Though not a technical ascent – unless you want it to be – climbing the Brandberg is not a light undertaking, given the heat, the need to carry food and water, and the tiring nature of constant boulder scrambling, but it’s an unforgettable experience: the chance to sleep out under the stars, peer at some stunningly vivid rock art that few people have seen in modern times, and truly feel on top of the world. However, you need to acquire a permit and hire a guide from the Heritage Council in Windhoek – an attempt by government to regulate visitors and protect the rock art and the area’s outstanding biodiversity – which includes a high number of scorpion species. Fortunately the guiding is excellent, undertaken by a member of the highly trained local conservancy guide association. The usual trip starts from Uis, the down-at-heel former tin-mining town 30km southeast of the Brandberg, lasts three days, and you’ll need to carry your food – enough for the guide too – as well as water and a sleeping bag. The first day, the most arduous, you hike and scramble up the mountain (6–8hr); the second day is spent exploring rock art sites and soaking up the jaw-dropping views, before descending again on the third. Ascents of Königstein can also be organized. If you want to avoid the organizational hassle, some of the tour operators in Windhoek and Swakop also organize the trip

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