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Etosha National Park

imageEtosha National Park is one of Southern Africa's finest and most important Game Reserves. Declared a National Park in 1907 and covering an area of 22 270 square km, it is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, surprisingly, one species of fish.
Etosha, meaning "Great White Place", is dominated by a massive mineral pan. The pan is part of the Kalahari Basin, the floor of which was formed around 1000 million years ago. Today, the Etosha Pan rarely has water as it is supplied mostly from rainfall but with high evaporation the water quickly disappears.
A San legend about the formation of the pan tells of how a village was raided and everyone but the women slaughtered. One woman was so upset about the death of her family she cried until her tears formed a massive lake. When the lake dried up nothing was left apart from a huge white pan.
The game viewing in Etosha is excellent, the best time being from May to September. Visitors can expect to see many buck species, elephant, giraffe, rhino and lions. More fortunate visitors will see leopard and cheetah. There is a network of roads linking the three campsites and subsidiary roads lead to various waterholes.

Damaraland

This old « homeland » is of specific interest for its: geology (impressive plateaux of red granite, dry river beds...).

The main places to see are:

Twyfelfontein - south of Khorixas - has one of the most extensive accumulations of pre-historic rock paintings in Namibia. Predominantly portrayed are lions, giraffes and elephants.

Furthermore, there are numerous abstract objects, about which no definite knowledge is available. Although the exact age of the drawings is unknown, it is estimated that they are between a few hundred and several thousand years old.

 

imageIn the year 1918 about 100 kilometres further south in the Tsisab gorge at the Brandberg the most famous rock paintings were discovered. A well-known French historian named the painting 'the white lady'. He thought the figure resembled a lady of Greek or Egyptian origin. However, nowadays scientists agree that the painting portrays a young man. The lower part of his body is painted in white, a magical hunting spell, as was customary to the Himbas and the Hereros.

Signposted beside the C39, The Petrified Forest is a geological site situated about 50 km west of Khorixas, lie a number of petrified trees on a bed of sandstone. Some are partially buried, while others lie completely exposed because the sandstone surrounding them has eroded away. It is thought that they were carried here as logs by a river, some 250 million years ago, and became stranded on a sandbank. Subsequently sand was deposited around them, creating ideal conditions for the cells of the wood to be replaced by silica, and thus become petrified. The "forest" covers an area of about 800m by 300m and lies in the Aba Huab River valley. There are at least 50 trees, some still only partly exposed.

The Brandberg ("fire mountain", "mountain of the Gods", "forsaken mountain") named for the effect created by the rising and setting sun on its faces, is a massive inselberg that dominates the surrounding rock and gravel plains. Maack's Shelter in the Tsisab ("leopard") Ravine contains the famous "White Lady" painting which has evoked a myriad hypotheses as to its origin and meaning. The figure is estimated to be over 4000 years old.
The summit of the Brandberg, Konigstein, is Namibia's highest peak at 2579m. Conquered in 1918, it provides a formidable goal for mountaineers with horrendous daytime temperatures, bitterly cold nights and a serious scarcity of water.

The Spitzkoppe between Usakos and Swakopmund, also known as the 'Matterhorn of Namibia', rises to an altitude of about 1800 metres. The Spitzkoppe is by no means Namibia's highest mountain. However, due to its striking features and outlines, it is considered as the most famous mountain in the country.
Situated in an endless, dry landscape, the island of mountains can be seen from quite a distance. The enormous granite rocks developed more than 100 million years ago due to volcanic activities and subsequent erosional activity.Spitzkoppe is one of Namibia's most photographed sites.
Together with the Brandberg and the adjacent Erongo mountains, Spitzkoppe is the most famous mountains in the country.Travellers form all over the world come to explore Namibia and some of its fascinating destinations, such as Spitzkoppe.
You can't help, but be stunned by its natural beauty. The mountain is more than 700 million years old. In 1946 the Spitzkoppe was first climbed from its western side. Since then the Spitzkoppe remained popular for Namibian and foreign climbers. The Spitzkoppe rises about 1784 meters (5857 feet) above the flat surrounding plain.

 

The Kaokoveld

Originally referred to as the Kaokoland district, the remote north-western corner of Namibia is rugged, harsh, untamed and practically devoid of commercial tourist developments.
This hinterland, reached by the Herero during the early southward Bantu migrations about 450 years ago and the Dorstlandtrekkers over 120 years ago is still sparsely inhabited by man. The Himba (or Ovahimba) tribe are Herero descendants who continue their semi-nomadic existence in this primitive wilderness today.
The Kaokoveld remains a wild sanctuary for small but wide-ranging populations of the renowned desert elephant, rhino, giraffe and lion. Roads are horrendous and basic infrastructure is virtually non-existent - this is prime safari territory!

Lake Otjikoto

Another marvel of nature: lake Otjikoto, 24 km North-West of Tsumeb. The members of the Windhoek Underwater Club discovered an underwater museum which qualified divers can now explore at a depth of 55 m. Covering an area of 25 m by 5 m, armaments and weaponry dating back to the First World War can be viewed.

Near the lake you will discover the meteorite Hoba, the largest meteorite ever to have been found on earth (it ways 80 tonnes and is 80 000 years old). 

 

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