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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Giant Rock Boulders

   

Giant Rock Boulders

SpitzkoppeCoastal Region


The Spitzkoppe between Usakos and Swakopmund is also described as the "Matterhorn of Namibia". Rising to an altitude of about 1800 metres, the Spitzkoppe is by no means Namibia's highest mountain, however, due to its striking outlines, it is regarded as the most well-known mountain in the country. Situated in an endless, dry plain, the island of mountains can be seen from far away. The granite massif, which is part of the Erongo Mountains, was created by the collapse of a gigantic volcano more than 100 million years ago and the subsequent erosion, which exposed the volcanic rock, granite.

Climb about between the bizarre rock formations looking at the interesting flora, there is a lot to look at, like the yellow Butter Trees and the Poison Tree (euphorbia virosa), which leaks an extremely poisonous white juice; the Bushmen use this to poison their arrows.

San (Bushman) paintings can be found in various places, many in the "Bushman Paradise" under an overhanging rock wall. The difference in height between the peak of the mountain and the surrounding land is 700 metres. Next to the Spitzkoppe lie the "Little Spitzkoppe" with a height of 1584 metres above sea level and the Pontok mountains.

Despite appearances, it is quite difficult to climb the Spitzkoppe, first conquered in 1946. Only experienced and well-prepared mountaineers with adequate equipment should take this mountain on. In summer, it is out of the question, because the rock gets so hot, you would burn your hands immediately.

Bulls Party

If you are travelling in the Karibib/Usakos area, you will find Bull’s Party on Farm Ameib.

The series of events that lead to the strange rock shapes that can be seen today at the Bull’s Party began million of years ago when the rocks were buried beneath the earth’s present day surface level. The ancient granite, in areas, was layered, and in wet periods the underground waters would wash through the fissures and over a period of time widened the gaps. The weight of the overlaying rocks and overburden caused the rock layers to crack vertically in places forming large rectangular shaped blocks. The ongoing surface erosion of millions of years lowered the ground level and exposed the stack of rocks to weathering that caused many of the boulders to eventually disintegrate and fall away from other bodies of rock leaving the bizarre rock shapes and configurations that can be seen today.

While walking around the Bull’s Party, pause and see what is going on. The erosion of the rocks is an on-going process, even today. You will see huge boulders that have cracked in half owing to temperate weathering. On a hot day the sun can heat the rock to temperatures that make them too hot to touch. A sudden heavy downpour of summer rain can suddenly cool the rock to a point where the pressure caused by contraction can cause massive boulders to split, (core cracking).

Mukurob

The Mukurob (Finger of God), near Asab in Namibia, was a sandstone rock formation in the Namib desert which collapsed on 4 December 1988.

Nama oral tradition related that the power of the "white man" would end when this geological structure collapsed. South Africa finally relinquished control of (then) South West Africa a few weeks later when South Africa, Angola and Cuba signed the "New York Treaty" (or "Tripartite Agreement") at UN Headquarters, which finalised the agreements reached earlier in Geneva. Angola and Cuba also signed a bilateral agreement on the Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola, which paved the way for Security Council Resolution 435 to be implemented on 1 April 1989. On 21 March 1990 Namibia gained independence from South Africa.

Fish River Canyon

The Fish River is, at 650 kilometers, the longest river in Namibia. Its source lies in the eastern Naukluft Mountains and flows south-west of Ai-Ais into the Oranje.

The Fish River canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, is one of the most impressive natural beauties in the southern part of Namibia. It developed predominantly during the pluvial times - a rainy climatic epoch - many millions of years ago. With a depth of up to 550 metres, the Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, before the Grand Canyon in America. The enormous gorge meanders along a distance of approx. 160 kilometers through the fissured Koubis massif all the way down to Ai-Ais. The canyon starts near Seeheim, is 161 kilometers long and ends at Ai-Ais.

The Fish River Canyon probably formed about 500 million years ago. However, the gorge was not only created by water erosion, but also through the collapse of the valley bottom due to movements in the earth's crust.

Petrified Forest - Damaraland

The Petrified Forest exists in an old river channel and is described as 'an occurrence of fossilized trees'. It lies 42km west of the small town of Khorixas in the Kunene Region (previously Damaraland) and this prehistoric relic comprises of 'clearly identifiable enormous fossilized tree trunks'.
The title Petrified Forest is a bit of a misnomer. It is neither a forest in the true sense of the word and neither did any of the trees 'turn to stone'. In prehistoric times huge tree trunks were washed down a river and deposited in alluvial sands. As they were isolated from any air, a process known as diagenesis took place and as a result sand that came under pressure through sedimentation turned into sandstone. The tree trunks then underwent another process known as silicification which causes liquids that seep into the wood causes the organic materials of the wood to dissolve and be replaced by silicic acid, fossilizing the wood by transforming it into stone.

This an extremely slow process and the end product is called 'wooden opal' as only the inner parts of the tree trunks became petrified, and an exact replica of every cell of each tree trunk was created. The petrified wood dates back to the Permian period, and about 200,000 years has passed since they first were washed down the ancient rivers.

Erosion has exposed many of the logs that can be seen today and many broken pieced were left lying around in an area of about 65ha. There are at least 2 fully exposed trees that measure up to 45m, even though the trunks are broken into chunks of about 2m.

Officially the Petrified Forest is situated 'on a small sandstone plateau, in extent some 731x272m, or around 20ha in the valley of the Anabib River, 40 miles south-west of Fransfontein in the district of Outjo'. It can be reached by vehicle on the road west between Khorixas and
Twyfelfontein.

The Petrified Forest was proclaimed a national monument on 1st March 1950.

Organ Pipes – Twyfelfontein

It is called the Organ Pipes because the columns of dolerite rock resemble the pipes similar to those of a church organ. These were thought to have formed about 120 million years ago when the dolerite shrank as it cooled, forming these marvelous angular columns up to 5m high in the process. It is still related to the Gondwanaland break-up, during which the intruded dolerite cooled and developed a system of intersecting fractures known as columnar jointing, and with some weathering it got its unique appearance.

   
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