White Lady, Brandberg © Judith Duk
The Brandberg massif is famous for its thousands of rock paintings and engravings, most notably the 'White Lady', which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old. Guides accompany visitors on an hour-long walk to the Tsisab Ravine where the famous painting is located on an overhang under a shelter, surrounded by a variety of painted animal forms. Although faded over the years, the trip to see it is well worth the effort. Contrary to early belief, the painting is not actually of a white lady, but is the image of a male, the white colour of the body representing body paint, which suggests it is a medicine man. Since it was discovered in 1955, there has been a great deal of controversy over the meaning and origin of the painting.
The mountain is a sacred place for the San tribes in the region. Brandberg's highest peak is Königstein, and at 8,550 feet (2,606m), it is the highest mountain in Namibia, reachable on organised hikes which take about three days and follow various routes ranging in difficulty and length. The area is wild and unspoiled, largely uninhabited by people, but home to a number of desert animals including elephants and rhinos. The landscape is extremely arid and beautiful in a barren, intimidating way.