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TWYFELFONTEIN BUSHMAN ROCK ENGRAVINGS NAMIBIA. The single largest collection of Bushman rock engravings on the African Continent.


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Twyfelfontein Bushman Rock Engravings Namibia - The Site

The single largest collection of Bushmen rock engravings on the African continent.




Is not a town, but the name of a place. There are no fuel facilities or shops. It's quite remote, so be sure to be well supplied before setting off on your journey there. On route to the site you will pass by some impressive rock formations that are of the Damara Granites - some 560 million years old. After you cross the Aba-Huab River you will notice the shape and color of the mountains change to having flat tops and deep red color. These rocks are of a much younger age being about 180 million years old, from a time when this area was covered with layers of sand and sediments to a great depth. The later dry period brought desert conditions. The red cliffs are petrified sand. Ongoing erosion over the millions of years has caused great blocks to

break away from the main body of rock and tumble down the face. Many of these fractured along the natural fissures revealing an almost perfectly flat surface that provided an ideal working surface for the busmen artist that once made this their dwelling place.


Kunene Region
2035'S - 1422'E
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Namibia National Heritage Plaque


A National Heritage Site

Twyfelfontein Sand Stone Rock Face

Section of the sand-stone rock-face

Twyfelfontein View From Rock Shelf Where Bushman Engravings Are

View from the sand-stone shelf


It is on the sandstone rocks behind this abandoned farm house where the Twyfelfontein etchings and paintings can be seen. Reinhardt Maack, The discoverer of the White Lady Of Brandberg painting, visited this area in 1921 and reported having seen Rock Engravings, but the discovery is accredited to Mr. D. Levin who purchased this area for farming in 1947. Levin also re-discovered the natural water spring that he named the Twyfelfontein  (Afrikaans) meaning 'doubtful spring'.  The farm was abandoned in the 1967. The spring and Levin's water pump can still be seen.


The archeological digs have uncovered a variety of stone tools etc and plenty of Dassie (rock hyrax) bones. The Bushmen who once lived in this cave on the rock shelf had an excellent panoramic view over the valley. They would have spotted game and any potential visitors afar.


Tours Of The Site With Guide Only

My guide Johannes

Twyfelfontein The "Doubtful Fountain"

The Doubtful Fountain

Farmer Levin's water pump

Farmer Levin's pump

Bushman Cave ancient dwelling place

Bushman's cave

Panoramic view from the cave

A cave with a view


Access to the engravings and painting has recently been improved by the building of steps up the rock face and the addition of raised steel viewing platforms. It's now much easier to get good photographs if the sun glare off the rock faces is not too bright. Timing is important if you want good photographs. In the morning many of the engravings are in shadow, but good and detailed photos can be taken. In the afternoon the sun reflects from some of the engravings and contrasts are difficult.


Mid-day temperatures in the Twyfelfontein area, especially in summer months can be quiet uncomfortable. Wear sun-block and carry some water with you. It's a thirsty tour.


On your tour you should take notice of some of the impressive rock formations that have been formed by wind erosion and temperature weathering. The below right photo shows that over thousands of years the surface wind blown sands have eroded away the base giving it the name ' The Mushroom '.


Twyfelfontein wind etched rock shapes Twyfelfontein wind etched rock known as the "Mushroom" Twyfelfontein wind etched rock referred to as an Eagle's Head and Beak Twyfelfontein erosion of Etjo Sandstone Twyfelfontein erosion of sand stone

Some of the shapes challenge the mind as to how many years, and how many tons of wind blown sand were involved in the natural etching of the wave rock and some of the other larger formations at Twyfelfontein.


There are places where you can see how the desert winds have blasted holes through the sandstone blocks. On others deep grooves have been cut along the sides of the blocks. Further erosion of this nature has caused them to break away from the cliff face and tumble down. Their flat, smooth surfaces providing an ideal workface for the ancient Bushmen artists.


Acknowledgements and further reading:  GV1, GV4, H12, R6, R7, P1, W12


  Twfelfontein 2 - The Engravings

The site is operated under the supervision of the National Heritage Council of Namibia and trained local guides will take you around the site also showing you the points of interest. 

Khorixas / Twyfelfontein Area Attractions

Burnt Mountain

Petrified Forest

Entry Fees Payable


Organ Pipes


White Lady of Brandberg

 Map & Direction


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