The Ultimate Guide to Kaokoland
Situated in the Norwest corner of Namibia lies one of the country’s most pure and untouched regions: Kaokoland.
Characterized by its variety of incredible terrains and ecosystems, from the Savannah to the east and desert landscapes to the West, the area is largely unpopulated, making it the perfect place to visit if you’re searching for peace, tranquillity, and serenity on your Namibian safari holiday.
Due to the remoteness of the region, it is traditionally accessed through fly-in safaris, although some safari vehicles can reach the area and it has become a very popular stop over spot for many private guided safari tours, on route to the famous Etosha National Park.
For information about the area’s history, the best time to visit, activities to enjoy and more-we’ve put together this handy guide that details everything you need to know about Kaokoland below.
Best time to visit Kaokoland
The best time to visit Kaokoland is during the dry season, between May to October, when temperatures are warm- and the incredible mountain scenery moves into pristine view.
The dry season is also the best time to view wildlife in the area; during these months herds of fascinating animals congregate around Kaokoland’s waterholes, making them much easier to spot and photograph.
If you’re planning to visit between November-March be advised that you will likely encounter rain so pack accordingly!
Things to do in Kaokoland
Interact with a Himba Tribe
Although the region is desolate and sparsely populated it’s still home to the indigenous Himba people, and this tribe has roots that date as far back as the mid -16th century.
Notorious for their ancient traditions, as well as their unique dress sense, the Himba women adorn elaborate jewellery and hairstyles, whilst covering themselves in red ochre which helps protect them against the harsh desert elements.
As you roam the vast expanses and rugged regions of Kaokoland you will encounter plenty of Himba dwellings, although they relocate several times of year to take advantage of the best conditions for cattle grazing. Himba dwellings are built from weaving palm leaves that are bonded with mud; approach the tribes and learn more about these fascinating settlers; they may even treat you to a demo of their famous hunting techniques!
Visit Epupa Falls
Without doubt Epupa Falls is one Kaokoland’s treasured gems and each year scores of tourists descend on the area to witness this mesmerising natural wonder.
Also known as Monte Negro Falls, these dramatic falls sit by the Kunene River, located on the border between Namibia and Angola. The canyon responsible for carving out these majestic falls is just under 1km wide, and the falls cover an area of 2km, with the highest waterfall measuring a drop of 37m.
Surrounding the falls, you’ll be able to spot plenty groups of game, including the magical Desert-adapted elephants, who are known to journey across the gravel plains in search of water here- make sure you have your camera at the ready. At Epupa falls you’ll also be able to spot many of the 200+Namibian bird species, including fish eagles, kingfishers and herons.
The Epupa Falls can be reached via the C43. Self-drive safari goes who want to visit this area are advised that they should stock up on food supplies, water, and fuel because shops and amenities in this area are sparse.
Explore the Kunene River
The Kunene river meanders through an area of 325km, located alongside Namibia’s border with Angola. This famous river contains everything from serene rock pools to tranquil streams and is notorious for attracting an array of wildlife to its banks.
If you’re visiting the Koakoland region you can enjoy river rafting or canoeing on the Kunene River; climb in your vessel and you will be journeyed down its historical banks, passing crocodiles and a whole host of river-dwelling amphibians and reptiles as you go.
After undertaking a spot of river rafting, and as the day draws in, find a nice place to perch down by the river and enjoy a sundowner. Knock back your favourite drink as you watch the rugged mountains disappear over the golden Namibian horizon.
Accommodation in Kaokoland
Accommodation options in Koakoland area very limited, owing to the fact that the region is largely desolate and uninhabited.
However, if you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind on your self-drive or private guided safari then you can’t go wrong with Serra Cafema.
Nestled between lush vegetation on the banks of the Kunene, Serra Cafema is a lodge comprising of eight chalets, each stylishly crafted out of wood, thatch and canvas, in a nod to local Himba tribes.
These expertly crafted chalets boast comfy beds and all the basic amenities you need, whilst there is also a common area that has been constructed on elevated decks, enabling you to take in some incredible views of the surrounding landscapes.
Indoor and outdoor dining areas are also available, so you can tuck into your food wherever you please, there’s even a library and a river bar to keep guests entertained. For adventure seekers, the lodge can arrange quad bike excursions that will take you through some local sand dunes.
For more information about Koakoland, or if you would like to visit this region as part of a self-drive or private-guided safari tour, please get in touch with Secret Namibia today, the trusted Nambia safari experts.