Damaraland and the Kaokoveld are one of the most scenic areas in Namibia, prehistoric water courses with open plains and grassland, massive granite koppies and distant mountains create the Damaraland landscape. Game species include desert elephant, black rhino, ostrich and springbok.
The Brandberg and Spitzkoppe are two favourite places for climbers in Namibia, and both mountains contain a high density of San (Bushman) art. Following an unfortunate attack on some German tourists several years ago the community at Spitzkoppe has reacted and taken over the running of the Spitzkoppe camp. The facilities here are very basic, but are being constantly improved. Bush camping is allowed at Brandberg, but there are no facilities at all and visitors should bring everything,
The area has a wide variety of accommodation ranging from campsites to up market lodges, a few of the highlights include one of Namibia’s best camp sites can be found near Twyfelfontein. The community run, Aba-Huab camp is well worth a visit for those interested in camping. The Namib Desert Elephants often visit the campsite in search of water, the elephants have been known to destroy the reed shower blocks in extremely dry seasons. Other recommended places to stay in Damaraland South include Bambatsi Holiday Ranch, Brandberg Rest Camp, Brandberg White Lady Lodge, Camp Kipwe, Damaraland Camp, Doro Nawas Camp, !Gowati Lodge, Mowani Mountain Camp, Twyfelfontein Lodge and Vingerklip Lodge.
Our Safaris in the area are concentrated around the Huab River System and explain the flors and fauna. Activities are carried out primarily in the mornings and afternoons with the occasional night walk or drive. At night the stargazing is “par excellence” with crystal clear night skies. A highlight is to find the desert Elephant and Rhino.
The Etosha National Park (from 1958) is located 435 km (Okaukuejo) or 530 km (Namutoni) north of Windhoek. The park can be entered through either Von Lindequist (Namutoni) or Andersson Gate (Okaukuejo). It is one of the Africa’s largest parks covering area of 22 270 square kilometres. The Etosha pan’s size is 4 590 square kilometres, while all pans cover more than 5 100 square kilometres.
Name. The word ”etosha” means place of dry water or, according to other sources, huge, white area.
History. Game Reserve 2, proclaimed by German Governor Friedrich Von Lindequist in 1907, comprised the Etosha pan and most of Kaokoland and covered almost 100 000 square kilometres. The park was reduced in 1947 by allocating Kaokoland to Herero. According to recommendations of Odendaal Commission (1962) park’s area was reduced even further. The present size of the park is 77 per cent less than before the Odendaal Commission.
The Etosha Pan dominates the park. The salt pan desert is roughly 130 km long and as wide as 50 km in places. The hypersaline conditions of the pan limit the species that can permanently inhabit the pan itself; occurrences of extremophile micro-organisms are present, which species can tolerate the hypersaline conditions. The salt pan is usually dry, but fills with water briefly in the summer, when it attracts pelicans and flamingos in particular. Perennial springs attract a variety of animals and birds throughout the year, including the endangered Black Rhinoceros and the endemic Black-faced Impala.
Best time for visit. Winters are cool and dry in the park. Game tend to stay closer to water holes and chances to spot species are better. The rainy season normally begins at the end of October – beginning of November. Average rainfall figures: Okaukuejo: 412 mm, Halali: 430 mm, Namutoni: 442 mm.
We operate our safaris in a 30,000 hectare area which is an extension of Etosha, as it lies directly on the southern boundary of the park. The safaris take place in Etosha as well as the private reserve which includes night drives, hides and other activities which are not permitted in Etosha.
Sossusvlei is one of the most remarkable sites in the Namib-Naukluft Park and the Namib Desert. The sand dunes in the Namib Desert are often called the highest in the world. Various arguments are laid out to support this claim, but all miss the point, which is that region is surely one of the most spectacular sights in Namibia. Located in the Namib-Naukluft park, the largest conservation area in Africa, and fourth largest in the world – the sand dunes at Sossusvlei are an excellent reason to visit Namibia.
The Sossusvlei area belongs to a wider region of southern Namib with homogeneous features (about 32.000 km²) extending between rivers Koichab and Kuiseb. This area is characterized by high sand dunes of vivid pink-to-orange color, a consequence of a high percentage of iron in the sand and consequent oxidation processes. The oldest dunes are those of a more intense reddish color. These dunes are among the highest in the world; many of them are above 200 metres, the highest being the one nicknamed Big Daddy, about 380 metres high.
Traces in the sand, left by insects and other small animals The highest and more stable dunes are partially covered with a relatively rich vegetation, which is mainly watered by a number of underground and ephemeral rivers that seasonally flood the pans, creating marshes that are locally known as vlei; when dry, these pans look almost white in color, due to the high concentration of salt. Another relevant source of water for Sossusvlei is the humidity brought by the daily morning fogs that enter the desert from the Atlantic Ocean.
