A Truly Remote & Tranquil Kunene Safari Experience
The Kaokoland area extends south to north from the Hoanib River to the Kunene River, forming the border with Angola. It is situated in the extreme north-west of Namibia and is the country’s most remote wilderness area offering dramatic scenery, the tranquil Kunene River and Epupa Falls in the north and the chance to meet the endemic Himba people. The land is generally dry and rocky, especially to the south, where it borders on the Namib Desert; nevertheless, it has several rivers as well as falls. The most notable falls in Kaokoland are the Ruacana Falls (120 m high, 700 m wide) and the Epupa Falls, both formed by the Kunene River. The northern part of Kaokoland is greener, with vegetation thriving in valleys such as the Marienfluss and Hartmann’s Valley.
The Kunene River Oasis in the Desert
The Kunene River in the north is a true oasis in this dry and sparsely populated area. Here you will find thundering waterfalls and furious white-water rapids as well as serene rock pools and tranquil streams as the river meanders along the surrounding landscape, attracting a range of wildlife to its banks. When the river is in flood the Epupa Falls, located 190km upstream is a sight to behold, and worth the hike to the various lookout points across the river and Angola beyond. Further upstream the Ruacana Falls flows over a magnificent gorge. Both Falls are in the peak of flood between March and May. A couple of luxury safari lodges on the river offers adrenaline and adventure-seekers the unique opportunity to explore the river by boat or canoe. Fishing, hiking, swimming and birdwatching are also offered.
Meet the Unique Nomadic Himba Tribe
The extraordinary, proud Himba tribe in Namibia are semi-nomadic, moving between places according to the seasons and water availability. They herd many cattle and goats and live in dome-shaped huts. Especially interesting is that the Himba women of Kaokoland are very elegant and spend many hours on personal grooming which forms part of their culture. A mix of butterfat and red ochre is mixed with an aromatic resin and applied to their skin. Himba women and children also braid their hair in elaborate styles and wear jewelry. During a Kaokoland safari, specially guided cultural excursions can be arranged for you to meet a Himba tribe at their settlement and learn more about their unique way of living.
Explore the Remote Marienfluss Conservancy and Hartmann’s Valley
The Marienfluss Conservancy and Hartmann Valley is one of the most remote regions in Kaokaoland. The Marienfluss is a large valley which provides grazing for the cattle and goats of the indigenous Himba population. The conservancy was registered in 2001 and covers 3,304 km2. There is only 340 people in the area – around one person per square kilometre. Grasslands dominate the broad, central Marienfluss and Hartmann’s Valleys, with dunes covering the western section. Game viewing in this area is limited to small herds of gemsbok, springbok and Hartmann’s mountain zebra. The Kunene River has a large population of Nile crocodiles. Burchell’s courser and Benguela long-billed lark are among the characteristic bird species to be found in this area. There are also several endemic reptiles with the desert plated lizard being a speciality. All of this can be experienced during nature walks and drives as well as eco-sensitive quad bike excursions in the dunes.
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