Wednesday newsletters at all times function a lodge or flight evaluation.
Final November, I loved a superb vacation in Namibia. You’ll be able to learn my journey stories right here:
At this time: Evaluation of Damaraland Camp by Wilderness Safaris (Namibia)
Damaraland Camp is located within the Huab River Valley, one in every of Namibia’s most dramatic wilderness areas. Merely stunning, relaxed, and open to the desert, the camp has been a mannequin for community-based conservation initiatives since 1996 – an award-winning partnership between Wilderness Safaris and the Torra Conservancy. Displaced within the early twentieth century from the native space, and relocated again to their homeland from South Africa in 1973, as we speak the Torra group farmers thrive, largely via the partnership. The camp is comprised of ten elevated adobe-style thatched rooms, every with a big deck the place you may ponder the desert. Off the primary space are a pool, open campfire, and out of doors boma – canopied with numerous stars in crystal-clear evening skies. A spotlight on the lodge are sport drives looking for fascinating desert-adapted wildlife (e.g. elephants and black rhinos).
Damaraland Camp options in my prime 10 record of the very best accommodations in Namibia.
Have you ever ever stayed at Damaraland Camp? In that case, what was your expertise? Depart a remark.
On this evaluation (extra information and pictures beneath my Youtube clip & slideshow):
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Damaraland Camp is essentially the most luxurious lodge in Damaraland, one in every of Namibia’s most dramatic wilderness areas. Damaraland incorporates a spectacular desert panorama, starting from the wonderful rock formations of Spitzkoppe, Erongo and the Brandberg within the south to rugged mountains round Palmwag within the north. Within the coronary heart of Damaraland lies Twyfelfontein, which harbors a few of Southern Africa’s best and most well-known prehistoric rock artwork (largely depicting animals). Damaraland can be one in every of Africa’s most underrated wildlife-watching areas, residence to critically endangered black rhinos, desert-adapted lions and elephants in addition to to thriving populations of untamed sport together with gemsbok, kudu, springbok, Hartmann’s zebra, giraffe and noticed hyena.
- Damaraland Camp enjoys a spectacular location within the Huab River Valley, an exceptional Mars-like panorama filled with geological wonders and interesting desert-adapted wildlife. Rating among the many most stunning in your entire Damaraland space, the surroundings across the lodge is on the identical time harsh and so stunning, it’d transfer you to tears. Constructed on purple earth and surrounded by ash bushes, euphorbia and the occasional shepherd’s tree, the lodge overlooks stark plains and historic mountains, which flip from rust to purple because the solar units. Attending to this unbelievable off-the-beaten-path place does require some efforts although: company will both must fly into a close-by airstrip or go away their automobiles within the close by hamlet Fonteine Pos (the final 13 km or 8 mi mi to the lodge can solely be pushed by a 4×4 automotive).
- Damaraland Camp has been a mannequin for community-based conservation since 1996 – an award-winning partnership between Wilderness Safaris and the native Torra Conservancy. Displaced within the early twentieth century from the native space, and relocated again to their homeland from South Africa in 1973, as we speak the Torra group farmers thrive, largely via this partnership. For instance, previous to the pandemic, the enterprise generated greater than N$2 million each year for the Torra Conservancy. The earnings allows the group to help its folks via numerous initiatives, corresponding to aiding learners to additional their research and helping native households in emergencies. It additionally funded the constructing of water wells, which strategically gives contemporary water to elephants, stopping them from raiding the village seeking water.
- Damaraland Camp was the primary Wilderness Safaris camp in Namibia, however the lodge has been rebuilt and refurbished a number of instances since its opening in 1996, sustaining its timeless, elegant design with a basic African safari really feel. The camp is comprised of ten tented rooms (extra on that beneath) with a stone-built and semi-open air pavilion at its middle. The latter options an open-plan design and homes a eating space with a big hearth, a dwelling space with snug sofas, a small bar, a tea & espresso station (the place desserts and sweets are on show at tea time), and a small boutique that additionally doubles as a library. Adjoining is a pretty oval-shaped swimming pool, surrounded by a shaded sala with sunbeds and fronted by a low deck the place enormous cushions and pillows beckon to admire the unbelievable views.
