For travellers seeking untamed wilderness, some of Namibia’s best scenery, dramatic mountains, ancient rock art and off-the-beaten-track adventure with some thrilling wildlife sightings thrown in for good mix, Damaraland doesn’t disappoint. Located southwest of Etosha, Damaraland may not be as easily accessible as other areas in Namibia – you’ll need to have a 4x4 to explore the region’s rough roads – but it offers a wilderness experience that you don’t find in many places in Africa anymore.
As one of Namibia’s last unofficial wildlife areas, Damaraland is unfenced, so animals can move freely outside the confines of parks and reserves. Desert-adapted elephants, rhinos and lions roam these vast plains and rocky outcrops, and while tracking these animals can be tricky, getting to see them roaming free against startling desert backdrops is a far more exciting feeling than spotting game in a wildlife park.
Animals aside, Damaraland is home to Namibia’s tallest peak – Brandberg – an imposing granite mountain that glows in the setting sun (giving rise to its name “fire mountain”). It’s not just for climbers though: the ancient rock art in the mountain ravines – thousands of paintings including the famous White Lady – is among the best preserved on the continent. Known as the “Matterhorn of Africa”, the granite peaks of Spitzkoppe loom above the sandy plains of Damaraland. Climbing to the top is a challenge even for experienced mountaineers, but there’s plenty of strikingly unusual rocky landscapes here for non-climbers to explore.
Meanwhile, Damaraland’s major attraction is Twyfelfontein, where more than 2000 engravings – some thought to be over six millennia old – are etched into rock faces across the valley. Preserving Africa’s greatest concentration of rock art, Twyfelfontein gives you the chance to get a glimpse into the world of Stone Age hunter-gatherers.