Travel through the sand dunes and mountains of Hartman's Valley on the way to Kunene Camp...
Kunene River Camp: Our full report
Kunene River Camp is only accessible with the Schoeman’s company, Skeleton Coast Safaris - who run Expert Africa’s Skeleton Coast safari trip. It is usually the camp used on third night of one of these trips, which also visit Kuidas Camp and Leylandsdrift Camp.
Most visitors arrive here after spending their morning enjoying activities and lunch at Purros Camp. They then fly north, past fur seal colonies, to Kunene River Camp.
After landing at a remote airstrip in the very north of Kaokoland, you will take a long scenic drive in a 4x4. This also has roof seats, for those who can tolerate the wind and sun, which offer great views of the stunning scenery of the Hartmann Valley. With mountains, sand dunes and vast gravel plains all around – you get a true feeling of the enormity of the place and also of its complete and utter isolation. Meanwhile, mysterious 'fairy circles' etched onto the gravel plains add a magical ecological puzzle.
At the northern end of the Hartmann Valley, you reach the beautiful Kunene River, which acts as a natural boarder between Namibia and Angola. The lush banks of the Kunene contrast starkly with the surrounding desert – and are havens for diverse wildlife.
After an amazing drive, you finally get to Kunene River Camp. Perched on top of large boulders, just above the river bank, its location is hard to beat. The central area overlooks the riverine vegetation directly below camp (as do most of the tents), and it is a wonderful place to watch the bird activity on the river whilst enjoying your evening G & T.
As for the other camps on the Skeleton Coast safari trip, it is simply designed but is comfortable and well equipped.
Each of the dome tents is covered and surrounded with a reed and has proper twin beds with neutral bed linen. The chemical loo placed at the bottom of one of the beds means that it isn't necessary to leave your tent at night if you don't want to. The tents also have a bedside table, battery powered lamp, bottled water and tissues. Housed in the same reed structure there is an en suite bucket shower with hot water provided whenever you require it. Shampoo/shower gel is provided as well as insect-repellant cream and towels. There is also a small area in front of the tent with a stone table, a bowl for washing, and stool, from where you get great views of the surrounding scenery.
The camp has two flush toilets with hand basins which are for communal use.
The dining area at Kunene River Camp is constructed from local materials – stone, wood and reed - and is covered, but open at the front and partially at the sides, giving great views along the Kunene River and across to Angola. There is also a small help yourself 'bush bar' with a choice of drinks. Sitting here on our last visit we saw great birdlife, including goliath herons, African darters, red-faced mouse birds and golden oreoles.
The next day, activities from here include a boat trip along the Kunene – which starts off passing sandy banks and lush vegetation which harbours monitor lizards and crocodiles. Further up stream there are some gentle rapids to raise the pulse and some interesting geological formations. We had some good bird sightings whilst on the boat, including gymnogene, auger buzzard, Abdim's stork, wire-tailed sparrow, little bee-eater and African pied-wagtail.
This area is also home to the nomadic Himba communities and you may visit the nearest settlement where you will be told about their traditions and culture, which are unfortunately slowly disappearing.
After lunch at the Kunene River Camp, visitors on our Skeleton Coast safari trip usually head off back to the airstrip for their flight back to Windhoek, arriving late afternoon.
Our viewKunene River Camp is a simple camp, however the Skeleton Coast safari is very much about the guiding and experience than the camps you stay at.
Ideal length of stay: Only one night is possible, unless have your own group of four sharing one plane in which case you can extend your stay here with prior arrangement.
Directions: Accessible on a fly-in safari only
Owner: Schoeman family
Staff: One of the Schoeman family usually guides on these safaris.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Food at Kunene River Camp was very tasty when last here, and was washed down with some good wine.
The buffet breakfast is a choice of cereal, fruit, freshly baked bread with jam, meats or cheese, yoghurts and mielie pap.
Lunch consists of a buffet with salad dishes.
Dinner, when we were last there, was a lovely lamb stew with rice, peas and green salad.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks are included except imported wines and spirits (and any premium brands).
Birdwatching: Situated in such a diverse area, Kunene River camp is an ideal location to see a wide variety of species. Birds seen vary from aquatic species on the perennial waters here, to endemic desert varieties and those that inhabit dense riverine vegetation.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Namibia
Photographic: Aerial photography of the ever changing landscapes is very good when travelling by light aircraft on a fly-in safari. Around Kunene River Camp you also have a large diversity of birds, animals and geology, which give you the opportunity to get photos differing from those at previous camps on this safari.See more ideas for Photographic in Namibia
Traditional Cultures: As part of a stay in the far north you may visit a traditional Himba settlement. During your visit you get a brief insight into the traditions and culture of these semi-nomadic people and get the opportunity to wander around observing how they live.See more ideas for Traditional Cultures in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Children are always welcomed by the Schoemans.
Generally recommended for children: Older children will enjoy this trip however those that are very young may find it too tiring. Each day is full with activities and the trip involves a lot of flying.
Notes: We need to be notified in advance of children's ages so that the Schoemans can make any necessary arrangements.
Power supply: None
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: There is Medi-rescue available from here.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry can be done if urgent, but you do not have very long at any of the camps.