Kaokoland

The Kaokoland is one of the last remaining wilderness areas … a barren inaccessible region with lots of mystique, scenic beauty and the nomadic Himba culture. The latter still live according to ancient traditions. The Kaokoland is also the home of the famous desert elephant, lion and giraffe that have adapted through time to survive in these conditions. The northern section of this region borders the Cunene River, the natural boundary between Namibia and Angola. Awesome scenes of beautiful waterfalls, palm trees, rugged mountains and dune landscapes are to be found along this river belt.

Note: This tour is available on request for private groups. 

View Departure Dates

Itinerary

Background

The Kaokoland is one of the last remaining wilderness areas … a barren inaccessible region with lots of mystique, scenic beauty and the nomadic Himba culture. The latter still live according to ancient traditions. The Kaokoland is also the home of the famous desert elephant, lion and giraffe that have adapted through time to survive in these conditions. The northern section of this region borders the Cunene River, the natural boundary between Namibia and Angola. Awesome scenes of beautiful waterfalls, palm trees, rugged mountains and dune landscapes are to be found along this river belt.

The highlights of the interior include the vast expand of the Marienfluss with the mysterious “fairy circles” and the open plains of the Hartmansvlakte where herds of Springbok roam.
You will not leave the Kaokoland untouched…. it leaves everlasting impressions. We are not just driving through this wilderness area, but promise to take you places few have visited before you. This will be a tour of a lifetime.

DAY 0:

Meet and Greet

The adventure starts in Kamanjab where you will meet your guides and fellow travellers.

DAY 1:

Khowareb Schlucht

The expedition officially starts after breakfast. Following a gravel road we head for Kamanjab where there will be an opportunity to refuel and to buy last minute supplies. From Kamanjab the road continues in a north-westerly direction until it reaches the south western border of the Etosha National Park. Here we will turn off onto a dirt track taking us through a veterinary gate, through Baadjie (a rather large kraal) and into the Khowareb Schlucht itself. The past Schlucht is a narrow gorge measuring 21 kilometers in length and because of permanent fountains we can expect to see a variety of game in the area. Our first night will be spent at a very neat community camp on the banks of the river.

DAYS 2-3:

Puros

From here we will continue into the heart of the Kaokoveld, following tracks in and between the typical Kaokoland rivers. We are entering the domain of the desert elephant.  We are on the lookout for these elephants that have adapted over time to survive in these harsh conditions.  These desert elephants are one of a group of only two desert dwelling elephants found in the world … the other in Mali. Driving down the Hoanib River and then crossing  over to the Hoariseb River, there will be a good chance of spotting the desert elephants.  You will notice the body mass of these elephants are lesser while their feet are bigger than the rest of their species that live in better conditions elsewhere in Africa.

DAYS 4 – 5:

Van Zyl’s Pass/ Marienfluss

From Puros we drive through spectacular mountain scenery before reaching the Khumib Riverbed, (south of Orupembe), on our way to the start of the famous Van Zyl’s Pass. The pass was named after Ben van Zyl, the “Bantu” Commissioner of the Kaokoveld in 1960.  He and his right-hand man, Jeremiah, together with a team of Himba’s built various routes in the Kaokoland.

The sight across the Marienfluss from the summit of Van Zyl’s Pass is awesome.  Van Zyl’s Pass (Otjihipa mountains) ends in the Marienfluss.  This beautiful grass plain is a wonderful sight. The decent through van Zyl’s Pass is slow, enough time to take photographs of the breath taking views along the way. Near the bottom of the pass is a viewpoint providing a stunning view of the Marienfluss below. We then make a challenging decent in our 4×4s and at the bottom of the pass stop for a few minutes at the Jan Joubert Memorial where you can place your stone. (Remember to bring a permanent ink marker so that you can write your name on a stone.)

 

 

DAYS 6 – 7:

Hoariseb Valley

From our camp next to the Kunene in the Marienfluss  we head south west via ‘Rooidrom’ and the Hoariseb Valley on the way to Opuwo the “capital” of Kaokoland, Here we can stock up on much needed supplies. The town has ATM facilities, fuel and a supermarket.

DAYS 8-9:

Epupa

Arrive late afternoon at Epupa … a wonderful sight awaits you.  Here the waters of the Cunene plunge to 60 meters below the main stream with the river splitting up to hundreds of small waterfalls … a sight you will never forget.

DAYS 10-11:

Making way for Ruacana along the banks of the Cunene

Driving east further along the Cunene through tree arches formed by the branches of huge trees. We will cross various ‘mountains’ were it runs into the Cunene river valley. Although progress is slow due to bad road conditions, The  trips will ends in  Ruacana where fuel is once again available.

Note that we pass the Kunene River Lodge on our way and if you wish to stay over you are welcome to do so and to make your own arrangements with the lodge.