This is about as remote as you are going to get, in the extreme northwest of Namibia, neighboring Angola you find the stunningly remote Hartmann Valley. Our light aircraft landed on the dirt airstrip in the middle of this oasis and we were handed delicious finger sandwiches and champagne! All life here centers around the Kunene River. This amazing river nurtures lush vegetation in what is known as one of the driest deserts on earth as well as supplies drinking water to the local nomadic Himba.
We spent our days exploring the desert in open 4X4 vehicle and by quad bike which was by far the most fun we had on an excursion on our trip. We also visited a Himba village which was a real eye opener for our children. Plopped smack bang in the middle of no-where was this tiny ‘village’ of 6 huts, a few women and plenty of children. Many of the villagers had gone to the river to collect water. Our American children did not know what to make of this all and were a little intimidated by the whole experience at first. I got right in and started playing with the most gorgeous tiny baby just barely 6 months sitting by himself eating the earth! The contrast of my children’s stark white skin against the dark orange of the Himba made lovely photos. The little boys were quite taken with them and wanted to meet them. We stayed a while, got to see where they slept, “where is the mattress mommy” and “where are their shoes,” lots of questions, but mostly they observed quietly and took it “all” in, every single bit of it. I have no idea what they learnt from that experience but something in me says that one day I will realize the importance of that surreal experience for them.
This is not the sort of destination you come to for a wildlife experience there are however subtle signs of life such as desert chameleons, gemsbok often seen miles away, brown hyena tracks can be seen across the sand. And the huge Nile crocodiles which we were reminded of every time our 6 year old stepped foot near the edge of the deck.
We celebrated our 6 year old’s birthday here. We had the entire camp surrounding our table singing to her and dancing with her. I don’t think she will ever forget her special 6th Birthday party!
As for our camp – Serra Cafema is top notch, incredible service, our guide was delightful, the staff went out of their way to please us and the rooms are incredibly luxurious in an amazing setting.
Etosha National Park
Known for its concentration of waterholes which in the dry season draws in the game. The best way to experience the abundance of wildlife is to spend time at a waterhole where you get to observe the wildlife come and go. There are numerous private lodges bordering the park which gives you the opportunity to do a bit of walking too. We got close to white rhino on foot which was very exciting for our girls. We stayed at Andersons which has a hide situated inside the lodge and Ongava Tented Camp which has a very active waterhole right in front of the camp.