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The Brandberg is Namibia's highest mountain. It is situated in the Erongo region of Namibia.


Brandberg West Mine

Get in[edit]

About halfway between Hentiesbaai and Khorixas on the C35 lies the small settlement of Uis, the gateway to the Brandberg. Turn westwards onto the D2342 to reach the southern and western Brandberg, or onto the D2359 to reach the location of the White Lady rock painting and eastern Brandberg.

Get around[edit]

Map of Brandberg


  • 1 White Lady rock paintings. A famous rock painting of at least 2,000 years ago. Despite its name, what is depicted is a male shaman, not a woman. You can buy the permit from the National Heritage Council, 52 Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, or at the Brandberg Rest Camp in Uis. There are other rock paintings and engravings in the vicinity, in the White Giraffe cave and at the Jochman. Both locations are included in the permit. From the parking area, the White Lady is reachable on foot, a circa 45 minutes hike. A guide is compulsory. You must leave your drinks behind because tourists in the past poured water or coke over the painting to improve the contrast to take pictures. Namibians / SADC citizens / International visitors / Disabled: 80N$ / 100N$ / 270N$ / 60N$. The White Lady (Q263097) on Wikidata The White Lady (Namibia) on Wikipedia
  • 2 Brandberg west rock formations. One of the places in the area, where a deep-water system is well exposed. The lack of cover results in many kilometers long outcrops of sections of rock. Part of Zerrissene Turbidite System. (Q31838937) on Wikidata, where tin and tungsten were mined.


  • 1 Climbing the Königstein. Three-day hike, the Königstein is the highest point of the massif, ascending it is serious climbing. You need a permit from the National Heritage Council, 52 Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, or at the Brandberg Rest Camp in Uis. Namibians / SADC citizens / International visitors / Disabled: 1,200N$ / 1,500N$ / 2,400N$ / 500N$. If you need a guide then that fee comes extra. Königstein (Q1796472) on Wikidata
  • Hiking in the Brandberg gorges. You can buy the permit from the National Heritage Council, 52 Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, or at the Brandberg Rest Camp in Uis. Namibians / SADC citizens / International visitors / Disabled: 400N$ / 450N$ / 700N$ / 300N$.
  • There are several off-roading opportunities near the Brandberg:
    • One track leads completely around it. It is scenic, easy to drive and easy to navigate—just stay at the foot of the massif—but don't underestimate the distance. Once around the Brandberg is about 125 km, and at 10-15 km/h... you do the math. Part of the track goes through the Ugab River and might not be passable, as there are many water ponds, but there is always an alternative track outside the river bed. Apart from the Ugab River bed there are no narrow passages, so all-terrain trucks can attempt it, too. You may camp for free along the track, but not in the gorges of the mountain. If you stop to take a hike in the gorges you need a permit, see above.
    • D 2303 This district road leads from the old mine at Brandberg West to Twyfelfontein. Travel by sedan is not possible, even though the northern part of the 75-km track does not look very challenging. There are sandy patches, the Aba Huab River is to be crossed, and closer to the mine the track becomes steep and rocky. GPS is essential, as there are almost no signs and many crossing paths. Medium difficulty. Suitable for trucks.
    • Several other tracks criss-cross the area and lead to the Doros Crater, the Messum Crater, through stretches called Desolation Valley and the Divorce Pass, various fountains, rock formations, and ephemeral rivers. They are all more or less manageable. Expect rocky ascends at rock formations and deep sand in river beds and river crossings.


  • 1 Uis features a petrol station and a surprisingly well-equipped supermarket. There are no other amenities in the area.
  • All roads around the Brandberg have stalls for semi-precious stones, collected from informal mines in the area. If you want buy anything of value, consider that without a permit you may not export these stones. Custom officials will, however, rarely confiscate minor items bought for a few dollars. By the way, a half-hour walk in the area will give you the opportunity to see quite a few beautiful stones, although, picking them up is illegal.


There are several eateries, including a restaurant, in Uis. Elsewhere you need to prepare your own food.



  • 1 Brandberg White Lady Lodge (Drive north from Uis towards Khorixas, then turn left where the White Lady is signposted. After about 10 km the place is signposted to the right). Well-maintained and scenic camp on the bank the Ugab River with a nice view of the Brandberg. Chalets and the very spacious campsite are situated under old trees that give a lot of shade. Hot and cold water, the reception has a bar and a pool, and two tame meerkats for entertainment. No electricity at the camp site but the receptionist has no problem with hoards of people charging their equipment there, including fully-sized camping fridges and mega-powerbanks. Very friendly and accommodating staff. At night, a Khoekhoe cultural group sings and dances for guests (also on the camp site) in exchange for a tip. Access is possible, albeit challenging, in a sedan; all further driving requires a 4x4. The Ugab is home to desert elephants which occasionally pass by closely. Camping 220 N$ pppn plus 55 N$ once-off for the car. Children free. 1 free Wi-Fi voucher holding 500MB, further vouchers 50 N$. Light meals 40-100 N$, pizza 150, burger 125. Set dinner, pre-booking required. Beer from the tap 35 N$, Rock Shandy 50. Guided self-drive 4x4 tours in Polaris all-terrain vehicles, 2.100 N$ per car (2018).
  • 2 Brandberg Rest Camp (In the centre of Uis). The building is the former casino of the mine and does exhibit some colonial charm. Rooms and campsite, bar, restaurant, pool billiard and table tennis. The huge pool alone is a reason to stop over (day visitors allowed) but it is closed for renovation (Dec 2018). The campsite has trees but very little shade. Ice-cold beer from tap 25 N$.
  • 3 Ugab Base Camp (Situated right off the D 2303, and right on the Ugab river bank. Only accessible by 4x4). Very basic camp site with long-drop toilets, cold shower, and firewood for sale, all else needs to be brought along. Only two or three of the camping spots are nice, but the place is very remote and inaccessible and therefore rarely crowded. Unfortunately not maintained and at the brink of falling apart. Not for the faint-hearted, as you can hear predators howling at night, and the Ugab River elephants, if they pass the spot, used to walk right through the camp site. As of 2023, the unkempt dogs of the local workers keep all wildlife at bay. While this might be the idea from the point of view of the people living here, it isn't ideal for nature-loving tourists. Camping is available for free; the camp is run and sponsored by the Save-The-Rhino-Trust. However, guests are required to report to the reception where a donation to the Trust is solicited. Maybe more of a tax trick than generosity? Anyway, you pay what you wish.


Except in Uis you will not have cell phone connection. Guides to the Brandberg will carry a satellite phone for emergencies, and so should you if you do not hire a guide.

Stay safe[edit]

The Ugab riverbed is inhabited by desert elephants. If you are driving through it, remember that the area is theirs, not yours. They certainly know it. Don't drive too close towards a herd of elephants. 10-15 m is close enough for good holiday pictures and will normally not put your party in danger. Otherwise, the younger ones might play with your car, the older ones might get angry, either way your car might end upside down. You'll know that an elephant is angry when it shakes its head. In this case, stay in the car, switch off the engine, and avoid all unnatural noise (cell phone, camera, such things). They will eventually walk away; wait for this to happen instead of trying a daring escape.

The 4x4 tracks in the area are famous but not well-travelled. Some time ago, a tourist couple died of thirst here after a car breakdown, tragically within 5 km of a farm house. If travelling off-road here you must have a Plan B. This can be, ideally a combination of, a good map and GPS, a second party of travellers with their own car, several weeks' supplies of food and water, a satellite phone, clear instructions where you will drive and when people should start looking for you.

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