Hidden within the enormous Hartmann Valley, overlooking the bubbling rapids of the Kunene River and yet surrounded by the lunar-like infinity of the Namib Desert, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote and surreal destinations in all of Africa. A visit here is a journey into the latent elements of the soul, a pathway of discovery and re-discovery – a winding track of rejuvenation at every turn. Serra Cafema is located in the extreme north-west of Namibia on the banks of the Kunene River in the Hartmann Valley. Undoubtedly amongst the most remote camps in Southern Africa, Serra Cafema is only reachable by a three hour light aircraft trip from Windhoek.
The Kunene River is the only permanent source of water in this region, the river creating a lush oasis along its banks – a winding band of green surrounded by the lunar like landscape of the Namib Desert which stretches to the Serra Cafema mountain range in the north. Serra Cafema is an intimate, peaceful camp with a unique mix of rustic and luxury elements nestled amongst the shady Albida trees on the banks of the Kunene. Rapids just below camp provide a calming ambiance with guests often lulled into dreamland by the gurgling waters after a hard day exploring one of the driest, starkly beautiful regions in the world.
Accommodation at Serra Cafema consists of 8 riverside Meru-style canvas and thatched chalets on spacious, elevated decks blended craftily into the picturesque surroundings. Each fully furnished tent has an en-suite bathroom, ceiling fan and mosquito nets as well as bug repellent. A late afternoon spent lounging in the hammock on the front deck soaking up the breathtaking vistas of this contrasting wilderness is an absolute must. Serra Cafema also has a intimate, luxurious honeymoon chalet, with possibly the best view of all. Early booking is essential owing to its popularity.
Families can be accommodated by opening up adjoining chalets. The Serra Cafema Ozonganda, or main area, comprises indoor and outdoor dining areas, sunken lounge, river bar, library, curio shop and swimming pool, all sharing views of the Kunene River. There are set daily menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner with tea/coffee available throughout the day. Activities at Serra Cafema revolve around the exploration of surrounding Namib Desert sands and the lush oases along the river, a journey of contrasts. Informative nature drives and carefully guided quad bike excursions through the fragile dunes allow guests to experience the true Namib in its unbridled glory.
The utmost care is taken to tread lightly on the dunes and preserve the unique and delicate habitats of this landscape. Boating on the Kunene River provides guests with the opportunity to venture through the lush riverside oases. Crocodiles and waterbirds seem out of place in this surreal, lunar-like landscape. Walking in the remote mountain and river valleys is also a highlight, as is a visit to a Himba settlement – one of the last true nomadic people in Africa. The fairy circle phenomenon is also best viewed in the Hartmann’s Valley.