The Best Things to See and Do in Damaraland
A Guided Damaraland Tour

It is a stunning mountainous landscape, home to geological wonders, including Namibia’s highest mountain, incredible sunsets, desert wildlife, and haunting petrified forests.

Over the years, Damaraland tours have become exceptionally popular as the area is frequently featured as one of the top destinations to visit for any traveller hoping to have a truly exhilarating experience, one that will allow them to explore a place that is unshaped by human hands, but touched by the passing winds of time.

As one of those destinations that travellers want to see, Damaraland is often included in Namibia tours, while it is also highly recommended for those who intend to plan their own solo trip.

To ensure that you see, and experience, the very best of what Damaraland has to offer, we are going to list all the things you simply have to see and do while you are visiting this ancient and fascinating place.  


Geological Wonders on a Damaraland Tour


Natural Attractions and Activities 

Damarland is a place that is all about the scenery and the landscape.

A lot of the activities here will require you to be outside, in the sun and enjoying the fresh air, so we encourage you to pack a small backpack with water and some snacks, and a pair of worn-in, comfortable hiking boots. Damaraland has a couple of natural must-see attractions, such as:

Damaraland Conservancy 

The dramatic scenery of the Damaraland Conservancy should be high on your list of destinations to explore first. This area is known for its striking beauty.

It is dominated by towering dolerite intrusions, which are volcanic rock formations that have pushed up through the Earth’s crust over millions of years. These ancient giants stand as silent guards of Damaraland and are sure to inspire awe as they have become a symbol of the powerful forces that have shaped this land.

Tsisab Ravine 

You will need your hiking boots for this one, as an adventure through the Tsisab Ravine is one that will test your feet.

This awe-inspiring canyon has been carved by the Tsisab River, and it offers a chance to see the intricate details of fascinating ancient rock formations up close. As you make your way through the ravine, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the incredible geological features and the unique plant and animal life that thrive in this rough and rugged environment.

Petrified Forest 

If you only have time to see one thing in Damaraland, make it the petrified forest. Entering this strange place is like stepping into another world, one that is ancient and rather spooky, especially when it starts getting dark.

Here, time has transformed ancient trees into natural sculptures. These fossilised plants, some estimated to be over 260 million years old, stand out dramatically against the land around them. The unique beauty of the petrified trees, contrasted against the vast desert plains, creates an otherworldly landscape that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

And to remember it, be sure to pack your camera!

On a side note, if you are staying out in the open somewhere, at a desert lodge or if you are camping, you should spend some time stargazing,

While Namibia is generally famed for its clear night skies, the remoteness of Damarland makes it the perfect place to see the night sky as it would have been hundreds of years ago, as light pollution doesn’t reach here.  


Wildlife in Damaraland


Wildlife Attractions and Activities 

Damaraland’s beauty is not just about the landscape, it is also home to interesting wildlife.

Even in the harshest of desert environments, the animals here have evolved incredible adaptations to survive the scorching sun and scarce water.

When you are out there on your safari, whether it is self-guided or part of a tour, these are some of the resilient animals you should keep a look out for:

Desert Elephant 

If you have done any reading about Namibia and its wildlife, you have probably read something about the country’s unique elephants, which are a part of Namibia’s Big 5. When travelling in Damaraland, you might be lucky enough to spot a few of these magnificent giants, which have adapted to thrive in the arid environment. Unlike their savannah counterparts, desert elephants have smaller bodies and larger feet, allowing them to travel long distances in search of water.

Black Rhino 

Along with the elephants, Damaraland is also home to the world’s largest free-ranging population of desert-adapted black rhinos. Spotting these endangered creatures is an especially rare privilege, and their presence highlights the ongoing conservation efforts to protect this magnificent species as at one stage these animals were highly endangered and still live under constant threat of poaching.

Springboks and Oryx

Damaraland is the ideal habitat for all sorts of antelope and when out on the road you should keep a lookout for Springboks (South Africa’s national animal), known for their incredible jumping abilities, and Oryx, with their long, straight horns. Both are perfectly adapted to surviving and thriving on the sparse desert vegetation.

Desert Lions

For the truly adventurous soul, some Namibia tours offer the opportunity to track a pride of desert lions. These apex predators have adapted their hunting strategies and social behaviours to survive the harsh desert environment, and when on a walking tour, seeing their resilience and grace firsthand is a real privilege that will stay with you for years to come.

