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Petrified Forest

Damaraland | Namibia

The Petrified Forest exists in an old river channel and is described as 'an occurrence of fossilized trees'. It lies 42km west of the small town of Khorixas in the Kunene Region (previously Damaraland) and this prehistoric relic comprises of 'clearly identifiable enormous fossilized tree trunks'.

The title Petrified Forest is a bit of a misnomer. It is neither a forest in the true sense of the word and neither did any of the trees 'turn to stone'. In prehistoric times huge tree trunks were washed down a river and deposited in alluvial sands. As they were isolated from any air, a process known as diagenesis took place and as a result sand that came under pressure through sedimentation turned into sandstone. The tree trunks then underwent another process known as silicification which causes liquids that seep into the wood causes the organic materials of the wood to dissolve and be replaced by silicic acid, fossilizing the wood by transforming it into stone.

This an extremely slow process and the end product is called 'wooden opal' as only the inner parts of the tree trunks became petrified, and an exact replica of every cell of each tree trunk was created. The petrified wood dates back to the Permian period, and about 200,000 years has passed since they first were washed down the ancient rivers.

Erosion has exposed many of the logs that can be seen today and many broken pieced were left lying around in an area of about 65ha. There are at least 2 fully exposed trees that measure up to 45m, even though the trunks are broken into chunks of about 2m.

Officially the Petrified Forest is situated 'on a small sandstone plateau, in extent some 731x272m, or around 20ha in the valley of the Anabib River, 40 miles south-west of Fransfontein in the district of Outjo'. It can be reached by vehicle on the road west between Khorixas and Twyfelfontein.

The Petrified Forest was proclaimed a national monument on 1st March 1950.

Bambatsi Lodge

This small lodge is located between Outjo and Khorixas - it was one of the first guest farms opened in Namibia

Brandberg Rest Camp

Situated in the tiny town of Uis, this lodge acts as a gateway to the Brandberg Mountain and other parts of the Erongo Region. The owner, Basil, is a bastion of the local community and a font of knowledge on the area

Brandberg White Lady Lodge

We are absolutely convinced that this is where Nelly the Elephant decided to live, after deciding to run away from the circus! A bit run down - but in an excellent location

Camp Kipwe

Small private lodge consisting of thatched domed bungalows scattered amongst large granite boulders. It is well situated near Twyfelfontein and several other major Damaraland attractions

Damaraland Camp

This camp was started by Wilderness Safaris and is now managed by the local community. Expect luxury, desert elephants and rhino

Damara Mopane Lodge

Named after the abundant Mopane Trees found in the area, Damara Mopane Lodge is part of a well established lodge group, known for quality lodges at reasonable prices. Only 20km from Khorixas and within driving distance of the highlights of the area

Doro Nawas

A good quality lodge located close to the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. Excursions to the engravings and in search of desert adapted elephant are available

iGowati Lodge

Situated in the town of Khorixas, this lodge may not have the most scenic setting but offers reasonable accommodation at good prices

Khorixas Rest Camp

A fairly basic establishment just outside the town of Khorixas

Madisa Camp

Private campsites in a beautiful setting

Mowani Mountain Camp

One of the most luxurious lodges in the area - accommodation is in luxury tents or more 'solid' suites.

Twyfelfontein Country Lodge

As the name implies this is situated close to the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. A good quality lodge with reasonable rates.

Ugab Terrace Lodge

Close to the Vingerklip rock formation and offering exciting views of the Ugab Plains

Vingerklip Lodge

The Vingerklip is a 35m high finger like rock structure - this popular and well equipped lodge has two swimming pools and apart from being close to Vingerklip is in close proximity to Twyfelfontein, Burnt Mountain, Petrified Forest and other wonders of Damaraland

Safaris in Namibia