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Located in the northwest corner of Namibia, Kaokoland is bordered by the Kunene River to the north, the Hoanib River to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean and Skeleton Coast National Park to the west.
Kaokoland is a remote and wild area with spectacular landscape that includes sweeping plains, rugged mountains and dry riverbeds. It is one of the most ‘untouched’ areas of Namibia and it is perfect for adventurous travellers who are keen to get off-the-beaten track.
Those who venture to this unexplored region can enjoy game drives along dry riverbeds in search of wildlife, such as desert-dwelling elephant, endangered black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra, giraffe and antelope, that live in this harsh environment.
From the Ugab River, north of Swakopmund to the border with Angola, the Skeleton Coast National Park protects around a third of Namibia’s coastline. Although colloquially the Skeleton Coast is a term that can be used for the entirety of Namibia’s coastline.
The Coast of Skulls has claimed many ships over the past few centuries, however due to the force of the sea very few wrecks remain. This is a barren stretch of coastline with sporadic seal colonies and rolling banks of fog that can penetrate up to 50km inland are common.
To experience it’s raw beauty staying at one of the remote fly-in camps is the best-way and you might be rewarded with sightings of the wildlife that manage to eek out an existence in this challenging environment.
This corner of Namibia is sparsely inhabited. With approximately 16,000 inhabitants (5,000 of them Himba), it has a population density of only one person to every 2km² which is about a quarter of the national average.
The Himba are an ancient tribe of semi nomadic pastoralists who live in scattered settlements throughout Kaokoland and there are opportunities for tourists to visit a Himba village to learn about their traditional way of life and to gain an understanding about how they survive in this harsh desert environment.
During the winter (May to October), Kaokoland and the Skeleton Coast experiences very little rainfall. Afternoon temperatures are moderate (around 22°C), although mornings are quite chilly (around 9°C). During the summer (November to April) temperatures are much hotter and thunderstorms are likely. In November-December the temperatures can reach 38°C, although it gets cooler from January to April when the average temperatures are 26°C.
Thunderstorms may occur in November-December, however they’re more frequent from January to March. Rainfall is less than the rest of Namibia, but when it rains the roads become very muddy and even dry riverbeds hide soft traps of deeps sand, whilst those that seem damp and hard may turn to quicksand within minutes, therefore it is not recommended to explore this area without a guide
In our 'Namibia Flying Safari' a good amount of time is spent in this region, which very few travellers to Namibia get to visit. After some time in a luxury lodge just outside of Windhoek, fly to Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp before flying even further north to Serra Cafema. Our flying safari offers a unique way to see Namibia as you’ll fly from camp to camp rather than driving long distances by road, and it also offers the opportunity to stay at Namibia’s most remote luxury properties.
We recommend staying at the luxurious Serra Cafema. Located on the banks of the Kunene River, Serra Cafema is just inland from the Skeleton Coast which means that the cool winds from the Atlantic Ocean help to keep the camp cool, even during the hot summer. Guests can enjoy various fantastic activities, including eco-sensitive quad bike excursions through the fragile dunes, guided walks through remote desert valleys, visits to the nearby Himba community to learn about their semi-nomadic life, or sunset boat cruises to the Angolan side of the Kunene River.