Remote and beautiful Serra Cafema in the Hartmann Valley is a tranquil, intimate lodge tucked among shady Albida trees on the banks of the Kunene River, the only permanent water source in this extraordinary desert landscape. The lush riverbanks provide welcome relief from the striking yet harsh Namib Desert surrounds.
The camp – which has just eight guest villas on generous raised wooden decks across the Kunene River to Angola on the other side – is beautifully low-key yet totally luxurious. Proportions are generous, and the colonial-style wood, canvas and thatched spaces are both airy and gracious, with folding glass doors that open up to invite the great outdoors in. The swimming pool sunken into a river-view deck must have one of the most exceptional and dramatic views ever – seeing rapids in the middle of the harsh desert landscapes has a surreal quality. The lush riverbanks provide welcome relief from the striking yet harsh Namib Desert.
Guided walks are a highlight here, and allow you to discover first-hand elusive natural treasures such as the desert plated lizard or the desert chameleon and the controversial fairy circles, as well as tracks of many of the more elusive animals such as the brown hyena. Back at the river – either from a boat or from the deck – you are likely to see a Nile crocodile basking in the sun. Burchell’s courser and Benguela long-billed lark are among the characteristic bird species to be found in this area. Nature drives in open 4×4 vehicles and guided quad biking will take you out into the desert and across dunes in the Hartmann’s Valley, where you may spot gemsbok (oryx), springbok, ostrich and Hartmann’s mountain zebra.
With the lodge on the doorstep of one of the world’s last nomadic tribes, a highlight of your trip will be time spent with the Himba people, who have a unique cultural identity. Visit a Himba village with an interpreter for inspiring interactions, or arrange a full-day outing to Marienfluss, a beautiful Himba-populated valley near the lodge.
Things to do
• Nature drives
• Guided eco-excursions by quad bike
• Walking excursions
• Himba community interactions & cultural tours
• Boating on the Kunene River (dependent on water levels)
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