Damaraland Camp is situated in the Huab River Valley, arguably the most pristine wilderness area in Namibia, 90km from Torra Bay in the Torra Conservancy. It is lauded as one of the country's best camps, with sensational views of the surrounding desert plains, ancient valleys and soaring peaks of the Brandberg Mountains.
Winner of the 2005 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Conservation Award, the eco-friendly construction of Damaraland Camp has merged new technology with ancient methodology in an incredibly inventive manner. Another unique feature of this sustainable ecotourism venture is that it is owned and largely run by the local community - who have injected their own distinctive optimism and cheerful nature into the Damaraland Camp experience. This unusual flavour comes from the mixed heritage of the local peoples, which include Nama-Damara, Herero, Owambo, and the displaced Riemvasmakers of South Africa.
Activities at Damaraland Camp revolve around exploring the Haub River system, featuring guided nature drives, walks and mountain biking. Morning and afternoon drives in search for desert-adapted elephant are a great favourite. Gemsbok, greater kudu, springbok, and occasionally lion, cheetah, elephants and black rhino can be spotted. Interesting flora such as euphorbias and shepherd's trees can be viewed on the way to some of Africa's best known rock engravings, including the famous Twyfelfontein etchings.
Accommodation at Damaraland Camp consists of 10 adobe-styled, thatched units each raised on individual wooden decking - part of which extends out to form a large viewing deck with magnificent vistas. Recently refurbished, each tent has en-suite facilities (shower only), a walk-in dressing area and built-in fan. Mosquito repellent is also provided.The spacious, thatched living area features a restaurant and bar, complete with fireplace. Evening meals at Damaraland Camp are often prepared over an open fire and served out in the open in an area near to the camp lit by an assortment of small lanterns. The swimming pool is conveniently sited next to the bar. An open campfire and outdoor 'boma' can be enjoyed during calm evenings, with superb stargazing in the crystal-clear night skies.
Situated a short distance inland from the stark Skeleton Coast and just north of the true Namib Desert, Damaraland Camp in the Torra Conservancy exists within one of the driest, most desolate regions in all of Africa. In this arid environment the ceaseless processes of life revolve around harnessing the near non-existent water in the most economical way possible. Desert adaptation is the miracle of the surprisingly rich diversity of fauna and flora surviving here.
The principal source of water in the Torra Conservancy comes from the famous Namibian early morning mists - generated by the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean colliding with the hot desert air of the Skeleton Coast. This daily cycle of airborne moisture rolls inland along the various depressions and canyons formed by ancient rivers. As the dew settles it is eagerly harvested by plants, animals and insects before the burning Namibian sun climbs into the sky.
Damaraland Camp is located on the north face of the Haub River Valley around 90km from Torra Bay. The river flows only once or twice during the short rainy season, seldom breaking through the dunes to the ocean, but is nevertheless a vital secondary cycle of water in the region.
Obviously this scrub landscape cannot support vast, concentrated herds of wildlife, but it nevertheless boasts a varied and breathtaking assortment of desert adapted species around Damaraland Camp. The Torra Conservancy supports healthy populations of rare desert elephants and black rhino. Oryx, kudu, springbok, Hartman's mountain zebra, southern giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, lion, cheetah, spotted and brown hyaena are also on offer.
Birding is excellent at Damaraland Camp, with over 240 species in the Torra Conservancy. Raptors include the Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture and Pale Chanting Goshawk. The endemic Benguela Long-billed Lark is common on the rocky slopes here - its plaintive whistling call an evocative sound. Common camp visitors include the Pale-winged Starling, Mountain Wheatear, Rüppell's Korhaan and Cape Bunting. Guests can expect to startle a Namaqua Sandgrouse between the tents. Along the dry Huab River with its large camel thorn trees, Common Scimitarbill, Acacia Pied Barbet and perhaps a roosting Spotted Eagle-Owl can be found. Ephemeral pools in the Huab sometimes harbour Black Crake, South African Shelduck, Hamerkop and Three-banded Plover.
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