Damaraland was a name given to the north-central part of Germany’s Southwest Africa (what later became Namibia), inhabited by Herero-speaking people, who in the 19th century were often referred to by outsiders as “Damaras”. It was bounded roughly by Ovamboland in the north, the Namib Desert in the west, the Kalahari Desert in the east, and Windhoek in the south.
The ecology of the area is one of the most unique and mysterious on earth. Seemingly inhospitable to most living things, a great variety of life is found here, including the unusual desert elephant whose behavior is radically different than its normal cousins found elsewhere on the continent.
Damaraland is also where most of Namibia’s archeological treasures are found. Cave paintings and early man excavations clearly prove that thousands of years ago this was a thriving area for hunter-gatherers.
In the 1970s the name Damaraland was used as a bantustan by the South African apartheid regime, intended to be a self-governing, fully sovereign nation and homeland for the Damara people.
Damaraland, like other homelands in South West Africa, was abolished in May 1989 at the start of the transition to South Africa’s independence, and Damaraland became a part of the greater Namibia.