One look at Namibia's Damaraland Camp and community-based tourism seems the most logical idea in the world.Cheerful, competent local people offer luxury safaris in a sensational setting — what could be simpler? But the fact that Damaraland works so smoothly belies the stamina and vision needed to bring it about, from both the Damara people and their partner, Wilderness Safaris.While the Damara wondered how to build on this progress, Wilderness Safaris was seeking to plug a gap in the Namibian safari circuit. After long negotiations the two joined together to launch Damaraland Camp in 1996. In 1998, thanks in part to the camp's success, the Torra Conservancy was officially proclaimed.
Visitors who pay for a day's 4x4 rhino-trekking will see the best of a stirring landscape of rock and dune, making the trip worthwhile even if the rhino remain elusive. This pioneering partnership between a Western operator and a remote African community has had to feel its own way forward carefully, but it has clearly found a formula that works.
One guest writes: "In 20 years of travel throughout Africa, we have had few experiences as enjoyable as Damaraland Camp."Contributor: Stephanie Debere