Aside from the array of game and majestic landscapes, another of the exquisite attractions available at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is the ancient rock art found here.

There are seven recorded sites throughout Sanbona.  These rock art sites date back more than 3,500 years and depict the spiritual beliefs and lives of the San and the Khoi-Khoi people that lived in this area until 100 years ago.  

Following History

The San were nomadic hunter-gatherers and the Khoi–Khoi were pastoral herders who owned livestock such as cattle and sheep. The rock art is a product of what the Shaman of both Khoi-Khoi and San people envisioned in their trances.

But, the paintings are very different from each other. The San paintings are more representative of animals, people, and beings and are done in a darker red colour due to the ochre they used.

Whereas the Khoi-Khoi paintings are more ‘orangey’ and symbolic in style. The paint was made from ochre, calcrete, animal blood, animal fat, plant sap, and ostrich eggs, which they ground to a paste.

Historic Rituals

During their travels, members of these groups would congregate around a communal fire, weaving stories and celebrating the gift of life while the Shaman would meditate in a trance through rhythmic dancing, singing, and clapping,  receiving visions as guidance. This would ensure the wellbeing of the tribe, protecting them from evil and sickness, predicting the future, and praying for good hunting and rains.

It’s also during these rituals that certain animals such as the praying mantis and the eland were honoured and revered as they were considered to have great spiritual powers.

These trance experiences of the Shaman were depicted to the tribe in the form of the rock art seen today. The various sites were also very symbolic, as the rock face was seen as a portal between the different realms the Shaman had travelled through in his trance.

Preserving the Past

Some of the only evidence that remains of this way of life is depicted through this delicate rock art.  This makes Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, not only a leading destination for an African experience, but a national treasure in terms of heritage. 
Contact Sanbona Wildlife Reserve for a rock art safari experience.

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