A Unique Showcase of Culture
Twyfelfontein boasts an astonishing collection of over 2 500 rock paintings and engravings dating back as far as ten thousand years. Remarkably, the San people created these artworks without the use of metal tools, adding to the fascination associated with this site.
Ancient art isn’t the only unique treasure found in this area, though. Just ten kilometers away, you’ll find Namibia’s only cultural village devoted entirely to the Damara people.
Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the unique experiences on offer at the Living Museum of the Damara.
Uncover the Story of the Damara People in Namibia
Historians believe the Damara people to have their roots in ancient San culture and that they’re the first group of hunter-gatherers to have migrated from the north into the mountainous region of central Namibia.
Like the San people, the Damara believed that the land belonged to nobody. This lack of territorial aspirations combined with a loose social structure made them no match against more aggressive cultures wanting to colonize Namibia.
In the 1960s, the South African government set up the Damara Reserve (Damaraland) in the Northwest of the country to protect those that survived the onslaught. However, this area proved unsuited to the Damara way of life, causing many of them to migrate to the cities in search of ways to sustain themselves.
These factors contributed to the near extinction of the Damara people, prompting them to work with the Living Culture Foundation Namibia to set up the Living Museum of the Damara in 2010.
This recreation of the old times is an important reference point for modern-day Damara folk to reconnect with a long-forgotten way of life.
When you visit this area, you too can enjoy a glimpse of the Damara’s cultural roots and the uncomplicated lifestyle of days gone by.
Support Cultural Preservation
In order to keep the Damara people engaged and involved in this project, they need a way to sustain themselves. Without income from the Living Museum, these people would disperse far and wide in search of earning a livelihood elsewhere.
Without fail, when this happens, unique cultural aspects of a group become eroded by outside influences, eventually fading into the mists of time.
When you visit the Living Museum of the Damara, you’re helping to support these people and keep their culture alive.
Enjoy Enriching Activities
Sightseeing and game drives are an excellent way to enjoy your trip to Namibia, but a little variety adds so much enjoyment to the experience.
At the Damara Living Museum, you can try some more unusual activities, like:
Explore an authentic recreation of a traditional Damara village for a realistic immersion in the old ways. As you walk around, your guide will help translate each activity, while actors portray the cultural aspects under discussion.
Some of these activities include:
- Beer making
- Clothes making
A visit to the Living Museum of the Damara is the best way to gain an understanding of the daily activities of this fast-disappearing culture, explore different ways to do things, and marvel at the resilience and inventiveness of other civilizations.
See the environment from a new perspective when you set out in the company of a local guide.
These experts will give you insights into indigenous plants used for medicine, food, and perfume. They’ll demonstrate the hunting and herding tactics of the Damara people, fire-making, and small-scale mining of local minerals.
You could also catch sight of some local creatures and pick up some tips to help you spot game on future wildlife adventures.
Pick up a few mementos of your visit at the onsite craft stalls highlighting the talents of the Damara folk. Some of these handcrafted goodies include
If you want to wow your friends back home with a unique gift from your travels, this is the place to stock up and you can rest assured you’re helping the museum continue to do its good works.
Add an Extra Element to Your Travels in Namibia
Living museums provide an important touch point for Africans who are slowly drifting away from their roots. They’re also an interesting way to broaden your mind with insights into alternative ways of life.
You’ll find several of these authentic cultural attractions dotted across Namibia, close to other interesting sites, so set aside time to explore the country’s diverse cultures on your travels.
For more ideas on how to plan your travels around Namibia, browse our travel blog, and book your accommodation at Arebbusch Travel Lodge to get your trip off to a flying start.
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.