There are not many places in Namibia where you have such a variety of things to do while camping. We swam, fished, hiked, kayaked and enjoyed sleeping outside under the stars at the Oanob Dam. Depending on the availability of campsites, one can choose between those further away from the water or others that are closer. If the dam is really full you could jump straight from your campsite into the water and enjoy a swim.
We got a campsite at the water. The dam was low, but if the water had been high it would have reached the wall of that campsite. However, the site had big shady trees, green grass and was equipped with a braai area, table and seating and a kitchen counter to work on. The first thing we did was to put our feet in the water – how can one not, especially in a country like Namibia, where every drop of water is appreciated. The water was quite refreshing and of course we immediately tried to fish but it seemed as if fish didn’t like to be caught at midday. We decided to rest instead and lay on our camping mattresses in the shade.
Cars towing boats arrived in the early afternoon and one by one they disappeared to different corners of the dam. Some went fishing while others enjoyed speeding over the water or practising tricks.
After a while we decided to go for a swim and in fact swam to the other side of the dam. It was probably the first time in a long time that any of us had swum more than 500 metres in one go. After a decent break we swam back. The water was a bit chilly but we got used to it. Not only is swimming refreshing but it is also good exercise, especially when you have to swim against waves.
The second attempt to fish in the afternoon went better and five fish where caught. However, we needed to stand knee-deep in the water to actually have a go. The fish were released after being landed, but who knows – maybe we caught the same fish over and over.
Night came quickly and a breeze was blowing but that didn’t keep us from making a braai and talking about random things. Everyone had a big piece of good lamb rib and we all slept on the ground under the trees without a tent or a net. This, we found out, was a bit of a mistake as the mosquitoes feasted on us. We all did fall asleep at some stage, however.
If you do not have your own kayak, you can rent one from the restaurant. We explored the dam in our kayaks. This was fun and when we got close to another person we would splash each other with water, which was refreshing. We were glad we did the kayaking in the morning and not in the afternoon as the wind came up later.
After two days of swimming, fishing, kayaking and birdwatching we headed back to civilization, not very happy that it was all over so soon.
Author: Jessica Sack