A destination like no other
Famously arid, Damaraland is one of Namibia’s many unique areas offering sights and experiences you’ll find nowhere else in the world. It might not boast the high profiles of places like the Fish River Canyon and Etosha National Park, but it makes up for it in so many ways.
Find out why you need to add this vastly underestimated destination to the itinerary for your next Namibian safari.
This otherworldly environment boasts rugged mountains, dramatic rock formations, and boulder-strewn hills that glow golden at sunset against a multi-hued sky.
It’s a scene that quickly turns into a dazzling and magical display featuring a million pinpricks of intense light in the inky blackness. With no major towns and few inhabitants, Damaraland’s night sky offers undisturbed views into the far reaches of the universe, making for unforgettable stargazing opportunities.
In the east, low acacia trees and sparse grasslands dominate, while the north boasts stretches of umbrella thorns, mopane trees and Makalani palms.
The Brandberg mountains are Namibia’s highest geographical feature, soaring 2 573m above the arid plains. They’re home to one of the world’s most spectacular collections of rock art dating back some 6 000 years. The White Lady is the most famous of all and easily accessible under the auspices of a local guide.
The Tsisab Ravine on the north-eastern side of this massif, and Twyfelfontein, some 50km south of Brandberg are hailed as some of the most diverse collections of rock art and painting ever discovered.
Twyfelfontein hints at the spiritual life of these ancient people and is recognized as a World Heritage Site of significant cultural importance.
Near Khorixas, once the capital of the Damaraland bantustan before Namibia’s independence, you’ll find several noteworthy sights, including the Vingerklip. This huge 35m rock finger stands 929m above sea level precariously jutting out from the flat-topped mountains in the area.
The 120 million-year-old Organ Pipes comprise hundreds of angular columns arranged alongside one another, while nearby Burnt Mountain, glows with a rainbow of fiery hues in the early morning and late afternoon light.
To the west, petrified trees lie exposed on a bed of sandstone, where they’ve been for at least 250 million years.
On the southern end of the region, the Spitzkoppe, known as the Matterhorn of Namibia, is a rugged and challenging playground for those who love to hike, climb and boulder.
With so much to see, Damaraland is a photographer’s paradise, thanks to the fascinating play of the light on your surroundings.
The best way to make the most of your trip to Damaraland is on guided walks, hikes, and tours through the area. Tracking some of Namibia’s most iconic creatures in these vast landscapes is the highlight of any trip to Damaraland.
Unique Fauna and Flora
It’s only natural that this unique environment is home to incredible animals and plants. Here, you’ll find the ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis in its natural environment, with some specimens reaching the ripe old age of 1 500 years.
Desert-adapted creatures like elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard and rhino are a testament to the adaptability of nature, and if you are very lucky you may see these incredible creatures on rare occasions.
You’re more likely to spot common species like baboon, giraffe, kudu, steenbok, warthog, oryx, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, springbok, porcupine, and klipspringer in the mountains around Etendeka, Palmwag, and Damaraland camp.
Ten of the Koakoveld’s near-endemic bird species occur here, including Ruppel’s korhaan, Monteiro’s hornbill, Herero chat, black eagles, tractrac chat, and red-billed hornbills.
Damaraland is home to several local population groups, namely the Damara, Himba and Herero people, who still have much in common with their San ancestors.
Despite their similarities, these people have evolved in vastly diverse ways, and each have their own unique style of dress and way of eking out an existence in this harsh environment.
The Living Museum of the Damara offers an opportunity to explore an authentic portrayal of life as it once was in Damaraland. There is a Himba village near Palmwag that’s open to visitors on guided tours too, and you’ll pass many Herero villages during your visit to Damaraland.
If you’re interested in enjoying something different on your trip to Namibia, Damaraland is an excellent choice. The unique landscapes, amazing creatures, and fascinating people of this area are bound to result in an unforgettable trip.
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Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.