Savor a glimpse into the lives of some of the continent's earliest inhabitants - the San.
Across Southern Africa – particularly in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana – you will find ample traces of the San or ‘Bushmen’, the indigenous habitants of this part of the world. Over the centuries, they’ve painted and carved their myths and histories in the shelters of mountains and deserts where they hunted and gathered for survival. Excitingly, many of these sites are accessible to the public.
The top rock art sites in South Africa are located in the Drakensberg and Cederberg areas. Naturally, the best-preserved rock art sites are those that are not as accessible. Sites like the Main Caves at Giant’s Castle – a mere 30-minute walk to reach – have been badly damaged due to exposure to the elements and thoughtless tourists. Travelers who are willing to venture further and take on some hardier treks will be duly rewarded, like at Game Pass Shelter in the Kamberg Nature Reserve. This famous Drakensberg site is known as the ‘Rosetta stone’ of rock art, as it provided a great deal of insight for archaeologists.
The Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in South Africa’s Western Cape province is littered with well-preserved rock art sites – more than 130 – which are only for the eyes of guests to its exclusive lodgings. This property in the Cederberg region is ideal for rock art enthusiasts, employing experts on the subject matter and boasting a very informative heritage center.
In Namibia, you’ll undoubtedly be bowled over by the sheer amount and fine conditions of the engravings at Twyfelfontein. Tucked away in the remote Damaraland region, Twyfelfontein is home to more than 2 500 petroglyphs and an additional 13 rock painting sites. This really is one of the most rewarding locations on the continent to immerse yourself in the unique artwork of the San.
Then there is Tsodilo Hills in Botswana – the site of more than 4500 rock paintings, representing thousands of years of human habitation. The hills (designated as Child Hill, Female Hill and Male Hill) are believed to have been sacred to the San as a resting place for spirits and gods. Today, Tsodilo is still held sacred by the locals, which makes a visit to this unique outpost all the more memorable.
South Africa boasts a wide range of private reserves and national parks.
Botswana is the top choice for water-based safari activities.
Namibia's wilderness areas are vast and surprisingly full of wildlife.
Zambia's top safari areas are parks like Kafue & Lower Zambezi.
Zimbabwe safaris offer exposure to true wilderness areas like Mana Pools.
Mozambique is ideal for ocean safaris and a leisurely holiday.