Desert Wildlife of Namibia: Doro Nawas and Damarland Camps

Jono and I recently visited Namibia ahead of our  Desert Wildlife of Namibia Safari. Having first hand experience at the camps and regions we visit in all of our itineraries is something we strive for as much as possible and, in this instance, it proved to be imperative.

Our experience on this reccie trip led us to change the original itinerary slightly given the extent to which the arid regions of the Palmwag and Damaraland concessions captured our hearts. Changes come in the form of replacing four nights originally intended to be spent up north at Etosha with 4 nights split across two different camps in the Damaraland region. Jono and I felt that both the experiences and photographic opportunities on offer in the more remote wilderness regions and private concessions of the arid west far outweighed those on offer in Etosha National Park.

I'll be breaking up the 11 night itinerary into 3 posts featuring each of the distinctly different and unique regions with this first post looking at the new additions to the itinerary, Doro Nawas and Damaraland Camps.

The start of the journey sees guests embarking on a scenic flight North from Windhoek to the Doro Nawas airstrip in the middle of the Damaraland. The excitement levels as one flies north increase proportionally along with the beauty and aridity of the landscape below.

After an hour and hour and 20 minutes you touch down at Doro Nawas Airstrip, surrounded by an almost martian landscape.

Doro Nawas Camp | Damaraland | 2 Nights

Doro Nawas Camp is located in the dry Aba-Huab River Valley, within the Doro !Nawas Conservancy in central Damaraland, and commands spectacular views of the Etendeka Mountains to the north and the red sandstone cliffs of Twyfelfontein in the south.This is a wonderful area for enjoying the dramatic Damaraland landscape. There are no large concentrations of wildlife; however this seemingly stark environment is amazingly home to a range of wildlife including desert-adapted elephant, gemsbok, springbok and variety of other species such as bat-eared fox and the occasional glimpse of black rhino and cheetah. Birdlife is excellent with several Namibian endemics, such as Damara hornbill, Carp's tit and Rüpell's korhaan.

The proximity of the camp to an incredible range of geological phenoma is just too much to pass up and after a first afternoon game drive spent searching for desert adapted Elephant, we will take a full day trip out to visit the ancient San rock art at Twylfelfontein, the Petrified Forest, Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes of the region.

One of the great features of this camp is the ability to wheel your bed out onto the deck and spend the night beneath a blanket of stars whilst still having the convenience of all your standard room facilities.

Our final morning at Doro Nawas will be spent driving through the Aba-Haub River Valley in search of desert adapted wildlife which call this arid landscape home.

After breakfast, a short flight to the west sees us touching down at Damaraland camp.

Damaraland Camp | Damaraland | 2 Nights

Damaraland Camp is situated in the Huab River Valley in one of the best wilderness areas in Namibia,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. The region provides endless vistas across stark plains, ancient valleys and a stunning ochre-purple mountain backdrop, the ideal backdrop against which we will photograph the desert adapted wildlife of the region.

This scrub landscape cannot support vast, concentrated herds of wildlife, but it nevertheless boasts a varied and breathtaking assortment of desert-adapted species. The Torra Conservancy supports healthy populations of rare desert-adapted elephant and some black rhino. Gemsbok (oryx), kudu, springbok, Hartman's mountain zebra, southern giraffe, gemsbok, lion, cheetah, and spotted and brown hyaena also live in the area. Birding is excellent, with over 240 species recorded.

Our focus in all of the destinations we will be visiting on this itinerary will be to capture the desert adapted wildlife that call these arid regions home. The landscape in each region is mind blowingly beautiful on its own but, add wildlife into the mix and you'll be taking home incredibly unique and interesting images.

So, this covers the first 4 nights of an 11 Night safari.

The next two destinations start to see us up the ante on both the action and photographic opportunities as we visit Desert Rhino Camp (3 Nights) and Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (4 Nights).

Andrew Beck

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