Have you ever danced the Nama Stap in Namibia?

The majority of Nama people live in the Karasburg / !Karas and Hardap regions of Namibia, referring to it as the ‘suide’ (south).

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You will find the regions on your way to the Canyon Roadhouse, Canyon Village and Canyon Lodge.

Canyon Village – Rights to Tanya Meyer

Their ancestors lived as nomads, hunter-gatherers and pastoral herders breeding cattle, goats and sheep. Some of the different Nama clans include; Red nation, Bondelswarts, Southern Topnaars, Northern Topnaars, Fransman Nama, Veldschoendragers, Groot Doden, Swartbooi Nama and Keetmanshoop Nama.

Canyon Village – Rights Tanya Meyer

The linguistic roots are closely related to the San people, speaking with distinctive click sounds. In addition, they are naturally talented in dance and music.

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The Nama Stap (Nama Step) is known as Nama and Riel dancing. This dance is an important symbol to the Nama identity and is performed during social gatherings. I remember the times my neighbours were dancing the Nama Stap as part of a wedding celebration.

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Occasionally there was a live band, which definitely added to the celebration atmosphere. My brothers, friends and I eagerly joined in, trying to mimic the unique movements precisely. As we all agreed it was better to be part of the fun then standing on the side-line.

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The dance involves forward and backward movements through space, whilst feet maintain a close proximity.

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The feet then move away from a central axis, rather than lifting from the floor, and sliding movement should be maintained to the floor. The legs should never be stretched beyond neutral to ensure only small steps are taken when dancing with someone and the distance moved about.

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One’s chest should be upright and maintained by a light springy movement in the pelvis. The chest would then respond to the movements of other body parts. In a counter balance motion the chest then turns on and off its central axis.

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The arms follow in a passive manner and develop a swing in response to the chest. People would slide step past each other and step in one place as they dance.

Namibian Nama Dancers – Rights to Northern Cape Tourism

It is a very inclusive and fun dance.

If you have danced or like this dance, we invite you to share your information in the comment section below.

Author –  I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.

 

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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?

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.

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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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Where is the Quiver Tree Forest in Namibia?

Linking nicely with last week’s Giant Playground…the Quiver Tree Forest is a great tourist attraction in Namibia. Located just north-east of Keetmanshoop, this attraction can be found nice and close to the playground.

Rights to Joachim Huber/Flickr

Rights to Joachim Huber/Flickr

Please remember that this is no storybook forest, however it is still quite a sight to see. Around about 250 quiver trees can be found in this area. Scientifically named Aloe dichotoma, this unique tree has a funny story behind its name.

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Rights to Amusing planet

The San people who used to populate the area, once used the branches from these trees to make their quivers. The tree was named by Simon van der Stel in 1685, after he heard the story about the quivers.

The forest grew spontaneously and the oldest trees are estimated to be around two to three centuries old. This African forest was declared a National Monument on 1 June 1995.

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Rights to mezzotint.de

Something that makes this tree very interesting as well, is the fact that it looks like they grow upside down. This is because of the leaves that look very much like roots. It is also believed that these trees have a ‘holy’ status in some local religions.

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Rights to Info Namibia

These unusual-looking trees can reach heights anywhere between three and nine metres and only bloom once they are between 20 and 30 years old. Quiver trees are endemic to the Nama Karoo in the south of Namibia and along the Great Escarpment in the west.

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Rights to Pinterest

They have successfully adapted to the fluctuating annual rainfall in these areas, and commonly occur on the slopes or tops of hills and scattered across rocky plains.

The tree’s stem and branches consist of a spongy fibre that can store large quantities of water over long periods of time. Their leaves have a smooth and waxy surface that prevents moisture from evaporating.

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Rights to Pinterest

A vertical stem protects the tree from direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day and the yellowish bark and thin layer of white powder on the branches reflect most of the sunlight away from the tree.

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Rights to mitchellkrog.com

The rough and scaly bark is thought to be an additional and remarkable internal cooling adaptation to cope with the harsh surroundings.

Quiver trees were declared to be endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 2010.

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Rights to Outdoor photographer

This is mostly due to climate change and the increasing heat and decreasing rainfall in southern Namibia. The trees grow in generations, with each generation potentially reaching between 100 and 120 years.

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Rights to Fourcorners Photography

The younger trees however need to get sufficient water for several consecutive years for them to mature successfully. With the long drought that has plagued the region, there has been little opportunity for young trees to reach maturity.

Subsequently, as the older trees are dying out and with younger trees not growing optimally, their numbers have decreased.

Image Pinterest

Rights to Pinterest

But we hope to keep this from happening! When you find yourself in that part of the country again, make a point of checking out the Quiver Tree Forest and enjoy the sight of hundreds of trees growing ‘upside down’.

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Rights to 1photo1day.com

If you would like to go visit the Quiver Tree Forest , you can start by heading north-east for about 14km from Keetmanshoop. It will cost you about N$50.00 per person for admissions for the day.

Keetmanshop in Namibia - www.namibiabookings.com

Keetmanshop in Namibia –
www.namibiabookings.com

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Rights to www.namibia.org

The best time to enjoy this sight is during the winter months when it is not as hot. The Gondwana Canyon properties are a fantastic base camp to use when viewing the surrounding areas.

If you have any stories or information of the Quiver Trees and Forest, please share them with us 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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