Fauna in the Sossusvlei area is relatively rich. It mostly comprises small animals that can survive with little water, including a number of arthropods, small reptiles and small mammalians such as rodents or jackals); bigger animals include antelopes (mainly oryxes and springboks) and ostrichs. During the flood season, several migrant bird species appear along the marshes and rivers. Much of the Sossusvlei and Namib fauna is endemic and highly adapted to the specific features of the Namib. Most notably, fog beetles such as the Namib Desert Beetle have developed a technique for collecting water from early morning fogs through the bumps in their back.
Our Safaris start early in the morning, the best time to see the dunes, in 4×4 Landrovers where we explore the dunes by vehicle and on foot. The changing colours and the spectacle of a lone Oryx against red sand dunes are images which visitors and photographers from around the world come to savour and capture on film.
The Kunene Region is situated in Namibia’s remote north-west, bordering Angola to the north and including the inhospitable Skeleton Coast. The Region gets its name from the Kunene River, which forms the border between Namibia and Angola.
The landscapes, with their spectacular desert mountains, gorges, plains and ephemeral rivers are stunning. These seasonal rivers create a focus for wildlife – particularly desert adapted elephant and rhino. Zebra, giraffe and various species of antelope and even lion also thrive in this region. The Region is home to three main ethnic groups – the Damara, Herero and Himba people, all of whom have a rich cultural heritage.
In the north of the country, the mighty Kunene River forms part of Namibia’s border with Angola for about 325km (202miles). Winding through a primeval landscape, the Kunene is characterized by thundering waterfalls, raging white-water rapids and tranquil streams.
Green turtles are encountered year round at the Kunene River mouth, but there is no confirmed nesting in Namibia. It is the second largest marine turtle growing to 1.5m. The adult feeds on sea grass and algae.
Epupa Falls: The Epupa Falls (Herero for falling water) are about 190km upstream of the Kunene River mouth and is one of Kaokoland’s most breathtaking sights. It is here that the river fans out into a number of channels before cascading into a deep gorge. This dynamic series of falls and cascades are ushered through a 500m wide series of paralleled channels, dropping a total of 60m over a distance of 1.5km. The greatest single drop measures at 37m and is commonly identified as the Epupa Falls. The best time to visit is in April and May, when the river is in peak flow.
There are some pools above the falls, very popular with visitors, that make natural jacuzzis and safe from crocs in the eddies and rapids. Hang onto the rocks though and keep away from the lip of the falls, once you’re caught in the current there’s no way from being prevented from being swept away.
There’s excellent hiking trails along the river west of the falls and plenty of mountains to climb with marvellous views along the river and into Angola.
Ruacana Falls: Another notable attraction of Kaokoland, is the well-known Ruacana Falls, situated some 120km (74.5km) upstream from Epupa Falls. Ruacana takes its name from the Herero orua hakahana (the rapids) and they lie 15km west of the town of the same name. To visit the gorge, visitors must temporarily exit Namibia by signing an immigration register.
This feature is dry for most of the year, but after good rains the Kunene becomes an angry, thundering mass of water that tumbles into the grateful 120m (194ft) deep gorge. The Ruacana Falls are one of the country’s most splendid natural wonders, but as a result of the construction of Angola’s Calueque Dam, 20km away, the flow is controlled by an intake weir 1km above the falls. As a result, it is best to view them in the rainy season, (March or April) when water is released over the spill way.
The Skeleton Coast is one of our planet’s most beautiful places. It derives its name from the bones and shipwrecks scattered along its beaches and is one of the most inhospitable and least visited places on earth. Close on 300,000 hectares of the 2 million hectare National Park has been set aside for an exclusive safari experience for those wishing to really get away. It is wild, desolate and uninhabitted and stunningly beautiful. The Skeleton Coast has everything, from soaring sand dunes that roar, wonderful vast pastel coloured plains, towering canyons and mountains, salt pans to seal colonies and ghostly shipwrecks.
The Benguela Current brings cool, plankton and fish rich waters all the way from the Antarctica and moderates the temperatures in the region. Mean temperatures year round vary from a high of 28 degrees Celsius to a low of 10 degrees Celsius. Summers are incredibly mild, even though we are in the desert. The cool ocean air meets the warm desert air and nearly every morning mists cover the coastline, bringing life-sustaining moisture to the desert’s fauna and flaura.
On the coast the upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to dense ocean fogs (called “cassimbo” by the Angolans) for much of the year. The winds blow from land to sea, rainfall rarely exceeds 10 millimetres (0.39 in) annually and the climate is highly inhospitable. There is a constant, heavy surf on the beaches. In the days of human-powered boats it was possible to get ashore through the surf but impossible to launch from the shore. The only way out was by going through a marsh hundreds of miles long and only accessible via a hot and arid desert.
Our safaris here are unlike any of our safaris in other regions. Breakfast is enjoyed in camp and then we head out all day into the Park. We take along a picnic lunch and only return at sunset. The days are full, rewarding and enriching. This is an experience that will rival anything in Africa for those who enjoy the excitement of wild and remote places.
Damaraland | Etosha National Park | Sossusvlei | Kunene Region | The Skeleton Coast