad to be in the sturdy old Toyota Hilux (nickname Rooikat).

We encountered this train to Luderitz several times on the C12
There were storm clouds all around, which made for this dramatic scene with a little two-coach diesel train heading for the coast. We overtook it a few times, and everyone waved when we did so.

German grave at Holoog
We also stopped to look at some lonely German graves next to a railway bridge at Holoog where we encountered the train again.

It was raining as we approached the campsite and there some temporary waterfalls streaming into the canyon, but that soon stopped and the next days were clear. We were all alone with the big sky, the full moon and the silence.

View from campsite at sunset
The camp is so named because the river forms a natural horseshoe here, making for stupendous views, particularly at sunrise and sunset when the colours mellow beautifully.

There's a kitchen hut (or mesa) where you can store your food and prepare your meals while looking out into the abyss.

View from kitchen hut
The showers and loos also look directly out onto the canyon. Without a doubt, the most dramatic view you are likely to ever have while doing your morning ablutions.

Loo with a view

It was difficult to fit the whole horseshoe into one frame 
Rain-soaked roads on route to the canyon
The mesa from a different angle on the lip of the canyon
Moonrise to the east with storm clouds receding
My kind of heaven


  1. Hey,

    I know this a pretty old post, but only just came across it now. Was a genuinely nice read. - Here a little guest post i did on Camping spots in cape town - . Let me know what you think. Its more a list if anything, not really much of a story teller.

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