Tribal women of Angola
Angola is home to some of the most traditional tribes in all of Africa, including the pastoral Himba, with their ochre body paint and animal skin clothing.
Photo by Annie Hawkins
Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||4 nights in hotels, 11 nights camping|
|Meals:||All meals included|
|Activity:||Walking, Cultural Adventures|
Moderate day hikes, 2-3 hours a day, 4WD travel, 4-5 hours a day, expedition-style desert camping
- Meet fascinating tribal people with an ancient nomadic culture
- Encounters with traditional Cuanhama, Mukuvale, Himba, and other tribes
- Hike along wilderness rivers and among towering sand dunes
- Beautiful campsites in a pure desert wilderness
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
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We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.Email Area Manager
Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.
This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years. Future dates have not been set for this trip, but you can see the “Itinerary at a Glance” and the “Full Detailed Itinerary” below (there may be small changes to the itinerary for the future departures, and prices will be finalized closer to departure). Contact us to receive early notification of the trip dates. These special trips fill very quickly once the exact dates are set!
Angola is blessed with spectacular landscapes, from the magnificent Namib Desert to the wild, soaring dunes of the Atlantic. It is also home to some of the most traditional tribes in all of Africa, including the semi-nomadic Cuanhama and Modimba people, who live a traditional pastoral existence far from the modern world. Our expedition explores the southwestern corner of Angola, traveling off-road by 4WD vehicle on rugged tracks that bring us from the wild coast deep into the desert. From our remote camps in amazing wilderness settings, we savor the desert silence, and on daily hikes, meet the friendly tribal people who thrive in this remote world. The cultural encounters and pure beauty of the untouched environment make this one of the most incredible destinations in the world! Our journey ends in beautiful Namibia, where we enjoy the comforts of a delightful lodge and meet Namibia’s traditional Himba people.
Itinerary at a Glance
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
Windhoek, Namibia / Lubango, Angola / Iona National Park
From Windhoek, we fly to Lubango, the main town in southwest Angola’s Namibe Province. Much of Namibe Province is now designated as Iona National Park, with unique flora and spectacular topography ranging from dramatic dunes plunging to the sea to incredible rock formations, from amazing buttes and gullies to dramatic arroyos. Boarding rugged 4WD vehicles, we head to the Atlantic Coast, and on a hike from camp we meet the Mukuvale people along the Giraul River. After a visit to the port town of Namibe, we camp in a canyon near the Curoca River, part of Iona National Park.
Tombua / Baia dos Tigres
We head to the fishing town of Tombua and then across the sands of spectacular Baia dos Tigres (“Tiger Bay”), where huge multi-colored dunes rise precipitously from the Atlantic. The vast lagoons of this bay shelter an abundance of birdlife, including at least 58 species of waterfowl, along with many endemic species.
We walk in the dunes and explore along the Cunene River, a ribbon of vibrant green in the tawny desert landscape. This perennial water source forms the natural border between Angola and Namibia.
Iona / Himba, Cuanhama, and Modimba Tribes
Heading through vast savanna, we meet Mochimba (Himba) people who rarely see outsiders. The Himba live a fully traditional life, migrating seasonally with their herds of cattle and goats to different waterholes. The statuesque Himba men and women wear few clothes except for goatskin loincloths, and they adorn their bodies and long hair with an ochre-tinted resin that gives their skin a coppery appearance. We also enjoy encounters with the Cuanhama and Modimba tribes as we visit their settlements and small villages on morning hikes.
Namibia / Epupa Falls / Windhoek
Crossing the border into Namibia, we drive to the delightful and remote Kunene River Lodge for an overnight. The next day we hike to Himba villages around Epupa Falls, then head to Epupa Falls Lodge, with its luxury safari-style tents on the banks of the Kunene River. It’s a wonderful place for more encounters with traditional Himba people and a chance to enjoy the spectacular desert setting. We fly to Windhoek on Day 15 and depart.
For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary
If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:
- Johannesburg Extension (3 days)
What the Trip is Like
This trip is rated Level 3+, strenuous. It combines rugged overland travel and cultural exploration. We drive an average of 4-5 hours a day across roadless sand dunes, with visits to points of interest along the way. There will be three passengers per vehicle (plus driver), so everyone will have a window seat. We will be accompanied by a local guide who is intimately familiar with the region and the local people. From our camp, we hike for about two or three hours on most mornings. This is a great way to appreciate and sense the beauty of the landscape and to encounter the local people tending their herds or gathering water at wells. At our camps, we have a dinner tent with table and chairs, a toilet tent, and a shower tent. Because we do not have a large camp staff, trip members will be expected to help each other set up the tents each night. Our staff will prepare the camp meals. Trip members need to bring their own sleeping bag, rated to 30ºF.
We do our best to provide as much fresh food as possible at camp; however, most of the items we serve will be tinned, although we have opportunities to enjoy locally caught fish along the way. Water is very precious in the desert, so, please use it very sparingly when you take a shower at our camps. Mineral water is provided for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and in the vehicles.
Angola abounds with striking landscapes, from towering sand dunes to coastal lagoons. That said, we will be in a true desert. The days of the rugged off-road travel combined with 12 nights of desert camping can make the journey feel strenuous. In addition, the shape you are in will be an important factor in your enjoyment of your trip. Participants should be fit, healthy, and have no mobility restrictions; some agility is required for getting in and out of our 4WD vehicles, for bumpy 4WD travel, and for desert camping. We ask that you make a special effort to bring flexibility and a spirit of adventure to this unique trip. The rugged conditions of this desert environment require your adaptability. Once we are outside of Lubango, there is no electricity and we will be out of contact with civilization.