NOTE: Following several enquiries regarding the information included in this post the NHC has advised that the regulations regarding payment and a guide are, in fact, still under review. Until such time as the regulations are confirmed, it is best to phone the NHC before a hike to confirm what the regulations are at the time. – Ed
The National Heritage Council of Namibia recently announced that regulations pertaining to the Brandberg as a national heritage site will be implement forthwith.
A letter of permission issued by the NHC is required by a person or group before hiking and camping on the mountain. In order to obtain a letter simply contact the NHC in Windhoek requesting permission.Their number is 061 244 375 and they are located at 52 Robert Mugabe Avenue in Windhoek.
You need to indicate the number of days you will stay and how many are in the group. Feedback is a day or two, according to the NHC.
A permit is required for any other activities such as research, filming etc. Again the NHC in Windhoek needs to be contacted (http://www.nhc-nam.org/).
A guide is required for your entire stay. The NHC provides the guide after you have received the permission letter. According to them it’s for your entire stay on the mountain and the heritage area.
The cost is: N$250 per day for Namibians and N$350 for international visitors.
For more information contact Ms Hinda who is responsible for the heritage site: firstname.lastname@example.org
When contacting the NHC for permits hikers should inform them of the size of the party and the length of the hike at the mountain.
For official filming and photography undertakings, a heritage permit is also required.
For more information contact the National Heritage Council directly at http://www.nhc-nam.org/ or Tel. +264 – 61 – 244 375
Geological history of the mountain:
About 130 million years ago volcanic activity pushed through the earth’s crust causing an up-doming of the overlaying rocks, the eventual breakthrough and resultant collapse caused the formation, following 100 million years over 1000m of the mountain and its surroundings eroded away leaving only the granite core, the brandberg mountain. Remnants of the lava plateau can still be seen.
The name describes the lighting effect of the sunrise and sunset on the mountain. The archaeology of the Brandberg has been the subject of serious research for more than eighty years.
Detailed surveys of the rock art have recorded more than 1000 sites, some with a hundred or more individual paintings. Although the most famous site, the Maack or “White Lady” Shelter, has given rise to several fanciful interpretations, systematic excavations in other parts of the mountain show that the area was inhabited by hunter-gatherer communities until the first appearance of nomadic livestock farming about 1000 years ago.
Small bands of hunters evidently lived in the upper parts of the mountain during the dry season when little water or food could be obtained in the surrounding desert. The structural geology of the mountain, with its well-developed sheet joints, provides many small aquifers and where these emerge, rock painting sites are never far away. In the rock art of Brandberg, human figures comprise more than 40% of the images and among the many animal species depicted giraffe are often the most numerous. Few of the animals featured in the paintings are represented in bones recovered from archaeological excavations. Indeed, very few of the species in the paintings actually occur on the mountain itself which is far too rugged for most of them to ascend.
This and other evidence, such as artifacts of crystalline quartz, marine shells and some metal objects, suggests that the people who inhabited the Brandberg also inhabited a far wider area. A clearer pattern of movement arose with the development of pastoralism when stock camps were established at remote waterholes and the herds were pastured far into the Namib Desert after the summer rain. In the dry season, however, pastoral communities would retreat to the upper Brandberg with its reliable waterholes and nutritious pastures, usually camping in the same places as their hunter-gatherer predecessors.