The wildlife of Damarlanad are not just found walking all over the landscape, instead, there are specific places where you will have a much better opportunity to see these animals:

  • Damaraland Conservancy: This wild and open place offers prime opportunities to spot a variety of desert-adapted wildlife.
  • Etosha National Park: While not technically in Damaraland, Etosha National Park does sit on the border and it is known for its exceptional wildlife viewing experiences.

  Landscape from a Damaraland Tour


Historical and Cultural Attractions and Activities 

Damaraland is a “being” of sorts, with the stories of its ancient inhabitants, as well as their descendants, many of whom still live here, giving the land a certain almost human character that can be best seen in the culture and art of the area. While visiting, you can learn more about the area’s history by looking at its rock art and visiting its iconic landmarks.

Bushmen Rock Art

If it is Bushman Rock you hope to see, then Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is where you need to go. These remarkable and truly ancient works of art were etched onto Damarland’s soft sandstone cliffs thousands of years ago, and offer a glimpse into the lives, beliefs, and hunting practices of the San people, the original inhabitants of the region. The detailed depictions of animals, hunting scenes, and spiritual symbols give visitors a look into the San people’s deep connection to the natural world.

Brandberg Mountain

Towering over the Damaraland landscape, the majestic Brandberg Mountain is an epic destination for those who are up for a challenge. For the full experience, you can hike or drive to its base and enjoy the most magnificent views. Brandberg is also home to the famous White Lady rock painting, an artwork shrouded in mystery. The painting, estimated to be over 2,000 years old, depicts a human figure with white features, sparking various interpretations and adding to the intrigue of this ancient site.

Damara Communities

For an even deeper understanding of Damaraland, you can visit a Damara community. The Damara people, with their rich cultural heritage and resilient spirit, have thrived in this unforgiving environment for centuries and when you visit them, you get to learn about their traditional way of life, from their intricate beadwork and storytelling traditions to their deep connection to the land.

This experience offers a chance to connect with the present-day inhabitants of Damaraland and gain a holistic appreciation for this remarkable region, but you must get permission before you make your way to a village, as these people are not a tourist attraction.  

Packing for Ecotours in Namibia


Planning Your Damaraland Tour

Now that you are more than likely humming with excitement after reading all about what you can see, do and experience during a single trip to Damaraland, we need to get some of the planning basics out of the way. These are the basics of what you need to know when planning your Damaraland tour.

Getting There and Getting Around

  • Flights – International flights generally arrive at Namibia’s main airport, Hosea Kutako International, in Windhoek. From there, you can connect with regional flights (which are limited) or arrange transportation to Damaraland by road, which is the preferred way to travel as you will get to see so much more along the way.
  • Getting Around – Damaraland’s rugged terrain is best explored with a reliable 4×4 vehicle. You can either rent one upon arrival or join a guided Namibia tour that provides transportation. Again, guided Damaraland tours are preferred by many guests, especially those who don’t want to drive themselves around.

When to Visit

The best time to visit Damaraland depends on your holiday preferences:

  • For Wildlife Viewing – May to September is Namibia’s dry season and the lack of rain along with the cooler temperatures, forces wildlife to concentrate around waterholes, making for excellent game viewing. However, you should keep in mind that this is also peak tourist season.
  • If you want Fewer Crowds and Greener Landscapes – Consider travelling between November and April, during the wet season, for a chance to experience a greener Damaraland with fewer crowds. However, keep in mind that wildlife viewing can be less than optimal due to dispersed animals and there could be road closures due to rain.

Where to Stay

Damaraland offers a wonderful variety of accommodation options to suit your budget and preferences:

  • Lodges – Choose from luxurious lodges offering exceptional service and amenities, perfect for those seeking a pampered experience.
  • Campsites – You can really get into the wild spirit of Damaraland by camping under the Namibian sky. Public campsites and private campsites within concessions are available.

If you are booking a Damarland tour, your accommodation will generally be included in your tour, along with transfers.

Fossil forests, ancient art, and desert-adapted wildlife.

Damaraland is the dreamy Namibian destination that has it all. Start planning your Damaraland tour today!