- Spectacular setting with amazing views
- Easy access to rock art at Twyfelfontein
- A chance to see desert-adapted elephant
- Game drives and cultural interaction
Doro Nawas Camp sits amidst break-taking scenery in the dry Aba-Huab River Valley within the Doro Nawas Conservancy in central Damaraland, north-western Namibia. Jutting out from the rocky hillside, this striking fortress boasts spectacular vistas of the flat-topped Etendeka Mountains to the north, and the red sandstone cliffs of Twyfelfontein to the south. The road to the camp is long and often bumpy so it’s usually best to arrive by air, but however you get there, the rugged beauty of this dramatic landscape makes it worth the ride. This fascinating landscape is home to desert-adapted elephant, gemsbok, springbok, ostrich, black rhino, and baboons, along with excellent examples of endemic Namibian birdlife.
Although the main building’s exterior may seem initially imposing, once inside guests are greeted by an atmosphere of tremendous warmth and hospitality. All staff are from surrounding villages, and are keen to share their traditional songs and stories, providing real insight into local culture. The camp exists as a successful tripartite venture between Wilderness Safaris, a Namibian empowerment company, and the Doro Nawas community, a project that supports the local economy through sustainable eco-tourism.
The camp’s stylish main areas consist of a dining room and lounge with tasteful exposed wooden beams and stone floors. The minimalist décor is designed so as not to detract from the splendid landscape which is visible through the 360° glass panels and door. The bar and swimming pool are also privy to the fabulous views, not to mention the roof terrace, which provides an excellent setting for sundowner drinks, meals, and star-gazing. Vegetarian options are available in the restaurant, and supper is served in a communal dining style either in the long dining room or on the veranda outside. On some evenings a bush BBQ may be offered. At the centre of the main area, an open-air courtyard features a fire-pit and comfortable bean bag chairs. There is no WiFi, although internet access is available via a communal computer in the reception.
Doro Nawas camp provides an excellent base from which to explore the local vicinity. The ancient Twyfelfontein rock art engravings are within easy reach, and can be explored independently or with a local guide. Game drives with expert guides around the Aba-Huab and Haub riverbeds in search of the elusive desert-adapted elephants are well worth doing, with potential sightings of gemsbok, springbok, bat-eared fox, ostriches, baboons, black rhino and perhaps even cheetah along the way. Note that this is not a pure wilderness area, so vehicles from other lodges, local villages, and farms will be encountered when out on safari. Nature trails around the property are also offered, along with night time scorpion trails.
The accommodation comprises 16 thatch-roofed chalets located downhill from the main lodge. There are 12 twin bedded units, 3 double units, and one family unit. A combination of stone and canvas walls allow the units to blend seamlessly into the hillside, with reed panels at each side of the veranda providing some privacy. All units are spacious and open plan, featuring an en-suite bathroom with outdoor shower. Guests are encouraged to collect excess shower water for recycling, maintaining the eco-friendly approach essential in such a dry environment. On the plus side, the aridity renders mosquito nets unnecessary, and stone floors and a ceiling fan keep the units nice and cool. The décor is simple but stylish and every room contains a writing desk, tea and coffee facilities, padded wicker chairs, a safety deposit box, and beds which can be wheeled out onto the veranda should guests wish to sleep beneath the stars.
Children of all ages are welcome, and there is a family unit which sleeps 4. Although there is no dedicated children’s programme, younger family members can enjoy the pool and nature walks, and babysitting can be arranged on request. Note, however, that babysitters will be local members of staff and not professionally trained in childcare. At certain times of the year elephant can get very close to camp, so children will need to remain under close supervision at all times.
Doro Nawas is a pristine and comfortable camp set in striking surroundings with a particularly welcoming feel, ideal for adventurous travellers seeking a certain level of cultural interaction and a good range of desert activities.
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019
We had the most incredible time thank you. We loved Karen Blixen camp and felt part of a family there, it was incredibly special. And Breezes was very relaxing.
We can't fault all the transfers and the moment we were greeted on the tarmac at Nairobi airport we knew we were going to be well cared for.
Thank you so much to you and all the Tourdust team for making it such a happy and memorable trip.
Zoe A reviewing Masai Mara Safari & Beach on 27 August 2019