Namibia : Damaraland
Damaraland is a spectacular rugged and mountainous wilderness shaped by flat-topped mountains and imposing granite domes. In the south, it boasts fascinating geological features such as the Petrified Forest, fossilised trees thought to be over 250 million years old, and the basalt Organ Pipes, as well as a wealth of incredible rock art. Further north there are private reserves where the wildlife is unique rather than abundant, and you can track black rhino, elephant and other intriguing, desert-adapted wildlife. They offer a really exhilarating wilderness experience.
Damaraland Camp is situated to the north of the Huab river and 90km inland from the skeleton coast. It is an extraordinary rocky lunar landscape with eroded, sandstone mountains and rocky valleys dramatically cut in two by a swath of green, which is the Huab river and provides the life and sustenance for the local people and game who live in this rocky environment. Early morning mists drift inland up the Huab river valley, providing the all-important moisture for the plants and animals to survive.
The camp is set at the head of a valley; with nine luxury tented ensuite rooms. The camp is in a beautiful situation, surrounded by dramatic flat top mountains with eroded gorges and rocky outcrops and caves. You can go for walks around the camp with spectacular views and it is fascinating learning about the vegetation, which manages to grow in the area and who and what can live off it. Most of the plants seem to be highly poisonous but the game in the area has adapted and can deal with the poisons that would kill a man.
A unique attribute of the camp is the joint venture with the local community, who profit directly from the camp, which is on community land. Most of the staff at the camp have lived all their lives in the area, they are extremely friendly and happy to talk about their lives and homes in the desert. There is a fair amount of game in the area and the most spectacular are the desert elephant who feed up and down the river system. The one major difference from their savannah cousins is how carefully they feed, they don't waste a seed pod or a leaf and certainly don't knock down a tree for a snack as savannah elephants often do. It is a rare treat to watch them living happily in this barren landscape. There is plenty of other game such as kudu, oryx, springbok, baboons and a bit further afield the endangered black desert rhino. There is also a lovely pool to cool down in in the heat of the day.
Palmwag Lodge is situated in the northwest of Damaraland, halfway between Swakopmund and Etosha, Palmwag is the ideal place from which to explore the Kunene Region. Set amongst whispering palm trees alongside a perennial spring in the Uniab River, Palmwag Lodge accommodates 24 guests in two and four bedded thatched bungalows. The en-suite rooms are simple but comfortable and have magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. There is an a la carte restaurant for meals, and a swimming pool with a thatched pool bar. There is also a camp site for guided and self drive holidays. The lodge can arrange optional morning and afternoon guided game drives in search of desert elephant, black rhino, giraffe and antelope. There are walking trails and day excursions to the Opuwo region to visit the Ovahimba people in their villages can be arranged.
Desert Rhino Camp is a mobile camp run in conjunction with the 'Save the Rhino Trust' in the private Palmwag area of the rugged northern Damaraland. The camp offers a brilliant insight into the ecology and conservation of this incredible area and at the same time contributes directly to the Trust and ultimately the sustainability of this vulnerable area and its wildlife. The area traversed whilst tracking Black Rhino and other wildlife is massive, over 450,000 hectares.
There are 8 very comfortable, ensuite Meru tents, set on platforms with a deck at the front.. A maximum of 16 guests will have the rare pleasure of exploring this wild and remote area in the company of the dedicated conservationists hosting them, together with local trackers.
There are large populations of Hartman's mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx, springbok and kudu. The predator population is the largest outside of the Etosha National Park with over 100 lions, cheetah, leopard, brown and spotted hyena. Bird life is prolific and diverse with most of Namibia's endemics present. This concession supports a healthy population of desert adapted black rhino and elephants. Seeing some of the last truly wild black rhino in the arid wastes of the desert landscape, is out standing and well worth visiting while in Namibia.
Mowani Mountain Camp is set between the Ugab and Huab rivers in southern Damaraland in a vast and unspoilt wilderness which boasts magnificent desert scenery, fascinating geological formations, archaeological sites and a unique variety of desert fauna and flora. The camp is in an amazing position nestling among high boulders and looking out over the ancient landscape. There are 12 raised East African-style en-suite safari tents each with its own private veranda and great views of the Aba-Huab Valley. The Suite at Mowani is the ultimate luxury retreat! There's a pool once again with amazing views, and activities include guided nature drives in search of the elusive desert elephant and hiking through magnificent scenery. The bush paintings of Twyfelfontein are also within easy reach.