Brett Atkinson checks into Wilderness Safaris' Serra Cafema, in Namibia.
: Private flights on Wilderness Safaris' own airline link to northwestern Namibia's Hartmann Valley airstrip from where it's a 45-minute 4WD journey through desert and mountains to Serra Cafema's remote location on the Kunene River, bordering Angola. The river flows year-round in what is otherwise one of the driest places on the planet.
Check-in experience : Both informal and detailed, our initial one-on-one lodge brief with the friendly Chris was a great precursor to stellar service from all the Serra Cafema team. He may well be Africa's biggest Liverpool football fan, so he'll be pretty happy after their recent 2019 Champion's League triumph.
The room : Fully refurbished in 2018, our private riverside villa was enlivened with large format portraits of the semi-nomadic Himba people who live in the surrounding desert. The private dining area and expansive deck were ideal for catching river breezes drifting across from Angola.
What's in the neighbourhood : Spectacular desert and mountain scenery is the highlight of this region. We explored soaring sand dunes on a quad bike adventure and visited the villages of the Himba. Wildlife included mountain zebra, oryx and springbok, with the emphasis also on Namibia's big sky landscapes and beautifully stark horizon. A sunset boat trip on the Kunene River included birdlife like the jumbo-sized goliath heron and sundowner drinks on the Angolan side of the river.
Food and drink : Despite the remote location, Serra Cafema's eating and drinking opportunities match other African safari lodges. We certainly didn't need morning or afternoon tea, but after a 4WD excursion and game drive it's hard to go past freshly-baked biscuits and savoury meatballs reflecting Namibia's German and Dutch colonial history.
Exercise : Four- to five-metre crocodiles in the river means swimming's not an option, but Serra Cafema does have a compact riverside swimming pool. Negotiating a quad bike is great active fun, best enjoyed before a chilled Windhoek lager.
Fellow guests : A very global bunch including a renowned American wildlife photographer, a well-travelled couple from San Francisco, and serial safari buffs from the Netherlands.
Noise: Incredibly quiet with the only noise the soothing, rocky bubbling of river rapids a few metres downstream.
Contact : I travelled there with World Journeys ; 0800 117311; firstname.lastname@example.org
Perfect for : Well-travelled explorers looking to discover one of southern Africa's most spectacular and surprising countries. Itineraries usually include visits to other Wilderness Safaris lodges along the Skeleton Coast in Namibia, with transfer between the different properties by small plane.