Editors' Picks

Serra Cafema


Kunene, Namibia

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Indagare Adored

At a Glance

Serra Cafema sits where pink sand dunes roll into the foothills of the Serra Cafema mountain range and the banks of Namibia's Kunene River. Each tent in the elegant camp is perched on the lush bank of the river, overlooking the flowing waters and across into Angola. This is one of the planet’s greatest untamed landscapes, and—due to its remoteness, as well as Wilderness’s careful, thoughtful work with regional communities—the ideal place to visit a local village of the Himba, one of the only remaining semi-nomadic tribes in the world. Whether at the end or beginning of a Namibia trip (itineraries tend to travel from north to south or vice versa), Serra Cafema enables guests to reflect upon or ease into a journey in this magnificent country.

**The Standout:**The landscape, which goes from Mars-like pink and orange desert to lush green vegetation on the banks of the river **Don't Miss:**Visiting a local Himba village, taking a riverboat safari to see crocodiles and ATVing through the sand dunes

Indagare Loves

  • The special location: a cool, breezy refuge from the surrounding desert activities
  • A scenic 1.5-hour drive from the airstrip, featuring some of Namibia's most diverse and spectacular landscapes
  • The design, which mixes a fresh and contemporary feel with African touches


Best saved for last in a Namibian itinerary, Serra Cafema is the place to come for quiet reflection after a jam-packed, game drive–filled, landscape-viewing–fueled trip. The eight-room lodge on the Kunene River offers the ultimate oasis, where guests can fall asleep to the sound of river rapids, drink iced tea in the shade of albida trees and take a boat ride down the river to see crocodiles.

The stand-alone chalets are set on and connected by raised wooden walkways that meander through camp. Both the main lodge and the rooms are set on the river and benefit from breezes off the water. The air coming from the cool river is appreciated here—although there is some vegetation aided by the river around camp, this is still most definitely the desert, as evidenced by the nearby sand dunes. The main lodge sits at the center of the property, and it has indoor and outdoor dining areas, a lounge with cushioned seating, a bar, fireplace and small pool with surrounding chaises. Furnishings are chic throughout, mixing the property’s fresh and contemporary feel (large glass hurricane lamps, wire and woven side tables) with colonial influences (leather-bound books, antique fold-up desk chairs) and African touches (carved wooden furniture, stripped-branch railings). Rooms are luxurious, extremely comfortable and chicly appointed, often tempting guests to spend more time in the room than they typically might.

Most meals are taken on the large riverside deck or within the dining room, except when the staff arranges for a surprise lunch on your chalet’s deck or a picnic lunch during an activity. As at all Wilderness Safari camps, the food is very good, and dishes are Western with some African touches, like oryx or kudu filet alongside roasted carrots and potato au gratin.

The camp offers three main excursions: river cruising down the Kunene River to spot crocodiles; visiting with Himba people in one of their small, nearby villages and buying some of their crafts; and going for quad-bike excursions up and down the dunes. The latter, which might seem rather teenage from afar, is actually a lot of fun, and after spending multiple days viewing and driving alongside Namibia’s dunes, it’s a thrill to be let loose on them with your own vehicle.

Who Should Stay

Adults, solo travelers or families with grown (or mature) children who will appreciate the seclusion and cultural experiences

Ideal Length of Stay

Two nights, or three nights if you’d like to have some downtime to relax on-property.

Written by Amelia Osborne Scott

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