Kaokoland and the Kunene River
To the more adventurous souls this is what Namibia is all about. The area south of the Kunene River is harsh, desolate but also completely pristine and stunningly beautiful. Kaokoland is 4×4 territory and provides any off-road enthusiast with many challenges and ample rewards.
The Kunene River slices through a stark landscape of rock and sand. The contrast between the lush river banks and the arid mountain seems a bit unreal. Along the Kunene River you have a choice of either booking yourself into the exclusive luxury of a few upmarket safari lodges or being completely self-reliant in basic but beautiful campsites. The Epupa Falls and the Ruacana Falls are the scenic highlights along the Kunene River. Dramatic scenery, abundant birdlife and rock pools make these remote destinations worthwhile for self-reliant adventurers.
Further south the Kaokoland offers mountain passes that will challenge the vehicle as much as the driver. Van Zyl’s Pass leading into the Marienfluss Valley is possibly the most famous among them. The untouched valleys give you a true sense of exploration and leave you with ample amounts of open space and silence – rare luxuries in these times. Scattered across the arid space of the Kaokoland, desert elephants walk up to 200 km to find water. Due to longer legs and larger feet the pachyderms were once believe to be a separate species. However, scarcer food supplies make the desert dwelling elephants lighter over all, which makes the legs appear longer. Their feet are an adaption the sandy habitat, allowing them to walk the desert with more ease.
Travelling through the Kaokoland you will encounter Himba settlements. These proud and graceful semi-nomadic people long resisted the impact of westernisation. The Himba are best known for the red ochre and fat mixture that protects their skin from the sun. Himba women wear ornate hairstyles, which along with jewellery from iron and shells makes them an impressive encounter and a popular motive for many photographers. In the Kaokoland you have the chance to witness the traditional Himba lifestyle far away from western civilisation.