Camping at the Gamsberg Pass
Hakos Lodge and Camp Site
This past weekend I joined a large group at the Hakos Lodge. The lodge is a popular spot with astromoners as it sits at a very high altitude of 1800 metres. We showed up with a few kids and were obviously not the ‘usual guests’. We got a very cold eye from the loge hostess, a stiff German-Namibian woman named ‘Waltraud’! It was clear that noisy and energetic children were not popular guests at this lodge. The first question asked to us was ‘do you all speak German?’ aacck!!!
Dispite its shortcomings and lack of hospitality the lodge was very beautiful and situated in a beautitful mountain range.
As usual the lodge and adjoining farm were a museum of ancient motor vehicles.
At night we had a chance to look through a telescope at the night sky. We had a look at the some very interesting star patterns. We also had a look at Jupiter which was amazing to see. You could actually see the cloud cover over the northern and southern hemisphere as well as three orbiting moons. Did you know that Jupiter actually appears as a star in the sky!?!
Most impressive was the moon, as it was the largest object to view. I took this photo by lining my camera up with the telescope’s eyepiece. Trust me it was much more incredible through the telescope as there is quite a bit of light not picked up by the camera.
I was the only person to camp on this outing. Why not, I figured..I had so much fun last time! The motivation was the cost, as this lodge was not cheap! I planned to camp before arriving and I was a little surprised to find the camping site nearly 1km from the lodge.
I set up my tent midday still with the excitement of camping out in the wilderness. Then I returned to the lodge for the days activities and to enjoy the evening.
When it was time to retire it was obviously pitch black out. All of the guests had a short hop to the guestrooms. I was offered a ride to my tent (1km) by a friend, but Waltraud would not allow it! Using the car would cause ‘light polution’ which would affect the astronomers view of the sky! Can you believe it! Oh Waltraud, you will not be forgotten!
I walked to my tent with a small flashlight. On the way I took the wrong path and ended up having to walk off the trail to regain my direction. Finally I found my lonely little tent up on the hill. It was dead silent. I prepared myself for bed and lie down.
Not long after lying down did I hear a sniffing noise at the side of my tent. Like a little sniff sniff here, a little sniff sniff there. I became ridgid with fear. What was outside?? Could a lion have wandered down from Northern Namibia? It sounded like a small creature, nontheless I was not about to stick my head out of the tent and find out. This continued for most of the evening as animals came around sniffing me out. Who is this crazy lone camper?, they wondered.
Lesson Learned: Unless you are a crocodile hunter or some other crazy nature daring, tree hugging foolish person do not camp alone in the Namibian outback and expect to get a good nights sleep!!
Camping at the Gamsberg Pass by Michael Paskevicius is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.