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Striking poses – the Stonemen of Kaokoland

If you’ve visited Namibia’s Kaokoland you may have been lucky enough to meet some rather unusual travellers along the way. The Stone men of Kaokoland have been spotted between the Skeleton Coast, Otjinungua, Van Zyl’s Pass and Puros.

Stonemen of the Kaokoland

Kunene area of Namibia

The Kaokoland is  in the Kunene Region, a remote and  pretty much undiscovered area of Namibia. One of Africa’s last remaining true wildernesses. This mysterious desert is often referred to as the “wild west”.  So it’s usually only visited by seasoned explorers and travellers, prepared to go beyond the obvious. And by doing so can reap the rewards, and we’re not just talking about wildlife.

Yes, this remote area is home to the beautiful Himba people, the fossil like welwitschia plant and desert adapted lions, elephants and rhino. But it’s the extraordinary sight of lonesome travellers we’re talking about.

Stonemen of Kaokoland – life size rock sculptures

These sculptures are life size and are made from local rock so blend in with the landscape which surrounds. No one appears to know who is responsible for these incredible works of art. But whoever designed and constructed the models must be passionate about the environment, leaving no trace of debris along the way. Each figure holds a different pose: one overlooks a valley as though taking in the views; one sits on a hill top. There are a couple which appear to be strolling across the plains: one carries a stick with a bundle on the end and another is mid stride across the stony terrain.

Stonemen of the Kaokoland

Each of the lonely men has a number and a message etched onto an aluminium disc which states where the sculpture is heading. We understand that although lone man number 27 has been spotted – not all 27 figures have actually been found to date.

Legends and tales

No one knows who made these striking sculptures. But rumours have it that “The Lonely Stonemen of Kaokoland” once lived and worked on the land where the figures stand and miraculously turned to stone to become part of this incredible landscape for eternity.

As for the locals, the Himba people are said to be “completely unperturbed by the stone figures”.

Keep a look out for the Stonemen of Kaokoland

So if you’ve passed through the Kunene region on your travels, and have spotted a figure in the distance – please let us know. You don’t need to tell us the location (let’s keep it a surprise for others) but we’d love to see any photos you have and the number of the figure.


(Images courtesy of Kuiseb Delta Adventures/Ron Swilling/Travel News Namibia Magazine)

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