If beauty is the main criteria on a traveller’s itinerary, then Kaokaland must come somewhere near the top of any list. Marked in the south by a range of mountains whose water features are a main attraction for the desert elephant, and in the north by the extraordinary flat-topped kopjes, Kaokaland is a staggeringly beautiful wilderness.
Vast, arid, virtually empty, Kaokoland is the home of the Himba people – whose ways and traditions have remained remarkably intact. Deeply knowledgeable, these nomadic pastoralists’ understanding of the land is second to none, and conservationists in the area have done well to harness their expertise.
As well as elephant, it is also home to the black rhino (though the chances of seeing one are low), and to the perennial Kunene river, which lends Kaokaland an incongruous sub-tropical theme, particularly around Epupa Falls. Here palm trees, baobabs and natural swimming pools are the norm. (The same is true of Purros, only this time on the Hoerubis river.)
Higher up the Kunene, there is good rafting, fantastic hiking and the Ruacana Falls. Regarded by many as one of the last truly intact wildernesses, Kaokoland is perfect for travellers interested in journeying across difficult terrain. It is quite possible, for example, to arrange drives up through Van-Zyle’s Pass and into the Otjihipa Mountains.