The Caprivi Strip s wackiest campsite Ngepi Camp MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

The Quirkiest Campsite in the Caprivi Strip: Ngepi Camp

After a long day of traveling, my arrival at Ngepi Camp (one of the 15 best eco-lodges in Southern Africa) near Divundu in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip was met with exhaustion. It was already dark when I finally set up camp, leaving me with no choice but to take a shower under the open sky. In the midst of darkness, armed only with a flashlight, I found myself surrounded by bushes, mosquitoes, and creepy crawlies. It was far from my finest moment.

However, as the morning sun emerged from behind the trees and revealed a breathtaking view of the Kavango River, all of my grumpiness dissipated. In that moment, what had initially felt bothersome and unsettling the previous night transformed into a delightfully eccentric experience, adding to the campsite’s unique charm that everyone should try at least once.

Let me tell you, this place is like no other. It’s got this unique vibe, kind of quirky, and definitely a bit eccentric. When you step into the lodge’s dining room, prepare to be amazed. Musical instruments of all shapes and sizes are hanging from the ceiling, not your usual flutes and castanets, but big ones like a cello, trombone, and even a piano accordion. It’s a sight to see!

And that’s not all. As you make your way to the lounge, you’ll notice a rather unexpected bookcase. It’s made out of an upturned mokoro, which is a dugout canoe. Who would have thought, right? But hey, it works! You can find a cozy spot on one of the beanbags or squishy couches and kick back, completely relaxed. It’s a great place to unwind.

Now, let’s talk about the gardens. There’s a circular fireplace, or as they like to call it, a “conversation pit.” It’s the perfect spot to gather around and have a chat. And guess what? They’ve placed more mekoro (that’s the plural of mokoro) upside down around the pit. They serve as benches or tables, adding to the whole unique atmosphere.

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But let me tell you, the real showstopper is the toilets. That’s where the owner’s creativity really shines. The decorations in there are something else! You’ve got to see it for yourself.

When I was at the campsite, I noticed a sign for one of the bathrooms that read ‘The Throne’. It was quite a fancy setup, with a toilet bowl and seat enclosed in a wooden throne. What made it even more interesting was its location. The view from ‘The Throne’ gave me an unobstructed sight of the river (check out our article on the best bathrooms with a view!). Imagine sitting there, doing your business while watching crocs gracefully swim by and their eyes following your every move. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, don’t worry. They had plenty of other bathrooms that were more private and lacked a view. Each bathroom had its own unique design, so you didn’t have to worry about experiencing the same old, dull bathroom you find in many places.

When it comes to washing up, we had a few options. We could use the showers at the “adventure outdoors” center, although I didn’t have the best experience there on my first night. Another choice was Eagle’s Nest, which had a rustic yet charming hip-bath and a breathtaking view of the river. I imagined how romantic it would be to soak in the tub by candlelight, with rose petals scattered around. However, one afternoon, a British family with two kids turned it into their personal bathroom. Judging by their laughter and giggles, they were having a great time.

As a practical person, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if the sunset cruise sailed past just as you were in the middle of your business in the bathroom!

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When I visited Ngepi, there were many cool features to enjoy. They had a sun deck, a floating cage pool in the river, and a lively bush bar. What I appreciated most was that overlanders had their own designated area in the campsite. This meant that our green-grassed patch of paradise along the river wasn’t overrun by their multiple tents.

If you’re interested in camping, it’s worth mentioning that not all camp sites have river frontage. So, it’s a good idea to request it when you make your booking. But if camping isn’t your thing, you can always try one of their unique tree-house suites instead.

To add to the fun, be sure to read the tongue-in-cheek signs scattered around the property. Some of them make jokes about 4×4 drivers or campers who bring way too many things. On the other hand, there are also ‘green’ notices that remind you to be mindful of your energy usage and not be wasteful.

When I reached our campsite on the second night, I decided to take a shower while there was still daylight. The shower was an interesting setup – it was open to the night sky, allowing me to see countless stars instead of the usual five-star hotels can offer. To let others know that the shower was occupied, we erected a pole with a sign that said ‘door’ across the entrance to the makeshift shelter.

The wooden slats that made up the shower deck were brushed by groundcovers. The shower head was a galvanized bucket hanging from a tree, with small holes in it. And conveniently nearby, there was a fallen tree trunk that served as a place to keep my dry clothes and towel. It was a much different experience compared to the previous night, but I found myself completely drawn to its rustic charm.

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This got me thinking – there’s a lesson to be learned here. If you want to truly appreciate and enjoy your experiences, it’s important to arrive with an open mind and a positive attitude. Being late and in a bad mood can prevent you from fully immersing yourself in the beauty and uniqueness of your surroundings.

That night, I fell asleep to the grumblings of hippos and the huffing of elephants. The sounds of Africa serenaded me, and when morning came, I was greeted by the calls of fish eagles over the river. It was just another perfect day in this beautiful place.

Let me tell you what you can do in the Caprivi Strip:

1. Take a day trip to the Mahango Game Reserve, which is only about 15km away. You’ll have a great time exploring the wildlife there.

2. Another must-visit spot is Popa Falls. It’s just a hop, skip, and jump away, and it’s open from sunrise to sunset. Don’t miss it!

Now, let me give you some directions on how to get there:

To reach Ngepi, you need to go to Divundu, a small settlement on the B8 between Rundu (200km) and Katimo Mulilo (320km) in the Caprivi, Namibia. Once you’re in Divundu, at the T-junction, turn onto the D3403 and drive for about 10km. Look out for the sign for Ngepi Camp on the left-hand side, and from there, it’s only 4km.

If you need to get in touch with them, here are their contact details:

– Telephone: 00264-66-259903

– Cellphone: 00264-81-2028200

I hope you have an incredible time in the Caprivi Strip. This place is truly special, and I’m sure you’ll love every moment of your visit. Enjoy!

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