Seven Rivers of Kaokoland
- Kunene River
- Khumib River
- Hoariseb River
- Hoanib River
- Huab River
- Aba Huab River
- Ugab River
The Kaokoland in the northern corner of Namibia is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in the world. It is rugged, intimidating and perfect for the hard-core traveller. For those who would like to leave the paved roads, comforts and tourist masses behind, an amazing journey awaits, along and through the seven rivers of the Kaokoland.
Day 0: Kunene River Lodge (Kunene River)
Ruacana – Kunene River Lodge: 70km
Arrive at your own time at the Kunene River Lodge. Try to arrive early so that you have the rest of the day at leisure to enjoy the setting and beautiful environment … it is a true Paradise.
Directions to Kunene River Lodge. Please fill up your tank and jerry cans before departing from Ruacana or Opuwo. This is your last chance to refuel.
From the south, approach Opuwo via the C35 and C41. FILL FUEL TANK IN OPUWO, then take the D3700 north and west, as far as Epembe, where a right turn (north) is sign-posted to Swartbooisdrift (Lodge sign-posted).
From the east (Ruacana), the road has recently been improved and may now be driven in a 2x4 vehicle with reasonable clearance.
Approach Ruacana (C46). TOP-UP FUEL IN RUACANA. Continue west along the C46, past Ruacana Falls (dam/ power station). After the transition from tar to gravel, a steep rocky hill follows. Continue to the Lodge (sign-posted).
19:00 Meet your guides over dinner and discuss the routing and what to expect over the next few of days.
O/N Camping at Kunene River Lodge (dinner)
Day 1: Kunene River Lodge – Epupa (Kunene River)
Kunene River Lodge – Epupa: 100km
Breakfast and break up camp.
We depart from the lodge following the course of the river in a western direction. Not far from the lodge we will make our first stop at Swartbooisdrift. This is where the courageous Dorsland Trekkers crossed the Kunene on their quest to reach Angola.
Our route is still in a westerly direction along one of the most scenic 4 x 4 tracks in the world. We drive along the Kunene River where you will find hundreds of Makalani Palms along the river banks with the Zebra Mountains to the other side.
Late afternoon we reach Epupa where a wonderful sight awaits you. Here the waters of the Kunene plunge 60 meters down into the main stream with the river splitting up in hundreds of small waterfalls… a sight you will never forget.
Set up camp at one of the campsites at Epupa.
O/N Camping at Epupa (breakfast, dinner)
Day 2: Epupa
Breakfast and day at leisure.
Enjoy the scenic surrounds.
Optional: Himba tour
O/N Camping at Epupa (breakfast, dinner)
Day 3: Epupa – Van Zyl’s Pass
Epupa – Van Zyl’s Pass: 160km
A bucket list experience is on the agenda for today… Van Zyl’s Pass! We will head for the pass that is located between two mountain ranges in the Marienfluss. The Marienfluss is a valley with soft sand and grasslands. One of the amazing features of the Marienfluss is the “fairy circles”. Your guide will discuss the various theories for these circles that dot the landscape.
“Oom Ben” van Zyl took up a position as stenographer in northern Namibia in 1940. In 1949 he was appointed Commissioner of Bantu Affairs in the Kaokoland. Building roads were part of his job and in 1960 he built the track that became known as Van Zyl’s Pass. This was done with a group of 20 men, an ordinary 3-ton truck and a tractor with trailer.
You will first-hand experience why this “tricky pass” is so well-known. Our guides will lead you through it safely.
Our camping spot will be determined by our progress. We hope to set-up camp at the foot of the pass.
O/N Camping in the area of Van Zyl’s Pass (breakfast, dinner)
Day 4: Marienfluss
Van Zyl’s Pass – Marble Camp: 120km
We break-up camp and continue with our journey through the Marienfluss passing the back of Mt Ondau that forms part of the Hartmann mountain range. The mountain is a holy site for the Himba people. Here you will find villages of which some are abandoned and others are waiting for its semi-nomadic inhabitants to return.
We head for Rooidrom. Ben van Zyl left a 45-gallon Caltex drum for petrol storage for when he passes through and needed fuel. The purpose of the drum changed and it became a navigational point … lending the area its name. From Rooidrom we take the Rooidrom Pass and after a while you will start noticing the white of the marble quarry on the hills. We head for Marble Camp further ahead.
O/N Camping Marble Camp (breakfast, dinner)
Day 5: Orupembe (Khumib River & Hoariseb River)
Marble Camp – Purros: 170km
Break-up camp and then head for Orupembe. We make a brief stop and will hopefully find a cold beer at the local shop that represents the settlement.
