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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa



Brandberg Mountain

Brandberg Mountain is located in Damaraland, in the northwestern Namib Desert, near the coast, and covers an area of approximately 650 km². With its highest point, the Königstein (German for 'King's Stone'), standing at 2573m above sea level and located on the flat Namib gravel plains, on a clear day 'The Brandberg' can be seen from a great distance.

The name Brandberg is Afrikaans, Dutch and German for Fire Mountain, which comes from its glowing color which is sometimes seen in the setting sun. The Damara name for the mountain is Dâures, which means 'burning mountain', while the Herero name, Omukuruvaro means 'mountain of the Gods'.

The Brandberg Massif or Brandberg Intrusion is a granitic intrusion, which forms a dome-shaped plateau. The geology of the area is typical of Damaraland, which is littered with eroded mountains, hills and koppies (small hills), which are made up of granite boulders. These piles of granite are ancient magma chambers, formed billions of years ago when underground volcanic activity was common in southern Africa. Over the millennia, these massive deposits of magma cooled and have been exposed, as we see them today, by the forces of erosion. One basic ingredient found in granite is the mineral feldspar.
An associated feature is the Doros crater.

White Lady, Brandberg, Namibia

The Brandberg is a spiritual site of great significance to the San (Bushman) tribes. The main tourist attraction is The White Lady rock painting, located on a rock face with other art work, under a small rock overhang, in the Tsisab Ravine at the foot of the mountain. The ravine contains more than 1 000 rock shelters, as well as more than 45 000 rock paintings.

The higher elevations of the mountain contains hundreds of further rock paintings, most of which have been painstakingly documented by Harald Pager, who made tens of thousands of hand copies. Pager's work was posthumously published by the Heinrich Bart Institute, in the six volume series "Rock Paintings of the Upper Brandberg" edited by Tilman Lenssen-Erz. (I. Amis Gorge, II. Hungorob Gorge, III. Southern Gorges (Ga'aseb & Orabes), IV. Umuab & Karoab Gorges, V. Naib (A) and the Northwest, VI. Naib (B), Circus & Dom Gorges. Volume VII. Numas Gorge is unlikely to be published due to discontinued funding.)


The Brandberg is also home to some interesting desert flora. Damaraland is well known for its grotesque aloes and euphorbias and the region around the mountain is no exception. The area has many plants and trees that have an alien appearance, due in part to the extreme climatic conditions.

The area is uninhabited and wild. It is very arid and finding water can be difficult or impossible. In summer temperatures over 40°C are routine.

Nonetheless, the Brandberg area is home to a large diversity of wildlife. The numbers of animals are small because the environment cannot support large populations, however most of the desert species that are found in Namibia are present and visitors to the area might glimpse a desert dwelling elephant or a rare black rhino.

The new insect taxon Mantophasmatodea was first discovered on this mountain in 2002.

The scorpion fauna of the Brandberg massif is probably the richest in southern Africa.

World Heritage Status

The Brandberg National Monument Area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 3, 2002 in the Mixed (Cultural + Natural) category.

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