Holidays to Damaraland, Namibia
Africa is a continent of almost boundless adventure, and the land of the Damara people is full of drama and rugged beauty. This remote area of northwestern Namibia, just inland from the Skeleton Coast, is a vast, harsh region of open plains, massive granite ridges, deep gorges and sandy wastes. It’s an unforgiving landscape in which desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and springbok eke out an existence. And Damaraland is one of the few places in southern Africa where the big beasts of the continent can be encountered outside National Parks or game reserves.
Top of most visitors’ lists is a carefully organised trip to track the region’s rare desert elephants. Namibia’s desert elephants are almost unique in the world – the only other known population of these remarkable animals is in Mali. They eat less than other elephants, and walk up to 65 kilometres a day to find food and water. Large-scale poaching decimated their numbers three decades ago, but they’ve now become a protected species. It’s reckoned that around 600 are left.
Damaraland also has some outstanding natural landmarks to explore. The granite Brandberg, or Burnt mountain, is so called because of the dramatic red glowing effect the setting sun has on its western face. Like the Spitzkoppe, another group of granite peaks in the region, it’s a popular destination for mountain climbers.
The Brandberg also has a wealth of bushman art, including the famous White Lady rock painting. And one of the most extensive repositories of rock art in the whole of Africa can be seen at nearby Twyfelfontein, where some 2,500 engravings dating back to 300 BC have been discovered. They’re considered to be some of the best preserved of their kind on the continent.
Despite the near-barren landscape of Damaraland, you’ll find a wide range of accommodation to suit your needs and help you make the most of your stay. From safari-style tents to thatched chalets and luxury lodges, you can live thrillingly close to nature – sometimes with desert elephants coming to visit in search of water.
But best of all, tourism has been kept at sustainable levels. Large expanses of land have been classified as ‘concession areas’ where operators have created camps with local guides. Some of the income goes straight back to the local community – ensuring that everybody benefits from visits to this remote and remarkable region.
Track the region’s rare desert elephants
Go climbing on fiery Burnt Mountain
See ancient rock engravings at Twyfelfontein
Stay at a sustainable camp with local guides
Damaraland trip ideas
Here are some trips that include Damaraland. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you.