The Northwest and the Far North in Namibia

Shutter Stock/   Thoron  With its stunning landscapes, Kaokoland, in the extreme northwest of Namibia, is one of the last true wilderness areas in southern Africa. From the Kunene River to the north, down the Skeleton Coast Park to Damaraland in the south, the area is rugged and mountainous. Both the Damara, with their clicking tongue, and the photogenic Himba, with their ochre-skinned beauty, live in simple villages, mostly subsisting as goat and cattle herders. Namibia's best-known rock art is located in the hills of Damaraland, while desert elephant and black rhino roam the harsh environment.

In the very north, the Kunene River flows sedately to the sea from the Ruacana Falls Hydroelectric Power Station and for 300 km this forms the now peaceful border with Angola. The 32-m Epupa Falls are roughly halfway to the Atlantic; a beautiful rift in the rock, dotted with precariously perched giant baobab trees and bathed in glorious palm-fringed sunsets. While the game was mostly shot out before independence, there is plenty to entice birders and fishermen. The area is often inaccessible to saloon cars, preserving Kaokoland as a world unto itself.

The Far North, or what was once known as Owamboland, is a dusty, overgrazed, overpopulated area with few attractions for most tourists. However, for those with the time and energy, there is plenty to discover. The towns are an interesting mix of urban and traditional tempered with a vibrant Portuguese/ Angolan influence. Out of town, the landscape is dominated by the fascinating geography and agronomy of the
oshanas
, on which so many rely.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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