In the northwestern part of Namibia, in the Damaraland region, lies Grootberg. This mountainous area is known for its deep canyons, dramatic rock formations, and expansive vistas. The landscape is completely different from the rest of Namibia, making Grootberg an exciting stop on your road trip. During the dry season, the landscape is arid and parched, but when the rainy season arrives, Grootberg transforms into a green paradise in just a few days. No matter which season you travel, Grootberg is unquestionably a beautiful stop on your journey through Namibia!
Running through the rugged mountains is a beautiful scenic route known as the Grootberg Pass. The road winds its way between plateaus, and at every turn, you’re greeted with a stunning view. The Himba people inhabit this region. This traditional community has preserved its centuries-old way of life in a rapidly changing world. The Himba are experts in livestock farming in dry and semi-desert areas. Their physical appearance is quite different from ours. Women smear their hair, bodies, and clothing with a mixture of red earth and animal fat. They also wear colorful jewelry, often with symbolic meanings indicating social status or the number of children a woman has. Their clothing is typically made of goat leather.
As you drive through the Grootberg Pass, you’ll likely encounter the Himba population. Some of them have small stalls selling jewelry or unique stones. They appreciate it if you make a purchase, but they also welcome food or water donations.
Tip: Google Maps might not route you through the Grootberg Pass because it’s not the fastest route for many connections. Be sure to check which route to take. The route via Grootberg Lodge is the correct one.
Wildlife in Grootberg
Despite the rugged landscape of Grootberg, it may seem unlikely that large animals can survive here. However, this is not the case, as black rhinos, giraffes, leopards, klipspringers, and desert elephants all inhabit this area. Desert elephants are perhaps the most remarkable among them. Unfortunately, these magnificent animals are nearly extinct, with an estimated 350 desert elephants remaining in the wild today. This larger subspecies of elephant has adapted generation after generation to the extreme conditions of the desert. With their relatively slim bodies and broad legs, they can cover vast distances in search of scarce food and water.
Good to know: These large animals are rarely seen. You don’t necessarily come to Grootberg for wildlife, but rather for its stunning natural beauty.
Grootberg Plateau & Grootberg Lodge
Atop the Grootberg Plateau, the landscape is as flat as a pancake, and there you’ll find the luxurious Grootberg Lodge. You can only reach this lodge with a 4×4 vehicle because the road leading to it is extremely steep. You’ll need a bit of courage since the road is narrow with a deep drop-off.
Grootberg Lodge is owned by the local community, and they do a tremendous amount of good work in the region with the profits, in collaboration with the European Union. Grootberg Lodge is dedicated to nature conservation, community development projects, and children’s education. Over the past few decades, the lodge has also worked to improve the relationship between farmers and wildlife, resulting in many more wild animals living in this area now. Previously, nearly all animals were killed for their meat and fur, or because predators attacked the farmers’ livestock.
Staying at Grootberg Lodge is an experience you won’t soon forget. The lodge offers luxury, and the view is simply priceless. There’s a fantastic pool where you can gaze out for miles over the Grootberg mountains.
Camping at Hoeda Campsite in Grootberg
Are you traveling through Namibia with a 4×4 and rooftop tent? At Grootberg, you can camp at a beautiful site. Hoeda Campsite boasts a fantastic location with a view of Grootberg. The campsite spots offer plenty of privacy and come with a private shower and toilet. Nestled among the rocks, there’s a unique pool where you can take a refreshing dip and enjoy an ice-cold beverage. If you’re traveling with Namibia Nomads, this camping experience is included in your journey.
The Santana Drive
You can engage in various activities in Grootberg, such as a cultural tour, where you get a glimpse of a local farming community or the search for desert elephants. We opted for the Santana Drive. In this adventure, you set off in the late afternoon with a guide in an open 4×4 vehicle from Grootberg Lodge to take a scenic drive across the flat Grootberg plateau. The drive itself may not be too thrilling, but it leads you to one of Namibia’s most breathtaking viewpoints. Here, you can watch the sunset while savoring your favorite drinks and delicious snacks. It’s a magical moment! You can book this activity at both the lodge and Hoada Camp because the campsite is part of Grootberg Lodge. If you arrive at the campsite on time, there’s no need to make a prior reservation.