Our Kaokoland Tour takes you through Namibia’s very remote northwestern corner. The tour is therefore of an expeditionary nature and where necessary changes to the itinerary will be made. You can join us from 15 – 25 April, 6 – 16 May or 1 – 11 July
Rugged mountains, deep river valleys, boulder-strewn slopes and semi-desert plains merge in the northwestern corner of Namibia to create a wild and unspoiled wilderness, the Kaokoveld. This remote area is home to the Himba who follow the same way of life as they have done for centuries. Here, too, you will find the famous desert dwelling elephants, along with black rhino, giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, kudu and even lion.
There were many great explorers who tried to tame the Kaokoveld. Old Portuguese charts show that navigators out of Lisbon sighted and named the capes of Kaokoveld, and on Cape Cross in 1486, Diego Cam landed and left a stone pillar to mark his discovery. Then there were the Arabs from Sofala who are credited with reaching the Kaokoveld coast in their dhows in 1600. Apart from the Portuguese and other unknown sea adventurers, the first white explorer in the Kaokoveld appears to be Charles John Andersson. He visited the area in the mid 1800’s and set down his impressions in these words:
“When a heavy sea-fog rests on these uncouth and rugged surfaces – and it does so very often – a place fitter to represent the infernal regions could scarcely, in searching the world round, be found. A shudder, amounting almost to fear, came over me when its frightful desolation first suddenly broke upon my view. ‘Death,’ I exclaimed, ‘would be preferable to banishment to such a country’.”
Then there were Smuts, the great elephant hunter and trader, the first white man to reach the Kunene River from the south. He blazed the first wagon trails over large parts of the Kaokoveld and on our Kaokoveld journey we will follow some of his trails north of Sesfontein.
After German occupation the Kaokoveld passed into the possession of a London company and the whole area was later sold to a Mr L Hirsch of London for nine hundred thousand Marks!
The Kaokoveld still remains as one of the last true wilderness areas in Southern Africa and on our journey through this rugged country we will follow in the footsteps of great explorers such as Axel Erriksson, Fred Green and Georg Hartmann (after whom the Hartmann mountains were named), who explored the area in the lawless days when the whole of Namibia was a “no-man’s land”. Today the Kaokoveld is communal land belonging to its original inhabitants. On this 12 day expedition we will visit all the famous Kaokoland landmarks as well as ‘n few Kaokoveld “secrets”, less well known spots not frequented by the typical tourist, beautiful and remote…
Day 0: Mondjila Safari Camp (15 April; 6 May & 1 Jul)
The adventure starts at the Mondjila Safari Camp where the group will meet their tour leader and guide. Your guide will be at the Safari Camp from 17h00 and dinner will be served at 19h30.
The Mondjila Safari Camp offers luxury en suite tents, a bar and a swimming pool. Accommodation and meals on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis is included in the tour price. The Camp is situated on the D2779, north of Outjo on the way to the Etosha National Park’s Anderson Gate. Take the C38 from Outjo and head north towards Etosha. After 70km turn right on the D2779 and follow the directions to the Camp which you’ll find approximately 3km from the turnoff on your left hand side.
Accommodation: Tented Camp – Dinner, bed & breakfast
Day 1: Mondjila Safari Camp – Khowareb Schlucht
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 where 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 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 fist bush camp of the tour…
Day 2: Khowareb Schlucht – Puros
The convoy continues into the heart of the Kaokoveld, following the Hoanib Riverbed westwards towards Amspoort. On this very scenic trail in the riverbed chances are excellent to encounter our first herds of desert-adapted elephant together with other game such as giraffe, oryx, springbok and kudu.
At Amspoort we’ll head north, crossing the Ganias Flats on our way to the Hoariseb River. Our camp is located in the Hoariseb Riverbed close to Puros. This community camp is situated close to a natural spring and it is not unusual for herds of elephants to pass directly through the camp on their way to the spring. This well shaded campsite will be our base for the next two days from where we’ll explore the very scenic surroundings.
Day 3: Exploring the Hoariseb Valley
Day four is a leisurely day during which we’ll go on a game drive in the riverbed, keeping an eye out for the elephants and if we are lucky we might catch a glimpse of the lions that have recently made the area their home. After enjoying lunch in the river we’ll return to our camp before an evening excursion to the Jan Joubert Koppie for a sun-downer…
Day 4: Puros – Etanga Bush Camp, Van Zyl’s Pass
Saying goodbye to the Hoariseb we pass through spectacular mountain scenery before reaching the Khumib Riverbed south of Orupembe. Driving through Orupembe we head further into the mountains on our way to the start of the famous Van Zyl’s Pass. We will make a bush camp as close to the start of the pass as possible and enjoy an evening under the stars with no other tourists in sight…Expect to be joined around the fire by a couple of curious Himbas, returning to their kraal at sunset – their way of welcoming us in the Kaokoland…
Day 5: Etanga Bush Camp via Van Zyl’s Pass – The Holy Mountain, Ondau
One of the “Big Days” on our journey awaits us. After breakfast we start our trek westward towards the start of the Van Zyl’s Pass. We will descend the pass slowly giving enough time to take photographs of the breathtaking views along the way. Near the bottom of the pass is a viewpoint providing a stunning view of the Marienfluss down below. The viewpoint is also the ideal place to crack open a cold beer before the final and most difficult part of the descend. At the bottom of the pass we will 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.)
