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Doro Nawas
Doro Nawas
Doro Nawas
Doro Nawas
Doro Nawas
Doro Nawas

Doro Nawas: Our full report

Doro Nawas Camp is perched on top of a rugged, rocky hill, on the floodplains of Namibia’s dry Aba Huab River.

Solid, castle-like and almost foreboding in appearance, it has open and attractive views across the plains to the mountains and sandstone cliffs of Twyfelfontein.

The camp is a joint venture between Wilderness Safaris and the Doro !Nawas community. (Note that the exclamation mark in “!Nawas” indicates a “click” in the local Damara language. However, for simplicity here, we'll often use “Nawas”.) It's a particularly good example of the growing cooperation in Namibia between the tourism industry and individual communities, something that we are keen to support. Most of the lodge staff come from the surrounding villages, having been trained to fill various positions here, and the conservancy and its people benefit from the revenue generated by the lodge.

Many of the Expert Africa team have visited Doro Nawas since it opened in 2005, and the camp has long been a favourite amongst our self-drive travellers. On our most recent visit, in April 2019, we found the staff exceedingly friendly and helpful, and at ease with themselves and the lodge.

The 16 chalets at Doro Nawas, one of which is a family unit, are built on stone bases and arranged in a circle at the foot of the hill, with canvas walls supported on wooden poles that in turn hold up the thatched roof. Inside, each chalet is open plan, with a large bedroom in which you'll find a double bed, or twins, below a ceiling fan, and a couple of comfortable, padded wicker chairs. There are duvets on the beds, with extra blankets provided for the colder months, but no mosquito nets, which are considered unnecessary in such a dry area. There is no air conditioning, either, but the chalets are spacious and cool, albeit rather dark – not helped by the dark concrete floors; we thought they could have done with a few more lights. While the chalets aren’t lacking anything in particular, this coupled with simple decoration and their well-worn appearance gave something of a dated feel.

At the side of each room, sectioned off slightly by canvas and stone dividers, the bathroom has a flushing toilet, a hot shower, and twin washbasins standing on wooden wash-stands – each with a large mirror. Complimentary toiletries are provided, as well as nice big fluffy towels. On the veranda at the front of the chalet there is an additional outdoor shower, reached through a large set of sliding glass doors. Wooden palisades at the sides of the veranda keep things private.

During the day, you can relax and soak in the view from a couple of iron chairs on your veranda, while at night, the beds can be rolled out here, allowing you to sleep under the stars. This is a truly magical experience that we’d recommend everyone tries when they stay here – although in the cooler winter months the weather may preclude it.

We love the open-plan main area of Doro Nawas Camp, too. Located at the top of the hill, it incorporates a long indoor dining area, a smaller lounge area with comfortable sofas and a fireplace, a bar, and a curio shop with a small picture gallery. Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors make the most of the views from this amazing hilltop viewpoint. In the middle of the main area is an open-air courtyard, with a firepit and comfy red beanbags. Stairs from here lead to an open roof-top terrace with panoramic views, often used for dining, sundowner drinks and after-dinner stargazing.

Between the main area and the chalets is a rectangular swimming pool, surrounded by a few sunloungers. It may not be big – this is a very arid area! – but it is very inviting on a hot day, albeit surprisingly cold.

The team at Doro Nawas runs many activities, including guided 4WD trips to track desert-adapted elephants, normally in the Huab River Valley, and to see the Bushman rock engravings at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein, usually taking in the Petrified Forest and the Organ Pipes. Do note, though, that at Twyfelfontein you are taken around by a local guide, not your guide from Doro Nawas. Back at the lodge, there's also a walking trail in the vicinity that can be done with a guide.

On our last visit we were lucky enough to find a herd of desert elephants early on our morning drive from the lodge – a real bonus as we had an hour or two with the elephants before vehicles from other lodges in the area turned up. Once they did, we departed. These drives can be relatively dusty and bumpy but you are usually rewarded with sightings of oryx, springbok, various birds and/or the elephants themselves, although the only things that are guaranteed are spectacular views and the extraordinary geology.

Although the guided activities here are popular, Doro Nawas is also very convenient for self-driving visitors, who can easily make their own trips to Twyfelfontein, the Petrified Forest and the Organ Pipes.


