Damaraland is an area of stunning natural beauty, an hour's flight north of Swakopmund. The scenery is mindblowing, but it is still the spectacular game that many people regard as the real prize here. Damaraland is home to desert elephant, desert rhino, sand-dwelling lions and a myriad of other unique species which have adapted to live in this dry, inhospitable environment. The area is also the location of the Twyfelfontein rock art, an amazing collection drawn by the San Bushmen over 4,000 years ago.
Damaraland is the inland area south of Etosha and north of Swakopmund that runs adjacent to the Skeleton Coast National Park. The area is mountainous in some parts but is primarily a dramatic rocky wilderness. A surprisingly high number of animals have uniquely adapted to living in such a dry environoment.
The south of Damaraland is recognised as a self-drive area with crowds flocking to the main tourist hotspots of the Petrified Forest, the Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes every year. However the north of Damaraland has been divided up into private reserves, similar to the model adopted for the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
The approach to tourism in this northern sector involves the local communities very closely. Many global awards have been won here as a result of this community-sensitive approach. It is this area that is the main home of the desert elephant and desert rhino, with the dry Huab River bed offering fertile soil and grazing grounds.
Damaraland: where to stay
Wilderness Safaris are the principal operator in Damaraland, with two huge private reserves and three camps. Doro Nawas is the largest camp and offers good value with 360-degree views over the surrounding gorgeous scenery. Damaraland Camp, Wilderness' flagship property in the area, is a small tented camp tucked up into the hills looking down over the valley; it is one of the most successful eco-tourism ventures in the world and has won numerous awards for its approach to community-based tourism. Both camps offer similar activities with the focus being on the game driving in the Huab River.
The adjacent Palmwag Reserve is the best region for game viewing, and is home to Wilderness Safaris' Rhino Camp; rhino tracking on foot here is some of the very best in Africa.
For a summary of the Best places to stay in Damaraland
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