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Twyfelfontein - Tourist Attractions in Namibia

Twyfelfontein is a site in the Kunene Region of Namibia containing 2,000 figures of rock carvings. The figures at Twyfelfontein were created over the course of two thousand years, before 1000 AD. The hunter-gatherers who lived in the region created them as part of their rituals. The carvings represent rhinoceroses, elephants, ostriches and giraffes as well as depictions of human and animal footprints. Some of the figures notably the "Lion Man" depict the transformation of humans into animals. In and just east of the Namib Desert of Namibia, the oldest desert in the world, some of the most impressive but desolate landscapes of southern Africa may be experienced. At a certain point, some 100km inland, this desert gradually turns into steppe. Among the many impressive "Inselberge" and plateaux dominating that contact zone is a tranquil valley that bisects a large sandstone plateau. Located in this valley is the rock-art site of Twyfelfontein, a really magical place. Its enchanting atmosphere is not only created by the attractive colours of the red and yellow sandstones and its many imposing rock formations, but also and especially by the hundreds of mainly animal engravings that have been pecked into numerous rock surfaces by prehistoric peoples.

Often, gigantic boulders are grouped close together, forming inviting labyrinths composed of towering blocks, creating narrow passages, quiet alcoves and stark shadows. And when you go through such a passage, you are often taken by surprise by the sudden spectacle of a large rock panel covered by beautifully engraved animals that almost seem to come to life in the natural, slanting spotlight of the blazing sun. When the sun sets, the colour of many rocks turns to deep red, enhancing the special atmosphere of the place even more, until, slowly, the animals disappear into the darkness. Just possibly the animals came to live again in the flickering light of fires during nocturnal rituals like medicine dances.

Twyfelfontein is also one of the biggest and most important rock-art concentrations in Africa. The site contains several rock-art styles, of which the iconic style is the most ubiquitous. The iconic style depicts tangible things and natural living beings, like animals and their spoor.. Less frequently represented at Twyfelfontein is the geometric style, which is characterized by abstract figures like circles, ovals, and all sorts of lines like curving and wandering lines and serpentine grooves. However, at Twyfelfontein we also find a special kind of rock-art, notably cupules. A cupule is a small hemispherical depression, 5cm in average diameter, which has been pounded or pecked out of the rock. Universally, cupules are found in isolation on rock surfaces, but are also frequently associated with iconic art and with geometric art although the association is often obscure. The cupules and other art forms may also have originated independently on the same panel. The vast array of extraordinary art at Twyfelfontein has an enormous value for the scientific world and must be ensured for the future. But because of its attractive rock-art in a spectacular landscape, Twyfelfontein has also become one of the major tourist attractions of Damaraland.


1. Twyfelfontein Country Lodge is located 5km from the Twyfelfontein historical site.
2. Madisa Lodge is located West on the D2612, turnoff to Twyfelfontein, next to the Gauntegab

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