- Lodging at Damaraland Camp consists of ten spacious, adobe-style thatched rooms, every raised on particular person picket decking – a part of which extends out to type a big viewing deck with magnificent vistas. Just lately refurbished, every tent options twin beds, a spacious dressing space behind the beds (with a baggage rack and a curtained wardrobe), a big writing desk and a snug chair. The ensuite loos are outfitted together with his and hers wash basins (with toiletries) and an enormous bathe (with a roll-down flap). Every unit has light-wood floorboards, a ceiling fan above the mattress, a tea/espresso station, a fog horn (to be used in an emergency), insect repellent and a secure. One unit is situated farther from the others, so has extra privateness, and one other unit (subsequent to the primary pavilion) has two bedrooms, so is extra appropriate for households.
- One in all Damaraland Camp’s highlights is its scrumptious meals (among the greatest meals I loved throughout my travels in Namibia), with all meals being included within the room fee. For breakfast, a small continental buffet is obtainable along with a scorching meal of your alternative. Lunch is served within the shaded eating room and features a soup, most important course and desert (packed lunches are ready for excursions). Dinners are an actual deal with, with set menus providing a alternative of two starters and two dishes (together with vegetarian choices). Most evenings, dinners are served on the terrace subsequent to the open campfire, with excellent stargazing within the crystal-clear evening skies. A few instances per week, a barbecue is obtainable on the camp’s boma – an idyllic space close to to the camp, surrounded by rock formations and lit by an assortment of small lanterns
- Actions at Damaraland Camp revolve round exploring the Huab River system, that includes guided nature drives and walks:
- The rationale most individuals come right here is for the sport drives, which give attention to discovering desert-adapted elephants within the dry river mattress. Gemsbok, larger kudu, springbok, and infrequently lion, cheetah, and black rhino will be noticed.
- Damaraland is thought for its historic rock artwork. Company on stays of three nights or extra can take a day drive to view the rock artwork at Twyfelfontein World Heritage Web site and marvel on the artwork of ages previous (at an additional value).
- For a restricted time, rhino monitoring excursions are provided. Company set out within the morning by automobile to observe the ‘Save the Rhino’ screens as they monitor one in every of their costs – the desert-adapted black rhino.
- Damaraland Camp is managed by Wilderness Safaris, my favourite safari firm in Africa. Wilderness Safaris was based in 1983 in Botswana by two younger guides, who needed to make sure each conservation of wildlife areas and that the monetary advantages of their safaris circulate to Botswana and its folks. At this time, Wilderness Safaris is extensively acclaimed because the continent’s foremost ecotourism operator, devoted to conserving and restoring Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. They do that by creating life-changing journeys for company in among the most distant and pristine areas in Africa, hereby serving to to preserve Africa’s spectacular biodiversity and share ecotourism’s advantages with the communities that stay alongside these areas. Wilderness Safaris operates greater than 40 camps in seven nations, together with a number of iconic and ultraluxe properties corresponding to Mombo & Little Mombo in Botswana and Bisate Lodge in Rwanda.
- Like all Wilderness Safaris camps, Damaraland Camp has constructed its ecotourism success on the Wilderness Safaris ethos of the 4Cs – Commerce, Neighborhood, Tradition and Conservation, guaranteeing conservation initiatives are on the forefront of its actions. The camp has been constructed with as mild an eco-footprint as doable, utilizing biodegradable supplies corresponding to canvas cloth, reeds, gum poles and grass thatch. It’s powered by a hybrid system mixed with a diesel powered generator, which costs a financial institution of batteries to produce a part of the camp with electrical energy via an inverter. Due to this, the generator solely must function for eight hours a day. Every visitor unit has its personal small photo voltaic panel and inverter to energy LED lights and a solar-powered geyser. Additionally, 80% of the camp’s employees is employed from the local people, whereas the remainder of the 20% is sourced from Namibia.
