A Night Under the Stars at Roy’s Rest Camp

Namibia has quickly taken hold of my wild spirit.  It is open and wide, and it is picturesque in its near bleakness.  The highways hardly turn and the flat horizon constantly bubbles an oasis in the distance.  Occasionally, a stunning rocky hill protrudes from the ground desperate for attention.  The skies seem bigger here.  As if there is more heaven than earth.  As if there is more wonder than reality.

Warthog Crossing

For 3 days now I’ve been driving through landscapes so bleak they’re inspiring.  For 3 nights, I’ve been camped under so many stars you wonder if one will suddenly crash down.  Often they shoot through the blackness so quickly one has to wonder where there off to in such a hurry.

I roll into Roy’s Rest Camp, near the town of Otjiwarongo, weary from the long road and worried about my ability to make it to the next town on the little fuel I have left in my tank.  Roy’s is a quirky establishment which fully encompasses the feeling of northern Namibia.  It is junk that screams “art!” and has a character that rusts elegantly.  I feel like I’m in the Wild West.  I’m certain that if I sit out on the dirt road long enough I’ll spot the Roadrunner being chased by Wiley Coyote.

Roy's Rest Camp

The night pierces the sky quickly at Roy’s Rest Camp.  There seems to be no sunset, no dimming of light, no warning.  One moment it’s light, the next the sky is coated with a blanket of black.  After not too long, that same ceiling speckles in a powder of white as if the gods spilled a shake of icing sugar into the sky.

The Milky Way rips a dramatic white tear into the flesh of the night sky.  Her light is dabbed with hints of purples and blues.  Her wonder is so great that with one look it’s hard not to imagine that there’s so much more to this universe than we’ll ever know.

Roy's Rest Camp, milky way

It makes you feel small, staring up at the Namibian stars.  It makes you realize that no matter how much of this planet you explore, there’s so much more out there you’ll never get the chance to understand.

My camera is set to take some long exposure star photography, so I pull my sleeping bag from my tent and lay down beside it as it works.  There is a calm to the evening.  It’s quiet.  But if I listen close enough I can hear a hornbill rummaging through the branches of a nearby Acacia tree.  I can hear a small antelope grazing carefully through a patch of yellow grass.  I can hear a light wind carry a whistler’s song through the air.  That peaceful song puts me to sleep.

Roy's Rest Camp

I wake to the rummaging of a small animal and the cracking of light over the horizon.  Morning has begun to warm the air and the starry sky has given way to a purple hue that dances from horizon to horizon.  I look at my tent, prepared and unused.  I grab a quick cup of coffee, pack my gear, and again set off in search of another starry sky, another perfect night.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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    • She’s so sexy right?

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  1. That third photo of the African starscape (I’ve decided that’s a thing) is so beautiful, it would probably be enough to get me on a plane to Namibia. I don’t think I’ve ever seen stars like that!

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    • Yeah Steph, Namibia has crazy beautiful skies at night. The only place I’ve seen better stars was in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile! That place should also be on your list!

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    • Thanks Tammy, was quite the night! Such beautiful skies in Namibia

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  2. Amazing! I can’t believe those skies! Every time I go somewhere where you can really see the stars, I lament my terrible vision, and that, even with my glasses on, I can’t see them clearly. I’ll have to settle pictures like yours instead.

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  3. Wonderful words and photos! Can’t wait to get back to Africa! Unfortunately it was clouded over and stormy the 2 nights I had the opportunity to see something similar in South Africa. We were treated to a fantastic light show in the distance on the 1st night while we dined outside.

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    • Sounds like you need to go to Namibia Andrea… no clouds in the country, I swear.

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      • This is awesome man. We’re doing a trip in September from Nairobi to Skeleton Coast, Namibia and one of the places we identified was Roy’s Rest Camp.. This is great man. Good job.

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