So Much More Than Expected When You Visit Kaokoland
Kaokoland is part of Namibia’s Kunene Region, which sprawls across the north-western reaches of the country, bordered by the Hoanib and Kunene River, and filled with sparse rugged spaces.
It’s not a place for the feint-hearted, but it’s filled with appeal for die-hard outdoor lovers and dedicated adventurers.
This is what’s on offer in this seemingly desolate place.
Go in Search of Diverse Environments
At first glance, Kaokoland might seem like a barren wasteland dotted with sparse vegetation and not much else, but when you spend some time here you’ll discover many more facets to this environment.
Thanks to its watery boundaries, Kaokoland boasts some surprisingly lush areas, particularly along the Kunene River and in the depths of the Marienfluss and Hartmann valleys. Makalani palms, mopane, baobab, and ana trees fill these spaces, attracting the usual array of Namibian wildlife including zebra, leopard, hyenas, kudu, and oryx.
In the drier interior, dwarf trees dominate, interspersed with succulents like aloes, kaokoensis flowers and lithops.
Altogether, Kaokoland boasts 1 064 species of plants, including four species that are endemic to Kaokoland.
See the World’s Most Unique Wildlife
Unusual environments always breed the strangest creatures and none of Namibia’s are as incredible as the desert adapted species you might encounter here.
Desert-adapted lions, rhinos, and elephants are one of the most sought-after sightings in the Kunene and the best way to see them is on a guided tour or tracking outing. These extremely rare creatures are the only one of their kind able to survive in this arid climate.
Springbok, giraffe, zebra, and oryx are more commonly sighted among grassy patches, and if you’re lucky, you could catch sight of bat-eared foxes too.
Enrich Your World Experience
The Himba people have inhabited this area for centuries, and many of them still embrace their traditional lifestyle.
You’re bound to catch sight of Himba maidens with their goat skins skirts and skin pasted with red clay as they walk to gather water accompanied by noisy gaggles of village children.
The Ovahimba cultural village is a living museum dedicated to the culture and traditions of this tribe of people, offering interesting insights into their traditional lifestyle.
Soothe Your Soul
Kaokoland is full of surprises and an array of stunning waterfalls is one of the most unexpected things you’ll encounter close to these dusty plains.
Epupa Falls are lovely regardless of water levels and also home to a rest camp where you can refresh and revitalize after a few days in the wilderness. Here you can dine in style at the camp restaurant, sipping on your G&T at sunset, while the spray from the Epupa Falls caresses your skin.
In the north, Ruacana Falls spreads for 700m across the breadth of the Kunene River, plunging 120m to reach the torrent below.
You can lap up the glory of the falls from afar or immerse yourself in the many fun activities in this touristic area.
Get Your Heart Racing
About 40km downstream from Ruacana Falls you’ll come across the Ondurusa Rapids, fuelled bt this mighty water feature.
Here, tour operators offer thrilling canoeing and rafting adventures for those brave enough to take on the rushing waters.
More sedate kayaking trips take place above the Epupa Falls.
Challenge Your Skills
Van Zyl’s Pass remains firmly on the bucket lists of hardened 4×4 enthusiasts, proving almost impossible to traverse by all but the most skilled drivers.
The same could be said for many roads in Kaokoland, especially in the mountainous areas. Wherever you go in this rugged place, you’ll find a hill, rocky outcrop or river taunting your expertise.
Indulge in Fantasy and Mystery
You’re bound to find something fascinating over every horizon in Kaokoland, but the fairy circles and lonely stone men are the most amazing of all.
You’ll find fairy circles all over Kaokoland, with Marienfluss boasting the largest collection of all. These dry circular spaces are a never-ending mystery to modern science, but the locals remain adamant that they’re the footprints of the gods.
The Lonely Stone Men of Kaokoland are the best kept secret of all. Crafted by an unknown artist, these full-size sculptures adopt lifelike poses, and crop up in unexpected places.
You’ll find many of them seated alongside the road gazing over their surroundings or strolling boldly across the lands, while one hangs from a precipice.
Each bears a tag and a note regarding its location, but although one of them is labelled ‘37’ only 14 have come to light so far.
Get Away From it All
The best part is that the rugged terrain and testing road conditions mean that few venture into this true wilderness, so you’ll have the place largely to yourself.
There’s no better way to enjoy the vast reaches of the Kaokoland than with a few friends, a trusty 4×4, and your camping gear.
A trip to Kaokoland is the ultimate opportunity to enjoy Africa as it was intended to be – filled with intrigue, unspoiled landscapes, blazing sunrises and sunsets, and dazzling starry nights.
Discover Africa’s Best Experiences
There’s much more to Africa than safari adventures. The continent boasts unbelievable cultural riches and diversity, stunning scenes, and glorious shores.
You’ll find few limitations when it comes to growth and exploration in this part of the world and Namibia is one of the best places to start your journey into the best that Africa has to offer.
Discover more of Africa’s amazements by browsing our travel guide and blog and start planning your trip to Kaokoland and other African experiences now.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.