Is the Brukkaros Crater in Namibia a dormant volcano?

A daunting 650 metres above the surrounding landscape, between Mariental and Keetmanshoop, travellers will find the Brukkaros Mountains.

Rights for freakytracks

Brukkaros located on the Namibian map – Rights for freakytracks

What makes this site particularly unique is that the shape is distinctly circular and rimmed. Visible from the B1, the question has often been raised… is this strange looking mountain an extinct volcano?

Rights to Pinterest

Rights to Pinterest

Before we get to the juicy details, a bit of interesting information… Where does the name ‘Brukkaros’ come from? Following true Namlish culture, the name combines the Afrikaans word for trousers (broek) with the Nama word karos (leather apron). This links to a traditional article of clothing worn by Nama women.

According to scientific theory, Brukkaros formed about 80 million years ago. A magma pipe, molten rock and a mixture of mineral and organic matter, came into contact with ground water.

Rights to Wikimedia Commons

Rights to Wikimedia Commons

This whole process took place about a thousand metres below the earth’s surface. This contact led the water to heat to the point where it turned into vapor and expanded. Which in turn caused the surface to swell about ten kilometres across and five hundred metres high.

Rights to wikimedia commons

Rights to wikimedia commons

Magma continued to invade the space and caused a reaction that led to various explosions.

This whole endeavour was followed by a series of materials being deposited along the rim of the crater and then being eroded over millions of years to leave the 350 metres deep hole.

Rights to Cardboard Box Travel Shop

Rights to Cardboard Box Travel Shop

Visitors can follow a three-and-a-half-kilometre trail, accessible by 4×4, to enter the crater form the south. They can expect to see crystal formations in the rock. Once inside, visitors can explore the quiver trees and crystal fields along the crater floor.

Brukkaros Bird's eye view - Rights to fr.alltravels.com

Brukkaros Bird’s eye view – Rights to fr.alltravels.com

Alternatively, they can follow a route sharply left, and visit a research station along the rim of the crater. When visiting this site, be sure to take enough water to keep hydrated during your adventure.

Rights to slm safaris

Rights to slm safaris

And here comes the game changer. Was the Brukkaros Crater an actual volcano once? Most scientific theories say no. While magma did have a hand in the creation of this natural site, a volcanic eruption did not.

As mentioned above, it was the magma coming into contact with the ground water that created the explosion and development of this crater. So, while it may not be an extinct volcano, it is still a very interesting site.

Rights to Southern Africa

Rights to Southern Africa

And a great place to stop and explore while traveling between the Gondwana Canyon Collection and Windhoek.

If you have any interesting stories about the Brukkaros Crater, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

(2623)