Serra Cafema Camp
Kunene River, Skeleton Coast, Namibia
At a Glance
Quad biking over the dunes
Explore the Kunene River by boat
Landing at the airstrip in the Hartmann's Valley canyon makes you feel as though you have arrived at the most remote place on earth
Stunning family cottage
Visit a local Himba village
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The Skeleton Coast is a year-round destination: moderate temperatures with mist, wind, and hardly any rain. For angling, November to March is the best time to visit the Skeleton Coast.
To start planning your holiday to Serra Cafema Camp
Serra Cafema Camp is 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 - one of the remotest camps in the whole of the African continent!
Serra Cafema is a camp located in the extreme northwest of Namibia and is probably the most remote camp in Southern Africa. The camp is located just inland from the Atlantic Ocean and the Skeleton Coast meaning that the cool winds that blow from the Atlantic help to keep the camp cool, even in summer. For those who appreciate truly wild places, the journey to Serra Cafema is one of the most exciting in all of Africa - the flight in takes guests over stunning red desert landscapes. The Portuguese name comes from the mountains to the north that dominate the skyline. The region is shared with wonderful Himba people who are some of the last truly nomadic people in Africa. The Kunene River is the only permanent source of water in the whole region and the river creates a lush oasis along its banks surrounded by rugged mountains and sand dunes.
The small, rustic and peaceful camp stands within an island of ancient, shady Albida trees on the banks of the Kunene River. The six fully-furnished tents, with en-suite bathroom facilities, are raised off the ground. There is a small swimming pool, dining room and bar.
Spend time in breathtaking landscape scenes in the Hartmann Valley with herds of springbok, ostrich and even leopard. Traverse sand dunes on 4x4 safaris and boat on the Kunene River watching Kunene crocodiles basking the riverbanks. Walking trails in the remote mountain and river valleys will always be a highlight for those who enjoy foot safaris. The native Ovahimba families, who live in the nearby vicinity and often visit Serra Cafema, give guests the chance to learn all about their lifestyles and traditions.
Accommodation at Serra Cafema consists of eight riverside Meru-style canvas and thatched chalets (including one family chalet) 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.
There are no specific child care facilities available at Serra Cafema Camp. However, children over the age of 8 years are most welcome at the camp and families can be accommodated by opening up adjoining chalets, or they can stay in the family chalet.
The camp's main area comprises indoor and outdoor dining areas, a sunken lounge, a 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. There is also a chance to visit a nearby Himba village.
Rose Gemmell (Staff)
Serra Cafema is positioned on banks of the Kunene River which separates Namibia from Angola and it is one of the most remote camps in Africa. The tented rooms here are absolutely huge and some overlook the river and some the dunes. There is a small pool to cool off in between activities although the afternoon wind which, blows up from the coast tends to keep the camp and the rooms cool. The activities here are varied and you can head out across the dunes on quad bikes or take a walk along the dunes as the sun comes up over the river. One afternoon take a tranquil boat cruise up stream and try and spot the crocodiles lazing on the river banks. Visit one of the local Himba villages, an amazing and grounding experience. Serra Cafema is one of the most unique camps in Africa and is one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed!
Louisa Verney (Staff)
We have been flying over endless red desert for a couple of hours when finally the waves of burnt dunes are broken by a verdant strip of life dividing the earth, a sliver of silver shimmering in the sand. This is the Kunene River, an essential source of water for the Himba tribes and a natural border between Namibia and Angola. Landing in the middle of the Namibian desert is a bit like I imagine landing Mars to be, only much, much hotter. We are met by a beautifully turned out safari vehicle and head off towards our camp. Transfers between airstrip and camp in Africa are rarely uneventful affairs and this was no exception. I dont think Im too much of a wimp but I certainly held onto my seat as we tackled a particularly vertiginous dune!
The camp itself is simple yet luxurious and made of unobtrusive wood and thatch. Before dinner, we discussed the possible activities for the following day and I didnt hesitate to plump for quad biking, as did many other guests of pleasingly varied age. I had never done this before and Serra Cafema was the perfect place to learn. Theres not much to quad biking so I had plenty of time to enjoy the stunning desert scenery. This was punctuated by the occasional need to rev the bike up to full blast in order to attack a particularly steep hill, which was surprisingly challenging. After about an hour we arrived at a very flat piece of valley basin where we were encouraged to go flat out for as far as the eye could see - I hadnt had so much fun in years, shrieking off toward the horizon leaving a trail of dust in my wake.
However, you dont have to have hooligan tendencies to enjoy this remote part of northern Namibia and guests can also make visits to meet local Himba tribe, go on dune drives and take trips on the river to spot crocodiles and perhaps set a foot on Angolan soil. Its one of the worlds wild outposts and definitely worth the journey.
Boating trips on the Kunene River
Enjoy river safaris on the Kunene River from Serra Cafema Camp.
Dune driving on the Skeleton Coast
The Skeleton Coast is dominated by enormous dunes, and one of the best way to explore these is in a 4X4 vehicle specially adapted for dune-driving.
Himba Villages - Northern Namibia
The Himba people live in northern Namibia, in the Kunene Region, very close to the Skeleton Coast, and a visit to one of their villages is a fascinating insight into a way of life unchanged for centuries.
Quadbiking at Serra Cafema
One of the highlights, guided quad bike excursions through the fragile environs, is done with utmost care along specifically allocated pathways, so as to tread lightly on the dunes and preserve the unique and delicate habitats of this landscape.
Location & directions
Kunene River, Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Serra Cafema is located in the extreme north-west of Namibia on the banks of the Kunene River in the Hartmann Valley. Serra Cafema Camp is undoubtedly the most remote camp in Southern Africa, it is just inland from the Atlantic Ocean and the Skeleton Coast.
How to get there
This camp is only reachable in a three hour, light aircraft trip from Windhoek. Windhoek is an 11-hour international flight to Johannesburg, followed by a 2-hour international flight.
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