This question has a variety of answers. But first we need to ask another question, is the forest really petrified?
In this case, unfortunately, it is not. That does not make this site any less interesting though. Way back, in the 1940’s the forest was discovered by two farmers. And after just ten years, it was declared a national monument.
As I already mentioned above, this is unfortunately not a forest that eventually turned to stone. However, visitors will find a collection of enormous fossilized tree trucks that can be dated back 280 million years!
This is about the time that the next questions pops to mind…where did the trees come from? Because scientist have found that the trunks in the area come from trees that no longer grow in Namibia.
Since then, it has been established that these tree trunks washed down a river in prehistoric times when one of the many Ice Ages ended on the Gondwana super continent. It is believed that it must have been a massive flood that carried the giant trees to where they lie today.
So, with all the flooding the trees were buried rather deeply. That is until erosion brought the trees back to the surface. Because of this, there are at least two trees that are fully exposed that measure up to 45m in length.
Unfortunately, these giant trunks broke into various smaller chunks of about two metres each. Scientist dove into study and found that the ancient remnants belong the Cordaites tree family.
This kind of tree used to grow in the region that is now known as Europe. And they were the ancestors of the tree that are, today, known as firs and spruces.
Where can you find this fossilized forest? Just a short 50km outside of Khorixas in northwestern Namibia. Accommodation in the area is abundant, however, a great base to travel from is Damara Mopane Lodge.
To get into the National Park – in which the Petrified Forest can be found – a small entrance fee will need to be paid, but it is only around N$20 per person.
Another unique and interesting sight to add to your Namibian tour.
A few do’s and do not’s when visiting the Petrified Forest:
- Do not litter
- Do not remove anything from the forest
- Do not damage anything in the park
- Do take lots of pictures
- Do have fun
- Do enjoy the scenery
If you have visited the Petrified Forest or have additional information, we invite you to share your thoughts 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.