The northwest of Namibia is often described as Namibia’s most favourite off-road destination, although one has to differentiate between the main route up to Epupa and the virtually unexplored area further west along the Skeleton Coast. Here many routes can be in a desolate state depending on the season and are thus classified as real off-road areas and should advisably be travelled only in a convoy of at least two cars.
Some areas, like for example the infamous "Van Zyl's Pass” and risky drives through the northern riverbeds are considered to be demanding and time consuming and many car rental companies do not allow driving in the area. Inexperienced off-road drivers and nature campers should only travel into this area as part of an organised and guided tour. The northern Skeleton Coast is a concession area and can only be explored by fly-in safari.
For individual travellers the following routes can be travelled with a rental vehicle: Kamanjab, Grootberg, Palmwag, Sesfontein, Opuwo, Epupa, Ruacana Falls. The southern Skeleton Coast is only accessible for self-drivers up to Torra Bay (no overnight facilities) and Terrace Bay (accommodation in NWR Rest camp).
One of the easily accessed highlights up north is the Kunene River forming the border between Namibia and Angola and the picturesque Epupa Falls.
Epupa offers four accommodation facilities: Epupa Camp, Omarunga Camp; Epupa Falls Lodge und Kapika Waterfalls Lodge. Campsites are also situated directly at the river. Until today there are no shops or fuel stations in Epupa. Local Himba villages can be visited as part of a guided tour or on one’s own. Traditional villages are found throughout the Kaokoland.
At Ruacana one can visit the power station and the Ruacana Falls, which only carry water after heavy rainfalls, when the sluices of the dam have to be opened. The Ruacana Eha Lodge with campsite offers decent accommodation and is an ideal stop over for tours into the Omusati Region.
One can travel along the Kunene River on gravel road to the Kunene River Lodge and Swartbooisdrift. The road between Swartbooisdrift and Epupa is most of the time in a desolate state.
In the capital of the Kaokoland, Opuwo, tradition meets the modern world. Here one encounters Himba and Herero in traditional dress shopping at well stocked super markets. Opuwo has modern banks and some accommodation facilities of which the Opuwo Country Lodge, situated on the slopes of a hill is the most recommendable,.
Fort Sesfontein, Khowarib Gorge und Palmwag are green oases in an otherwise arid and inhospitable environment. It is recommendable to travel the picturesque Grootberg from north to south. Right on top, granting breathtaking view, lies the Grootberg Lodge.