Overview – Damaraland

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

This huge wilderness is one of Africa’s last remaining unofficial wildlife areas. The area is sparsely populated and animals still roam around freely. The main attraction is the stunning desert environment. Wildlife is sparse and desert elephants and black rhinos are what most people come to see. The region also harbors several important rock art sites.

Best Time to Go May to September (Animals are easier to see)
High Season July to November (Some places can get quite busy)

Pros & Cons

  • Great wilderness experience
  • Stunning desert scenery
  • A chance to see rare desert elephants and black rhinos
  • A lot of accommodation options catering to different budgets
  • Low densities and variety of wildlife
  • Very remote destination
  • Very hot climate

Damaraland Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Most wildlife sightings occur in northern Damaraland. This is one of the only places in Africa to see desert elephant. Black rhino also fare well in a desert environment and the Save the Rhino Trust has set up a program to track these elusive creatures. Other animals that can be encountered are giraffe, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, gemsbok, greater kudu, eland and springbok. The big cats are present but seldom seen.

Scenery

Damaraland has some of the most spectacular desert landscapes in Africa. Wild desert mountains rise up from the Skeleton coast. Deep ravines, cliffs and outcrops create a perfect environment for well-preserved ancient rock-art. The Spitzkoppe, the remnant of an ancient volcano, is one of Namibia's most recognizable landmarks and is a popular climbing destination.

Weather & Climate

Damaraland’s climate can vary from very hot temperatures in summer (November to April) to sub-zero nighttime temperatures in winter (May to October). This is mainly due to significant changes in altitude across the region, the mercury falling as you clamber up the coastal mountains. Generally, winter is very dry, while summer is subject to only occasional rainfall.

Best Time to Visit

The scarcity of water during Damaraland’s Dry season (May to October) means that animals vie for any remaining sources. Wildlife-watching excursions to local waterholes are most rewarding around this time. If you’re more into landscapes, you might appreciate the verdant environment and clear skies that are hallmarks of the Wet season (November to April).

Want to Visit Damaraland?

Damaraland Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
On the rocks
4/5

On a map, the region known as ‘Damaraland’ encompasses a vast chunk of northwestern Namibia. In tourist terms, however, it is generally held to be the area south of Kaokoland and north of the Namib-Naukluft. Here, the semi-desert...

Latest User Review
5/5

First time in our lives we met and spoke with authentic local tribes (herero people, damara people and the himba). We had an opportunity to buy something very african from them, some items made with their own hands and by doing so support...