Damaraland was voted in the top three of all eco-tourist projects around the world by the British Travel Writers guild. It is situated in the mountainous region in northwest Namibia inhabited by the Damaras and named after them. Originally, it was an area occupied primarily by the Damara people, but it soon became the home of other tribes such as the Hereros and the displaced Riemvasmakers of South Africa.
Today, many residents of Damaraland are thus of mixed heritage, but most consider themselves Damara. The Damara name is derived from the Nama word “Dama”, meaning “who walked here”. This is because the Damara were known to the Nama people by the footprints they left around waterholes. From their vantage point in the mountains, the Damara were quick to spot resources such as water or animals, on the plains below, and they were therefore able to be the first groups to reach these essential resources.
The Damaraland community comprises a unique group of people who have recognised the value of the wildlife on their land and formed a Community Wildlife Conservancy to protect it. Until 1981, Damaraland was unprotected and open to poachers, mostly from outside the area. Eventually, Namibian NGO’s formed a game guard system with people from the community, and interest in the welfare of the wildlife increased. After halting the poaching activities, there were many ideas on how to conserve the area and its resources sustainably. In 1996, Wilderness Safaris joined the community’s conservation efforts and co-established what is now the most successful community based tourism venture in Namibia.
In 1998, the success of Damaraland Camp helped the community to have their land proclaimed as the Torra Conservancy. It is now the leader of four Community Wildlife Conservancies in the country. Today, the Torra Conservancy is one of the most successful in all of Africa. It meets all its management costs and makes a profit which is then re-invested into community projects for their benefit. It is the first community conservancy which is able to sustain itself without donor funding.
Please use the list below to view information about the destinations we travel to and our recommended lodges and camps. For further details or booking enquiries please contact us.