Overview – Kaokoland
Kaokoland is a genuine wilderness area – totally untamed and difficult to access. The desert scenery is breathtaking and inhospitable at the same time. There is scattered wildlife around, including desert elephants, but this is not really a wildlife viewing destination as densities are very low and sightings are hit-and-miss. The area is the ancestral home of the proud Himba people and privileged visitors might be able to visit a tribal village and learn about these remarkable people’s survival skills in such a harsh environment.
Pros & Cons
- Great wilderness experience
- Stunning desert scenery
- Opportunity to see rare desert elephants
- Opportunity to visit a Himba village
- Low densities and variety of wildlife
- Very remote destination
- Few accommodation options
- Very hot climate
There is very little wildlife in Kaokoland. There are desert elephants, but sightings are not easy. Visitors are likely to spot some springbok and a good number of oryx. Watching these majestic antelope, walking through the desert landscape with no greenery in sight, is one of nature’s marvels.
Most of Kaokoland is true desert set within incredible mountain scenery. The environment can be somewhat challenging to the eye in the midday sun. However, when the sun rises and sets and the ripples in the sand glow in an orange-red cast among the deep shadows falling over the dunes, it’s impossible not to appreciate the true beauty of this desert.
Weather & Climate
Kaokoland’s desert environment is subject to a vast range of temperatures. This is partly due to a well-defined summer (November to April) and winter (May to October), and partly to changes in altitude thanks to the area’s mountains. Winter sees little rain, and higher temperatures as the season progresses. Summer is hot and punctuated by thunderstorms.
Best Time to Visit
Kaokoland’s landscape can be bleached of color and hazy with dust during the drier months (May to October). But it turns beautifully green during the Wet season (November to April). The quality of the wildlife watching is hard to predict at any time of year. The only exception is birdlife, which is in migratory abundance when the rains come.
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Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.
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