Today we will drive for a while in the Khumib River. This river reaches the ocean near Rocky Bay, but we will not follow it all the way. Our aim is to reach the Purros Community Camp which means we will hop from the Khumib to the Hoariseb River.
Purros is largely a Himba area. You will find some game in the area as animals congregates along the river. It is also traditionally the domain of the desert elephants of the Kaokoland. This group of elephants have adapted over time to survive in these harsh conditions. These desert elephants are one of a group of only two desert dwelling elephants found in the world … the other in Mali. They are sometimes evasive, so we cannot guarantee a sighting. If you do see them keep in mind that they are known to be aggressive.
O/N Camping Purros (breakfast, dinner)
Day 6: Purros (Hoariseb River)
Purros – Bush camp: 110km
Depart Purros and head towards Amspoort and the Amspoort Gorge. Be on the lookout for the linear oasis’s caused by the river. This is also the reason for the abundance of wildlife that you will see. The route takes us through a deep, narrow valley with steep sides cutting into the mountain.
Tonight we will set-up a bush camp.
O/N Bush camping (breakfast, dinner)
Day 7: Khowarib Schlucht (Hoanib River)
Bush camp – Palmwag: 230km
Break up camp and we head for Sesfontein. The town derives its name from the six fountains which have their source in the vicinity. The town started as a police outpost to combat smuggling and poaching. From Sesfontein we will follow an exciting 4 x 4 route through Khowarib Schlucht and Beesvlakte. The geological formation of the Schlucht provides for stunning scenery. We will plough through the thick sands of the Hoanib.
The Hoanib flows only every few years from heavy rainfall in the hinterland of the catchment area, but then the flood wave can be several meters high and last for several days. Not always, but more often in recent years, the water reaches the mouth in the Atlantic. A large part of the water seeps into and contributes to a large dense subsurface aquifer, from the exits at various points in the river bed, so that even in dry years there is groundwater.
We make our way to Palmwag. Here will be an opportunity to refuel. Due to the unreliable fuel supply at Sesfontein you should calculate your fuel consumption from Ruacana to Palmwag.
Palmwag Lodge is one of the oldest lodges in Namibia. It is nestled in a picturesque landscape with palms whispering in the wind. The lodge falls within a concession area where Hartman’s Zebra, giraffe, oryx, springbok and kudu can be spotted.
O/N Camping Palmwag (breakfast, dinner)
Day 8: Palmwag – Damaraland (Huab & Aba Huab)
Palmwag – Mowani: 150km
Breakfast and break-up camp. Today is a short and relaxed day on the road. We will head for our overnight stop, set-up camp and will then be at leisure.
We would like to encourage you to use this time to explore the tourist attractions in the area in your own time.
Optional places to visit: Twyfelfontein, Namibia’s only World Heritage Site is not far away… admire the amazing rock engravings. Also nearby is the Organ Pipes, Petrified Forest and Burnt Mountain.
O/N Camping at Aba Huab/ Mowani/ Xaragu campsite (breakfast, dinner)
Day 9: Brandberg (Ugab River)
Mowani to White Lady Lodge: 100km
Breakfast and break up camp. Depending on conditions we will navigate the Ugab Swamps, pass amazing rock formations and find our way to the Ugab River. Our day ends upon arrival at the Brandberg White Lady Lodge. We set up camp in the shadow of the Brandberg, the highest mountain in Namibia (2 570 m).
O/N Camping at the White Lady Lodge (breakfast and dinner)
Day 10: End of Tour
Breakfast and break up camp.
After breakfast, it is time for sad farewells. You depart in your own time back home.
END OF SERVICE
- On Request
- 06 – 17 March
- 03 – 13 September
TOUR PRICES FOR 2017:
TOUR PRICES FOR 2018:
NOTE: This tour operates on a minimum of 20 adult guests travelling.
- 2 meals daily – Breakfast and Dinner
- Experienced guides with own vehicles
- Tour leader
- Two way radios for vehicles
- Camping fees
- Concession fees
- Park entry fees & permits
- Camping gear
- Travel insurance and vehicle insurance
- Lunch and drinks
- Items of a personal nature
- Accommodation pre- and post- the tour
- Two-way radios for each vehicle
- Guide in own vehicle
- Wind shelter, shower and chemical toilet at campsite
- Additional vehicle to carry logistics
- Breakfast and dinner