47,990 sq. km (18,530 sq. mi)
1970 (Damaraland) | 2013 (Kunene Region)
Discover the ancient secrets of the Damaraland
The Damaraland is an area of geological wonder, ancient rock art and beautiful, wild landscapes. It’s also home to one of Africa’s largest populations of free-roaming black rhinos and Namibia’s famous desert elephants.
The Damaraland: Untamed and full of surprises
The Damaraland offers travellers beautiful rock formations, geological and cultural sites that have stood the test of time as well as good accommodation and camping options in many picturesque locations. The region is also home to fascinating wildlife, truly wild and adapted to the harsh environment making it a region always worth a visit.
The Damaraland (Kunene Region) allows you to travel back in time and view authentic San/Bushman rock art at various sites. Of these, the White Lady painting at the Brandberg Mountain is perhaps the most famous. On a guided hike, you can visit the White Lady painting and spend a moment pondering its mysteries for yourself. You could also spend some time exploring the other cave paintings too, as the Brandberg site is home to over 43 000 art pieces, most of them estimated to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old.
As opposed to the rock paintings at Brandberg, the rock art at Twyfelfontein is made up of petroglyphs made on flat rocks which can be found in the open air. Twyfelfontein, an official world heritage site, holds over 2,000 rock engravings with scenes of animals and hunters, many representing a spiritual world that shamans encounter in trance. It is commonly regarded as one of the most important rock art sites in the world. While Twyfelfontein and Brandberg are the most popular destinations for rock art, you can find further rock paintings and engravings throughout Damaraland in places such as Spitzkoppe or the Erongo Mountains. Some of these sites you can even explore with only your guide with you to show you the way and no one else around you.
The Damaraland is a dream for anyone with even the slightest interest in geology and the processes which shaped the landscapes found today. Here you will witness beautiful landscapes in the most unadulterated manner. The rounded granite mountains of Spitzkoppe lure visitors in with playful shapes and a peak that resembles the Matterhorn. Another site which can be visited is the Petrified Forest near Khorixas. At this site you will find petrified tree trunks, strewn across the landscape which are estimated to be more than 250 million years old. The Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain near Twyfelfontein and the rather strange looking Vingerklip (Finger Rock), standing on its own like a finger pointing to the sky, are further geological highlights found in the Damaraland.
The wildlife and plant life in the Damaraland is also a fascinating feature. Most spoken about are the desert adapted elephants and the free roaming desert-dwelling black rhinos which can found here with the help of a tracking guide. But the region is also home to the rarer Hartmann’s mountain zebra and a variety of antelopes including kudu, springbok, eland and oryx. If you are very lucky, you could even encounter a lion, hyena, or leopard in this region too. As is so often the case, the smaller creatures sometimes tend to get overlooked, but they too have an interesting story to tell. The Damaraland mole rat is certainly an example of this. These mole rats are furry, in contrast to their naked cousins, but most fascinating about the Damaraland mole rat is perhaps the fact that they are one of only two known eusocial mammals. This means that they are highly social, form colonies and live in a “society” based on the division of labour, a caste system, which is very rare amongst mammals and more commonly found in insects such as bees and ants.
Damaraland is also an excellent place to see the Welwitschia mirabilis. The plant is found only in Namibia and the southern parts of Angola and some specimens reach an age of up to 2,000 years. Other plants which make up the landscape here are the toxic Euphorbia Damarana, mopane and acacia trees and a variety of shrubs and grasses. The Damaraland is an arid region, however, so do not expect lush green vegetation, unless you travel after periods of heavy rainfall.
Fortunately, there is a large variety of accommodations available in the Damaraland. The region is home to some spectacular and comfortable tented camps located in pristine wilderness areas, lodges which boast terrific panoramic views, guest farms where you will be greeted like an old-time friend and camping sites so beautiful you won’t want to leave. The Damaraland is a popular destination so, even if there are plenty of options available, you will want to book early to ensure you find the perfect spot for you.
The Damaraland holds something special for any visitor and is one of the most exciting places to explore in all of Namibia. It takes you on a journey to the past, by teaching you about the lives of the people who inhabited this region thousands of years ago. It will also introduce you to the people who still live here today and how both humans and nature have found ingenious ways to survive in this harsh and yet beautiful region.
You can explore some of the more than 2,000 rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. The rock art at Twyfelfontein is estimated to be up to 6,000 years old and is the site of one of the largest concentrations of rock art in all of Africa.
You can visit the Damara people who are among the oldest inhabitants of Namibia. There appears to be no cultural link between them and other African ethnic groups and their exact origin is still speculated.
Brandberg White Lady painting
You can study the famous ‘The White Lady’ rock painting, found under an overhang on the Brandberg Mountain. There has been much controversy about the correct interpretation of this painting for many years.
Damaraland (Kunene Region) is best known for its spectacular landscapes.
You can explore the region on a self-drive trip in your own rental car or on a guided tour.
Ancient rock art paintings at Twyfelfontein are one of the most visited sights in the Damaraland.
On tracking and game drives, you can see the rare desert elephants – sometimes taking a rest from the heat under a shady tree.
A 45-minute picturesque hike will lead you to the famous rock art painting of the White Lady.
The granite peaks of Spitzkoppe are said to be more than 120 million years old – a dramatic sight on the dusty Damaraland horizon.
