Kaokoland is one of the last true wilderness areas in southern Africa, a remote world of incredible mountain scenery and a refuge for desert elephant, black rhino and giraffe, and the Himba tribal people. In the early morning and late afternoon, the harsh, rugged landscape is transformed by softly glowing pastel shades.
Kaokoland has only one person for every two square kilometres, or 1.25 square miles, which makes it “empty” even by Namibian standards. The resident Himba are an ancient tribe of semi-nomadic pastoralists, many of whom live and dress according to ancient traditions. They are a slender and statuesque people with beautifully defined features enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat to protect themselves against the desert climate.
The possibility of a glimpse of a herd of desert elephants is what draws most visitors to Kaokoland. These elephants are not a separate subspecies, but they have adapted to their extremely harsh environment. The secret of survival here is an intimate knowledge of the limited food and water resources. Unlike other elephants, which drink daily, Kaokoland elephants have been observed going without water for up to four days.
This must surely be the most remote lodge in Namibia. Accessible by light aircraft or sturdy 4×4, the lodge is built from local adobe and seems to be a Spanish hacienda in a Martian landscape. Each of the seven units looks out over endless wilderness but has been designed for pure luxury: en suite bathrooms with large tubs and showers (one shower is outdoors), and private gazebos with daybeds and cushions. The décor is a rich combination of earthy tones and dark African wood. The main lodge features two open-sided lounges, a pool with a sun deck and shaded gazebo, a romantic dining area and a small library. On nature drives, you’ll follow the tracks of lion, elephant, black rhino and giraffe and keep a lookout for several of Namibia’s rare birds and smaller animals.
Photography by: Jofie Lamprecht