- Though Damaraland Camp is a superb, must-visit vacation spot in itself, there’s additionally one more reason to journey to the lodge because it affords easy accessibility to its sister lodge, Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (essentially the most spectacularly situated wilderness lodge I’ve ever stayed at). Damaraland Camp is only a 30 min drive from the Doro Nawas airstrip, from the place the bush planes to and from Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp depart and arrive (the flight from Doro Nawas to Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp takes about 40 minutes). Due to their proximity, each Damaraland Camp and Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp will be simply mixed in a single and the identical itinerary, and I counsel to remain 2 nights at Damarland Camp earlier than continuing to Hoanib Skeleton Coast for an additional 3 nights (a keep at each lodges can be mixed with a keep at their sister property Little Kulala close to Sossuvlei, which I reviewed right here).
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- Giant sport just isn’t concentrated year-round at Damaraland Camp, with the pure cycle of rainfall dictating the seasonal motion of wildlife. As well as, as a result of huge terrain, lengthy distances on bumpy roads will be lined throughout sport drives in seek for desert-adapted wildlife. For instance, a safari drive alongside the dry river mattress of the Huab River will take a lot of the morning whereas black rhino monitoring excursions can take a full day. That stated, getting shut up views of desert tailored elephants and black rhinos is so distinctive and thrilling that you just’ll simply overlook the efforts it’d take to find them.
- Damaraland Camp just isn’t as lavishly luxurious as among the different lodges in Africa. For instance, there are no wellness and well being amenities on web site (no spa and no fitness center) and the swimming pool on the primary lodge’s out of doors deck is fairly small (however nice nonetheless). There is no such thing as a in-room air-conditioning (a high-powered ceiling fan gives respectable cooling although in the course of the day) and no in-room mini-bar (however the employees will arrange your favourite drinks within the room if you’d like them). However what the lodge could lack in luxurious particulars is greater than made up by the attractive but easy design, the wonderful meals, the unbelievable employees, and the encircling Mars-like panorama.
- Much like most different remotely situated lodges in Namibia, the web is fairly gradual. Damaraland Camp is, proudly, an “off the grid” camp which encourage company to benefit from the welcome launch of reconnecting with nature and their environment fairly than being preoccupied by (quite a few) cell gadgets.
- It’s fairly a trek to get to Damaraland Camp however it’s really nicely value it. The drive from Swakopmund to Damaraland Camp will take round 5 hours on gravel roads whereas vacationers coming from Windhoek face a 6 hour journey (with about 4 hours on respectable tarred roads). Additionally, the final 13 km or 8 mi mi to the lodge is on a really unhealthy street which might solely be pushed by a 4WD automotive (vacationers with a 2WD automotive might want to go away their automobiles within the close by hamlet Fonteine Pos and might be picked up by the camp employees). If you wish to keep away from an extended drive, you can even fly in to a close-by airstrips (flight bookings are taken care of by Wilderness Safaris).
- Location: 10/10
- Design: 9/10
- Pool: 8/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Meals: 9/10
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Spa: n/a
- Service: 10/10
- Worth for cash: 9/10
- Total expertise: excellent 8,8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Lower your expenses: learn right here my ideas for getting the very best deal at a luxurious lodge like Damaraland Camp (and/or obtain many free perks).
- Learn my ideas for making ready your journey in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The very best time to go to Namibia is from July to October, when the temperatures are comfortably heat in the course of the day and the prospect of rain is low. That is additionally the very best time for out of doors actions and wildlife viewing, making it peak journey season. Between December and March, some days might be humid and rain could observe, typically in localized, afternoon thunderstorms.
HOW TO GET THERE
Company flying into Damaraland Camp might be met on the airstrip, a brief drive from the camp. Company on a self-drive journey can both go away their automobile at a farmstead by the C39 and be transferred to camp (beneficial for 2WD automobiles) or drive themself to the camp (4WD solely).
Beneath is a choice of my pictures of Damaraland Camp. To view extra lodge pictures (together with meals), click on right here.
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