Unlike India and Israel, where the spiritual quest of their visitors is primarily aimed at gaining some form of religious enlightenment, South Africa is not a nation that can boast temples, shrines and other religious sites of sufficient prominence to attract tourism of this kind. Nevertheless, a growing number of locals, as well as many overseas visitors, now choose to venture among our mountains, and into our bushveld plains and lush valleys in search of peace and the chance to get a little closer to their roots.
The Growth of Spiritual Tourism in South Africa
It is now well-established that the first hominids emerged on the African continent and that from here, over the countless millennia that followed, their descendants spread to populate every corner of the earth. The continent’s southernmost nation is now cited as the birthplace of humanity and the World Heritage Site known throughout the world as the “Cradle of Humankind” is located in South Africa’s smallest province of Gauteng. This and many similar sites, where the evidence of mankind’s earliest activities is to be seen, have grown to gain a status similar to that of religious shrines in the eyes of the modern spiritual tourist.
The country has numerous archaeological sites at which the signs of our earliest ancestors and their activities are evident. Skeletal remains, artefacts and the ruins of ancient structures are to be found throughout the nine provinces. While the latter provide evidence of practical advancements, early humans also engaged in cultural pursuits, and the evidence for this is plain for all to see and admire in the form of ancient rock art. From the tip of the fairest cape to the tropic of Capricorn, examples of this fascinating art form are to be found, but nowhere do they occur more abundantly than in the northernmost province of South Africa.
Limpopo has grown to become a focus of spiritual tourism. In addition to its natural beauty and abundant wildlife, it is also a region in which more than 200 rock art sites have been discovered. While most of these are the work of either the Khoikhoi or San tribes, on Limpopo’s Makgabeng Plateau, there is one site that is quite unique. Not only are the works of both bushmen tribes seen together here, but these are accompanied by the much later renderings of the local Hananwa people. Interestingly, their works are thought to be the earliest known example of protest art in South Africa and depict the forced removal of a local chief by government troops.
It’s not hard to understand why this plateau, in the shadow of the magnificent Blouberg Mountains, with its abundant flora and fauna and iconic rock art sites, has become such a popular spiritual tourism destination. However, to explore it thoroughly and experience all of its wonders takes time, and it is important to have a base from which to plan and embark on your explorations. More than a basecamp, our Makgabeng Farm Lodge offers travellers a convenient location on the doorstep of the plateau and accommodation fit for royalty.
Offering air-conditioned rooms with en-suite bathrooms, fridge, tea & coffee stations, DStv and internet access, topped off with gourmet dining and a sparkling pool, it’s the perfect starting point for an exceptional spiritual tourism experience in South Africa.