Kunene Region & Damaraland Travel Region
The Kunene Region in north-western Namibia is wild, remote and sparcely populated. A transitional area with a distinctive desert region, Kunene has a surprising wealth of desert-adapted wildlife, including the largest population of free-ranging black rhino, elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, Hartmann's zebra, springbok and gemsbok (oryx). It's also home to the Damara, Himba and Herero tribes who live in this stark and fascinating 28 million-acre arid expanse.
* Kunene Region & Damaraland Highlights
- ∞Home to the famous desert-adapted elephant
- ∞White Lady rock art at Brandberg
- ∞Organ Pipes rock formation
- ∞Burnt Mountain volcanic phenomenon
- ∞The Petrified Forest
- ∞Marienfluss and spectacular Epupa Falls
- ∞Largest population of free-ranging black rhino
- ∞Fascinating Himba, Herero and Damara people
This is a remote, desert area of Namibia, encompassing most of its far north-west corner. Although it incorporates parts of the Skeleton Coast, it includes the interior sections of Kaokoveld, Torra, Marienfluss, Twyfelfontein/Damaraland and Palmwag.
To the south, between the Huab and Koigab Rivers, is the Torra Conservancy - a rugged, remote area with pitted valleys and rocky hills. It's one of the most biodiverse areas of the region and known for its healthy population of desert elephants. Other large game that can be spotted here include black rhino, lion, cheetah, giraffe, Hartmann's zebra and the gemsbok (oryx) - a feat of nature that these creatures survive in this arid, unforgiving region.
A conservancy success story, Torra is well managed and profitable, providing much-needed income and job opportunities for the local communities. It's one of the first community conservancies that is self-sustaining, without the need for donor funding.
Some of the terrain here is challenging. There are areas easily accessible by 2WD, whilst some lodges and areas can only be accessed by 4WD vehicles.
The vast Marienfluss Conservancy (over 300,000 hectares) lies to the north along the Kunene River. One of the most remote areas in Namibia, it's a mix of dunes, grassy fields and valleys in times of good rainfall, narrow strips of riverine vegetation and palm trees along the river courses. The beautiful and dramatic Epupa Falls are also found here. Game you can expect to see here include gemsbok, springbok, brown hyena and cape fox.
The area is also home to the fascinating Himba people, one of the last true nomadic tribes on earth, with intricate customs, oche-covered bodies, jewellery and skins.
Many of these areas and lodges are best reached by 4WD or fly-ins.
Situated in the Huab Valley in southern Kunene, also known as Damaraland, Twyfelfontein contains some of Namibia's most popular landmarks. The area is full of ancient rock engravings from the early San people, known to be the the most impressive collection of petroglyphs in Africa - the White Lady rock painting at Brandberg being the most well-known. Other sites worth visiting are the Organ Pipes - a valley lined with dolerite columns, similar to those of Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland; Burnt Mountain, a section of ancient volcanic activity; and The Petrified Forest - a national monument, about 50 km west of Khorixas - the resting place of enormous, fossilized tree trunks about 280 million years old that must have been washed down by an ancient river.
This area is a transitional zone, ranging from areas of semi desert to savanna and shrubland and receives less than 150 mm (5.9 in) annual rainfall. Daytime temperatures vary from 10 - 28° C (50 - 82° F) in winter months and 21 -35° C (70 -95° F) in summer. Although some of the lodges have their own airstrips, most are accessible by 2WD vehicles.
Made up largely of rolling, rocky hills, this 450 000-hectare concession is one of tranquil, stark beauty and a surprising wealth of desert-adapted wildlife. It has the largest population of free-roaming black rhino in Africa. If you're lucky enough, you may also see the desert elephants here.