Kaokoland Safari Namibia
The scenery is dramatic, there are small pockets of desert-adapted game, and it is home to the Himba people this is what describes Kaokoland in Northwestern Namibia. Often this area is described as one of the unique unspoilt wilderness spot in South Africa and Africa as a whole.
Kaokoland Namibia lies in a region bordering the Skeleton coast park Namibia, Kunene River that flows on the north and Damaraland Namibia to the south. The permanent waters of the Kunene River, which also forms Namibia’s border with Angola, provide a beautiful oasis and adventure activities. Mountain ranges near the Kunene River are rugged and impressive with the highest point being 2039m. The Epupa Falls & the Ruacana falls are both on the Kunene River.
Kaokoland, in the far north of Namibia is strictly for the more adventurous. The scenery is dramatic, there are small pockets of desert-adapted game, and it is home to the Namibia Himba and Herero people. It is a fragile environment where visitors must travel with local guides who know and are committed to the area. A high degree of cultural sensitivity is essential.
Kaokoland Safari Namibia
Kaokoland’s weather is harsh and extremely hot around midday and the rugged landscape is especially attractive during the early morning and late afternoon when it is transformed into softly glowing pastel shades.
For a bit of water adventure and sporting try white water rafting and canoeing on the Kunene River. The stretch of river normally traversed is the 120km between Ruacana and Epupa Falls
Epupa falls cascades through beautifully colored rocks and orchards of fig trees, giant baobabs and makalani palm trees then plunges 60m below for 1.5km sometimes to a width of 500m during the heavy rainy period. The waterfall’s name-Epupa is translated by the Heroro People to mean ‘spray created by falling water’. Below, the falls run into Kunene River created beautiful rapids with spectacular white water rafting rapids and often used for canoe rides. Ondurusa rapids are splendid for rafting as well as the other 13 rapids.
The Ruacana Falls Namibia are also located on Kunene River just 135km upstream form Epupa falls. They are 120m high and 700m wide in full flood. The cascading water stream below becomes glistening on the onset of the spectacular sunsets and also offers water ports like swimming, however be ware of looming crocodiles on the river bank.
The desert elephant found in Kaokoland Namibia is a rare species of wildlife exclusively adapted to the harsh desert weather similar to those living the border of Mali desert in Mali. There are also a few remaining Black rhinos living in Kaokoland and many of them are endangered by the increasing poaching activity. Other mammals present here include leopards, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, antelopes and large herds of Zebra that reside in the Zebra Mountains.
Bird watching is most rewarding around the permanent waters of the Kunene River and regular sights include the rare Rufoustailed palm thrush, as well as bee-eaters, the African fish eagle and Kingfishers ranging from giant to the tiny Malachite Kingfisher.
Near the hot water spring at Warmquelle is the ruined palm fringed fort called Sesfontein, desolated police post after a century now a tourist accommodation unit. Sesfontein Fort derives its name from the six fountains which have their source in the vicinity.
The Himba people
Kaokoland Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated places in Namibia with 16,000 inhabitants, a third of them Himba Namibia and the other Herero people both living a nomadic pastoralist life. The Himba Language is now English and Afrikaans
The Himba people are a statuesque noted for their unusual sculptural Himba beauty, intricate hairstyles, and traditional adornments and for the red ochre & fat treatment that protects their skin. Himba homes are simple cone shaped structures of saplings bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. A family may move from one
home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle.
Namibia Kaokoland Accommodation
One of the best places to stay in the Epupa area is the Epupa Camp luxury lodge. Enroute from Puro village is Onjuva Marble Mine campsite, Marienfluss Okarogombo campsite from the northern valley on Kunene River and Van Zyl’s Pass campsite near Sesfontein fort. You’ll find some hot water, well stocked bar and swimming.
Driving and visiting Kaokoland is quite risky risky especially during the rains when the river and springs flood into the roads. You’ll need 4X4 vehicles to traverse the area. Be sure to book a local guide to escort you on trips to the area. Book one of these from Windhoek Namibia