Damaraland

Damaraland’s innate rugged beauty and the chance of tracking its desert-adapted elephant and rhino offer a mesmerising combination.

Overview

We’ll lay our cards on the table straight away – Damaraland is perhaps our favourite area of Namibia. Its innate beauty is intensified by the solitude and the sense of freedom it inspires.

Damaraland offers great photographic opportunities with its imposing granite domes, dramatic flat-topped mountains and vast panoramas. Through this rugged mountain wilderness cuts a series of dry riverbeds of the Huab, Ugab and Uniab rivers. Here the underground water and occasional springs offer an oasis of trees and vegetation. This sustains the wildlife in such seemingly inhospitable terrain.

Damaraland’s two main claims on your time are its imposing geology in the southern part and its unique desert-adapted elephant. Their bulk being dwarfed only by the vast towering mountains above them!

Generally we recommend a night or two in southern Damaraland. Stay close to the fascinating rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, a prehistoric art gallery of sorts.  A visit to the Petrified Forest, Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes are equally absorbing.

Next you may like to enjoy a couple of nights in one of the private concessions in the mountainous north. Here the focus is on enjoying the stark mountain scenery and going in search of its rare, desert-adapted wildlife. Other arid-loving species such as gemsbok, jackal, springbok and, occasionally, western black rhino may also be seen. Each lodge has different activities so chat to your Cedarberg consultant about your preferences.

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Mari Jacobs

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Desert-adapted elephant and rhino
  • Tracking desert rhino on foot
  • Stunning desert & mountain scenery
  • The Petrified Forest
  • Twyfelfontein rock engravings
  • Excursions to visit the more southern-based of the Himba communities
  • Damara Living museum (shows how the Dama people used to live as well as how they live now)

Explore the Damaraland map

When to visit Damaraland

November to March

Summer rainy season

This is the Summer rainy season but that is almost misleading. As Damaraland is a semi-arid area, there’s not much rain. Thus temperatures remain fairly high throughout the summer (29-31C). Rains begin with light shower with greater rain in January to March usually in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. So there’s plenty of sunshine for much of the day. The desert-adapted elephants and other wildlife tends to be much more dispersed and harder to see. However wildlife is plentiful and you may see many baby elephant during this time. It is also the best time for birding in Damaraland.
AVG RAINFALL 58mm
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

April to May

Shoulder season

This is considered the shoulder season as the summer rains stop. It’s not as hot during the day, especially by May, and it becomes easier to find the desert-adapted elephant and other wildlife. It’s a lovely time to visit as it is not as busy as later on in the dry season.
AVG RAINFALL 22mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 14 ℃ / 57 ℉

June to September

Dry season

Traditionally this is the best time to visit as the dry season continues. Note that June and July night-time and early morning temperatures can be very chilly given the semi-arid nature of Damaraland. This is a drought for the animals who rely on pumped waterholes for much-needed water.
AVG RAINFALL 1mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 79 ℉
MIN TEMP 9.5 ℃ / 49 ℉

September to October

Warming up

Temperatures heat up quickly in late September and October prior to the start of the summer rains. Make sure you are comfortable with heat if you travel in October! October and early November tends to be very hot and dry but with good game-viewing. Somewhere in November, the summer rains start. Then the scenery changes back to green, baby animals start being borne and birding is excellent with the arrival of summer migrants.
AVG RAINFALL 10mm
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 16 ℃ / 61 ℉

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Did you know
  • AnimalsHome to the desert-dwelling elephants 
  • PlantsWelwitchia, also referred to as the "Living Fossil" can be older than a century