Damaraland is one of the most scenic areas in Namibia, a huge, untamed, ruggedly beautiful region that offers travellers a more adventurous challenge. Ricky /Khaxab, a Damara artist, shares his Damaraland...
“Damaraland is a land of untapped wealth and striking contrasts. It’s an area of very harsh terrain, but at the same time it has subtle beauties. From the yellow grass that grows seasonally after the February rains, to the clear blue skies that stretch out across the endless horizons. This is what makes Damaraland one of the must see areas in Namibia.
Twyfelfontein, Brandberg, and Spitzkoppe highlight this region. Spitzkoppe towers out of the earth, extruding into the blue sky, giving off a certain energy and presence that you can only find a few places in the world. The landscapes of Namibia are the inspiration for the unique flavor of art in our country. Even though we have different styles, certain features and landmarks always drawn upon for inspiration. The culture of the people feeds into this inspiration, and the daily experience of living here, unique challenges and outlook can be seen through the art.
But what makes Namibia special, and Damaraland in particular, is the deep cultural roots of its people. A shift is occurring in Namibia, which has already taken place in most countries, where people are moving from rural areas to more urban areas. Because this shift has taken place gradually, it has allowed us to hold onto our traditional values and culture while progressing as a society. Visiting the towns like Omaruru, Uis and Okombahe and exploring the rural areas allows visitors the chance to experience this traditional culture, which has been around for thousands of years.
There are a range of cultural experiences to have: being introduced to the local games, attending traditional performances, or taking a bush walk to learn how the people survive off of the land. What makes these experiences special is that they are very personalized and visitors have the option to become as involved as they would like to be. Some prefer to drive through the open landscapes and enjoy the tranquility. Others will join in the activities, even learning and trying a traditional Nama dance.
When I travel outside of Damaraland I go to the Namib Naukluft Park. I love the fact that we have open springs that flow throughout the year. The Naukluft region shows you how extreme our environment can be. It is so dry, yet there are underwater springs that just pop up and bring life to a whole area.
I think when people visit Namibia for the first time they will be surprised by the diversity and friendliness of the people. You find often that when people are visiting a foreign land, especially in Africa, they are gripped by some fear that doesn’t allow them a full cultural experience. Because Namibia is such a peaceful country and the people are so welcoming, you are able to experience the everyday lives of our people and have a true cultural exchange."