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The mountainous region of Damaraland, located between Swakopmund and Etosha National Park, is famous for its spectacular scenery and desert-adapted wildlife.
This harsh and arid region is home to the desert-adapted elephant, the rare Hartmann’s mountain zebra, and the highly endangered black rhino.
Other wildlife found here includes giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, greater kudu, and predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and occasionally brown hyena. One of the main attractions of Damaraland is the opportunity to track desert-adapted elephant on guided drives.
The Palmwag Concession in northwest Damaraland also offers the unique opportunity to track black rhino in a vehicle and on foot and it is home to the last free-ranging population of black rhino anywhere world, testament to Namibia’s conservation efforts
As well as the desert-dwelling wildlife, Damaraland is also known for its prehistoric rock paintings and engravings.
Bushman rock art can be found at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein which is a fascinating rocky outcrop with over 2000 ancient rock paintings and engravings covering the red cliffs and boulders, thought to have been made by the nomadic San people.
The Brandberg which is Namibia's highest mountain and home to the famous 'White Lady' Bushman painting, is another of the many attractions in the area Other highlights of the area include, Spitzkoppe, Vingerklip, the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain, and the Petrified Forest which is millions of years old.
Damaraland can be visited all year round with each season bringing it’s own benefits. Many people consider the best time to visit is during the dry winter from May to October. Temperatures during these months are moderate, ranging between 19°C-30°C, and there is little to no rain, making for excellent conditions for game drives, rhino tracking and other activities. This is the optimum time of year to spot Damaraland’s desert-adapted elephant, zebra, and endangered black rhino as the land is very dry which means that the wildlife gathers around the few remaining water sources making them easier to locate.
During the summer months from November to April it gets very hot and temperatures can reach 40°C. During good rains wildlife tends to disperse, which can make them harder to find, however this can just make it more rewarding and the subsequent vegetation growth following good rains can make for beautiful scenery. Combining this with moody, cloud filled skies makes it a stunning time of year for photography.
Damaraland is an arid desert with less than 100mm of rain annually - January, February and March sees the most rainfall.
We include Damaraland in most of our Namibia holiday ideas as in our opinion it is a destination that should not be missed when visiting this incredible country. On self-drive holidays, such as our 'Classic Namibia Holiday' and our 'Namibia Self Drive Honeymoon', we recommend driving north from Swakopmund and heading up the Skeleton Coast to visit the Cape Cross Seal Colony and then inland to Damaraland.
Camp Kipwe, situated in the Twyfelfontein Conservancy, is creatively built into the large granite boulders of the Damaraland and has nine luxury bungalows and one suite. Activities include nature drives in search of desert-adapted elephants, and trips to the Twyfelfontein rock engravings.
Desert Rhino Camp is situated further north in the Palmwag Concession, a semi-desert reserve between Etosha and the Skeleton Coast. Palmwag is an excellent place to see desert-dwelling black rhino and elephants and the camp offers the chance to track black rhinos with Save The Rhino Trust ranger, this lodge is featured in our 'Namibia Off The Beaten Track Itinerary'.
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