Namibia : Skeleton Coast and Kaokoland
The desolate Skeleton Coast gets its name from the bleached whale and seal bones which covered the shore when the whaling industry was still active, and the shipwrecks there caused by the unseen rocks in the fog. The vast, coastal wilderness of the Skeleton Coast and the rugged mountains of semi-desert Kaokoland at the northern tip are Namibia at its most remote. You can get a sense of this barren coastline from the south self-driving. If you want to conquer its remotest northern corners you need to fly in to Kaokoland to stay at one of the two exclusive camps there. The ultimate way to do it is to take an amazing 3-4 night flying safari which works its way up the coast in mobile camps to areas unreachable by vehicle.
This is accessible when self-driving from Swakopmund north to Damaraland and you can take a walk on the beach to get a sense of its wildness. If you look, there are signs of life with ancient desert-adapted plant species as well as wildlife including penguins, seals, snakes, insects and jackal. At Cape Cross, you’ll find an isolated stretch of rocky shore covered by a huge (and rather smelly!) Cape fur seal colony, which, in November, is swelled by young pups.
In the more northern reaches of Kaokoland, you will explore the soaring sand dunes, plains and mountains with your guide and have the privileged opportunity to meet the Himba people and learn about tribal customs and desert survival techniques of these indigenous semi-nomadic pastoralists.
Serra Cafema Camp is located in the extreme north-west of Namibia and has to be the most remote camp in Southern Africa. For those who appreciate truly wild places, the journey to Serra Cafema is one of the most exciting in all of Africa - the flight in takes guests over some incredible scenery and the drive from the camps Hartmann Valley airstrip through open grasslands and two high mountain ranges, culminates in a dramatic and breathtaking descent into Serra Cafema Camp. The camps Portuguese name comes from the mountains to the north that dominate the skyline. This region is populated by the Himba people who are some of the last true nomadic people in Africa.
The Kunene River is the only permanent source of water in the whole region and the river creates a lush oasis along it's banks surrounded by rugged mountains and sand dunes. Under shady Albida trees you will find a small, rustic and peaceful camp comprising of fully furnished Meru tents with en-suite bathroom facilities. The camp's six tents are raised off the ground and the camp has a small swimming pool, dining room and bar. Located just inland from the Atlantic Ocean and the Skeleton Coast the cool winds that blow from the ocean help to keep the camp cool even in summer.
You will spend time in the breath-taking landscape scenes of the Hartmann Valley, to the south of the camp, with herds of springbok, ostrich and even leopard. You will traverse sand dunes on 4x4 safaris and boat or fish on the Kunene River that becomes the focus for the area. On the boat trips, one can watch Kunene crocodiles basking on the river banks. Walking trails in the remote mountain and river valleys will always be a highlight for those who enjoy foot safaris. Cafema is often visited by the native Ovahimba families who live in the nearby vicinity which give the guests the chance to learn about their lifestyles and traditions.