When people talk about getting away from their busy lives in the city and going to the stillness of the bush to relax, I inevitably think of the Kunene region of Namibia. It is the quietest place I know; a place where you can hear your own breathing, truly relax and get in touch with your creative and contemplative sides.
Kunene is situated in the northwestern corner of the country, and compared to the rest of Namibia, it is very much underdeveloped. This is due to the inaccessible mountainous terrain and the extreme dryness of the area. It is a spectacular remote wilderness area, with my personal highlight being the contrast between the bone-dry desert and the lush green strip of the Kunene river running through the region as it forms the northern border of Namibia with Angola. The river even boasts two dramatic waterfalls, the Epupa and Ruacana. I have often done some white-river rafting there!
This region is home to some incredibly well-adapted animals, including the famous desert lions and elephants, as well as the largest population of free-roaming black rhino. All animals here, from biggest to smallest, have adapted to survive in the most harshest of conditions imaginable.
Kunene is also known as a legendary birding hotspot, as it is the only place in the world to reliably see the elegant Cinderella Waxbill, and one of the few sites for the noisy Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush. Over 300 species have been recorded in the area, with other highlights being Grey Kestrel, Chestnut Weaver, Bare-cheeked Babbler and Olive Bee-eater. If you are feeling very adventurous you can even organise a day trip to look for the very rare and enigmatic Angola Cave Chat.
The sense of adventure, the utter exotic remoteness and the spectacular scenery; this makes the Kunene region of Namibia one of my favourite destinations on the entire continent. Put on your boots and your hat and come feel like an explorer again!