(8 twin-bed tents) contact via Namib Wilderness Safaris, PO Box 5048, Windhoek; tel: 061 225178/234793; fax: 061 239455
Damaraland Camp was originally modelled on Etendeka, and initially they seemed very similar. It was another remote tented camp on a rocky hill, amidst the stunning red-purple mountain scenery that is typical of the Etendeka lava flows. Its facilities have always been a little more luxurious than Etendeka's, as each tent had a flush toilet and shower en suite from the start. However, Damaraland Camp had a much stronger community involvement from the beginning, and now that's what shines out when you visit the camp.
Physically, the camp is about 11km from the D2620 road, signposted to the west – just north of the point where the Huab River crosses the road, next to a smallholding. The area around the camp is dry and hence vegetation is sparse – even Euphorbia damarana are not present to any great extent. However, there are some good examples of welwitschia nearby, on the way to the Huab Valley. This river valley makes a good venue for expeditions in search of desert elephant, and other game, so many drives head in that direction.
Activities here are based on walks and drives, with the emphasis on the driving – usually into the Huab River Valley in search of wildlife, where elephants are fairly frequently seen. It's not a camp that you can just drop into; your stay must be arranged in advance. Normally a rendezvous is arranged just off the main D2620 road – where cars are parked, under the watchful eyes of a local family. Then you'll be met and taken to the camp by a 4WD, although an experienced driver going slowly could negotiate the 11km to camp in a normal 2WD vehicle that's not overloaded. Check the rendezvous time when you book.
Damaraland Camp's own brand of community involvement is especially interesting, meriting a high commendation from the British Guild of Travel Writers and numerous subsequent accolades. These aside, this is one of Namibia's best camps, and it is also owned and now largely run by the local community. Visitors often return commenting on just how positive and happy the atmosphere there is, so is well worth stopping at for two or three nights. (Don't stop for just one night; it's too short.)