After descending the Pass we follow the spectacularly scenic Marienfluss northwards before entering the Hartmann Mountains just to the north of Ondau. Our destination is a bush camp in the Hartmann Mountains where we’ll discuss an exciting day around the fire.
Day 6: Hartmann Mountains – Skeleton Coast Border
From our camp in the Mountains we’ll head north into the spectacularly beautiful Hartmann Valley. Fairy circles and herds of Oryx dominate the scenery. Soon the track will disappear beneath the sand dunes of the Northern Namib where we’ll head west towards the boundary of the Skeleton Coast Park. With the dunes on our right and the Mountains on our left we’ll travel south towards the Green Drum. From the Green Drum the journey continues east past the Blue and Orange Drums before making a bush camp in the vicinity of the Red Drum.
Day 7: Bush Camp – Opuwo
On Day 8 we’ll visit the “capital” of Kaokoland, Opuwo where we can stock up on much needed supplies. The town has ATM facilities, fuel and a supermarket.The night will be spent at the Opuwo Country Hotel, offering grass covered campsites as well as electricity. A buffet dinner at the Country Hotel is included in your tour price.
Day 8: Opuwo – Epupa
After a late breakfast we’ll head north again, our destination being the campsites at the Epupa Falls. Reaching Epupa early will provide for ample time to explore the area beneath the falls or to just relax on the banks of the river.
Day 9: Rest Day – The Waterfall Hike and Himba Village visit
A rest day at the Epupa Falls…we’ll visit a Himba Village and go for a hike down river beneath the falls. A sundowner overlooking the falls will conclude a leisurely day.
Day 10: Epupa – “The Fig Tree”
Probably one of the most scenic 4×4 tracks in Namibia will take the convoy east, driving upstream along the Kunene River. Our destination is another “secret” spot halfway between Epupa and Swartbooisdrift. Our last bush camp of the tour is on the Kunene Riverbank overlooking a couple of small rapids…it is here where we’ll officially end the tour, looking back on our epic adventure through the Kaokoland…
Day 11: “The Fig Tree”
After coffee and tea we’ll continue east, heading to Ruacana where fuel will once again be available.
*Note: On our way to Ruacana we’ll pass the Kunene River Lodge, if you wish to stay over, we can make arrangements on your behalf.
Tour price: N$ / R 9 450 per person
The tour price includes:
– Experienced tour leader and guide;
– Fully equipped recovery vehicle (with satellite telephone);
– High frequency two-way radios for all vehicles in the convoy;
– All camping and concession fees;
– One night’s accommodation at the Mondjila Safari Camp on a Dinner, Bed and Breakfast basis;
– All dinners on tour;
– Coffee, tea and rusks in the morning.
The tour price excludes:
– Transportation (this is a guided self-drive tour, transportation can however be arranged on your behalf);
– Camping equipment such as tents, chairs and other items of a personal nature;
– Meals not specifically included in the itinerary (breakfast & lunch);
– Activities not specifically included;
– Own drinks and snacks;
– Drinks at the Opuwo Country Hotel
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: What is the maximum number on vehicles on tour?
A: Usually 7, Guide vehicle + 6 Client vehicles. The limit is however on the number of persons, which we limit to 12 clients, so it can happen that when somebody travels alone in a vehicle that the number of vehicles can exceed 6.
Q: Can I tow a 4×4 caravan or trailer on this tour?
Q: Does the trip start and finish at the same place (where)?
A: The tour starts north of Outjo at the Mondjila Safari Camp and finishes close to Ruacana on the Kunene River.
Q: Must I budget for park fees and if so, how much?
A: No, the entire tour is conducted in Kaokoland and although we’ll travel through concession areas, these fees are included in your tour price.
Q: Any other costs that we should make provision for?
A: Take enough cash to refuel your vehicle at least once. Also have some cash available to purchase various curios along the route as well as to pay for drinks at lodges or other “waterholes” along the road.
Q: What is the total distance of the trip?
A: We’ll cover a distance of approximately 2000km on terrain varying from thick sand to rocky 4×4 tracks. Please see itinerary above for fuel requirements.
Q: What about malaria?
A: Strictly speaking everything north of Etosha’s southern border falls within a malaria area…please consult your GP.
Q: Are children and “Senior” citizens welcome on this tour?
A: The Kaokoland Tour is a tough tour and both you and your vehicle must be in “good working order”. Chlidren are welcome.
– Fuel to cover a distance of at least 1200km;
– Own shower water – we recommend at least 80 liters;
– Tyre pressure gauge and pump;
– Tyre repair kit;
– Toilet paper and matches;
– Plastic bags to carry waste;
– Brake fluid, enjine oil, gearbox oil;
– Seed net to cover radiator (just in case…);
– Fuses – for fridge and vehicle;
– Spare V-Belt set;
– Recovery points, both in front and at the rear (Your tow bar’s ball is not a recovery point…);
– Large bag of firewood.
– Hi-lift jack and Q20 spray;
– Extra spare wheel;
– Small broom and spade.
– Two-way radios for each vehicle in the convoy;
– All dinners on tour;
– Communal camping equipment – kitchen, wash-up facility; toilet, shower.
– Tent, folding chair, sleepwear;
– Eating utensils;
– Own snacks and drinks;
– Torch, headlamp, batteries;
– Sunglasses and suntan lotion;
– Clothing, toiletries, towels;
– Prescribed medicine;
– Small bowl or collapsible wash basin;
For more information or to book for this tour, send an e-mail to [email protected]