The northern region of Namibia is the largest extending from the sparsely populated Kunene Region in the west across the densely populated region of Owambo, to the aquatic and species-rich habitats of the far north east with their densely populated communities of subsistence farmers.
Main tourist attractions include:
- Etosha National Park - north of Outjo
- Dinosaur footprints - south of Otjiwarongo and close to Kalkveld
- Dragon's Breath Underwater Lake - north west of Grootfontein
- Hoba Meteorite - about 20km west of Grootfontein
- Mahango Game Park - east of Rundu
- Otjikoto and Guinas lakes - north west of Tsumeb
- Ugab Vingerklip and GamKarab Cave - about 90km west of Outjo
- Waterberg Plateau Park between Otjiwarongo and Otavi
The Northern Region can be divided into:
1. the central area of Owamboland (with Oshakati and Ondangwa as main centres) and Etosha National Park
2. the north western area of Damaraland and Kaokoland
3. the north eastern area of the Caprivi, Okavango and Bushmanland
In the central area lies Ovamboland, home to almost 66% of Namibia's population. This region is part of the immense Kalahari system that extends from Northern South Africa to the Congo basin.
The main attraction of the area is the Etosha National Park, one of the biggest game sanctuaries in Africa, both in terms of size and the number of animals which it harbours. Hundreds of kilometres of roads and three rest camps enable visitors to see one of the last outpost of African wildlife in comparative comfort.
In exceptionally good rain years the floodwaters reach the plains and watercourses in central Ovamboland and even reach the Etosha pan.
Damaraland and Kaokoland (in the north west):
Kaokoland reaches from the Brandberg in the central Namib Desert up to the Kunene Riverbordering Angola.
The areas south and southwest of Sesfontein down to the Brandberg and Uis are regarded as Damaraland with Khorixas as main centre.
The cattle breeding Himba still freely roam over the wide pastures of the highlands which are
dominated by rugged mountain ranges and steep escarpments and scorched by a relentless desert sun. This is probably Namibia's least visited and accessible, but certainly most fascinating region.
Wildlife is abundant and varied, offering encounters with the famous desert elephant that roam the riverbeds and adjacent Mopane woodlands in continuous search for food, or numerous herds of mountain zebra and springbok.
North East Area
The 450 km long Caprivi Strip is Namibia's most tropical region and four of the countries six permanent rivers flow along and through this corridor: The Okavango, the Kwando the Chobe and the Zambezi. There is a wealth of good accommodation overlooking the rivers, game lodges and provides easy access to Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Before disappearing under the sand masses of the Kalahari, the Okavango River branches out into an immense delta. The Kavango area is where the river flows through the Caprivi strip into the Okavango swamps in Botswana.
Wild life is abundant, there are 2 game reserves and it is home to some rare species such as the Sitatunga antelope or the Cape Hunting Dogs.
Bushmanland is one of Namibia's least known regions. Tsumkwe is the capital and it is presently home to more than 15 000 Bushmen - the San people once roamed much vaster African spaces.
Many traditional skills are still alive in the hunter-gatherer culture in this area, and a visit to the nearby Khaudum Game Reserve gives additional insight into the life of the hunter-gatherer. This is a densely wooded wilderness that can mainly be explored in 4x4 vehicles.