Reviews of Damaraland Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Not Worth the Effort
Damaraland Camp is a reasonably attractive Wilderness Safari establishment and the staff work hard to make it work. However on balance there is a lack of "real" wildlife opportunities and quite limited alternatives as well as some other less attractive features of this Camp which really lead to a conclusion that there are better alternatives to do more. I would not go here again.
The Camp itself is actually well positioned high on a hill overlooking a dry, rocky valley which is panoramic and attractive and certainly reflects the harsh environment that is Damaraland. The individual lodges and central guest facilities are "standard" Wilderness quality and are all quite comfortable albeit the majority of lodges are more than a "reasonable" walk from the central area and while all are well equipped and have electricity they lack a facility to re-charge batteries and technology, which has to be done in the "office". Given the distances involved this becomes a real pain if you happen to forget your camera battery and have to trudge back up the very steep hill to get it!!!!!
This Camp provided the least attractive staff, food and beverage experience of my safari. The "bar" staff seemed to lack confidence and primarily resided behind the bar service area, the food was generally of poor to modest standard and the "family"" type seating around a single long table where one is forced to share with other guests is not, to my mind, what you pay for at expensive venues of this type. Especially if you are unfortunate enough to draw the seat next to the almost predictable fellow traveller from the USA - it seems every trip must have at least one!!!! Also, the presence of starlings flying and landing all over the food areas did not engender confidence. I certainly did not fancy the sharing the cornflakes after a dozen or so starlings had been pecking their way through it.
To be fair, the Camp does promote other activities beyond just "wildlife". You can walk, visit a "village" as well as see rock carvings and desert adapted elephants. However, the walks are really only for "enthusiasts' as the going is quite hot and rough, the village turned out to be a single "farm" which frankly was mildly interesting and really not worthy of being called an "activity". The elephants were well worth seeing. But they seem to always congregate in an area roughly 2 to 3 hours drive over very rough tracks each way from the Camp. You could stay a lot closer and achieve the same viewing. Also, the way the activities are presented you are confronted with a repeat return journey to view the rock carvings. It is all a lot of bouncy travelling when the whole lot could be combined into a single day's activities with a take out lunch!
Also, the information about the carvings is simply not up to standard. After enduring the long trip to get there the unsuspecting punter is confronted by a mountain goat standard rock climb to get to the various viewing points. There was no advance warning about the potential difficulties about this trip and it was a long way to go if you were a bit unsteady on your feet - frankly it was bloody dangerous!
My guide Chris worked really hard to make everything work and to be fair did a good quality job. He also turned out to be a successful astronomer by giving a really good presentation on the southern stars. Excellent. However, other aspects of the staff were not as encouraging as this Camp persists with the unfortunate habit of a "singing/dancing" presentation at dinner which was, to be truly honest, cringeworthy. Another unfortunate experience was the "no choice" option for dinner in the Boma which resulted in, frankly, mostly inedible food, I heard on the grapevine of a couple of cases of tummy troubles immediately afterwards and a long an modestly lit trek down hill from the main lodge area. I did not enjoy this experience and was lucky enough to hitch a ride back up the substantial hill with a passing vehicle - I did not fancy the walk in the dark!
In reading the various literature it appears that this Camp is rated the same as Hoanib! This is simply a joke. There is no comparision. Frankly, I think for all it tries, Damaraland is perhaps for the first timer who does not understand or appreciate the extent of quality safaries elsewhere. I don't think Expert Africa should direct people here.
Damaraland Camp Review
The camp itself very good. albeit quite isolated. The rooms and food were fine.
It was, however, extremely difficult to travel to anything of interest, which was limited. The roads (!) are almost impassable and. consequently, every drive was uncomfortable. We did see the desert adapted elephant but had to drive for 2 hours there and back. Then the following day, we did the same drive to see the paintings on the rocks.
