Posted Tuesday night, January 31, 2017.
High hopes amid high temperatures fuel a hunt for ancient rock art in Namibia https://t.co/bIvdl3rbjQ— NatGeoTravel (@NatGeoTravel) January 30, 2017
Brandberg means “fire mountain” in German and the local Afrikaans, a literal translation of the tribal Damara name, Dâures. The appellation wasn’t inspired by the scorching temperatures but by the glowing scarlet color of the massif first at sunrise, then at sunset. Geologically, the almost perfectly circular formation some 20 miles in diameter is one of the most unusual mountains on Earth, a product of the splitting of the ancient continent of Gondwana into the southern continents we know today. As the rift caused by South America’s separation from Africa widened, it produced isolated intrusions of rock, including today’s granitic Brandberg massif, which rises above the surrounding desert and is crowned by Namibia’s highest point, the 8,550-foot-high Königstein (“king’s stone”).
I think we’ve stopped here because it’s the largest patch of shade Angula can find. But when I raise my salt-stung eyelids, I spot a painting on the rock wall above us. An arrow of excitement pierces me. This is why I’ve come so far: Brandberg’s ancient rock paintings. I stand to study the ancient artwork. Two tall, naked men chase a bounding springbok. The lead runner appears to have tossed behind him his bow and quiver of arrows, which the second runner is about to catch in midair, and is reaching out for the springbok’s tail. All three figures are finely drawn in red ocher on a canyon wall of russet-colored granite. The image is so simple and yet so dramatically descriptive. Here is the elemental survival story of all early humans: the hunt.
Follow the link to continue to read Mark Jenkins’ story Climbing ‘Fire Mountian’ at National Geographic. Photos there are by Matt Moyer who took the one below, “A Namibian guide sits under a rock painting at the Tiara Shelter”.