Deep in the Hartmann Valley of the northern part of Namibia known as Kaokaland is Serra Cafema, a remote camp that is accessible only by light aircraft and a 4x4 transfer from Hartmann’s airstrip across the Namib Desert. A true wilderness, the volcanic rocks and soaring dunes make for a lunar ‘moonscape’ that delights visitors by being surprisingly alive with desert-adapted creatures like the Cape fox, horned adders, and long-billed larks. Their lifeblood is the Kunene River that forms the border between Angola and Namibia, and that also provides the spectacular views from the eight tents at Serra Cafema.
Set among albida trees, Serra Cafema will appeal to safari veterans and lovers of the desert who enjoy setting out on quad bikes to spot Ruppell’s korhaans or scimitar-horned oryx. Or hiking in the Marienfluss Mountains looking for Namaqua chameleons and getting a bird’s eye view of the deserted fabled ‘fairy circles’, bizarre circular spots of barren land that form a dappled pattern on the sand. Toast the evening with a river cruise that ferries you to the Angolan side to enjoy sundowners before making your way back for private dinner in Serra Cafema’s wine cellar.
For a truly off-the-beaten-track safari that provides unforgettable accommodation and memorable experiences, Serra Cafema is considered one of Namibia’s flagship desert lodges.
Each of the cool and spacious suites includes a sleeping and sitting area that open onto an expansive wooden veranda with a dining area, a hammock, and a comfortable bench with breath-taking views of the river. Each tent is equipped with en-suite bathroom facilities as well as an additional outdoor shower with excellent views – a shower to remember! To ensure total seclusion and privacy, the honeymoon suite can only be reached by rope bridge and has arguably the best views at Serra Cafema.
The emphasis at Serra Cafema is on the spectacular views and unique attractions of the Hartmann Valley and Kunene River. The ozoganda or main living area accommodates a sitting area and library with décor inspired by the local Himba people. The river bar offers scenic thirst-quenchers while the plunge pool offers relief from the sun-baked desert heat.
Delicious meals at Serra Cafema are served in the shaded dining area or out on the deck next to the flowing Kunene River. You can also feast on the private veranda of your tented chalet. Picnic lunches or intimate suppers in the wine cellar can also be arranged.
Stunningly remote, the Hartmann Valley is a desolate yet entrancing moonscape of sand and rock. Located in the extreme northwest of Namibia, the region offers a profound sense of wilderness and unusual juxtaposition of habitats, as the Kunene River nurtures a band of lush vegetation amidst one of the driest deserts on earth, while sea mists creep in from the coast. The valley is home to the Himba, one of the last true nomads in Africa.
While not a primary wildlife destination, exploring the Namib Desert by safari vehicle, quad bike or on foot reveals subtle and striking signs of life, such as brown hyena tracks across the sand; tiny, camouflaged desert chameleons; or a dramatic herd of gemsbok galloping in what appears to be slow-motion, miles away, but in your line of sight. Besides the Kunene River, much of the area’s moisture, as in Namibia’s other coastal deserts, comes from the Atlantic fog that rolls far inland every morning, affording survival to reptiles, insects and a few shrubs and tough grasses in the valley. Home to many Nile crocodiles, the Kunene River is also a haven for water birds, and the Burchell's courser and Benguela long-billed lark are two of the most commonly found semi-desert and subtropical grassland species in the area.
7 Standard Suites
1 Honeymoon Suite
Serra Cafema, Namibia