We do understand that this is not the fault of the camp, but feel clients should be aware of the limitations of this area. Incidentally, before viewing the paintings, we feel we should have been warned that the climb up to them was extremely hard work and a long way in very hot weather. I think that people of a certain age (us!) should have been told this, so an informed decision could have been made to take part or not.
Stunning desert location!!!
Breathtaking location and superb welcome and staff. Nothing too much trouble.
Super 'room'. Star-gazing session, tribal songs at dinner, good food and wines.
Bush-breakfast, desert elephant safari, mountain-top sundowners and Boma dinner memorable highlights.
Excellent and knowledgeable safari guide.
Traditional tribal song farewell - quite moving.
A really rewarding experience.
This was to become our best experience to date.
We were met by Teek who was to become our guide for the duration of our stay. We arrived at the lodge to be greetly by drinks, cool towels, and a welcome song from the staff. This was to become a trend during our stay here. The staff would sing and dance after every evening meal. And also sing a goodbye song on our departure.
The elephant drive and outdoor breakfast led by Teek was an unforgettable experience. The evening meals which are communal, and themed, so that they are different every evening. They were truly an unforgettable.
The lodges were marvellous, and I would recommend this camp to anyone.
Damaraland Camp review
This is a truly remarkable camp located amongst stunningly beautiful mountains - quite breathtaking scenery...
It deserves the highest of accolades.
Abner our Guide for the Desert elephants was outstanding - by far the best guide of the whole holiday. The Staff manage to engender real enthusiasm for whatever they are doing.. Two of the Cooks were happy to give me a guided tour of their kitchen !
The Manager contacted Wilderness Safaris at Windhoek Airport in an attempt to track down any progress reports on Katrina's missing luggage.
Everything is perfect except the location of our chalet. Our chalet faces the sun in the afternoon so it is very hot indoor for the short break in the afternoon and no socket.
I like the activity of visiting nearby village very much. I appreciate the wilderness safari works well with the nearby community which benefits both from tourism.
We parked our car at a village and we were so surprised that they not only keep an eye on our car but washed it! Thank them a lot!
Please convey our great thanks to villagers. Beautiful and friendly villagers.
Great fun. Terrific staff.
The staff & camp atmosphere made this our best in-camp experience.
Gwen, Rose, Rhianna, our guide Abner & others made it a wonderful place to stay.
Camp of the singing Desert Roses
The camp is another true oasis in the desert and well worth more than two nights visit, we only wish we could stay longer. The perfectly charming yet utterly professional, mostly female, stuff made our stay here a most wonderful experience. These young ladies with all their accomplishments are a treasure and cannot be praised highly enough!
The camp itself is well situated in the landscape and the staff enhance the stay with bush breakfast on a hilltop at sunrise (a loo with a view included) and magical boma dinner after dark. We went on a guided walk on the first afternoon. The one hour uphill walk was worth every step as we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset and we learnt a few things along the way about the geology flora and fauna of this seemingly barren land. Surprise Boma-dinner and stargazing ended a fabulous day.
The nature drive to the riverbed was great next morning and we happened upon the desert adopted elephants fairly early. It was a great gathering of about 30 individuals, a breathtaking sight. We spent an hour or so in the vicinity, watching them feeding and then we turned back to the camp letting the elephants spend the rest of the day in privacy ( hopefully). Great and generous lunch waited for us and then we could enjoy the camps cool pool. Our guide was a little reserved at first but once we started to ask he revealed a broad knowledge of this unique place and even the stars.
Ten plus km up a rocky track to get there from the road - after the most amazing drive up the skeleton coast. Somehow better rooms than anything so far - with views to die for - different again. A sung welcome, the evening menu in click language - you have to hear it and dancing/singing too - and it is really clear no one is being coerced to do it - warms the heart honestly.
Out with Richard to see the elephants - out of Africa breakfast and the loo with a view hard to beat and on to the rock carvings. Pool very welcome for a bit of rest and relaxation.
Damaraland Camp review
Considering its location in a remote area it was pretty good.Read more about the whole safari