Our history and relics of the past are subjects that many locals and international visitors, who are drawn to our country, find totally fascinating. Much of the evidence of that past is to be found deep under the ground in the form of the fossil remains, painstakingly excavated and exhibited in museums by archaeologists. Much of the nation’s more recent past, however, is to be found in plain sight, painted upon or chiselled into the walls of ancient cave dwellings or rendered on the exposed faces of many of the nation’s cliffs and mountains. Rock art, as it is known, is to be found all over South Africa and provides the new and growing breed of cultural tourists with a wide choice of possible destinations at which to savour it.
Rock Art Destinations South Africa
From the southernmost tip of the country in the Western Cape, to its most northerly province, straddled by the tropic of Capricorn, there is a wealth of these fascinating artistic renderings to be found and enjoyed. Although it was the San and Khoikhoi bushman tribes who once dominated the country and who are responsible for the nationwide proliferation of these sites, some sites have also accumulated more recent additions by later artists still living in the areas nearby.
While many of these works appear to depict the everyday activities of the people, such as hunting local game, others are associated with their beliefs and are thought to have played a central role in various religious ceremonies. Regardless of its purpose, each year, the lure of rock art continues to attract many thousands of visitors to various destinations across South Africa.
In terms of both quality and quantity, there is little doubt that it is the province of Limpopo which has most to offer, with more than 300 such sites to be explored. Here too, enthusiasts will find the only site in the country where the visitor is able to view the works of the two now largely departed bushman tribes, alongside those rendered, in the nineteenth century by local Sotho-speaking Hananwa artists whose descendants still inhabit the region today.
Not far from the town of Bochum, and nestled between the Blouberg Mountains and the ochre cliffs that are typical of the area, lies the world-famous Makgabeng Plateau. Teaming with wildlife and home to some of the very best examples of rock art to be found at any destination in South Africa, it also boasts the rather useful combination of our well-appointed lodge and a rustic campsite. From this popular venue, visitors to the region are conveniently situated to savour the region’s abundant flora and fauna or, of course, the native artwork. They may do so, either under their own steam, or accompanied by an experienced local guide, while enjoying one of several fascinating tours that offers a more relaxed alternative to those who book their accommodation at our Makgabeng Farm Lodge.
The plateau is a malaria-free area, so ideal for campers and the lodge’s campsite with its platforms for tents and lapa for cooking and ablutions is close to the best rock art destinations in South Africa. Of course, en-suite bathrooms, DStv and air conditioning in one of our thatched chalets or farm suites at the main lodge premises, offer a tempting alternative.