Damaraland was a tribal homeland for the Damara people under the order of the apartheid ruling. The homelands of Namibia, like South Africa, were created to keep the ethnic tribes separate. In 1989 it became a true part of Namibia, when Namibia began its process for independence. (Officially gained independence in February 1990) This region is tucked between the Skeleton Coast which hugs the coast on the west, Etosha to the East and Namib Desert to the south. The name Damaraland is still commonly used, although the entire region has now been renamed; the southern section now lies in the Erongo region while the north forms part of the Kunene region. Damaraland has ancient water courses with open plains and grassland, massive granite koppies and deep gorges making for dramatic and spectacular scenery.
The animals, big and small, of this very arid, mountainous region have adapted to the environmental conditions. In some cases little water is found and animals tend to have to traverse great distances to find what water is available. Elephant move through euphorbia bush country, and can travel up to 70km in a day in search of food and water.
It is rather unique in that this area is home to both wildlife and the local Damara herders and their livestock. The government works closely in hand with both the locals and conservationists to try and ensure this synergy works successfully for the benefit of this project.
There is plenty to see in Damaraland
- Twyfelfontein, Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site is a massive open air art gallery. The 2000 plus rock art engravings is believed to be over 6000 years old and comes with a lot of interesting myths and theories. Most popular rock painting in the area is “the White Lady” which was discovered in around 100 years ago.
- The Brandberg - Namibia's highest mountain range covers an area of 23 by 30 km and standing at 1,980 metres above the surrounding plains. The Brandberg Mountains summit is referred to as Konigstein and reaches 2,573 metres above sea level. The Brandberg Mountain, meaning “Fire Mountain” in Afrikaans and “Burning Mountain” in the local Damara language, is due to the morning sunrise that reflects on the western slopes.
- The Brandberg (and the Spitzkoppe) is a popular attraction for climbers in Namibia. Over and above the adventure of hiking, both mountains contain a high density of San (Bushman) art.
- The Organ Pipes are a distinctive series of dolerite pillars in a ravine gouged out by a river on the left hand side of the road leading to the Burnt Mountain. It is another geological mystery
- Petrified Forest - found near the town of Khorixas, this heritage site offers visitors a chance to get close to large tree trunks that have ‘turned to stone over time’. The trees of the Petrified Forest were uprooted some 200 million years ago and were swept along by rivers in flood, covered by sediments and then subsequently uncovered by erosion.
- Spitzkoppe - a typical pointed inselberg, and a place of great mystery to the ancient San people. The Spitzkoppe (sharp head) is one of Namibia's most familiar landmarks. It was first climbed in 1946 and is now a popular climbing destination with local and foreign mountaineers alike.
- The Vingerklip (finger rock) - a towering finger of limestone that rises 35m above its base. It is an erosional remnant of a limestone plateau and was formed over 15 million years ago.
- Tracking wild rhino in the region.