Damaraland is a region of rolling plains and distant mountain ranges with rugged beautiful landscapes. Damaraland is an unusual geological feature, a wealth of rock paintings and engravings, and has a population of desert-adapted Elephants and black Rhino combined to form its unique attraction.
Damaraland is one of the most scenic areas in Namibia, with prehistoric water courses with open plains and grassland, massive granite koppies and breathtaking distant mountains. Wildlife species include the desert elephant, black rhino, ostrich and springbok.
Damaraland was primarily occupied by the Damara people, but it soon became the residence of other tribes such as the Hereros and the displaced Riemvasmakers of South Africa. Today, many people of Damaraland are thus of mixed heritage, but the majority consider themselves Damara.
The Damara name originated from the Nama word 'Dama', meaning 'who walked here'. This is because the Damara were known to the Nama people by the footprints they left around waterholes. The Damara were quick to spot resources such as water or animals, on the plains below, and they were therefore able to be the first groups to reach these vital resources.
Damaraland was unprotected and open to poachers until 1981, mostly from outside the area. Eventually Namibian NGO's formed a game protection system with people from the community, which resulted in an increased interest in the welfare of the wildlife.
After putting a stop to the poaching activities, many ideas were formed on how to conserve the area and sustain its resources. In 1996, Wilderness Safaris joined the community's conservation efforts and co-established what is now the most successful community-based tourism venture in Namibia.
In 1998, the success of Damaraland Camp helped the community to have their land gazzeted as the Torra Conservancy. Today, it is the leader of four Community Wildlife Conservancies in the country. In addition, the Torra Conservancy is one of the most successful in Africa. It is the first community conservancy which is able to support itself without funding from other sponsors.