Leaving Botswana already for Ngepi Camp in Namibia; Border crossings much improved; Ngepi Camp and its fabulous ablutions

We weren’t destined to spend much time in Botswana, it seemed, as we were on the road from Kasane early in the morning after having spent less than twenty-four hours in the country. We crossed the border into Namibia around midday. The border here is much nicer than the one Botswana shares with Zambia. There are two quite modern buildings with pavement (no mud!) outside and glass-windowed counters inside. A breath of fresh air after all the filthy border-crossings we’ve seen lately. This was in keeping with everything we saw on the way into Namibia - the general level of prosperity seems to be increasing as we travel further south on the continent.

Elephant-crossing sign

Early in the evening we reached Ngepi Camp, which we were told is famous for its toilets and showers and has won the “best campsite in Southern Africa” award a few times running. It was a slog to get there, over quite bad roads, but I was instantly won over when we arrived and saw that the tent area is covered with real, true, honest-to-god grass. I nearly wept, I tell you. Africa is dirt, dust and mud everywhere you go. I don’t think I’ve seen a green lawn (outside of the expensive hotel we saw in Livingstone) for longer than a month. It’s too hot and dry here for grass, and the sun kills it. It’s damper and shadier here by the river, but I can see that they still have to work hard to maintain it - there are roped-off patches everywhere where they’re re-seeding. I appreciate it very much, even more so now that the rainy season has caught up with us in earnest and there are three or four hours of rain nearly every day

Ngepi Camp is in the middle of nowhere and had electricity for only a couple of hours a day, but it’s a neat place. Besides the grass there’s an absolutely unique swimming pool - or I should say, swimming cage - it floats in the river so you can go swimming with the hippos and the crocodiles. Besides that there are the justly famous toilets and showers. Each one is unique and whimsically-named. Theres “Tomorrow” with a diorama of a dragon eating famous world cities - you shower in the middle of the buildings; “The Throne” which is just that - a big wooden throne; The “Five-Star” which is the only one with tiles and a ceiling (the rest are only walls of woven reeds open to the sky); “His and Hers” which is two toilets side by side in one reed-fenced “room” - the toilet seat of His is padlocked up. There are way too many to list them all - I’ll try to take some pictures. My favourite, though, has no name. It’s a big tin bathtub on a wooden platform open to the river, with a nice high back that you can lean on. The water was only lukewarm, but I had a nice long bath watching the sunset clouds over the river and listening to the hippos grumbling back and forth to each other.

Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
This travelogue comprises 16,426 photographs and 402,515 words in 307 dispatches written from 335 places in 52 countries on 6 continents around the world.
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