The Van-Zyl's pass is regarded as the most difficult mountain pass in Namibia. The narrow lane, leading through the rugged Otjihipa mountains, consists of coarse scree and sharp-edged rocks. The gradients, which must be surmounted, are quite extreme. For this reason, it takes about three hours to cover the distance of 10 kilometres by car. Only well-equipped four-wheel drive vehicles with powerful engines and good ground clearance are able to manage the trip.
Top: Sunset in southern Kaokoland. Below: Sandy valley of the Marien river. In the background the Otjihipa mountains. Left: Himba family in the Kaokoveld near Opuwo.
Located in the far north-west, Kaokoland (also called Kaokoveld) is one of the relatively untouched regions in Namibia. The almost inaccessible area south of the Kunene river is the home of the Himba ethnic group, who have kept their ethnic individuality and culture in the seclusion of Kaokoland.
Travelling through this region is only possible under expedition-like conditions in off-road vehicles and, furthermore, should only be done under the leadership of an experienced guide. Tracks are hardly signposted, corrugated and extremely stony or sandy. There are no service stations and no accommodation in Kaokoland. You must camp in the wild.