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Resort Review: Ai-Ais Campsite, Southern Namibia

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When you’re on a long road trip and your other half is going to have a big birthday en route, best you research the venue to see if it suits your personal preferences. I thought I’d played it safe, by booking two nights at the Ai-Ais campsite towards the end of our 30-day long campervan journey through the Kalahari and Namibia.

I had a plan that Annette and I would swim in the inviting warm pools I’d seen on the website, then perhaps go for a birthday supper at the smart looking restaurant, and just relax under the cool palms in what looked like a pristine and uncrowded campsite. Of course, this was all based on the little internet research I’d done before making our booking, and I’d relied heavily on the alluring images of the resort splashed over a number of commercial websites. So, when we arrived there in our old Landy campervan at 19h30 after an enervating journey from Lüderitz, I had high hopes of finding a relatively secluded and comfortable camping spot.

But that was in the oasis of my imagination. ‘Just what had I been expecting, at the start of the school holidays in a family-oriented camping resort?’ I berated myself silently as we drove into this mega-camping facility (the size and number of campsites is not easily apparent to the internet researcher) and saw the legions of cars, tents, caravans and people. I quickly realised that there was very little likelihood of finding seclusion here.

Words & Images Nick Yell

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