In the far northwestern corner of Kunene, Marienfluss and Hartmann’s Valley constitute one of Namibia’s most remote wilderness landscapes, receiving few visitors beyond the semi-nomadic Himba with their cattle and goats, alongside herds of springbok and oryx. Even fewer tourists make it this far, except for a trickle of determined, hardy 4WD adventurers, or a select few who can afford a fly-in safari. Tracks are sparse, mobile phone coverage non-existent, and the main reference points are painted oil drums. More self-drive visitors stop in Marienfluss, but if you have the time, the fuel and the water – there’s nowhere to replenish stocks en route – then you should try to visit both valleys. Marienfluss is arguably the more beautiful of the two, being lusher – if there’s been rain – coated with flaxen grasses, and home to carpets of fairy circles along its broad flat sandy floor, flanked by the Otjihipa Mountains to the east and Hartmann’s Mountains to the west. What’s more, there’s a gorgeous riverside campsite to reward the dusty drive, though don’t be tempted to jump in the water, as this is prime croc territory. These days there’s even a tiny Himba store selling cold beer. Reaching the end of Hartmann’s Valley is a rougher ride, 70km of more arid conditions that will take you well over two hours, but its moonscapes have a desolate beauty: vast expanses of flecked cream- or rust-coloured sand, interspersed with endless domes of seemingly barren grey rock; as you approach the Kunene, the huge dunes to the west separate you from the Skeleton Coast, some 50km away.

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