Our view

Doro Nawas Camp is a striking, fortress-looking lodge in an attractive location with friendly staff. It is a good choice for a one- or two-night stop in Damaraland, especially if you are self-driving and want the flexibility to decide on the day whether to drive yourself to places like Twyfelfontein, or to take a guided trip.

Tom Morris

Tom Morris

Country manager: Namibia

Geographics

Location
Damaraland, Namibia
Ideal length of stay
1–2 nights
Directions
Doro Nawas is about 5km from the C39 between Khorixas and Palmwag, and is clearly signposted. Visitors arriving by air fly to Doro Nawas' own airstrip, which is a 5-minute drive away from camp.
Accessible by
Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Half Board
Food quality
The standard of food at Doro Nawas has varied over the years, and we have received mixed reports from our travellers. Of late, however, things seem to be improving and on our last visit in April 2019 we enjoyed our meals here.

Breakfast is served between 6.00am and 10.00am, lunch from 1.00pm to 2.30pm, and dinner between 7.00pm and 9.00pm. Dinner is normally announced with singing and dancing by the staff. Vegetarians are catered for and a children's menu is also available.

Doro Nawas serves a substantial buffet breakfast of freshly baked bread and muffins, cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurt, cold meats and cheeses., along with a selection of fruit juices, teas and coffee. Hot breakfast items such as bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes or mushrooms and eggs are cooked to order in the kitchen.

We did not have lunch on our most recent visit but on a previous stay we were served a tomato, cucumber and avocado salad followed by a choice of beefburger with chips or vegetable pasta. This was finished off with fresh fruit salad and vanilla ice cream.

For dinner on our last stay we enjoyed a “traditional” Namibian braai (BBQ) in the bush. Our starter of lentil soup was served at the table. This was followed by oryx stew, pork chops and/or vegetarian lasagne with sides of steamed vegetables, wild rice and creamed spinach served by the chefs straight off the braai. The dessert, a tasty coffee and pecan pudding with custard, was again served to the table.

On a previous stay when we ate at the lodge we had a starter of gnocchi with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, followed by a buffet choice of baked hake with lemon butter sauce or a Thai beef curry; both were served with wild rice, broccoli and red cabbage. Dessert was a pear sponge pudding.

Children

Attitude towards children
Children of all ages are welcome at Doro Nawas Camp.
Property’s age restrictions
None
Special activities & services
There are no special activities at Doro Nawas for children, although the pool will appeal to some. Babysitting can be arranged on request, but do note that babysitters will be local members of staff, who are not professionally trained in childcare.
Equipment
None
Generally recommended for children
Yes – although children should always be supervised by a parent or guardian and there are some drop offs around the lodge and the pool is unfenced and unguarded.
Notes
The area’s desert-adapted elephants can get very close to camp, so children need to be closely supervised. The pool is not fenced and so caution should always be taken.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Doro Nawas

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Doro Nawas have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.

Elephant

85% success

Oryx

50% success

Giraffe

43% success

Zebra

25% success

Brown Hyena

12% success

Wildebeest

8% success

Black Rhino

4% success

Cheetah

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Lion

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
The generator is switched off between 10.30pm and 5.00am. The lodge has battery back-up. Plug sockets are for three-round-pin plugs.
Communications
There are no phones, but there is cellphone reception in the vicinity, and WiFi in the main area.
TV & radio
There are no TVs or radios at Doro Nawas.
Water supply
Borehole
Water supply notes
All bathrooms are fully plumbed with hot and cold water and flushing toilets.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
The closest hospital is in Outjo, about a 2½hr drive from the lodge. In case of emergency, guests can be flown to Windhoek. For more minor treatment, the guides and managers are trained in first aid,
Dangerous animals
Moderate Risk
Security measures
There are security staff on duty at night. All chalets are provided with an air horn to attract attention in case of emergency.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in all the chalets and in and around the main building.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Night drive

    Night drive

  • Sleeping under the stars

    Sleeping under the stars

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
A full laundry service is available, with clothes usually returned within 24 hours. This service is free if you are staying here on a “full board and all activities” basis, but clothes will be charged by item if you are staying on a half-board basis.
Money
There is a small safe in each chalet.
Accepted payment on location
Doro Nawas Camp accepts Visa and Mastercard. Cash payments may be made in Namibian dollars and South African rand.

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