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Musical Stone

Bethanie | Namibia

Another relic of Namibian history is 'The Musical Stone' on the farm Rooipunt, situated in the (magisterial) district of Bethanië in the Karas Region. The farm is 100km south of the town of Bethanië itself. The stone itself is located south of the river on which the farmhouse is built. From the farmhouse road, visitors can follow the track next to the southern bank of the river. The road leading there is not maintained though and is not accessible by vehicle. As it is on private land, the owners permission has to be obtained before you proceed. Not far away is a large dolomite rock.

This easily identifiable landmark is known as 'The Musical Stone'. It is so called because of a series of lighter spots formed, especially around the top piece of rock, caused by it being repeatedly being hit by smaller rocks. A loud ringing sound is clearly audible once the rock has been hit with a large stone. Because the holes are of a different size, they emit a different pitch. A second 'Musical Stone' lies next to the larger one, but has been played less. Behind the stone-age musical instrument, a rock surface has been cleared, more than likely used as a dance floor.

The musically-minded might like to take time out from their safari in Namibia to visit this rather unusual site and try out one of their favourite ditties. Various grooves have been hollowed out on the 'sounding spots' and potential Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble lovers, can play out a tune even today.

There are only a few instances of ''Musical Stones' known in Namibia. Others can be found on Aar Farm in the south and in the Omaruru district. Scherz has also a designated 'Musical Stone' on Farm Schönfeld (now Immenhof). There are some more near Kimberley in South Africa. A quirky local tradition is for those on honeymoon in Namibia to get naked and then play their wedding song on the Musical Stone, this is reputed to bring good luck and an abundance of cattle to your herd.

In addition to the 'Musical Stone' there are a number of rock engravings adorning the slabs of rock around the main attraction. They enjoy protection in terms of the National Monuments Act, even though they have not been proclaimed a national monument. This 'Musical Stone' was proclaimed a national monument on 15th August 1963.

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