One of the most famous mountain ranges in Namibia is undoubtedly the Brandberg Mountains due to the collection of rock art contained within its folds, it is also the highest within the country. Its name perfectly describes the wealth of colors that explode on the mountain side when the sun sets in the west, Brandberg is Afrikaans for Fire Mountain. In Herero it is called Omukuruvaro, "mountain of the gods." More than 45,000 rock paintings and 1,000 rock shelters have been discovered, the most famous one being that of the White Lady. The French priest and archeologist Abbe Henri Breuil (1877 - 1961) was well known for studying rock art and he made well of his task to try and interpret those of the Brandberg. His secretary Miss Mary Boyle is accredited with suggesting the name White Lady to one of the more mysterious drawings. With beautifully crafted rock formations and stunning scenery, the Brandberg mountain range is one of true intrigue. The rich rusty color of the rocks is caused by the mineral feldspar contained within the granite. The highest point of the mountain is named Königstein, German for "King's Stone", and towers at approximately 2573m. The first European to ever make reference of the mountain was German Missionary Theophilus Hahn and by 1894 the Brandberg was etched upon German colonial maps. Many picturesque trails lead through valleys crisscrossing around the foot of the mountain. The arid landscape is harsh and seemingly empty, but on closer inspection, a wide variety of adapted shrubbery eke out an existence. One might be lucky enough to spot desert elephants or even the highly endangered black rhino roaming the plains.
The White Lady rock painting was first discovered by Reinhard Maack in 1918. He documented his find in vivid detail and described the strange site as a warrior. French priest and archeologist Abbe Henri Breuil (1877 - 1961) was well known for studying rock art. When he learnt of the discovery in 1929 he made well of his task to try and interpret these incredible artworks of the Brandberg. His secretary Miss Mary Boyle is accredited with suggesting the name White Lady to the interesting painting. Due to the rest of the figures on the rock face it is thought that it depicts a hunting scene as the "White Lady" holds a bow in one hand, others have suggested that the figure depicts a medicine man. Whatever the intentions of the artist were, the canvas remains intriguing to all those who visit the site. The Brandberg Mountain was considered a holy site by the Bushmen and the Herero tribes referred to it as Omukuruvaro, "mountain of the gods." With its rich red color seemingly setting the mountain ablaze when the sun sets in the west, the mountain does carry an air of mystery. More than 45,000 rock paintings and 1,000 rock shelters have been discovered with the most famous one being that of the White Lady. In previous years the sites have suffered severe damage though due to unknowing visitors pouring water on the paintings to reveal the bright colors. This inadvertently started dissolving the paint made up of ochre, charcoal, egg white and manganese. The area is truly magnificent and there are various 4x4 trails and tracks leading around the mountain into the stunning areas. Wildlife is abundant and floral beauty holds nothing back.