Three places to view rock paintings this Heritage Month
Hot on the heels of Heritage month, the October school holidays are the perfect opportunity to take your children on a journey to see South Africa’s ancient San rock art in person. And if you’re a parent of a current, past or soon-to-be Grade 5 pupil, there couldn’t be a better time to do so, as they learn about hunter-gatherers and herders in Southern Africa; in particular, the Khoisan.
From the Drakensberg to the Cederberg, the Khoisan have left an indelible mark on our history and our landscape, with their unique rock paintings scattered across the country, says Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts. “When it comes to South Africa, there’s no shortage of local heritage, cultural landscapes and historical sites to explore and discover,” he adds.
So, if you’re in the mood to hit the road, check out these three spots to see rock paintings in South Africa:
1. The Drakensberg: There are believed to be over 40,000 rock art paintings in and around the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, making it one of the most popular destinations for seeing rock art in the country. In fact, there is one cave in the Giant’s Castle Reserve that is home to over 500 paintings alone, while the Kamberg San Rock Art Trail takes one on a tour of where rock art was first found in South Africa.
First Group’s Bushman’s Nek Berg and Trout Resort, in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, is perfectly positioned to explore the area. Located just 37 km away from Underberg, and surrounded by mountains and nature, it offers exquisite views and loads of entertainment and activities, making it an ideal destination for the whole family.
2. The Cederberg: If you’re in the Cape, Bushman’s Kloof in the Cederberg Mountains, is considered to be one of the best locations to view rock paintings with more than 2,500 documented rock paintings. Be sure to plan a trip to the !Khwa Ttu: San Culture and Education Centre in Yzerfontein as well, where you’ll be able to explore restored San cottages and, of course, the Sevilla Rock Art Trail just outside Clanwilliam too.
If you’d like to stay over, accommodation at Port Owen Marina Resort offers self-catering options in gorgeous apartments and chalets situated on the banks of the marina in Velddrif, with endless opportunities for sailing, boating, fishing and more, providing a convenient base for your holiday.
3. The Eastern Cape: On the southern end of the Drakensberg, in the remote Eastern Cape Highlands, you’ll find even more examples of San rock art. With its sweeping mountain passes and soaring sandstone cliffs, it’s no surprise that rock art is scattered throughout the landscape. From clear paintings on Dinorben farm in the Barkly Pass, to some wonderful examples of eland, birds and dogs in Buttermeade, just outside Rhodes, there is lots to see.
Why not make a road trip of your time away and spend some time on the unspoiled beaches of the Wild Coast before travelling inland towards the mountains? Located right on the beach, the secluded Hole in The Wall Hotel and Holiday Village provides access to some of the most picturesque scenery in South Africa.
“People have never needed an excuse to get away with family and friends, but since Covid, there’s been a surge in Heritage Tourism, as they set out to rediscover what South Africa has to offer and gain insight into ancient ways of life,” says Shaun, who encourages local travel. “While you’re renewing your appreciation for our beautiful country, you’re guaranteed to expand your kids’ knowledge, their respect for those who came before them and, of course, make loads of lasting memories while you’re about it,” he concludes.
For other exciting holiday destination ideas, visit www.firstgroup-sa.co.za.