After an hour drive along the dry Hoarusib River, we suddenly saw a group of desert elephants. They were two hundred meters away,trying to shake the nearby trees in attempt to get food.
Obviously, they care more about our mother nature than the elephants who live in the national parks. It’s their only way of surviving in the heart of a harsh environment where food is very scarce. Needless to say that water is even worse, with the exception of the scattered groundwater.
We stared at the elephants with our 4×4 engine off. Apart from the cracking of the branches and the low whistle of the wind, the silence was powerful.
We actually traveled in the heart of the vast wilderness of the Kunene region in Namibia. The masters of these unlimited open-spaces are undoubtedly the desert elephants, the last one to move freely in Africa. There are no barriers to impede their invariable journey along the river.
These are not the only animals to roam in this remote area. We can also observe giraffes, zebras, hyenas, lions, which are hard to spot, and the iconic and beautiful but very shy, Oryx.
We did a loop which started off at Purros Village, which blends seamlessly into the landscape and amazingly looks like the planet Mars. We slept at the campsite, which is located beside the Hoarusib River, 2km from Purros village. The sites are well shaded by mature indigenous trees. One of the highlights of the trip was to see the elephants zigzagging amongst the tents and vehicles without causing any damage!
This region is also the territory of the Himba, a tribe of nomadic pastoralists who breed cattle and goats, and inhabit the Kaokoland. T
he villages are scattered among this wild land, but their authenticity does not suffer from any discussion. Pictures of the women and their skins rubbed with red ochre made them very popular around the world.
To experience the vastness of Namibia’s Kunene Region, you require a 4×4 (ours is equipped with a folding tent on the roof) because you have to drive on tracks that are sometimes very sandy. You should also know that the phone reception is usually bad, and does even not exist sometimes. Don’t forget to buy enough food at Opuwo for your few days because the possibilities of refueling are very little along the way.
Last, but probably not least, at night around your fire, you can relax and look up at the sky because you will be stunned by what it has to offer, it one of the purest skies you can find on earth. One last thing, except for at Purros, we always set up our camp in the middle of nowhere, without making a plan, every time just before the sunset.
By Stéphane Rossard
Receive our newsletters
Subscribe to get updates!