Guest Comments: "Our group members were not strangers to rock art. However, we were overawed by the richness of the Bushman art in the high southern Drakensberg. Dawn's informed and sensitive comments opened our minds to what we were seeing and experiencing. The paintings are beautifully executed, the detail is remarkable and the content challenges interpretation." S A Archaeological Society, Western & Southern Cape branch.
The Eastern Cape Drakensberg in South Africa was once home to the San, whose rock paintings are found throughout these ancient mountains. The rock art of this region is rated as some of the best in the world, the San being the first people of South Africa and especially this area. Experience well-preserved paintings in this truly unique and dynamic landscape guided by a local expert who will give you a deeper appreciation of the complexity of this fascinating and sacred art.
Day 1: Denorbin and arrival. We meet in the afternoon at Denorbin Farm just above the spectacular Barkly Pass. Denorbin's site is a very large sandstone overhang with many fine-line hunter-gatherer paintings. Subject matter includes female rhebok, large eland, ritual specialists, serpents, dancing figures, as well as circle imprints believed to be made by Xhosa women drying dung on the rock surface. From Denorbin we will continue onwards to your accommodation at cosy Millard Mountain Lodge, situated on a working farm in a stunningly beautiful valley.
Day 2: Wartrail Area. Today we travel to three sites in the Wartrail area selected to represent key areas of understanding that have been gathered from studying rock art in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg. The first includes a well preserved depiction of a trance dance and we discuss the influence of altered states of consciousness in hunter-gatherer paintings of this area. The second and third sites are unusual for their depiction of detailed heads and geometric patterns respectively.
Day 3: Ancestral and Cathedral Cave. After breakfast we travel to the home of one of the first settler families in the area. Their site shows how rock art has spanned the ages and includes fine line paintings, some geometrics, circle imprints, 1820 settler descendant graffiti and 70s graffiti. After a picnic lunch we travel to Cathedral Cave - a magnificent site with very well-preserved fine-line hunter-gatherer paintings. Dinner at Millard will be a chance to reminisce on a fascinating few days experience. The following morning breakfast will be served before departure.
Accommodation and Food: Accommodation is all provided in charming Guest Farms, each with lovely views and a unique character. Open fires, electric blankets and Esse stoves ensure that you stay cosy and warm through our snowy winters. We provide hearty breakfasts, packed lunches and delicious farmhouse-style dinners.
- Dawn Green: is an archaeology honours student and research associate with UNISA. She has lived in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg for 17 years. Trained mountain guide.
- Jonathan Sephton: is a local farmer with in-depth knowledge of the flora, fauna and oral histories of the area. Trained mountain guide.
- Thapelo Mlatha, also a local, is a NQF Level 2 tourist guide and provides additional support and information.
Also see tour packages in:
Africa South Africa History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey