Damaraland is a rocky desert wilderness punctuated by imposing granite domes, flat-topped mountains and intriguing geological features including the Petrified Forest, the volcanic Burnt Mountain and the basalt Organ Pipes. Numerous caves shelter a wealth of rock engravings and paintings dating back 10 – 20,000 years. Two of the most rewarding wildlife experiences, both in northern Damaraland, are seeking out the desert-adapted elephent and rhino tracking. Northern Damaraland, is about 90 km inland from the Skeleton Coast. Morning mists, created by the meeting of the cold Atlantic waters and the warm landmass, sustain life in the area. This is a region of unique, rather than abundant, wildlife.
In northen Damaraland we recommend you can stay at Damaraland Camp, a remote, tented eco-camp set in the 880 sq km Torra Conservancy. Activities here include nature drives and spectacular walks and revolve around the cycles of the rare desert-adapted elephant, oryx and other species that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. The clear skies draw stargazers and birders flock to spot specials like Ludwigs bustard, Carp's black tit and Monterios hornbill.
Also in northern Damaraland, the 400,000-hectare Palmwag Reserve supports a large number of giraffe, zebra, oryx and springbok; and their predators – leopard, lion, cheetah, and both brown and spotted hyenas. Palmwag Desert Lodge, at the gateway to the reserve, is one of the region’s oldest camps and offers an exciting, ‘true wilderness’, over-night camping opportunity. In the Palmwag Reserve, Save the Rhino Trust operates a study centre and a mobile camp, Desert Rhino Camp, where you can track rhino on foot and by vehicle, accompanied by conservationists and trackers.
To the south, the Twyfelfontein area is renowned for some of the best examples of Bushman paintings and rock engravings in southern Africa, as well as unusual rock formations – the famous Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes – and important palaeontological sites. You can stay here at Twyfelfontein Lodge or Dora Nawas, a new joint venture between Wilderness Safaris and the local community.
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