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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > July-September 2019 (87) > In search of REMOTENESS

In search of REMOTENESS

In an evermore connected and busy world, the opportunity to escape, mentally and physically, is increasingly enticing. There are few places as isolated as Kaokoland, in northwest Namibia. How does it feel to visit, and is it as empty as one might imagine?
Desert Banksy: One of the lone men of Kaokoland, sculptures scattered randomly around the region by an anonymous artist
SARAH GILBERT

The further west we went, the more desolate the landscape became. Solitary shepherd’s trees, wild sesame bushes and tenacious tufts of grass gave way to infinite gravel plains and a lunar-like terrain that glittered with mica. It was unlike anywhere I’d ever seen.

We chose a spot to set up camp and, with no distractions from the Internet, TV or telephone, I wandered just far enough away to feel that the vast valley was mine alone, and sat marvelling at the space and the stillness.

I tried to capture the wild solitude but the images fell far short of reality and soon I put my camera down and simply watched as the sun’s last rays painted the escarpment gold, orange, red and purple by turns, before its jagged silhouette turned black and the first stars appeared.

Spatial awareness: Among the dunes at Hoanib Valley Camp
NATURAL SELECTION
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About Travel Africa

Why Botswana? Where to go, what to see, how to plan for your trip to this amazing country • Slow safari - letting wildlife come to you • Kaokoland, in search of remoteness • What it's really like to walk in Luangwa • Self-drive Tanzania • Know your owls • Sierra Leone rises • 60 reasons to visit Nairobi • Lapalala Wilderness... and much more!