Jun 08 2013

Our home at Roy’s

It happens sometimes.  You arrive at a campsite, and before you know it, days have passed and you’ve lost track of how long you’ve enjoyed your home.  Djidjack south of Dakar, Senegal was one such place.  Roy’s Rest Camp north of Grootfontein, Namibia is another.

We had passed through Roy’s at the start of our Namibia loop, and were only too glad to return.  It is a charming restcamp with individual chalets – each with its own character – and a large campsite.  We nestled ourselves into a campsite and let time tick on by.

The decoration is creative and eccentric all at the same time.  Old American cars, well rusted with oodles of character, have chosen quiet corners to live out the remainder of their days.  Old storm lanterns – minus glass and wick – hang in trees or on poles, relics of bygone days.  The internet cafe is a collection of heavy wooden chairs around a white wheelbarrow, which serves as a bonfire on chilly nights.  The swimming pool fountain is … a white bathtub!  Around the corner where a bar once was, an old Singer sewing machine, and balancing scales stand.  Antelope horns adorn walls.  As night falls, the lights are lit: ordinary glass bottles turned into paraffin lamps complete with wicks.  Every stroll reveals new secrets.

There was a surprising abundance of wildlife!  At night, the spring hares came to mow the lawn next to our campsite.  One night, a herd of eland wandered around the edge of the campsite – so quiet that the only sound was the clicking of their hooves.  There were kudu and steenboks that came to drink at the little pan about 50 m from the bar area … and of course many many birds greeted us in the morning, sang to us as the sun set, and chatted to us throughout the day.  It all felt so natural – an easy blend of wild with the human activities of the rest camp.

And the staff were welcoming, and as our stay lengthened, we were warned we would soon be charged rent as residents rather than fees as guests ;)   Pieter, Esme and Karina made us feel like part of the family.  I think a day or two longer and Viking Explorer would have been out back chopping wood!

We met lots of interesting people.  At night, an inviting bonfire is lit, and guests from chalets and campsite are drawn like moths.  We met Brendan – a young Canadian traveller on his own.  I had previously used his blog for information on visas in West Africa, and he arrived in Roy’s on a scooter that he had driven from Mali!  Brave lad.  He makes his living from his blog (http://www.brendansadventures.com/) and writing travel articles, and really inspired me to keep on travelling and keep on writing.

We met Peter,  a travel agent from Holland.  Travelling 4 altogether, they are exploring some of the places that he regularly books for his clients!  He was intrigued by our travels and our vehicle, and came for a little tour in the morning before they left.

Neil and Pam, tourists from USA, came to introduce themselves at the campsite.  Niel has wanted to travel overland in Africa since university days, but never had the opportunity.  This was their first foray into southern Africa, and so cautiously had not committed to camping, but were enjoying the comforts of chalets.  Neil was particularly curious about Brodie, and a youthful light in his eyes revealed his overlanding desire was still burning.  We hope they continue their ‘virtual’ overland adventuer in Africa by following our story.

Then, there was a group of 8 Belgians – who were delighted that Viking Explorer spoke French.  Viking Explorer was equally delighted to have an opportunity to refresh his west African dialect.  Dominic had been born and raised in Congo, and although had spent many years in the “motherland”, Africa was very much his mistress.  They loved listening to Viking Explorer recanting the tale of our west African adventure, and expressed their respect that we had embarked on such a journey.  We hope they too follow our adventure after they finish their exploration of Namibia and Botswana.

Our days were lazy, catching up on sleep, reading, route planning and various online activities.  We took care of chores that inevitably need doing.

All in all, we settled far too easily into our adopted home.

But, eventually, the restlessness crept in – a sure sign that were ready to continue our adventure.  Our last night was an enjoyable evening spent with Pieter, Esme and Karina who were holding a small farewell party for Harold, who had been taking care of maintenance at the camp for many years.  We swelled the numbers at the party (4 to 6) and enjoyed an evening of much laughter and camaraderie.

Now, onwards into the Caprivi Strip for our last few days in Namibia before we cross the border into Zambia.


  1. Marie

    Just so say how much I enjoy following you both. It is such a pleasure to be a fly on the wall… Enjoy it all. What you are doing is fabulous :-)


  2. Vic

    Ditto… Keep it up, guys… Caprivi is great, you’ll love it…

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