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


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 engenders.

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 mostly dry riverbeds of the Huab, Ugab, Uniab rivers. The underground water and occasional springs offer an oasis of trees and vegetation which allows wildlife to be sustained in such seemingly inhospitable terrain. It is here you may encounter Damaraland’s famous desert-adapted elephant, and even rhino – their bulk being dwarfed by the vast towering mountains above them.

Damaraland’s two main claims on your time are its imposing geology in the southern part of Damaraland and its unique desert-adapted wildlife. Other possibilities are visits to the petrified forest, the Damara Living musuem (which offers how the Dama people used to live as well as how they live now) and even visits to some of the more southern-based of the Himba communities.

Generally we recommend a night or two in southern Damaraland close to the fascinating rock engravings at Twyffelfontein, a prehistoric art gallery of sorts. We recommend Mowani Mountain Camp or Doro Nawas. A visit to the Petrified Forest, Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes are equally absorbing. From here you can enjoy excursions into valleys and dry riverbeds in search of desert-adapted elephants and other arid species such as gemsbok, jackal, springbok and occasionally western black rhino.

Next you may like to enjoy a couple of nights in one of the private concessions in the mountainous north such as Damaraland Camp, Desert Rhino Camp or Grootberg Lodge. Here the focus is on enjoying the stark mountain scenery and going in search of its rare, desert-adapted wildlife such as elephants, black rhino even lions that migrate across Damaraland according to the rains – herds of gemsbok, springbok, kudu, steenbok, mountain zebra and giraffe. Each lodge has different activities and likely wildlife to be seen so we recommend chatting to your Cedarberg consultant.

Why Visit Damaraland?

  • Desert adapted elephant
  • Tracking desert rhino on foot
  • Stunning desert and mountain scenery
  • The Petrified Forest
  • Twyfelfontein rock engravings
  • Excursions to visit the nomadic Himba people

How to get to Damaraland

Damaraland lies north-east of Swakopmund and borders the Skeleton Coast to the north. It is the perfect place to stop en route between Etosha and Swakopmund. But please don’t rush through – Damaraland deserves at least 2-3 nights of your holiday, and depending on your interests you make like to stay at two different lodges.

On the western edge of Damaraland lies the charming Huab lodge, which offers a slightly lusher and more relaxing experience with desert spa options on offer. On the northern edges of Damaraland bordering the Kaokoveld lie Kavita Lion Lodge, Palmwag Lodge and Grootberg Lodge. From here you can travel north to visit the Himba people. See Kaokoland for more…