Brandberg hike: You need a permit

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mountain landscape

Brandberg. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk.

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

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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: twfwhs@iway.na

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. 

Fees:

  • International visitors: N$350 per day per person
  • Namibian citizens: N$250 per day per person

For more information contact the National Heritage Council directly at http://www.nhc-nam.org/ or Tel. +264 – 61 – 244 375 

Guide at Brandberg

Guide at Brandberg

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.

Text: National Heritage Council of Namibia 

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Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

10 Comments

  1. Ralf says:

    …more details please:
    – is a permit required for camping – not hiking – at Numis Schlucht Amib, or one of the other popular places?
    – do I need a guide when I camp there?????
    – where are permits available? Office hours?
    – do I have to book in advance?
    – how are the borders of the restricted area demarcated?
    Thank you!

    • Travel News Namibia says:

      Dear Ralf, thanks for your enquiry. The best would be to contact the National Heritage Council directly for the info you require. Their number is: tel. +264 – 61 – 244 375
      Their website is: http://www.nhc-nam.org/

      • Travel News Namibia says:

        Dear Ralf, we spoke to the NHC and received the following information: 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: twfwhs@iway.na

        Hope this helps

  2. Theo says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention!
    But I must say that this really sounds like a harebrained story. Surely it cannot be true that we will need a guide!? Hiking? Who buys his food? Will he have his own backpack? etc. I have now written the NHC, lets see if they have answers to these interesting questions.
    Just a note: you say “For more information contact the National Heritage Council directly at http://www.nhc-nam.org/“. I am afraid there is no more information on their website, just the same text on the geological history that you have copied here above. They have no information on permits/letters/guides for Brandberg. At least not that I could find. So maybe the whole story is just a hoax…

    • Gordon says:

      Exactly. I hiked this with my friend in 2006 and it was an amazing experience, but very hard terrain. Going down Tsisab gorge is not trivial. Although I prefer hiking without mandated assistance, I later thought having a guide who knows the mountain well (and is properly equipped) would be good too.

  3. Holly says:

    Any updates on this from more recent years? What about folks who wish to go climbing (and have to camp at base of wall? Many thanks!!

    • Travel News Namibia says:

      Hi Holly,

      The information in the article is still applicable. Please contact the NHC and they will give you all of the additional information you need.

      Regards,
      TNN

  4. Marele says:

    The fees are ridiculous!

  5. When was brandberg discovered as natural heritage

    • Travel News Namibia says:

      Hi Philemon, than you for your question. It is difficult to know when the first people came across the Brandberg, however rock paintings there show that it has been a site visited by humans for more than 10 000 years.

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