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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Kaokoland

   

Kaokoland differs greatly from Damaraland in terms of accessibility and infrastructure. While quite a bit of Damaraland is isolated from the outside world it is really Kaokoland, which is the back and beyond, silent, huge and for the most part empty. With 16,000 or so inhabitants, 5,000 of them Himba, Kaokoland has a population density of only one person to every two square kilometers which is about a quarter of the national average.

The Marienfluss valley is very scenic and relatively greener than the Hartmann's valley. Hartmann's valley is closer to the Atlantic and yet much more arid. However, it does have a strange atmosphere when the sea mists drift inland.

Kaokoland is bordered on the south the Hoanib River and on the north the Kunene River that also forms Namibia's border with Angola. Mountain ranges near the Kunene River are rugged and impressive with the highest point located at 2039m in the Baynes Mountains. It is an oddity that a river runs through this arid landscape with the only real waterfalls in Namibia along its course. The Ruacana Falls are 120m high and 700m wide in full flood. Also along the Kunene River you'll find the Epupa falls, about 135km downstream from the Ruacana falls.

Near the hot water spring at Warmquelle is Sesfontein Fort, which for many years was a desolate, and rapidly disintegrating ruin. Almost a hundred years after it was first built, the historical monument, originally a police outpost was reconstructed and equipped to accommodate tourists. Sesfontein Fort derives its name from the six fountains, which have their source in the vicinity. The German police officers that manned the fort to combat weapons smuggling and elephant and rhino poaching planted the palm trees at the fort.

Kaokoland is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Southern Africa. It is a world of incredible mountain scenery, a refuge for the rare desert dwelling elephant, black rhino and giraffe and the home of the Himba people. Although it is harsh and offers little respite at midday, the rugged landscape is especially attractive during the early morning and late afternoon when it is transformed into softly glowing pastel shades.

   
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