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Namibia Travel Guide

  • Photo: EcoPrint / Shutterstock

Damaraland

Stretching 600 km (370 miles) from just south of Etosha to Usakos in the south and 200 km (125 miles) from east to west, this stark, mountainous area is inland from Skeleton Coast National Park.

You can drive into Damaraland from the park via the Springbokwater Gate or drive from Swakopmund to Uis, where you can visit the Daureb Craft Centre and watch the craftspeople

at work, or make it part of your customized safari. A good base for touring southern Damaraland is the little town of Khorixas. From here you can visit the Organ Pipes, hundreds of angular rock formations, or watch the rising or setting sun bathe the slopes of Burnt Mountain in fiery splendor. You'll find yourself surrounded by a dramatic landscape of steep valleys; rugged cliffs of red, gray, black, and brown; and towering mountains, including Spitzkoppe (Namibia's Matterhorn, which towers nearly 610 meters [2,000 feet] above the plains), where Damara guides will show you the Golden Snake and the Bridge—an interesting rock formation—and the San paintings at Bushman's Paradise. There are more spectacular rock paintings at Brandberg Mountain, especially the famous White Lady of Brandberg at Tsisab Gorge, whose depiction and origin have teased the minds of scholars for decades. (Is she of Mediterranean origin? Is "she" really a "he" covered in white initiation paint?)

Other stops of interest are the Petrified Forest, 42 km (25 miles) west of Khorixas, where the corpses of dead trees lie forever frozen in a bed of sandstone. The first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Namibia, Twyfelfontein, 90 km (56 miles) west of Khorixas, is also the biggest outdoor art gallery in the world, where thousands of rock paintings and ancient rock engravings are open to the sky. It's extremely rare for this many paintings and engravings to be found at the same site. As you approach, you'll see scattered boulders everywhere—a closer examination will reveal thousands of rock paintings and engravings. Get yourself a local knowledgeable guide when you arrive, and try to give yourself a full day here. Start early (it's hard to pick out some of the art in full sunshine), bring binoculars, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water (at least a gallon) and a hat.

Namibia's four coastal zones are considered a refuge for a number of endangered species, including the African Penguin. Other endangered species in the country include the wild dog, black rhino, and oribi and puku antelope. There are only about 100 puku, which are found in Botswana's Chobe River and Namibia's Linyati marshes.

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