AS A COUNTRY, SOUTH AFRICA IS PRETTY YOUNG. THERE ARE NO ROMAN RUINS OR PYRAMIDS AND WE DON’T HAVE ANY CASTLES FROM THE MIDDLE AGES. BUT THIS LAND WASN’T ALWAYS CALLED SOUTH AFRICA, AND THOUGH FOR THE BETTER PART OF 400 YEARS, CHUNKS OF IT HAVE CHANGED SOVEREIGNTY ACCORDING TO THE WHIMS OF OFTEN FAR-FLUNG REGENTS, POLITICS AND ECONOMICS, ITS HISTORY REACHES FAR BEYOND THE FIRST EUROPEAN FOOTSTEPS ON THESE SHORES.
South Africa’s history is ancient, and its pre-Colonial art and artefacts are fascinating, weaving rich narrative tapestries – if only one takes the time to understand them. What’s more, many of these sites are surprisingly accessible, yet you may be lucky enough to be the only one to enjoy them at any given time.
OUR OWN ROSETTA STONE
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is arguably the best place in the country to see rock art, with some 550 recorded sites home to 40,000 individual images ranging between 120 and 3,000 years old.
If you only see one series of rock paintings in your life, make it Game Pass Shelter at Kamberg Nature Reserve (www.kznwildlife.com). It’s one of the world’s most celebrated rock art sites thanks to a cluster of images that have unlocked the meaning behind so much of the art found at other sites around the country.This has led to this panel being referred to as the “Rosetta Stone” of southern African rock art.