Namibia Travel Destination: Damaraland
Few places on this earth can deliver a sunset like Damaraland. The Brown, rocky hills, plateaus above plains and scattered green vegetation it is home to the Damara people of Namibia. It is an enchanting old world with endless history and an array of unique fascinations to visit.
Granitic rock rising from the desert plains forms the dome-shaped massif of the majestic Brandberg Mountain located in Damarland. The Königstein (King’s stone), the highest mountain point in Namibia, rises to 2573 meters above sea level and there are many routes in which you can reach its summit. The sun’s rays immerse the mountain in colours of red, gold and amber and this earns it its name meaning ‘fire mountain’.
The Herero people also gave it the name Omukuruvaru meaning ‘mountain of the Gods’ and the Brandberg forms a perfect circle when viewed from space. The San people made more than fifty thousand rock paintings and engravings in this area and in the Tsisab Ravine you will encounter the famous painting of the White Lady of the Brandberg. Thought to be about sixteen thousand years old, the painting was assumed to be a European lady but has more recently been interpreted as a warrior or shaman of the San people. Brandberg amethyst is a very unique quartz crystal found only in this part of Namibia known to have very versatile healing qualities.
Other fascinating rock engravings and national monuments to visit in Damaraland include the engravings at Farm Otjitoroa-West and Farm Kamanjab. Farm Kamanjab has the biggest rock engraving in Namibia of a giraffe measuring 330cm.
Nearby to the town of Khorixas, you can make your way to the Petrified Forest. What looks like an assortment of huge tree trunks lying on the ground is actually no longer wood but fossilized tree trunks made of quartz. They used to be trees from the family of the Cordaites Tree that grew elsewhere and were washed down a river. They never decayed and over a period of 280 million years the wood dissolved and was replaced by quartz forming perfectly shaped petrified tree trunks. This phenomena is a wonder to see and gives testament to the age of Damaraland.
Halfway between Khorixas and Outjo you will find the remarkable rock formation called the Vingerklip or Rock Finger protruding out of the stunning Ugab Valley. Situated in what many years ago used to be the Ugab River and surrounded by beautiful plateau Ugab Terraces the Vingerklip is what is left of what once too was an Ugab Terrace. It is a monument of nature, perceived as a massive finger balancing on a hill and provides a breath-taking view from the Vingerklip lodge.
Although an arid desert environment, Damaraland has fascinating wildlife that has adapted to surviving on only a little water. A desert jewel in Damaraland is a nature reserve by the name of Palmwag, an oasis surrounded by palm trees. This reserve is home to many predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena as well as giraffe, zebras, elephants and different type of buck. Perhaps the most intriguing about Palmwag is that it is has the largest population of desert-adapted south-western black rhinos in Africa and is protected by the Save the Rhino Trust.
Damaraland is also home to two other geological fascinations – the Messum and Doros Crater. The Messum Crater, once an ancient volcano forms the shape of an amphitheater south-west of Brandberg. The Doros Crater just south of Twyfelfontein requires a four-wheel-drive and shows evidence of early human habitation.
Damaraland is unlike any other place on earth. Unique and remote, it is an ancient land with many attractions and a must-see on any Namibian excursion.