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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Follow my Footsteps: Specialising in charm

It’s quite a surprise to wake up to the red sands of the Kalahari – and lovely too – as the sun lights up the burnished earth. It’s one more side of the brilliant multi-faceted Namibian diamond.

Waking up at Anib Lodge, just east of Mariental gave me a taste of this part of the country and I took a 7km stroll after breakfast to become a bit more acquainted with – and to breathe in – the land. Birds chirped, a gentle wind blew and springbok gazed at me as I tried to decipher the animal tracks etched in the sand. Mmmm hmmm, it was good to stretch those legs. I paused at the halfway point on my Zebra Route where a rustic swing hung in a camelthorn tree. It seemed like an obligatory stop to ponder Life, the Universe and Everything. On the return loop to the lodge, I spotted springbok and more springbok, a herd of blue wildebeest and an ostrich running like its tail was on fire. Then, it was time to continue with the day and drive the 30km towards Stampriet and the Kalahari Farmhouse.

This place specialises in charm. It’s a small Eden, which you enter through an arch lined with bright flowers. Inside, a semi-circle of palm trees and a forest of trees hold buzzing bees and a flock of glossy starlings. White-stone chalets are positioned amongst the palms and tables and chairs are placed, invitingly, on the lush green grass. The chalets have country-quilt covers, flower fabric cushions, fireplaces, lantern light-fittings and all the country character they can possibly muster. This alcove of charm invites relaxation. I felt a powerful urge to take off my shoes to feel the grass under my feet and to curl up with a good book.

Stampriet is one of those places that is fortunate to have artesian water and at the Kalahari Farmhouse they utilise this gift by basing their Self-Sufficiency Centre here. A walk through the SSC, guided by cheese-maker Willem, revealed tunnels of leafy vegetables, a butchery, a cheese-making unit and a dairy. I had seen the cows lying lazily under the palms as I drove in, as if they too were in Farmhouse paradise. An SSC truck travels to the Gondwana lodges in the north at the beginning of the week and to those in the south a few days later, supplying them with 70% of their fresh produce.

I woke warm and cosy after a good night’s sleep, to birdsong, the dappled light falling onto the grass outside and the cheerful country style of the room. Two ducks waddled past my chalet quacking, a child ran through the early morning sunlight and a rooster crowed in the distance. I luxuriated in the peace for a while before packing up, going to breakfast and climbing into my chariot for the drive north to the city.

Ron SwillingRon Swilling is a freelance writer, based in Cape Town, writing for Namibian and South African publications. She is a regular contributor to Gondwana’s History and Stamps&Stories columns and documented the intriguing information of the Wild Horses in Namibia for Mannfred Goldbeck and Telané Greyling. She invites you to ‘Follow my footsteps’ on her journey from the Orange River, exploring the Gondwana routes through the intriguing country of Namibia.

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Follow my Footsteps: Allow 48 hours for miracles …

After an uncomfortable night being eaten alive by mosquitoes, I climbed out of my sardine-can of a car, stretched cramped legs, donned a fleece jacket and made my way to the quiver trees for sunrise. The sun was hiding behind a cloud but it peeped out to light up the corky trees in gold.

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Making coffee was an ordeal in the wind but was eventually accomplished. It was then time to explore Keetmanshoop. Highlights were the museum, housed in the original church built in 1892 and supervised by missionary Fenchel, and the saying that I found in ‘Die Bak-oond’ restaurant: ‘Possible can be done immediately. We’re already working on the impossible, but please allow 48 hours for miracles.’

It took a while to do the things I wanted to in Keetmans and I had to remember to slow down to African time. When I stopped at the museum, no-one was there, the attendant had apparently gone to the municipality office. A worker told me to return in an hour. When I drove to Karas Huisen, the industry that makes charming soft toys in Tseiblaagte, it was closed. I discovered more Africanisms. The info centre was unable to offer any info but did give me a good map, vagrants seemed to have occupied the Eagle Monument and food-sellers sold their dishes next to the narrow fenced-off strip of land referred to as ‘Central Park’. I had a look at what was cooking. Tripe was on offer on the one side and two women, Marinda and Ronica, were cooking vleis en vetkoek on the other. “We live by faith,” they chorused. I could relate to that and bought a freshly cooked vetkoek for breakfast.

When I returned to the museum, it was open and I wandered through. It holds some colonial household items, rock specimens and fossils, information on the Nama traditions – including the laslap dresses worn by the women, and has intriguing information and photographs of the 1904-1908 War of Resistance. It also has a collection of pass tokens, a system which the Germans introduced in 1904 to control the movement of the local people.

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My last stop of the day was //Garas Park, a campsite and quiver tree forest 20km north of Keetmans. Here, campsite-minder Willem posed for photographs wearing his Kaiser Chiefs beanie, and owner Marian Hulme told me how she had taken over the place from her late father and continues their 20 year tradition of making the wacky figures that are dotted around the park.

The sun beat me to the Kalahari Anib Park, east of Mariental. As I drove into the lodge, springbok pronked and trotted off into the darkness and I disturbed a herd of hartebeest crossing the road. It was a good (&fitting) welcome to the Kalahari.

Ron SwillingRon Swilling is a freelance writer, based in Cape Town, writing for Namibian and South African publications. She is a regular contributor to Gondwana’s History and Stamps&Stories columns and documented the intriguing information of the Wild Horses in Namibia for Mannfred Goldbeck and Telané Greyling. She invites you to ‘Follow my footsteps’ on her journey from the Orange River, exploring the Gondwana routes through the intriguing country of Namibia.

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