Twyfelfontein is steeped in history and mystery
Twyfelfontein is situated in north west Namibia in the Kunene region. It was approved as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007, other countries to have World Heritage Sites include Austria, Algeria, Afghanistan, Egypt, France, Lesotho, Malawi and the list goes on. It was also made a National Monument in 1952. Twyfelfontein is said to contain around 2 000 rock carvings. It is one of the largest and most popular concentrations of rock art in Africa. Around 40 000 people a year come to Namibia to view the amazing rock carvings, making it one of the more popular tourist attractions in Namibia.
The western world first heard word of twyfelfontein by Reinhard Maack who included it in his report in 1921, it is thought that he was informed about the engravings by a land surveyor. Naturally, locals would have known about the site earlier than this and are thought to have stayed at a respectful distance from the site as they believed it was a sacred area. It received its name, Twyfelfontein meaning ‘doubtful fountain’ in Afrikaans, from a farmer who settled on the land in 1946. It is believed he chose this name because he was somewhat unsure whether the spring called /Ui-//aes on the farm would provide enough water to support his family and livestock. The area was then allocated as communal land for Damara farmers in 1971, under the segregation laws of apartheid, this and the region which roughly encompasses the area called Kunene Province was renamed Damaraland, which is the name it is known by in present day Namibia.
There is a visitors centre at Twyfelfontein which was built and designed to blend into the surrounding area which contains red sandstone. The building has absolutely no cement and uses mostly recycled and local materials, should the entire centre be dismantled, it would leave behind no impression that it was ever there to begin with, talk about eco-friendly. The centre has displays detailing the local flora and fauna as well as the meanings of the engravings and the history of the site. A series of stone pathways have been laid in a bid to reduce erosion, these pathways lead to various viewing platforms which enable visitors to have amazing views of the major engravings.
Twyfelfontein lies about 550m above sea level and there are about 2 500 rock engravings on 212 slabs of rock and there are also 13 panels embracing further examples of rock paintings. Stone artefacts and stone tool manufacturing debris can also be found in the area. Since Twyfelfontein lies in a valley, it is flanked by slopes of a sandstone table mountain covered in a hard patina. The early stone age artists , presumably the San, chiselled through the crust to produce their art work and in time the patina formed over the engravings protecting them from the elements of the weather.
There are 17 different sites at Twyfelfontein depicting rock paintings. The most popular and well known rock engravings at Twyfelfontein are The lion with the kink in its tail; The giant giraffe; The fable animal; The works at the ‘place of memories’ and The symbolic engravings in the vicinity of the terraces.
Accommodation in the Twyfelfontein area includes Damaraland Camp, Doro Nowas, Mowani Mountain Camp and Twyfelfontein Lodge.
Damaraland Camp accommodates guests in nine comfortable tented rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Damaraland Camp is situated in an area where desert elephants roam as well as gemsbok, springbok, ostrich and other wildlife. The camp is situated on the northern face of the Huab River Valley and looks south towards the amazing Brandberg mountains. The camp has eight en-suite tents with two beds and shaded verandas, one honeymoon suite as well as a family unit which can accommodate up to four people. There is an amazing rock plunge pool tucked away in a mini gorge behind the camp and guests can have dinner served in an open-air kraal under the open sky. Activities that can be enjoyed at the camp include game drives in open seven-seater Land Rovers, guided walking safaris, visits to Twyfelfontein, game views, mountain biking and more.
Doro Nawas is a five star camp and is situated on a rocky hill on the edge of the Aba Huab River. The camp offers guests breathtaking views of the Etendeka mountains and Twyfelfontein. The camp also affords views of small canyons, dry riverbeds and savannah-filled vistas where guests could spot the desert elephant frolicking at any time. The camp consists of 16 natural walled units which are luxuriously furnished. Each unit has a bedroom that leads onto a veranda and the main area is made up of indoor and outdoor dining areas. The camp has a pool where guests can go to escape the heat and cool off after a day of exciting sightseeing and a bar that leads to a small gallery exhibiting Namibian art. Activities that can be enjoyed at Doro Nawas include game drives in the morning and the afternoon, mountain biking, excursions to Twyfelfontein, the Petrified Forest, the Burnt mountain and Organ Pipes as well as Aba-Huab river safaris.
Mowani mountain camp can be distinguished by its thatched dome-shaped structures which are a mirror-image of the granite boulders against which they are set. Mowani is derived from the word M’Wane which means ‘Place of God’. There is a pool with a deck lodged between the boulders, whilst the Boma is the perfect place for sundowners and campfires. Accommodation at the camp includes tents, a luxury room, luxury suite and a camping site. All accommodation options include a guided nature walk, transfer to and from the Twyfelfontein airstrip and the conservancy levy. Activities that can be enjoyed at Mowane include elephant and nature drives, Petrified forest excursion and nature drive, guided nature walks, excursions to Twyfelfontein, Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes.
Twyfelfontein is a must visit place. It is steeped in history and leaves you in awe of the wonders of nature and the past.