Kaokoland is a safari destination for the truly adventurous. The vast and sparsely populated landscape is punctuated by dry river beds, drought-hardy grass plains, and scattered kopjes that spring up at random as if flung from the nearby mountain ranges. The Kunene River runs through the very north of the region to form a natural border between Namibia and Angola, while to the south the seasonal Hoanib River divides the area from Damaraland. Discover the wonders of a Kaokoland, Namibia safari with Ker & Downey.
This part of Namibia appeals to real road adventurers and those who want to drink in total silence, solitude, and stars. Those who investigate Kaokoland tours and destinations are often looking for the road less travelled, off the beaten track, a bit of rugged camping and tough driving. The places that present a bit of a challenge are the most pristine, and that is certainly true for Kaokoland. This is where you’ll meet desert elephants congregating in the dappled shade; see the sweeping grass plains and fairy circles of Marienfluss; the rugged mountains of Puros; Kunene’s Epupa Falls; and the notorious Van Zyl’s Pass.
The north is known as Kaokoland and the south as Damaraland. Although these administrative divisions fell away after Namibian independence the colloquial demarcations have persisted. Kaokoland is a succession of hills and mountains punctuated by endless plains. This isolated rugged region is home to the nomadic Himba pastoralists who have remained unchanged for many generations. The attraction of Kaokoland lies in its wild and uncharted valleys and mountains. It is the most isolated and undeveloped region of this mostly isolated and undeveloped country.
Rugged trails take you through impossible terrain that test the engineering of your vehicle and the skills of your driver. Wading through flash floods or bumping over rocks is all in a day’s work. The Kunene is a perennial river that rises in the highlands of Angola and carves its way along the Namibian border through wild and arid mountains before reaching the Atlantic. The rivercourse is an astonishing contrast of sub-tropical growth amid the rocky outcrops and treeless plains of Kaokoland.
Grootberg Lodge is perched on the rim of a plateau and stands sentinel over the Klip River Valley. They offer a warm welcome, high-standard of professional service, extremely good food, well-trained guides and exceptionally good local management in great surroundings. Many of their guests stay here for at least a couple of nights on a self-drive safari from Etosha Natonal Park or Damarland. Read More
Hoanib’s eight pale olive, luxury tented suites peak like whitecaps on an ocean of sand. Totally solar-powered, Hoanib has a fresh, contemporary design, with a colour palette reflecting the surrounding desert. The camp (suites, common areas, pool) looks out on a wide, rugged valley that slopes down to the usually dry Hoanib River. One of many highlights: dining under impossibly starry skies, perhaps perhaps at the firepit as a jackal cries, or a lion roars, punctuating the stillness of the inky night. Read More
Hoanib Valley’s six guest tents blend almost perfectly into the rugged environment. The colours, textures and patterns are inspired by the experience of the Hoanib; the rich ochre of the dunes, the geometric patterns of the Himba people and, of course, the giraffe that inspired the project. True to the ethos of Natural Selection, we’ve sourced materials locally, and you’ll find furniture shaped by the local Rundu carpenters and Himba carvers, and baskets weaved by the people of the Omba Project in Windhoek. The whole camp is a clean and green sort of place, leaving virtually no footprint on this fragile eco-system. It’s entirely solar powered to ensure carbon emissions are kept to a minimum, and the tents sit on decks made of a wood, bamboo and 70% recycled-material composite. Read More
Perched on a hill above the banks of the ephemeral Hoarusib River, the Okahirongo Elephant Lodge is possibly one of the most remote lodges in Namibia. If you make it here, you will be rewarded with a genuine safari experience. The lodge will dazzle your senses with its mix of stylish tranquility, eccentric architecture, ultimate comfort and excellent service. An oasis of luxury in the middle of the desert. Read More
Okahirongo River Camp is an eco-friendly luxury tented lodge built on a sweeping ridge and opening up to breathtaking views of the Kunene River. The central area, constructed above the rapids, comprises two lounges, a library and dining room, decked out in African elegance. The turquoise waters of the swimming pool spell out refreshment from the desert heat and the spacious sundeck invites sunbathing or simply delighting in the exotic grandeur of the natural surroundings. Read More