WHEN TO GO
Best time to go to the Damaraland
The Damaraland can be visited throughout the year and both the dry season and the green season have something unique to offer. The dry season stretches from May until October and your chances of viewing wildlife at the waterholes and the dry riverbeds is at its best during this time of year. Temperatures are also mild to warm during this time, making it a popular season to visit. The green season may bring isolated rain showers and more water means that the animals congregate less at certain places. But the beautiful green landscapes make up for this, as do possible low season rates. The only substantial downside during the green summer months is that the temperatures can get very hot.
Dry SeasonMay to October
Dry conditions and pleasant temperatures
Green SeasonNovember to April
Odd rain shower and very warm to hot temperatures
Why to go
Track the Desert Elephants of the Damaraland
The desert adapted elephants of the Damaraland are free roaming – that is to say, they are not restricted by park boundaries and wander about as they please. The best way to see these special creatures in this unique and arid environment is on a tracking tour, where you journey through wild and off-road 4×4 terrain with an experienced guide by your side.
There are quite a few accommodations to choose from in the Damaraland region. But one of my favourites definitely is the Grootberg Lodge. The views across the Klip River Valley are simply breathtaking.Alexandra | Namibia Travel Expert
Ancient rock paintings and engravings
Sites such as Spitzkoppe, Brandberg and Twyfelfontein allow to you admire original rock art by the San/Bushmen.
The Damara Living Museum
Learn about the ancient traditions of the Damara people and see their cultural dances.
Namibian guest farms
Namibians are known for their hospitality and when you stay at a real Namibian guest farm, you can experience this hospitality for yourself.
Things to do
Ancient rock art, the Damara people and Namibian hospitality
Explore authentic ancient rock art, learn about the culture of the Damara people and experience genuine Namibian hospitality on a guest farm.
- Admire ancient rock paintings and engravings
- Visit the Damara Living Museum
- Stay at a Namibian guest farm
Elusive desert-dwelling black rhinos are free roaming in this region, the only place in the world where this is still true.
Tracking desert adapted elephants is one of the highlights of any journey through Namibia.
Commonly seen in the Erongo Region, often kneeling on the ground to better feed and drink water.
They can be differentiated from the more common plains zebra by not having any brown shadow stripes on them and a white belly without stripes.
This plant can only be found in Namibia and can be up to 2000 years old.
WILDLIFE & PLANT LIFE IN THE DAMARALAND
Take a closer look for surprising wildlife sightings
The Damaraland’s dry and rocky landscape supports many wildlife and plant life species. Wildlife is often sparse due to the harsh climate but if you know where to look, you can enjoy great sightings all to yourself in beautiful surroundings. The birdlife has lots to offer too, with many species being considered ‘near endemic’.
Where to stay in the Damaraland
Malansrus Tented Camp
Damara Mopane Lodge
Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp
Mowani Mountain Camp
Ai Aiba Rock Paintings Lodge
Otjohotozu Guest Farm
The former Damaraland has been renamed and together with the Kaokoland to the north, it forms part of what is today known as the Kunene Region. The Erongo Region lies to the south. It forms its own region but the Erongo Mountains are often explored in conjunction with the Damaraland. The Etosha National Park is located to the northeast and the entrance gates most accessible to travellers to the Etosha from the Damaraland are the western Galton Gate and the southern Anderson Gate.
Experience the Damaraland
Places Windhoek, Kalahari, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Erongo Mountains, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau
NAD 56,000 per person
Marvels of Southern Africa
Places Windhoek, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Zambezi Region, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls
NAD 82,500 per person
The Namibia Family Tour
Places Windhoek, Namib Escarpment, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Otjiwarongo Area
NAD 59,000 (adults) | 51,000 (children) per person
Places Windhoek, Kalahari, Keetmanshoop, Fish River Canyon, Luderitz, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Erongo Mountains, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau
NAD 91,000 per person
Places Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Skeleton Coast, Damaraland, Etosha National Park
NAD 27,500 per person
Namibia’s Untouched North
Places Windhoek, Grootfontein, Etosha, Epupa Falls, Sesfontein, Hoanib Valley, Damaraland, Okahandja
NAD 56,600 per person
A Namibian Journey
Places Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Skeleton Coast, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Area
NAD 40,200 per person
Places Windhoek, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe, Erongo Mountains, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau
NAD 21,500 per person
The Best of Namibia
Places Windhoek, Kalahari, Fish River Canyon, Luderitz, Tiras Mountains, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Ugab Valley, Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau
NAD 34,600 NAD per person
Highlights Windhoek to Victoria Falls
Places Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Etosha National Park, Kavango & Zambezi Region, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls
NAD 39,400 per person
Namibia Highlights in Style
Places Windhoek, Okonjima, Onguma & Ongava Reserves, Twyfelfontein, Erongo Mountains, Swakopmund, Namib Desert, NamibRand Nature Reserve
NAD 75,500 per person
The North of Namibia
Places Windhoek, Erongo Mountains, Twyfelfontein, Grootberg, Epupa Falls, Kunene River, Etosha National Park, Okonjima Nature Reserve
NAD 34,800 per person
Namibia’s Wild Side
Places Gamsberg, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Brandberg mountain, Damaraland, Palmwag, Grootberg, Etosha National Park
NAD 34,500 per person
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