How to visit
Because Kaokoland is remote, the few camps here tend to be either very basic or very organised. The basic ones are a couple of simple campsites, often run by the local communities with the backing of one of the conservation/development organisations. The organised camps are a few expensive camps linked with small specialist fly-in operators.
If you are planning an expedition, then in most places you must camp. There are demarcated camping sites at Purros and Epupa Falls, which are run by the local people, and for the local people.
In the very north, at the end of the Marienfluss Valley, there is a public campsite, with no facilities. Anywhere else in the region you can choose your own site, provided that you obtain permission from the head of the local village, and show due respect to the area's inhabitants. Here, more than anywhere else, there is a need to be responsible. The three organised campsites north of Sesfontein are:
Epupa Community Campsite
Kunene River Lodge
There is just one upmarket camp in the region that isn't linked to one of the specialist operators listed below. This relies on a mixture of jaded explorers desperate for some comfort, and fly-in visitors who come just to see Epupa Falls for a day or two:
Specialist Kaokoveld operators
When planning a visit to this area, you should consider who is taking you, rather than exactly where you're staying. Choose the most knowledgeable operator with whom you feel comfortable, and then go with them.
Kaokoland is rugged and remote. Trusting your arrangements to anyone who does not know it intimately is foolish. Don't visit here accompanied by someone who runs general trips all over the country. Instead choose one of the specialists who concentrate on this area. Finally, do satisfy yourself that your operator values the fragility of the area and its culture. Amongst other things, consider:
• How (if at all) your operator ensures that the local people benefit from your visit. Is there an automatic bed-night levy paid into local community funds?
• How sensitive the operator is to the local cultures. Do their staff speak the local languages?
• Do they use local people for staff, creating local employment prospects?
Such operations may use their own fixed camps, or mobile camps, which can be moved when necessary. This is the most comfortable way to see Kaokoland, and also the best way. You need a good guide here. Amongst many that run occasional trips, two excellent specialists stand out:
Skeleton Coast Fly-in Safaris