The remote Doro Nawas is situated in the heart of southern Damaraland.
Doro Nawas: Our full report
Doro Nawas Camp is perched on a rugged, rocky hill, on the floodplains of the dry Aba Huab River. Solid and almost forbidding in appearance, it has superb 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' isn't a mistake – it simply 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 at Expert Africa are keen to support. All 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. Six 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 June 2014, we found the staff exceedingly friendly and helpful, and at ease with themselves and the place.
The 16 chalets at Doro Nawas, one of which is a family unit, are built on stone bases 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 is no air conditioning, but the chalets are spacious and cool, albeit rather dark. There are no mosquito nets, which are considered unnecessary in such a dry area. There are duvets on the beds, with extra blankets provided for the cold winter months.
At the side of each room, sectioned off slightly by canvas and stone dividers, are a flush toilet, a hot shower, and twin washbasins standing on modern wooden wash-stands – each with a large mirror. Complimentary toiletries are provided, as well as nice big towels. Out on the veranda at the front of the chalet there is an outdoor shower, too, reached through a large set of sliding glass doors. Reed screens at the sides of the veranda lend it some privacy, and at the front are a few strands of wire to deter the area's desert-adapted elephants.
During the day, enjoy the terrific view from a couple of iron chairs here, while at night, the beds can be rolled out, allowing guests to sleep under the stars. This was a real highlight on our most recent visit, and we can thoroughly recommend it!
We love the open-plan main area of Doro Nawas Camp, which includes 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. There is an open-air courtyard, in the middle of the main area, with a firepit and comfy red beanbags. Stairs from the courtyard lead to an open roof-top terrace with panoramic views that's often used for dining, sundowner drinks and after-dinner stargazing. We had dinner up here on our last evening: the buffet was excellent and the setting – lit by paper and gas lanterns – was stunning.
In between the main area and the chalets, the swimming pool is not big – this is a very arid area! – but it is very inviting on a hot day, and is surrounded by a few sunloungers.
The team at Doro Nawas run many activities, including guided 4WD trips to track desert-adapted elephants, normally in the Huab River Valley, and to see the Bushman rock art at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein, usually taking in the Petrified Forest and the Organ Pipes. It’s worth noting, though, that at Twyfelfontein you are taken around by a local guide, not your guide from Doro Nawas. There's also a walking trail in the vicinity of the lodge – which can be done with a guide, or on your own.
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.
Note that it's possible to stay here either half board or on a 'full board and all activities' basis. In the former case, you can arrange and pay for activities locally – although be aware that if the lodge is full, availability is not guaranteed.
Note, also, that many travellers observe that the cost of add-on activities purchased directly at the lodge is high. Whilst these have been reduced in the last year or two, we suggest that you check these charges with us before booking any excursions here.
Our viewDoro Nawas Camp is a striking lodge in a stunning 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 take a guided trip.
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, a 5-minute drive away from camp.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Wilderness Safaris in conjunction with the local community.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: The standard of food at Doro Nawas varies, and we receive mixed reports of it, although on our last visit we found it to be very tasty.
Breakfast is served between 6.00am and 10.00am, lunch 1.00–2.30pm, and dinner between 7.00pm and 9.00pm. All meals are served buffet style and dinner is normally announced with singing and dancing from the staff. Vegetarians are catered for.
When we stayed in June 2014 we had a lovely latern-lit dinner on the rooftop terrace. There was a buffet with vegetable dishes and salads, and a chef present to grill steaks and kebabs.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: No drinks are included at Doro Nawas Camp for those staying on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. Drinks on game drives and house wine at dinner are included if you're full board.
Further dining info: No room service is available at Doro Nawas.
Birdwatching: This dry area of Namibia has surprisingly good birding. Local species with restricted distributions - Rüpell's korhaan and Monteiro's hornbill – are particularly special. Other commonly seen birds include pale chanting goshawks and booted eagles.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Namibia
Wildlife safaris: Damaraland doesn't have high densities of game, but what does occur here often has interesting adaptations , most notably the desert-adapted elephant, which are a real highlight. This is also a core area for wild black rhino. Gemsbok and springbok are seen on most drives, and both bat-eared foxes and black-backed jackals are reasonably common.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Namibia
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 but they can go on a walking trail with their parents and baby sitting can be arranged on request.
Generally recommended for children: Yes – although children should always be supervised by their parents.
Notes: At some times of year elephant can get very close to camp, and so children need to be closely supervised. The pool is not fenced and so caution should always be taken.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: The generator is switched off between 10.30pm and 5.00am. The lodge has battery back-up. Plug sockets are for 3-round-pin plugs.
Communications: There are no phones, but there is cellphone reception in the area. There is a computer with an internet connection for guests to use.
TV & radio: There are no TVs or radios at Doro Nawas.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: There is running water and flushing toilets in the rooms.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The closest hospital is in Outjo, but guests can also be flown out in case of an emergency.
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: There is security staff on duty at night, and all rooms have a radio and a horn to attract attention in case of emergency.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all the rooms and in and around the main building.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is available, and clothes are usually returned within 24 hours. This service is free if you are staying here on a 'full board and all activities' basis, but items will be charged for if you are staying on half board.
Money: There are safe deposit boxes in all the rooms.
Accepted payment on location: Doro Nawas Camp accepts Visa and MasterCard, American Express is not accepted. Cash payments may be made in Namibian dollars and South African rand.