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Damaraland, Namibia, Elephant photography.


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Hi Folks, I have only found this site recently and have found it invaluable.


My wife and are planning a two week self-drive, 4X4 camping trip to Namibia, at the beginning of next September. After Etosha we plan to go into Damaraland where hopefully I may get a photograph or two of the desert elephants. Using google maps, satellite view and photographs I have viewed on the web, access to the dry riverbeds that they may frequent, seem quite straight forwards.


All the Lodges in the area seem to offer guided trips for their customer to try and view the elephants and other game. Can anyone advise whether this area is open for anyone to enter and drive the riverbeds in their own vehicles? We would like to spend a few hours looking by ourselves over a couple of days.


Perhaps it is not possible because the lodges have the sole concessions in the area.


Any experiences you have had or other information will be greatly appreciated.


Thank you.

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@@Manxman Welcome aboard. I can't offer any advice but I hope someone who has visited Namibia will soon chip in.



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I have not been there myself, but have read several trip reports of people self-driving in that area, with no mention of guides etc.


Also, you should be able to find much more info here: http://4x4community.co.za/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=168

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Hi @@Manxman, this trip is most certainly worthwhile and is indeed my favourite destination in the region.


In addition to locating the desert elephant in Damaraland you might also consider going on to the Skeleton Coast and en route attempt to see the famous and elusive Desert Lions.


The Damaraland, Marienfluss, Kaokoveld and Skeleton Coast areas are, however, very remote. Therefore traveling in these areas is best with at least two 4WD vehicles, fully self-sufficient.


The area is vast and local knowledge is important, as getting lost is not an option.


One can certainly drive known tracks and see all one needs to see. Concession areas are in the area but certainly only cover a small portion of the country.


Do drop me a line if you'd like assistance with route- and trip- planning, or advice on any other questions you may have.


Where are you located?


Some photos below to whet your appetite, taken during our visit in 2013.










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Try and keep any advice public here on the forums so as to assist anyone else who make also be undertaking such a trip :)

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I will be most interested in any insights you gain, Manxman. For what it is worth, I'll add a comment made by my guide last June on my 1st Namibia trip. I too am very interested in Damaraland for desert ele and rhino. Welcome to the forum.

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Thank you for the responses, and my apologies for the delay in replying.


I've had a quick look at the link you posted Peter and will spend some more time there.


John T, we will be travelling by ourselves and only have two weeks in Namibia, and don't plan on going to the Skeleton coast this trip. I like your photographs of the elephants and would be very happy if I was only to get an odd shot myself. This is our first trip to Namibia, we have been to South Africa a few times and only visited Addo while there.


Is there any particular area or river bed you'd recommend to spend a day or two in or around? The Uniab seems to have easy access from the C43 near Palmwag Lodge and we thought about driving a mile or two along it. We are looking for easy off road driving really.


I was born and bred on the Isle of Man John, where the Manx are sadly now an ethnic minority in their own land. I took early retirement a couple of years ago and moved across the Irish sea, some forty miles to the north and now live in Scotland's most southerly village. Here I pursue my hobbies of Angling and Photography, Scotland is a great place for both if you are adept at dodging the rain lol.


No doubt I'll have many more questions for you all, thanks again.

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I stayed in Brandberg White Lady Lodge during a 5-week self drive trip to Namibia and Botswana in 2011. They get mixed reviews on tripadvisor, but the bad ones are mainly from people staying at the lodge. The campsite is fantastic, you camp near the riverbed and the surrounding area is beautiful. You also have a beautiful view of brandberg in the distance. There is around 55 elephants located in the Ugab Riverbed, we didn't see any, but we only went on one gamedrive with the lodge. We had one elephant moving through the campsite, but somehow we managed to miss it :( .There were a lot of South African who went up the riverbed in their own 4x4 and they saw elephants. At that time I didn't trust my 4x4 skills (and I brought my 2 kids aged 2 and 7 with me, and my wife is very very afraid of elephants), so we just went on small hikes around the area. But nice area and very cheap, you only pay for camping.

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