NAMIBIA: Lonely Stone Men of Kaokoland


Each figure has an aluminum disc attached to it, with a number and a message as to where it is going. Although a sculpture numbered 27 has been seen (and I won’t divulge its whereabouts), only some of these Lone Men have been found so far. One person claims to have found another five, but won’t say anything else.

The sculptures have been spotted along the road on the routes between Puros in the south, Van Zyl’s Pass in the east, Otjinungua in the north and the Skeleton Coast Park in the west
These Lone Men are gaining cult or celebrity status (well, by Kaokoland standards, that is). 
For some it’s become an exciting treasure hunt (a bit like geocaching without the GPS, which would obviously spoil all the fun!), while others want to include them in their trip around western Kaokoland or plan their itinerary around them.
They are referred to as pieces of art in an open-air art gallery where the visitor has to alight from his vehicle and enter the gallery to experience them properly. There is no doubt that the creator of the Lone Men is an artist, and a sensitive one at that. He (or she) has created form and character with scant material, keeping the sculptures natural and authentic. The artist also appears to be environmentally aware and has not littered the landscape with sculptural clutter. The Lone Men are rather unobtrusively dotted through a vast area, simply-made and subtly placed.

As far as the locals are concerned, it is said that the Himba are completely unperturbed by the appearance or presence of the stone figures.

Legends and tales are now being generated, as happens with all great secrets, and are starting to float on the breeze. Rumour has it that the stone sculptures were once men whose love for the land was so great that they were transformed to stone and destined to be part of the unforgettable landscape forever. Maybe…

When you find some of these figures, please don’t log them on your GPS.
After all, the delight, intrigue and allure of a good mystery is that it is never solved. Not so?
Text: Ron Swilling

NAMIBIA : Map of Kaokoland