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ORGAN PIPES VALLEY TWYFELFONTEIN NAMIBIA. A Geological Phenomena Similar formation to formation at Giants Causeway in Northern Island, but not damaged by sea erosion.


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Organ Pipes Valley Namibia A Geological Phenomena

Similar formation to Giants Causeway in Northern Island, but much better condition



A Dolerite Dyke with a difference: If you are visiting the Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings you will also be checking out the Burnt Mountain, so the Valley of the Organ Pipes is a must stop off and see as it's in the area. The sides of the small valley are lined with rows of dolerite columns similar to those found at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. I must comment that, these columns have not suffered erosion from the sea and are thus in better condition and situation for study and photography purposes. If you're into geology or rocks this is a must visit.


In this area about 125 million years ago the continent of Gondwana was breaking up. In many

areas of Africa molten rock pushed up through the earth's surface. The shapes that formed here

General Location Of Organ Pipes Valley

are a natural wonder and there are areas where the side walls of the dyke are collapsing and individual columns can be viewed and studied close-up. The colors of the weathered rock are quite attractive under the correct sunlight conditions.  Best time for photographs is mid morning or mid afternoon. If you're too early or too late there will be shadows cast over the

side walls.

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Organ Pipes Namibia Rock Polygons

Extruded Rock ?

Organ Pipes Namibia Direction Sign

Don't miss this sign..

Organ Pipes Namibia a section of wall of rock polygons

Valley side wall


Getting There: This is a tricky one as you can drive past it owing to it not being properly sign posted. As you drive along the D3254 you will tend to be looking for the Burnt Mountain which is on the right hand side of the road. Just before you reach the mountain on your left hand side you can see a small stone having hand painted directions to the ORELLPYPE (Organ Pipes). There is a small car park just off the D3254 road and below is the small valley of the organ pipes in which the polygonal rock columns can be viewed.

Organ Pipes Namibia view of rock polygons

Note the shapes

Organ Pipes Namibia Rock Polygons

Organ pipes galore

Organ Pipes Namibia wall of rock polygons

Valley side wall


Organ Pipes Valley Namibia: Geometry - Seen to be working:

As the molten rock pushed up through the earth's surface it began to cool from the outer edges of the intrusion - inwards. The movement of the remaining innermost magma was restricted to 'vertical movement only'. As it cooled and contracted the rock split vertically forming columns that have polygonal cross sections in accordance with geometric law. The resulting formation leaves no voids between the columns.


Polygons applicable to this type of phenomena are Triangles, Quadrilaterals and Hexagons. They can be regular or irregular polygons. In this case the sides of the neighboring columns will be of similar length and shape, and they can even be curved as can be seen in the above left photo.


One familiar example of a regular polygon being used in nature is the hexagon as  used by bees when building their honeycombs.


Acknowledgements and further reading:  G1, G2, P1

Khorixas / Twyfelfontein Area Attractions

Burnt Mountain

Petrified Forest

Entry Fees Payable


Organ Pipes


White Lady of Brandberg

 Map & Direction

Of Interest: A similar Geological Occurrence to the one in the Valley of the Organ Pipes can be seen at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.


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