Serra Cafema: Our full report
Serra Cafema is probably Namibia's most remote camp.In the extreme north-west, at the end of the vast Hartmann Valley, this luxurious lodge nestles in a lush belt of riverine forest beside the Kunene River, overlooking Angola. This river stands in total contrast to the arid desert and rugged mountains around it making this a very special location.
Serra Cafema is a small camp which combines rustic and with luxury. The wood and thatch main area sits on the bank of the Kunene River nestled in amongst the reeds and shaded by large trees. There is a sunken lounge to the front, a bar area, indoor and outdoor dining areas as well as a small library, curio shop and plunge pool. All have views over the Kunene River.
Serra Cafema has eight luxurious en-suite villas raised on wooden decks. Constructed from canvas and thatch, each spacious room has a large double bed surrounded by a mosquito net, lounge area, an en suite bathroom and private veranda. The large glass doors all along the front of the room can be opened giving stunning views across the Kunene River to Angola beyond.
Due to its location, a stay at Serra Cafema enables you to explore a diversity of landscapes and eco-systems on a variety of activities. The lodge offers nature drives into the rolling yellow dunes of the Namib Desert, and well as quad biking. (NB: It’s essential that you read the Quadbike warning in the ‘Health & Safety’ section below for our comments on insurance issues regarding this activity.) Both are done sensitively so as not to disturb this fragile environment. You can also take drives and walks into the Hartmann’s mountains, where the scenery is stark but breath-taking. Boat trips along the Kunene add another dimension – water birds abound and crocodiles bask – so different to the arid landscape that surrounds this oasis. There is also the possibility of visiting a Himba community, which too is done with sensitivity.
Please note that due to the remote nature of this camp we tend not to get to visit it as often as some of the more accessible camps unfortunately.
Serra Cafema is one of Africa's most magical areas, so staying here in great comfort, with enthusiastic guides, is a real privilege.
Country manager: Namibia
- Skeleton Coast & Kaokoland, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- Three nights
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- For a magical and exclusive honeymoon in Namibia, Serra Cafema is a very special choice. The camp is one of the most remote in southern Africa, and combines rustic and luxury elements in a starkly beautiful and peaceful location.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- On the banks of the Kunene River, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in Southern Africa. The river’s permanent water and accompanying vegetation provides sanctuary from the surrounding desert, making this a top spot for birdwatching in Namibia.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Photography holidays
- Namibia abounds with otherworldly environments but the often Martian like landscapes around Serra Cafema are some of the most remote and photographic in Southern Africa.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Cultural experiences
- Arguably Namibia’s most remote camp, Serra Cafema offers visits to traditional Himba villages. They’re authentic experiences; off the beaten track, away from most tourists, and conducted with great sensitivity. Learn about the lifestyle and customs of these semi-nomadic people.
- See ideas for Cultural experiences
- Nestled in a thin strip of luxuriant palm-forest, Serra Cafema stands beside a linear oasis: one of the country’s two permanent rivers through the desert. This is Namibia at its most remote, yet with beautiful suites where velvety bedspreads and sumptuous leather armchairs exude luxury.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Children aged 6 years and older are welcome at Serra Cafema
- Generally recommended for children
- This camp is probably best for older children.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Serra Cafema
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Serra Cafema have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
The signing of an agreement with Marienfluss Conse
It’s been over 15 years since the first joint venture agreement between Wilderness Safaris and Marienfluss Conservancy in Namibia to open Serra Cafema Camp was signed. Although the camp has been recently renovated, their partnership with the conservancy has not changed. The main reason behind is the camp’s choice to help create a thriving living environment for the semi-nomadic Himba people who inhabit a mosaic of villages in this vast stretch of wilderness.
The success of the agreement was certified through its renewal in 2017 for further ten years. Up-to-date direct benefits from Wilderness Safaris to the Marienfluss Conservancy include payment of bed-night fees to the Conservancy and local employment and skills transfer. Currently, 70% of Serra Cafema’s employees come from local areas. Himba people are assisted with transportation to the local clinic or hospital when needed, and funding to building a borehole for people and livestock has been provided. Employees benefit from a small shop for daily necessities, a transport service and a communication centre available for emergencies or to help staff keep in touch with their families as well as first aid supplies to help with minor injuries.
The camp has also contributed to the building of the first school in the Conservancy - Marienfluss School from Grade 0 to 7, with 70 students and six teachers. Children’s wellbeing is further taken care of by inviting them to participate in Children in the Wilderness camps.
See more great sustainability projects in Namibia
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is an on-line doctor in Otjiwarongo who the staff can speak to if necessary, and the camp has emergency evacuation plans in place.
Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity from Serra Cafema. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Fire safety
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
Other lodges in Skeleton Coast & Kaokoland
Alternative places to stay in this same area.