The commanding flat-topped mountains which define the Etendeka Plateau have an exciting history. They originate from an enormous basalt flow which emanated around 132 million years ago from what may be the largest volcanic eruption ever known on Earth. It had a volume in excess of 10,000,000 km3 (2km thick in places), spreading over parts of what are now Namibia, Angola, Brazil and Argentina, just prior to the breaking away of Southern Africa from South America. Also known as the Paraná-Etendeka Traps, this means the mountains seen in Paraná, Brazil are made of exactly the same rock as those in Namibia’s Etendeka Plateau. That catastrophic event occurred around 10 million years before the mass extinctions at the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary when 37% of marine genera including ammonites, corals and bivalves vanished.
The Etendeka Plateau, eroded over time yet still almost 900m deep in places, makes for a stunning wilderness concession of 40,000 hectares. Views from the Grootberg Mountain over the flat-topped mountains and valleys are outstanding, and the Etendeka region is fantastic for nature walks and horse riding, and for immersion in the fascinating geology of the area. Oryx, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, kudu, klipspringer and black eagle may be seen, and It is possible to track desert adapted elephants and black rhinos as well as visit local Himba villages should they be resident in the area at the time of your visit (Himba are semi-nomadic so might not be there).