A Desert Escape - Damas Lodge and Camping

2:23 pm

In my quest to discover Africa, I knew I would learn a lot about her people and their history. I spent my weekend in Riemvasmaak. This is the Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape.
When you hike up the mountain, there is the Orange River. Kayaks are left on the river banks because the local farm workers spend their evenings fishing as the heat is bearable.
Across the river you find the vineyards. This is the beauty that you seldom hear about in South Africa. No pictures or words written can describe to you the beauty of a semi-desert surrounded by mountains and a stone throw away there is a lush green vineyard.

I have been staying at the Damas Guesthouse and Camping which belongs to the Damara family.
Now if there is a place with history, this is it.
Damas is built on the land that the owner and manager, Elisa Namases of the Riemvasmaak clan was born and raised. The Damara family was forcefully removed from Riemvasmaak in 1974 and relocated to what was then known as South West Africa. Now known as Namibia and my next destination.
Riemvasmaak was earmarked as a military retaining camp. The Xhosa speaking people were moved to the Eastern Cape.

Elisa’s family returned to South Africa from Namibia in 1995 and received their ancestral land as restitution.
Elisa has built the Damas Guesthouse on the rock where her grandfathers’ house once stood many years ago. Damas has been built to take advantage of the growing tourism in Riemvasmaak.

While growing up, Elisa grew up playing under a particular tree and as the years went by the tree roots have become the stem.
Today this symbolic work of nature stands overlooking the lodge and camp site.

Damas is a self-catering lodge built and designed how you remember your grandmothers’ house used to be. A fully equipped kitchen with a gas stove enamel plates and cups. The lodge décor and furnishings are made up of mostly the local resources such as rocks and logs.
There is no electricity but if you hate your peace and quiet you have the use of a generator available on request. The water used at the lodge is from the borehole but absolutely nothing can beat the open air showers. You get to take a shower while star gazing – my kind of multitasking.

The evenings around Riemvasmaak are very warm and the stars complete the beauty of the evening, pack your sleeping bag as you might just want to ditch your room to sleep under the magnificent sky.
Due to where the lodge is and lack of infrastructure, you can only reach the lodge by 4X4. Shuld you not have a 4x4, with prior arrangement, Elisa can pick you up and organise safe parking for your car.

Some of the activities available close by include:
  • Hiking
  • Fishing (with the locals)
  • River Swimming (with the locals)
  • Star Gazing
  • Natural Hot Springs (15km away from the lodge)

Now go on, Take a Sho’t Left to Riemvasmaak. Go experience the best of theKalahari Desert.
For bookings, call +2778 215 1634 or email damas.dgc@gmail.com.


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