Weather and Landscape
The weather has been great this month. Some days were hot with the wind further parching us even when in the shade. Once the cool south-westerly winds would arrive in the afternoons, the conditions became very comfortable, and luckily we received these on most afternoons. We had a fair deal of cloud build up, and it looked like the clouds were rain bearing, but no rain fell this month. We are optimistic that the rain will arrive next month.
The welwitchia plants are currently flowering and are always beautiful to look at and wonder how old the plant could be.
Elephants, lions, rhino, cheetah and leopard - these five words sum up the month! We were blessed with many great desert elephant sightings, as the Oscar and Rosy Herds have moved into the concession.
Anthony and Explorations guide, Jimmy Limbo managed to find their guests a large male leopard in the Huab Valley. They set off with the goal of finding elephant and a pair of black-backed jackals grabbed their attention. Upon closer inspection, they spotted the feline walking in the distance. A week later another leopard was spotted along the lower parts of the Huab Valley. On the same day, a cheetah was found with three young cubs in the Slangpos area.
The Huab Pride of lions was seen on four occasions this month - the pride currently consists of two adult females and eight cubs. One of the adult females was tracked and darted by Dr Flip Stander with the aim of fitting a new GPS collar. Damaraland Camp was privileged to participate in the exercise and took the local village headman, Oom Rhyn with. This was a great experience as the lions were located very close to one of the villages. A satellite tracking collar was fitted which will allow the camp and Dr Stander to monitor the lions whereabouts in real time in a bid to avoid predation on village livestock.
This will be the first monitoring system of its kind for lion conservation in Africa and the world. Desert Lion Conservation (Dr. Phillip Stander), Damaraland Camp and Torra Conservancy will be the key stakeholders for this pilot monitoring program. So visionary locals like Mr. Rhyn who has suffered many losses are willing to give lion conservation a chance with ground-breaking techniques like this!
We were also fortunate to have seen black rhino on several occasions on our drives to the Springbok River. One of the highlights was seeing two females each with a baby within 200 metres of each other.
Other great sightings for the month include many giraffe encounters and a porcupine sighting.
Lena and her kindergarten project are progressing beautifully with the upgrading. Lena asked the headmaster of the Bergsig School for a few kids from the school to help with cleaning up of the kindergarten, and it was a big success. After a hard day's work, the kids enjoyed snacks that Lena distributed among them.
Chris Weaver with a WWF-donor group visited our camp. As they landed they went out for an afternoon activity where they found lots of desert elephants whilst on their way to the Torra Conservancy office. Here they were met by Mr Benny Roman, chairman of the Torra Conservancy. Mr Roman gave them a presentation on community based tourism and conservation.
On Saturday 24 November, The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), held a gala dinner in Swakopmund. I'm happy to announce that Damaraland Camp received a gold medal in the lodges category from HAN. Eco-awards Namibia awarded us a special recognition award for best operational practice for rehabilitation during the decommissioning of Skeleton Coast Camp. Damaraland Camp was awarded four eco-flowers for responsible tourism and finally, all the hard work that has been done at Doro Nawas has paid off; they were awarded four eco-flowers from the previous three flowers they got two years ago.
"We loved the hill top breakfast. Maggie the camp manager is an outstanding individual. All staff are part of a real team of great people that enjoy what they are doing."
"Scenery is stunning, nature is pristine, camp staff done their best to make the stay comfortable."
"Viewing the magnificent and majestic geography. The staff are genuine, warm and have the most pleasant attitude."
Staff in Camp
Managers: Elfrieda, Maggy, Erica and Eddy.
Guides: Anthony, Albert, Willem and Johann.